Star Wars: Science Explains Why Audiences Want to Eat Porgs

Following the debut of porgs this past summer in behind-the-scenes footage of The Last Jedi, two opposing reactions immediately caught fire across social media. One reaction was that the creatures were adorable and should only ever be cuddled, while another reaction was that these creatures should be killed and cooked. Thanks to science, we now know there's an actual reason behind the aggressive response to the creatures from Ahch-To.

According to Professor Oriana R. Aragón, one response to something cute is "playful aggression," a reaction that equates to seeing an adorable baby and claiming "I could just eat you up." Aragón told The Verge, "There is a strong response to cuteness that involves the suggestion of eating the cute being."

Aragón also posits that the brain responding to stimuli that cause an abnormally positive feeling might lead to this playful aggression, similarly to how when someone is incredibly nervous, they have a hard time controlling their laughter.

“My guess would be that people are… playing on that initial impulse to exclaim something about wanting to eat [them up], and taking that impulse to the next step for effect,” Aragón explained. “I do not think people are actually wishing that this is a new source of protein.”

Prior to the film's release, social media was divided on whether or not porgs should be eaten, with even the cast and crew sharing their reactions to the notion in multiple interviews.

Once the film hit theaters, audiences saw that Chewbacca went as far as killing and cooking a porg, yet when the time came to sink his teeth into one, the massive bulging eyes of a still-living critter caused a change of heart.

Many audiences assumed that porgs were created merely as a marketing strategy, tapping into the feelings people had when they saw Return of the Jedi and its Ewoks. The designer of the porgs, on the other hand, revealed they were created for a much more practical reason.

“(We) had gone to shoot this sequence on Skellig Michael, which is the real island location that stands in for Ahch-To, and that island is covered in puffins," designer Jake Lunt Davies told StarWars.com. “It’s a wildlife preserve and everywhere you look there are hundreds of birds dotted around the landscape."

The abundance of the birds caused the production team to improvise.

“You physically can’t get rid of them, and digitally removing them is an issue and a lot of work, so let’s just roll with it, play with it," Davies pointed out. "And so I think [writer/director Rian Johnson] thought, Well, that’s great, let’s have our own indigenous species.'"

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Fans can see porgs for themselves in The Last Jedi, in theaters now.

[H/T The Verge]