Everyone thought the Porgs, those cute lil’ animals from The Last Jedi, were basically space penguins. Turns out they’re actually space puffins, because Skellig Michael (aka Luke’s Island) is so covered with the birds that it was easier for the VFX team to just work with them than try and cut them out of the movie.
In a feature on Star Wars’ official site, creature designer Jake Lunt Davies doesn’t just share a whole load of concept art of the birds, but also reveals their very practical origins.
“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”, he told the site. “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.’
Which doesn’t explain the Space Nuns, but whatever.
There’s some concept art from the development of the Porgs below.