The latest trailer for Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi dropped last night, and there has been plenty to process. Some folks are talking about the Porgs screeching, others about Kylo Ren and Leia, and still others about Finn vs Phasma. Me? I want to talk about the newest creature to enter the Star Wars Universe: these snow crystal wolf-fox-dog-lynx thing-a-mabobbers (see above).
They’re so hot that they don’t even have a name yet, but they look aweeeeee-some, and what else do you really need to know anyway? Plenty actually, like what is their purpose? Are they important to the overall story? Are they simple animals, or are they sentient?
Alas, mysteries abound. And even when asked by a fan on twitter if these creatures are feline or canine, director Rian Johnson only responded:
So it is locked in as a crystalline creature, which is... well, it's Johnson being evasive but truthful. Looking at it, though, it’s not really a wolf, it’s not really a fox, and it’s definitely not a dog. But it’s got a fur coat made of crystals, and that goes all the way up to its tall-tall ears. We don’t have a lot to go on, like, we have next to nothing.
One early theory to make the internet rounds is that it is tied to these giant wolves introduced in the trailer for the fourth and final season of Star Wars: Rebels. In it, giant wolves are seen being ridden, although we don’t have a vehicle, human, or even a recognizable landmark to compare the scale of these creatures.
Dave Filoni, who loves wolves, is the executive producer on the animated Rebels series, which takes place in a time period that is 14 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and five years before Episode IV: A New Hope. In that series, Filoni hinted that Ahsoka Tano would appear in the final season of Rebels (more on that at the bottom of this article), and many made the leap that it would be in the form of the giant wolves, since she didn’t appear in the trailer for Season 4. Those making that giant leap figured they’d ask Johnson if Filoni is involved with these crystal creatures.
That doesn't really give us much more to go on other than to know that Filoni approves, but that could mean anything from Johnson using something from Rebels (wouldn't be the first time we would see Rebels Easter eggs) to this being just another reach by fans. I don't think they resemble each other at all, and not knowing the scale of these crystalline creatures gives us no clue to their purpose in the film.
Next we can go one step further and at least establish where these creatures live. We know of two locations confirmed: Ahch-To, the island where Luke and Rey start the movie, and the mining planet of Crait. There could be other locations that we’ll find out about, but for now, let's make the assumption that these creatures inhabit Crait, since what this particular beast is standing on looks like snow or salt.
The first time we saw a surface like this was in The Last Jedi’s teaser trailer, which gave us our initial glimpse of Crait, and how the red mineral base lies beneath the surface. In the latest trailer, the mountain range, which houses some kind of base, looks consistent with the rocky mountain ranges that lie in the background of the scenes in the early teasers, where several ships drag the surface and create red dusty trails of soil. And we know that Crait once hosted a Rebel Alliance outpost against the Galactic Empire. So if anyone knows about Crait and these creatures, it's probably Leia Organa, who helped set up the outpost as a Rebel General.
The other mention of crystals in the saga are the kyber crystals used by both the Jedi and Sith to power light sabers. Again, Star Wars: Rebels goes deeper behind kyber crystals as the primary terrain of a planet called Galzez, comprised of these mountain ranges and orange crystals. There’s been no mention of Galzez or orange crystals or even kyber crystals in The Last Jedi trailers, but we’re just trying to see if there’s any mention of crystals that could be connected to these animals.
In the old extended Star Wars universe and video games, there are multiple references to Kaiburr crystals, or ancient Force relics from the planet Circarpous V or Mimban, which had healing abilities, could project Force lightning, and energize a tired being. Unfortunately, there are no mentions of Crait in these stories. And since The Force Awakens, all of the other extended universe canon has been for the most part, scrapped.
So why could this be the next craze? If the animals are instrumental in harnessing something tangible or related to furthering the plot, like for example, that they’re made of a type of kyber crystal, then they suddenly become very interesting. As opposed to the Porgs, which may just be trying to capitalize on the merchandising of something cute, these crystaline creatures could serve a real purpose and add to mythology of the Force, which this film promises to do with Rey's training.
One thing is clear: These crystalline creatures are running from something or someone. What and who will remain a mystery that should hold until Dec. 15, when The Last Jedi comes out, unless more information comes out before then.
What do you think of these new crystal creatures? Are they better than the Porgs? Share your thoughts below.