WARNING: The following article contains minor spoilers for director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters now.
The big-eyed, feather porgs emerged early in the marketing of Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the film’s cuddly breakout stars, tailor-made for toys, clothing and animated shorts. But the amusing antics, and high-pitched noises, of the bird-like creatures appeared to disguise a dark side, as speculation turned to whether the naturally curious porgs might not only serve as Chewbacca’s companions on Ahch-To, but also his food source.
Inspired by the puffins that inhabit Skellig Michael, the island in Ireland that served as a filming location for the ocean world, the porgs are cliff-dwellers that pluck fish from the bountiful waters below. But the cute little critters are likely fairly low on the Ahch-To food chain, meaning they’re a prime target for the planet’s other, larger inhabitants. Including a certain lovable Wookiee.
Stuck aboard the Millennium Falcon in The Last Jedi with only decades-old rations to sustain him, Chewbacca turns to hunting porgs and roasting them on a makeshift spit. But as Chewbacca is about to bite into the succulent bird, a living porg looks at him with those enormous eyes, and fill his Wookiee heart with guilt.
As noted in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Visual Dictionary, an adult Wookiee requires between 3,500 and 6,000 calories a day, so you can’t exactly blame Chewbacca. Besides, although Luke Skywalker and the native Lanais are said to live primarily on fish, they’re not above suspicion of poaching a porg or two.
Although the porgs have earned (unflattering) comparisons to the Ewoks introduced in 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the two species are separated, at the very least, by their place in the food chain. Ewoks became a pop-culture sensation, appearing on merchandise, starring in made-for-TV movies and a Saturday morning cartoon, and even landing a song on the Billboard Top 100, it’s important to remember they were predators: They killed some kind of deer-like beast on Endor to bait a trap for even larger prey, and Chewbacca was happy to oblige.
The Ewoks weren’t operating a catch-and-release program, however. After they ensnared Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca, the cuddly little teddy bears intended to eat them. They probably would have, too, if not for the combined trickery of Luke and C-3PO.
Maybe Chewie was only learning from past mistakes, and intended to eat the local inhabitants before they could dine on him. Whatever the case, don’t judge; just let the Wookiee win.
In theaters now, director Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico and Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.
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