It wouldn't be a Star Wars movie without some cool new alien turning up. And maintaining that tradition is Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi. This time around? Majestic space race horses.
In an interview in Empire, Neal Scanlan, the Oscar-winning special effects and makeup wiz in charge of Lucasfilm's creature workshop, opened up about a new addition to the franchise -- the Fathier, Star Wars' version of a race, er, space horse.
"Fathiers have the power and majestic quality that one might find in a male lion and also beauty in their equine aspects. They’re racing creatures, with bets placed upon them, and are subjected to slightly cruel treatment," he told the magazine.
The Fathier was first revealed on Wednesday's episode of The Star Wars Show featuring an interview with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy. A regal creature, it's a far cry from the Tauntauns of The Empire Strikes Back in that these elf-like animals use their speed to great advantage and look like nothing we've seen before in the Star Wars universe (check it out at 3:13).
Per Screen Rant, they are also said to have a prominent role in Episode VIII, notably aiding Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico's (Kelly Marie Tran) flight from local law enforcement in the casino city Canto Bight -- that's according to some leaked images from the set. And while that scene certainly features a computerized Fathier, Scanlan's crew went to great lengths to make it as real as possible for the actors during filming.
"We knew any version of those in a wide shot would be CG, but we produced a real-scale practical version for the first encounter with a Fathier, so it was able to look over the stable door and Finn could touch and act with it," he added. "They’re amazing creatures."
Fans will finally get to see the Fathiers in action when The Last Jedi hits theaters worldwide on Dec. 15.