You may remember that they were briefly glimpsed during a behind-the-scenes segment about Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the recent Disney D23 Expo, and immediately caught the imagination of fans and spectators. As a result, StarWars.com has delivered an official introduction to the creatures, courtesy of an interview with Pablo Hidalgo from Lucasfilm Story Group.
When asked to explain the nature of the Porgs, Hidalgo likened the creatures to puffins.
“Porgs are native to Ahch-To, and can be found dwelling along the cliffs of the island where Luke and Rey are. In many ways, they’re the Star Wars version of puffins. They build nests. They can fly. Their babies are called porglets. Given how rarely their island has visitors, their curiosity outweighs any skittishness they may have.”
This description suggests that they’ll be a notable presence on the island with Luke and Rey, and that their curiosity will lead to them essentially providing some comic relief – in much the same way as Star Wars non-human species, such as Ewoks and Jar-Jar Binks, have before them. As is now expected of the rebooted franchise, though, practical effects are a key part of everything – even if CG is also used.
“The porgs are realized through a variety of effects, depending on what’s needed. Sometimes they’re puppets, with the puppeteers digitally removed from the shot. Other times, they’re entirely CG.”
As an epic science fiction space opera, Star Wars has a rich history of populating its scenes with a broad variety of non-human species – many of which have become iconic in their own right, and have lent themselves to big marketing opportunities. In those terms, Pablo Hidalgo is under no illusions about the quiet power of the Porgs.
“Ever since that roadside scavenger let out that belch outside Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi, the idea that there’s an entire animal kingdom living amid the drama and adventure of the Star Wars saga is a compelling one. Besides, porgs are cute. You fall into those deep, soulful eyes. I think a lot of people are going to want a porg as a pet.”
Now that the Porg is out of the bag, we can surely expect to see a lot more them in promotional materials, before their big screen debut in Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15th.