Fans of Star Wars: The Last Jedi who noted a resemblance between porgs and puffins are vindicated as it turns out the similarities are no coincidence. There are many planets in the galaxy far, far away and those worlds boast an amazing variety of species and wildlife. Part of the fun of each new Star Wars movie is examining all of the new creatures, sentient and non-sentient, that appear with each successive film. Some of these creatures, like The Sarlacc and The Hutts, have gone on to be part of the general lexicon of popular culture. Others, like the Gungans and the Ewoks, are regarded less fondly.
The breakout beast of Star Wars’ latest installment, The Last Jedi, seems to be the adorable porgs. From their first appearance in the second trailer for The Last Jedi, fans have been fascinated by these creatures, regardless of whether they are charmed or repulsed by its adorable nature. With its sad soulful eyes and waddling walk, many have compared the porgs’ appearance to that of the humble puffin.
Related: John Boyega Was Freaked Out By Porgs
It turns out that this resemblance is no coincidence. In an interview with StarWars.com, Creature Concept Designer Jake Lunt Davies revealed the origins of the porg and how their inclusion in the film was originally born of a practical purpose and not just the desire of Disney’s marketing department to sell stuffed animals based on the creatures.
According to Lunt Davies, the porg was born of difficulties director Rian Johnson had in shooting upon Skelling Michael – the island in Ireland that served as the planet Ahch-To. Skelling Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as Special Protected Area. This means that it is a crime to disturb the local wildlife, including the colonies of puffins native to the island.
“You can’t remove them. You physically can’t get rid of them. And digitally removing them is an issue and a lot of work, so let’s just roll with it, play with it. And so I think [Rian] thought, “Well, that’s great, let’s have our own indigenous species.” … The puffins were sort of a big influence on everything, really.”
Lunt Davies then went to work on fashioning a creature of similar size and demeanor to a puffin, but visually distinct from one as well. He turned to other aquatic creatures for inspiration as well as more domestic animals in trying to find the right magical combination of features that felt right.
“I probably got the porg within the first [few attempts]. I did about four or five pages of totally different sketches, and the porg was probably in one of those sketches. It was influenced by a seal and a pug dog and the puffin. The big eyes of a seal or the big eyes of a pug dog and the sort of funny, ugly face [of a pug].”
Once the basic shape of the porg was set for The Last Jedi, Lunt Davies had to set the other fine details. Over 50 different color options were considered to emulate the flash of colors that puffins possess on their beaks. After narrowing it down to Johnson’s 10 favorites, the final design for the porg was approved. Work well done, as porgs have become one of the most talked about aspects of the latest Star Wars film ahead of The Last Jedi’s release.
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