No, they're not Pokemon: they're the newest creatures to come out of a galaxy far, far away.
While this new breed of critter isn't getting as much attention as the bird-like Porgs, the vulptex — those shiny "crystal foxes" that made their debut in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer — caught the eyes of Star Wars fans everywhere.
Entertainment Weekly has revealed an exclusive new look at the crystallized hounds, who were designed by Aaron McBride and named by Lucasfilm story group's Pablo Hidalgo, who put a Star Wars spin on "vuples," the Latin word for "fox."
Officially known as vulptices, the fox-like beings live on the salt flats of the planet Crait and burrow into the crevasses of an abandoned hideout previously used by the Rebel Alliance. The fiberoptic-inspired creatures are beautiful, but their purpose extends beyond just eye candy.
“They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet,” said Star Wars creature shop head Neal Scanlon. “So there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness should provide a guiding light to our heroes.”
Scanlon explained how a vulptex gets its translucent appearance, chalking it up to their existence on the mineral-rich Crait.
“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 revealed, adding the designers were inspired by “crystal glass chandeliers and the sort of luminosity and elements of refraction” they create.
To help the animators visualize how a crystal-covered animal might actually move, the creature shop enlisted the help of a dog that wore a suit covered with clear drinking straws. “It was amazing to see him run around," Scanlon said. "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 vulptices come to life by way of a mix between CGI and the kind of animatronic puppets the newest Star Wars trilogy utilizes as a means of a return to more practical filmmaking.
Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15th.