One of the more long-lasting battles in “Star Wars” history is the fight over how far to push “the cute.” Now, with the introduction of the Porgs in December’s “The Last Jedi,” filmgoers who embrace cuddly critters may win a decisive victory.
On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly unveiled an adorable Porg as part of its exclusive photo-gallery reveal for Episode 8. And the image was a big-eyed reminder that under Disney chief executive Bob Iger, the franchise always has its eyes on moving tons of new merchandise.
It was Iger, after all, who reportedly dreamed up wee droid BB-8 for a big rollout in Episode 7, J.J. Abrams’s “The Force Awakens” — an instant hit with many toy buyers.
The Porgs, though, look even more nefariously Imagineered to be an ideal stocking stuffer upon “Last Jedi’s” Dec. 15 release.
In the new image, a Porg — this wet-eyed, fuzzy gerbil-on-steroids — is shown riding on the Millennium Falcon alongside Chewbacca (EW says the Porgs are “vexing to Wookiees”). We are told the Porgs, like some sort of space puffin, hail from Planet Ahch-To, where Luke went into exile in search of the first Jedi temple.
But forget about any facial nods to Jar Jar Binks. In this photo, at least, the Porg looks like nothing so much as “Sad Bugs” in the classic 1956 short “Broom-Stick Bunny.”
“Star Wars” fans, of course, still debate whether George Lucas’s beloved furry Ewoks were a boon or bust to the franchise in the 1980s. Lucas had a soft spot for Jim Henson critters, and it is hard to argue against the addition of the greatest small creature in all of Star Wars.”
Inspired, it was.