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The Porgs have had the spotlight for long enough, now it’s the time for the Vulptex. When the Star Wars: The Last Jedi BTS reel debuted we got our first look at some of the amazing new creatures that will be in the movie, including the Porgs and the amazing-looking crystal foxes. Well thanks to EW, we now know this blinged out creature is known as a vulptex. (A pack of them would be vulptices.)
The lifeforms live on the mineral-rich world of Crait and run across the salt flats and burrow deep within the tunnels of an old Rebel Alliance hideout, which dates back to the events of the original trilogy.
EW spoke with the head of the Star Wars creature shop, Neal Scanlan, about the creation of these sparkly survivors.
“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.
The vulptices were designed by Aaron McBride and the name “vulptex” came from Lucasfilm story group member Pablo Hidalgo, who galacticized vulpes, the Latin word for “fox.”
Describing a fox covered with gems instead of fur is an easy thing to do, but it’s no simple task to create on in real life. For help, they turned to man’s best friend.
“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 showed them how a creature covered with long crystals might actually move around, and where spaces between the crystals would be necessary. After that, the creature shop built animatronic puppets that could perform in scenes with live actors, while separate models that didn’t move were made and digitally scanned for animators.
And the Vulptex won’t just be something pretty to look at in the background on Crait, apparently, they will have an important part to play in the story.
“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.”
Check out this short featurette about the making of the vulptex: