All About the ‘Space Horses’ in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

Photo credit: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair

Horses in space? Why not? In “Star Wars,” anything is possible.

In “The Rise of Skywalker,” Finn (John Boyega) teams up with new ally Jannah (Naomi Ackie). As we glimpsed in the trailer back in May, these steeds prove handy during a key battle. Here’s what we know:

Photo credit: Lucasfilm
  1. The horses are called orbaks and are native to the desert planet Pasaana. (Not to be confused with the more camel-like creatures called fathiers that we saw in “The Last Jedi.”)
  2. According to “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary,” a herd of Orbaks also live on the ocean moon Kef Bir.
  3. Orbaks have long, wavy fur, Borzoi-like heads and tusks, a look that was likely achieved with a blend of practical costuming (much like the Corellian hounds in “Solo,”) and digital FX.
  4. Naomi Ackie learned how to ride horses for her role as rebel Jannah. As she told Total Film Magazine (via GamesRadar): “I was training for seven months, three times a week, at an amazing horse ranch called The Devil’s Horsemen. By the end of it, I could canter without any hands. I could play catch with balls while on a horse… It’s the best part of the job – you get paid to learn!”
  5. The Devil’s Horsemen, is, according to their site, “the leading film-industry horse supplier in Europe.” They’ve provided horses for movies including “Wonder Woman,” “Outlaw King” and “The Favourite.” Their horses have also been featured on “Game of Thrones” and “The Crown.”
  6. You can see the horses (rigged up as orbaks) in this on-the-scene video from Vanity Fair documenting the Annie Leibovitz photo shoot:
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Behind the scenes with @vanityfair x

A post shared by John Boyega (@johnboyega) on

7. Boyega shared photos from his own riding sessions on his Instagram back in 2018.

8. Although most of the filming took place outside the U.S., the film bears the seal of approval from Humane Hollywood.

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