Rian Johnson Talks New Last Jedi Aliens and Snoke’s Guards

Director Rian Johnson is putting his own stamp on the universe of Star Wars in a big way with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Part of that includes brand new creatures for fans to obsess over, and the adorable Porgs have already done that months before the movie has even debuted. EW has revealed a new photo of the beasts along with details from Johnson.

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The Porgs live on the planet of Ach-To with their neighbor Luke Skywalker, and were inspired by the real-life migration of Puffins to the island of Skellig Michael, where much of the movie and the final scene of The Force Awakens, was shot. Porgs aren’t the only creatures that inhabit Ach-To though, as the matronly “fish-bird” aliens called “The Caretakers” also live there

“They’ve been there for thousands of years, and they essentially keep up the structures on the island,” Johnson says. “They’re all female, and I wanted them to feel like a remote sort of little nunnery. Neal Scanlan’s crew designed them, and costume designer Michael Kaplan made these working clothes that also reflected sort of a nun-like, spartan sort of existence.”

Johnson describes their communication as “a blubbery sort of Scottish fish talk,” and you can check out a first look at the creatures in the gallery below.

Star Wars also wouldn’t be what it is without cool-looking armor for people, and the newfound Praetorian Guard fit that bill. These red-clad warriors are a play on the Imperial Guard from Return of the Jedi, but who fans will get to see in action this time around. They also fit a similar role, standing alongside Supreme Leader Snoke as his bodyguards.

“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” Johnson tells EW. “They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”

Speaking of Snoke, the character won’t be relegated to just a hologram this time around. The mysterious character will appear in the upcoming movie right next to the other characters.

“We will see more of him, and Andy Serkis will get to do much more in this film than he did in the last one,” Johnson says. “And that guy is just a force of nature.”

Johnson also teased that fans will “learn exactly as much about Snoke” as they need to but not to expect a full Wookiepedia entry on his background and history.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in regular and IMAX theaters on December 15, 2017.