The Surprising Reason Porgs Were Created For Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Whenever a film, especially a film that's part of a franchise, makes the decision to add cutesy characters into its story, there is always the risk that the new additions will be seen as gimmicky, or worse — annoying. Many films have done this successfully — the dreaded minions of the "Despicable Me" series truly have a particular staying power that has even gone on to garner them their own spin-off films — but other times, things don't exactly go according to plan.

Take Jar Jar Binks for example. He is a hotly debated (and often deeply loathed) addition to the "Star Wars" universe that did not go over as planned, which is why when the porgs were first previewed as being a new part of the "Star Wars" universe in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", some people felt uneasy. Would these fluffy, egg-like creatures be the next Jar Jar? Fortunately for the franchise, porgs were pretty much accepted almost immediately. They were cute, puffin-like creatures that befriend Chewbacca, originating on the planet Ahch-To and covering its rocky cliffs in their characteristically plump, beakless bodies. Ultimately, they were nearly impossible hard to hate — and to be perfectly honest, I could always do with some more porg action in my "Star Wars." 

But just how did these adorable little creatures come to be?  

Birth of the Porg

In an interview, Jake Lunt Davies, the main man behind creating the porgs, talks a bit about how these beakless bird-like beings came to be for their debut in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." It turns out that the initial inspiration came from director Rian Johnson's trip to Skellig Michael, an island west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland that became the actual shooting location for the scenes filmed on Luke Skywalker's new home of Ahch-To. 

Johnson returned from his trip inspired by the island's vast amount of puffins, and he felt "The Last Jedi" needed some similar wildlife. "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," says Davies. And thus the birth of the porg began!

Davies says that the plan had always been to make the porg as cute as possible, and in the end, its final form ended up being a combination of "a seal and a pug dog and the puffin." Lots of sketching and brainstorming went into the creation of the porg, and eventually, Johnson and the rest of the team settled on the design audiences are familiar with today. 

For Davies' part, he never expected the porgs to end up being as sensational as they were. "I was surprised when, suddenly, the Internet goes crazy for it and it turned into a meme-fest," he says, which just goes to show that inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places — even pesky puffins that are impossible to remove from the background of a major motion picture, giving credence to the age-old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."