While a lot of focus is being put on the porgs, there is another animal that resembles a Pokémon that is being brought to the Star Wars universe in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We got a look at these crystal foxes in the second trailer, but Entertainment Weekly has brought up new information about how these crystal puppers were brought to life.
They are known as a vulptex, and a pack of them would be vulptices. They live on the mineral-rich planet of Crait — the one with the ground that looks like the Great Salt Flats with red underneath. They “burrow deep within the crevasses of this former hideout for the Rebel Alliance, which in galactic lore dates back to the events of the original trilogy.” They roam the planet freely now and have adapted, proving that life often finds a way to flourish. EW spoke to Neal Scanlan, head of the Star Wars creature shop, about bringing these new creatures to life.
“The idea is that these wonderful sort of feral creatures had lived on this planet and had consumed the planet’s surface, and as such had become crystalline,” Scanlan says. The designers took inspiration from “crystal glass chandeliers and the sort of luminosity and elements of refraction” they create.
They were designed by Aaron McBride and the name should sound vaguely familiar to Pokémon players. It comes from the latin words “vulpes” for fox. So instead of a “Vulpix” like in Pokémon, Pablo Hidalgo “galacticized” the word into “vulptex”.
An animal made of crystal sounds like something that could be easy to visualize, but in terms of making something practical with animatronics and puppets, that was a little different. They needed a little help.
“We had a little dog come in and we built a little suit for it, and we covered that suit with clear drinking straws,” Scanlan said. “It was amazing to see him run around. It could run and jump, and it had this wonderful sort of movement to it. It had a great sound to it, as well, because all the little straws moved and flexed with the animal.”
The dog was there to help the people of the creature shop come up with the little details, movement and such, to bring the vulptex to life. They are awesome-looking creatures, but they have a plot purpose as well:
“They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet,” Scanlan says. “So there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness, should provide a guiding light to our heroes.”
So we have the space penguin who is going to be Chewie’s therapy dog and the crystal pupper that will be the light of Earendil for Star Wars. Sounds good.
Summary: Having taken her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, and Adam Driver. It will be released on December 15th.
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