R2-D2. Ewoks. BB-8. With nearly every addition to the Star Wars film franchise, there has been some new creature or droid that has delighted audiences and found its way onto lunchboxes and pajama bottoms. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be no different. This time around, though, the fandom’s obsession with the movie’s creature du jour is already in full swing long before the flick hits theaters.
Mere moments after The Last Jedi’s new trailer (above) dropped last night, it started: porg mania. The little creature—a Furby-esque species native to the world where Rey and Luke Skywalker met at the end of The Force Awakens—only shows up for about a second in the new trailer, but its singular cry from the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon was all it took. Soon, tweets, memes, and fan art were everywhere. There was no escaping its giant saucer eyes and frantically flapping wings.
This reaction was by design. Much like the studio did with BB-8 before Force Awakens, Lucasfilm has been touting porgs as the New Cute Thing for a few months now. It started back in July when a D23 behind-the-scenes video a showed the little bugger in development. That was quickly followed by a piece on StarWars.com that touted “We know only one truth: We love porgs” and offered up a full explanation of their cuteness from Lucasfilm story group’s Pablo Hidalgo. “Porgs are native to Ahch-To,” he explained. “In many ways, they’re the Star Wars version of puffins. They build nests. They can fly. Their babies are called porglets. You fall into those deep, soulful eyes. I think a lot of people are going to want a porg as a pet.”
The porgåsbord continued with Lucasfilm announcing upcoming porg toys, Tumblr filling up with fan tributes, and director Rian Johnson talking about how a group of porgs is called “a murder” (like crows). By last night, folks were so invested in them they were sliding into Johnson’s mentions with frustrations that the director had gotten a Twitter hastag avatar for his name while one didn’t exist for the poor little guy. The embrace of porgs has not been universal, though. Some are already dismissing the creatures as a marketing ploy, and wondering if they’re destined to be the new Ewoks—creatures that divide Star Wars fans for years to come.
That nerd war has yet to be fought, however, and we won’t know the outcome until after Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15. In the meantime, let’s join the internet in celebrating the pug-like puffins while they’re still cute.