THIS WEEK, TWITTER user David Hamilton wrote a tweet that became pretty popular. He explained that porgs were added to the Star Wars series because it was easier than digitally removing all of the native puffins on Skellig Michael, where Star Wars was filmed.
Hamilton then directed his followers towards the source of this information, which was StarWars.com.
On the release date of the movie, the official Star Wars site asked the film’s concept and character designer Jake Lunt Davies to set the scene and explain how they were worked into the film.
We were briefed. 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. It’s a wildlife preserve and everywhere you look, there are hundreds of birds dotted around the landscape.
So naturally, there’s no escaping them while filming.
Rian, in a positive spin on this, was looking at how he could 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.
At this point, Rian Johnson decided it was time for the fictional island to get its own indigenous species. Jake Lunt Davies said that he had just been told by Rian to design some “puffin people”.
Yeah there was going to be this race of people and puffins again were a source of inspiration for Rian. The puffins were sort of a big influence on everything, really.
Davies also shared some conceptual drawings of the porgs.
They eventually settled on this “egg shaped”, sad-faced little pug looking bird.
You’re probably wondering why they didn’t just wait until a different time of year, when the puffins were away, to film the movie.
Sure, it would have saved them a lot of trouble. However, it just wasn’t really feasible, as this Twitter user explained.
Some people expressed concerns about the humans encroaching on the land inhabited by puffins.
Seabird enthusiasts pointed out that it wouldn’t really be a problem, considering the fact that puffins are very social animals.
You learn something new every day.