Porgs aren’t just here to amp up “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” toy sales.
Besides the fact that Porgs are devastatingly cute to the point that you want to squeeze them to the end of time (sorry, Ewoks), there was a practical — if accidental — reason that Porgs were even created in the Star Wars universe.
According to an interview on StarWars.com with “The Last Jedi” creature concept designer Jake Lunt Davies, the adorable intergalactic creatures were formed as a cover-up to the very real animals that inhabit the island used by the production for shooting Luke Skywalker’s little Jedi getaway: Skellig Michael, Ireland.
If you haven’t seen “The Last Jedi” yet, you might remember this place from the final scene in “The Force Awakens,” sans Porgs.
Besides being a perfectly pristine piece of land, Skellig Michael is also home to a wildlife reserve dedicated the puffins that roam the island. Since physically relocating puffins would have been impossible (and illegal), and completely removing them digitally would have been very expensive, Davies’ solution was to digitally alter the appearance of the equally adorable birds — into the alien Porgs.
“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,” Davies said.
Davies explained that director Rian Johnson requested “puffin people” during the design process. And he got them. Sort of.
While we can’t actually find Porgs in our galaxy, we can still find the closest thing on Earth running around the North Atlantic. Skellig Michael is an UNESCO World Heritage site that features a sixth century monastery, and of course, lots of Atlantic puffins. It's a great place to visit in the summer.
Star Wars (and especially Porg) fans can read the full interview with Jake Lunt Davies on StarWars.com.