The biggest breakout star in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is also one of the smallest: the porg.
The wide-eyed avian creatures, which are native to Luke Skywalker’s planet Ahch-To, became an internet sensation after making their galactic debut in the first trailer for the upcoming film.
In PEOPLE’s new special issue Star Wars: The Ultimate Guide to The Last Jedi and an exclusive PeopleTV special, PEOPLE spoke with creature supervisor Neal Scanlan to learn anything and everything we can about the cutest new members of the galaxy, far, far away.
Here are 5 things to know about the porgs ahead of the Dec. 15 release of The Last Jedi:
1. They were inspired by a cross between a puffin, seal and pug dog — and stand 10 inches tall.
“[Director] Riann Johnson had already written them into the script and named them porgs,” says Scanlan. “When you say the word ‘porg’ it sort of suggests something to you. It’s a lovely rounded name. Riann told us they were supposed to be very Puffin-like, they’re a cross between a puffin, a seal and a pug dog.”
“We did many, many drawings and eventually one of our concept designers literally drew a sort of little potato with a pair of legs and some big eyes on it — very little detail other than that, just a little tail at the back,” he continued. “We all felt ‘wow, that’s gorgeous.’ When Riann saw it he said, ‘That’s it. That’s what was in my mind.’ “
2. One of the porgs befriends Chewbacca.
“The Last Jedi is a film about friendship as much as anything else. There’s a wonderful friendship that we haven’t really seen before and it involves Chewbacca. Along comes this little character and I think presses a few emotional button in Chewie that we haven’t seen before. There’s a wonderful moment in the film where they meet.”
“The porg that befriends Chewbacca is actually very wookie-inspired. His feathers and his coat are very similar to Chewie’s and we tried to put some little subtle changes into that particular Porg to make you kind of go, ‘Oh my gosh that’s a little bit like Chewy!’ So we called him the Chewie porg.
3. They are known for being ‘overly inquisitive’ and ‘mischievous.’
“The porgs were designed to be almost slightly irritating in the sense that they are numerous and they tend to be overly inquisitive, they’re mischievous,” says Scanlan. “This film is I’m sure going to be quite an emotional and visual rollercoaster and the porgs can provide a moment of respite, a little moment where you can reset yourself, ready for what is about to come and enjoy them on that pure level.”
4. It was porg-mania on set.
“For every Porg that you see on the screen there was probably ten or so porgs made in order to be able to achieve that,” says Scanlan. “Because of the limitations of the size of the porg, we could only do so many things. So for instance, if we see in one moment a little porg pulling one expression, we can vary that expression to some extent but if there’s an extreme change in the next cut, that will probably be a new porg.”
5. Everyone loves the porgs!
“I’m over the moon that they’ve been so warmly received and tthat they’ve been welcomed into the world and Star Wars family by everybody,” he says. “I mean, honestly, you haven’t seen anything yet. They are absolutely going to win everybody’s hearts.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters Dec. 15.