My father introduced me to the Star Wars saga when I was around elementary school age. I was too young to understand the mysticism of the force or the political under and over tones of the franchise. But I thought it was awesome that Luke Skywalker could open doors without touching them and that Princess Leia could fight even though she was a princess. The princesses I’d seen solved their problems with power ballads instead of weapons. Even more so, the non-human characters—R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, and yes, the Ewoks—kept me interested when the plot got too convoluted. The furry mammals and bloodless machines colored the universe with languages and bodies so foreign to me. They embody the fantasy of Star Wars. This is why I stand in defense of Porgs.
There are many debates on the internet right now over a new creature that will be introduced in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Porgs. They are inspired by the puffins that are indigenous to Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of Ireland where Star Wars was filmed. Porgs can be best described as a mixture of a penguin, an otter, and rodent Pokémon. Their eyes are so big they can see to the deepest depths of your soul. While I respect the views of some of my colder-hearted colleagues, I am pro-Porg. I think these things are adorable, and they make me more excited about Star Wars.
I understand, even though I adamantly disagree with fans who cringe at first photos of Porgs. For many, these furry delights are a huge red flag that Disney intends to create a film that’s too cute and cuddly for comfort. I don’t think this is so. Just because something is cute doesn’t mean that it can’t be multidimensional or even vicious. The Porgs appear to have very sharp teeth, and their unintimidating appearance could make them vicious assassins. Also, as the native inhabitants of the planet, they could possess Jedi-like powers, the ability to communicate with Luke Skywalker, or hold infinite universal truths unknown to other beings. But we will never know if we judge them based on the way they look!
Furthermore, it is important that Disney incorporates elements that serve as a gateway to new generations of Star Wars fans. Just because Porgs are possibly annoying to older fans, doesn’t mean that they won’t be an important part of the fantasy for children. As a kid, I was captivated by Yoda’s green skin, small stature, and infinite wisdom. Yoda was created with children in mind. Star Wars isn’t meant to be a dark, high-concept space version of Game of Thrones. There is room for that, sure, but there is also room for the cuddly things in the universe.
Lastly, we don’t know what purpose the Porgs will serve yet. So let’s resist ambushing the little guys before they get a chance to do their Porg thing. Sure, they could be really annoying and ruin the movie, but that all depends on their function. What keeps the non-human characters in Star Wars engaging for adult audiences are their multifaceted personalities and purposes. The Porgs don’t have to play a gigantic role, but they must serve the story in some way. Even if the sole purpose of the Porgs were to be companions to Luke while he sat in exile, they’d have already played an important role in the struggle to bring balance to the force. All I am saying is give them a chance. Not every hero looks like one.