Star Wars' porgs are puffins on another planet

Star Wars' porgs are puffins on another planet
From CBC - December 28, 2017

They live by the ocean, they waddle a little when they walk, and they are definitely adorableyou could be forgiven for thinking we are talking about puffins.

But thecharming creatures described are actually porgs, one of the new characters in the Star Wars franchise.

The round and cute porgs are native to a remote island on the planet Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker is found in The Last Jedi, released earlier in December.

Puffins may not be well-known to residents of Hollywood, but a former movie executive-turned-puffin-rescuer in Newfoundland and Labrador is not surprised their qualities are appealing when translated into space birds.

"I think it touches something very special which goes very deep into the heart of the people when they see this little innocent bird," said Juergen Schau, who founded the Puffin and Petrel Patrol rescue group in Witless Bay, after retiring from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Just offshore from Witless Bay is the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, home to North America's largest colony of Atlantic puffins. Puffin and Petrel Patrol, in partnership with CPAWS, rescues pufflingsbaby puffinswho end up on shore after becoming lost.

Inspiration on Skellig Michael

Schau, who spends summers and the Christmas holidays in Witless Bay, said he has heard from people from Canada, the United States, and other parts of the world who want to know more about puffins after seeing the porgs on screen.

"Even if it looks not like a puffin I already got several messages, emails from people from Toronto, from America, from Europe, saying, 'Juergen, there's a puffin in Star Wars, in the new one,'" Schau said.

"So they understand that the porg has something of a puffin."

As it turns out, the porg-puffin resemblance is no mere coincidence.

The intergalactic creatures are inspired by the real-life Atlantic puffins that live on Skellig Michael, the island off Ireland's southwestern coast where the scenes of Luke Skywalker's retreat were filmed.

"If you go to Skellig at the right time of year, it's just covered in puffins, and they are the most adorable things in the world," The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, some of the porgs seen in the movie actually are puffins, just digitally altered, while others seen in the movie are puppets. Turning the island's nesting puffins into something else in post-production was easier than trying to remove them all digitally.

Cute or annoying? Fans are not sure

But not all Star Wars fans have fallen in love with porgs.



Puffins are not pets


Continue reading at CBC »