'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Will Introduce Another New Creature Besides Porgs

by Ani Bundel

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is less than a month away from arriving in theaters. Like it's predecessor Star Wars: The Force Awakens, little of the plot has been revealed. But much has been made of the new characters we'll meet, including the adorable porgs, their doubly adorable porglets, and their totally merchandise-able ponchos. And it turns out porgs are not the only new creature we'll be meeting. There's also the creature we got a glimpse of in the last trailer, called "Crystal Foxes." But what are Crystal Foxes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Where will we be meeting them? And can they possibly give the porgs a run for their money in Christmas sales?

The answer on that last question is probably "no." Porgs have had a massive head-start since they were first introduced in July, and porg merchandise has been for sale since Force Friday II: This Time It's Chargeable rolled around ahead of Labor Day.

But there are those who worry that porg futures will go belly up once the movie arrives. They could take a Ewok turn, or worse, find themselves in an embarrassing, Gungan-like stereotype. As backup, there is this second creature that The Last Jedi will introduce.

The "Crystal Fox" moniker is actually the name fans came up with for the creature after seeing it in the above trailer. In reality, this creature is a "vulptex." (Plural: "vulptices.") As Entertainment Weekly reveals:

These inhabitants of the mineral-rich world of Crait run across the salt flats and 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.
In the decades since, they have come to roam free through these abandoned structures. The vulptices stand as proof that even the most inhospitable worlds cans harbor life.

Interesting. This indicates that the shot we see in the trailer is outside an old Rebel Alliance base that we didn't see during the original series. Who decides to go there? Leia and her Resistance? Or Luke with Rey in tow?

As for the creatures themselves, Neal Scanlan, the head of the Star Wars creature shop, talks about the creation of them for the series:

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. {They were inspired by} crystal glass chandeliers and the sort of luminosity and elements of refraction.

The fans who came up with the name "Crystal Fox" should be feeling quite pleased with themselves. The word "vulptex" comes from the Latin word vulpes, meaning "fox." These are foxes who have basically crystallized and are covered with gems instead of fur.

(Well, that sounds like a very high-end collectible for the Star Wars completionist, no? Somehow, I feel like if Kylo Ren and his crew found out about them, poachers would be hunting them to make luxurious robes for the First Order command.)

But being covered with a rare and expensive sort of fur isn't the vulptice's only claim to fame. The production promises that these creatures aren't just there to create a very expensive purchase for the Star Wars fan in your life this holiday season. They're also working animals.

They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet. So there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness, should provide a guiding light to our heroes.

So they're not just crystal, they're LED-infused crystal. Fine, where do I pre-order one?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters everywhere Dec. 18, 2017.