Porgs Were Invented Because ‘The Last Jedi’ Couldn’t Get Rid of the Puffins on Skellig Michael

     December 21, 2017

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If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent the last week randomly shouting out porg noises in the midst of dead silence. What, is that not normal? You try working from home. What can I say? The cute little buggers captured audience imagination from the moment they were unveiled in the first-look D23 footage for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and despite some Ewok-shaped concerns from fams, they proved to be pretty much an all-around joy when the film hit theaters last week. There’s a lot of divisive points of discussion surrounding The Last Jedi, but the greatness of porgs isn’t one of them.

Well, you can thank mother nature and some quick-footed thinking from Rian Johnson for the existence of the adorable little space poultry. According to creature concept designer Jake Lunt Davies, the little critters of Ach-To were designed as cute little VFX costumes for the puffins that inhabit Skellig Michael — the Irish location that doubled for Ach-To and also happens to be a World Heritage Site packed with protected puffins.

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Image via Lucasfilm

Speaking with the folks over at StarWars.com, Lunt Davies explained:

“From what I gathered, Rian [Johnson] had gone to shoot this sequence on Skellig Michael, which is the real island location that stands in for Ahch-To, and that island is covered in puffins. It’s a wildlife preserve and everywhere you look there are hundreds of birds dotted around the landscape. From what I gathered, Rian, in a positive spin on this, was looking at how can he work with this. 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 he thought, “Well, that’s great, let’s have our own indigenous species.” We’d already started work on the Caretakers, which again was a brief from Rian. We’d just been told “puffin people.” Yeah, there was going to be this race of people and puffins again were a source of inspiration for Rian.”

Check out the full interview to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Porgs (and then some) and see more of Lunt Davies hella cute concept art. And if you were wondering, yes, people do eat puffins. Don’t tell Chewie.

For more on The Last Jedi, check out the links below.

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