Star Wars fans have always been divided on the plausibility of the cuddly Ewoks defeating the technologically advanced Empire. One thing that cannot be denied about the Ewoks, though, is their teddy bear-like cuteness and huggability. The upcoming eighth episode in the saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, will feature a species that could unseat the Ewoks as the series’ most lovable creature.
Enter the porgs: little fluttering critters that look like a cross between a penguin, an otter and a pug. They are natives of the ocean planet Ahch-To, Luke Skywalker’s place of exile and home to the first Jedi temple.
Porg Facts 101
Polygon first speculated on the porgs in July after spotting a few in Lucasfilm’s behind-the-scenes video for The Last Jedi, released during San Diego Comic-Con. Images and descriptions of the new creatures have been popping up on fan sites as early as last December. But it wasn’t until July 20 that Lucasfilm officially unveiled the porgs to the world.
In an interview with the official Star Wars website, Pablo Hidalgo of the Lucasfilm Story Group let out a few fun facts about the porgs and their role in The Last Jedi.
In addition to their appearance, the porgs have a lot of avian qualities to their habits. They can fly, they build nests and they’re highly curious. And if their wide, piercing eyes haven’t already won you over with cuteness, you should know that a baby porg is called a “porglet.”
But don’t let their cuddly exterior fool you — porgs can snap if provoked. They have razor-sharp teeth, almost like a cat’s, and their bites could probably do some serious damage.
Speaking of damage: When asked via Twitter what a group of porgs is called, director Rian Johnson replied:
Murder.— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 21, 2017
Before you flip out and write off porgs as vile, untrustworthy beasts, it’s likely Johnson was referencing the term for a flock of crows, which is, in fact, “a murder of crows.” He was also probably joking. But just for funsies, let’s go with the assumption that a group of porgs is indeed referred to as “a murder of porgs.” Is that metal or what?
The porgs’ origins, or “porgrigins”
Much of the filming for Ahch-To was done on Skellig Michael, a small, remote island off the southwest coast of Ireland. Skellig Michael is also the site of an ancient Christian monastery, dating back to between the sixth and eighth centuries. This lent itself well to Ahch-To’s narrative purpose in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, in that the planet hosts the original Jedi temple.
Today, Skellig Michael is home to a massive colony of puffins. Those birds inspired Johnson to create the porgs for The Last Jedi. “If you go to Skellig at the right time of year, it’s just covered in puffins,” Johnson told Entertainment Weekly. “So when I was first scouting there, I saw these guys, and I was like, oh, these are part of the island. And so the porgs are in that realm.”
Lucasfilm’s process for bringing the porgs to life on screen is similar to how the company animated The Force Awakens’ darling new addition, BB-8: It’s a mixture of puppetry and CGI. It all depends on how complicated the shot is and what the porgs need to be doing at a given point. If fans’ warm reaction to BB-8 is any indication, the transition between the two should be pretty seamless.
The connection with Chewbacca and R2-D2
If you’ll recall, Rey didn’t come to Ahch-To alone at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Along with her in the Millennium Falcon were Chewbacca and R2-D2. Based on fan speculation and clues from The Last Jedi’s merchandise, we can expect plenty of interactions between Chewbacca, R2-D2 and the porgs.
Chewie and Artoo are already two of the cutest characters in Star Wars — Chewie being the lovable guard dog of the group, whereas Artoo is more of a technically skilled toddler. This makes sense, considering Chewbacca was inspired by creator George Lucas’ Alaskan Malamute, and sound designer Ben Burtt used baby noises to create R2-D2’s voice. We can only imagine that seeing all three on screen together — Chewie, Artoo and the porgs — could lead to cuteness overload.
Making Star Wars, the same fan site that first reported on the porg rumors, got a tip in July that the porgs may use R2-D2’s head as a perch in The Last Jedi. In an official capacity though, it seems that Chewbacca will have a special connection to the island birds. A recently released image from The Last Jedi shows a porg sitting in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, seated right next to Chewie.
Lucasfilm also confirmed a children’s book in the works, Chewie and the Porgs. The cover shows the furry Wookiee walking with a makeshift fishing rod while being followed by a — ahem — murder of porgs.
If that wasn’t enough, images of The Last Jedi’s toy line show that the Chewbacca action figure will come complete with a little plastic porglet.
Figuras de Episodio 8, Los Últimos Jedis en una tienda Follow / Sigan : @photoygraphy507 #darthvader #theforceawakens #stormtrooper #disney #jedi #sith #love #lego #starwarsfan #yoda #art #r2d2 #marvel #hansolo #bobafett #lukeskywalker #geek #forcefriday #cosplay #darkside #chewbacca #nerd #lightsaber #toys #theforce #instagood #kyloren #episode8 #c3po #thelastjedi
It seems clear that everyone’s favorite 7-foot, 6-inch walking carpet will have a few new best friends in The Last Jedi. He deserves it after what happened to Han Solo (RIP).
The fans’ reactions
Beyond all the facts and speculation, one thing is clear — Star Wars fans already love the porgs. So much so that fan art has begun popping up all around Twitter. Here are some of the best reactions we’ve found thus far.
Here’s a sweet drawing of Luke being smothered with porg love:
A group of hamsters are called a #HordeOfHamsters... How we should call a group of porgs??? #CutestFanArtsEver @HamillHimself pic.twitter.com/qNsadbusit— Hamill The Cutest (@sloishamster) July 30, 2017
One Twitter user photoshopped the porgs into two beloved childrens’ books: Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends:
just want to make sure @missingwords saw these porg creations pic.twitter.com/rCcigkIQFk— heath (@heathdwilliams) July 29, 2017
Superfan Morgan Mahn even made her own precious stuffed animal:
I made a #porg (her name is Gabby)! More #porgs to come later pic.twitter.com/obxBDqL0kT— Morgan Mahn (@MorganMahn) August 3, 2017
Fan site Star Wars Underworld tweeted a giant porg in place of the Death Star in Rogue One:
Porg One: A Star Wars Story. -B- pic.twitter.com/shh6Utk5i7— Star Wars Underworld (@TheSWU) July 30, 2017
And finally, Ash Crossan of Entertainment Tonight posted a sentiment that many Star Wars fans are feeling right now:
If people turn on Porgs the way they turned on Ewoks... pic.twitter.com/00gutfjkWO— Ash Crossan (@AshCrossan) August 9, 2017
With all the love the porgs are getting already, we can only hope they live up to our wildest expectations when Star Wars: The Last Jedi finally hits theaters on Dec. 15.