The release of a new Star Wars film inevitably brings the introduction of never-before-seen species, from the adorable (but annoyingly inescapable) Ewoks to the far more formidable wampas. Director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is no different.
Creature designer Neal Scanlan oversaw the creation of 180 new species for the sequel, which arrives in theaters nationwide on Friday, although he's conceded that not all of them may make the final cut. Some will appear only in the background, while others will undoubtedly be left on the cutting-room floor. But we know at least four new species have prominent roles.
Adorable and mischievous, Porgs are native to Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker has lived in self-imposed exile for years. "They are sea birds," Johnson said. "Their coloring varies. Males are slightly larger than females. They can fly short distances. They're inquisitive." Their young are called "porglets."
Porgs are already immensely popular, having appeared in trailers and in animated shorts. However, not everyone loves them. Star John Boyega, who plays Finn, has described the little creatures as "freaky" in groups, although he also acknowledged that they're "very, very cute."
The birds are inspired by the puffins native to the island of Skellig in Ireland, the filming location for Ahch-To. The production sometimes employed puppeteers and other times used CG to bring the Porgs to life.
It's unknown what role they play in the film's large plot, but a Porg styled after Chewbacca does appear alongside the fan-favorite Wookiee on the Millennium Falcon in the trailers, so it seems that at least one will break free from Ahch-To and explore the galaxy. Regardless of how much they end up factoring into The Last Jedi, Porgs have already made their way into children's books and toys, so they're not going away any time soon.
The Caretakers are also native to the ocean world of Ahch-To. Scanlan described the Caretakers as "an extrapolation from the Porgs and have bird-like feet, but they’re a further developed race." Johnson has called them a sort of "fish-bird."
The Caretakers maintain the structures on the island where Luke lives, including the first Jedi temple. The females of the species are dressed in nun-inspired garb, and communicate with Luke through "a blubbery sort of Scottish fish talk." They also may eat Porgs, opening up some pretty dark possibilities for Luke and Rey's dinners on the island.
There's some indication that the Caretakers aren't big fans of Luke, but whether there will be any conflict between him and the Caretakers remains to be seen. Still, they have seemingly played a big part in his life as an exile.