Think that Porgs exist in Star Wars: The Last Jedi purely to fuel the Disney merchandise machine? You couldn’t be more wrong… Turns out it was easier to replace the hundreds of Puffins on set with this new breed of animal, than digitally removing them.
In an interview with creature concept designer Jake Lunt Davies, he revealed some fascinating insight into the creation of this indigenous breed - primarily that they came by request from director Rian Johnson to replace the currently bustling population of Puffins on-set at Skellig Michael.
“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,” Jake said.
“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. The puffins were sort of a big influence on everything, really.”
The Porg design took a few attempts, along with inspiration from several animals such as beavers and seals.
Well worth tucking into the full interview from a film nerd’s perspective, as it goes into a whole lot of detail about the artistry of these cute little critters. But kudos to the tenacity of the team - doing double duty of filmic convenience and developing merch gold.
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I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.