The Porgs aren’t the only animals we’re excited about in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” We also love what we’ve seen so far of the crystal foxes.
Here’s everything we know about these fascinating creatures, thanks to EW and this behind-the-scenes video.
1. The official name for them is “vulptex.” (Plural, “vulptices.”) The name came from Lucasfilm story group member Pablo Hidalgo, based on vulpes, the Latin word for “fox.”
2. They live on the planet Crait, where they burrow in a former hideout of the Rebel Alliance.
3. They have evolved to survive in this harsh, mineral-rich environment of salt flats.
4. Neal Scanlan, head of the “Star Wars” creature shop, told EW, “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.”
5. The crystal foxes were designed by Aaron McBride. Scanlan says the designers took inspiration from “crystal glass chandeliers and [their] sort of luminosity and elements of refraction.”
6. A real dog served as the model for the foxes. “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.”
7. Next, the creature shop built animatronic puppets to be used in scenes with live actors. According to the video, 25,000 crystals were used on each fox.
8. From there, models were built to be digitally scanned for the animators. Says Scanlan in the video, “We’ll make a perfect version for CGI and they’ll then be able to bring her to life in any way that Rian [Johnson] wants.”
10. The vulptices have an important role to play in the film. “They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet,” Scanlan tells EW. “So there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness should provide a guiding light to our heroes.” Kind of like a living, breathing Phial of Galadriel?
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opens December 15.