Will crystal foxes, one of The Last Jedi’s most mysterious new creature additions, end up stealing the cute crown from porgs — the Star Wars universe’s latest and greatest paragon of just plain adorable? Less than a month ahead of Episode VIII’s release, more details are starting to emerge about the shimmery little beings...and it looks like they’re intended to serve as more than mere eye candy.
First off, don’t call it a crystal fox — at least, not for your Star Wars bona fides test. The biologically appropriate name, according to a new update from Entertainment Weekly, is vulptex (or vulptexes, where they’re in a group). In Star Wars lore, It's meant to be a play on "vulpes," the Latin word for “fox."
Special effects artist and creature designer Neal Scanlan told EW his team designed the vulptexes with an eye toward the role they may end up playing as the Rebellion’s united ally in a moment of need.
According to Scanlan, vulptexes “live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet” of Crait, the remote outpost formerly used by the Rebel Alliance during its years of escalating conflict with the Empire. Left to nature, the beings have slowly evolved and adapted to their unique habitat, growing into their very fur the salty crystalline substance that covers their host planet.
“[T]here is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness…should provide a guiding light to our heroes,” Scalan said, hinting that the crystal foxes — er, vulptexes, while perhaps not capable of communicating on a human wavelength, may yet establish an intuitively benevolent relationship with the good guys.
The Last Jedi looks set to introduce us to the vulptexes by way of a return visit from Resistance forces, who, under Leia’s guidance, may dash back to the long-abandoned Rebel hideout in order to find a refuge from the First Order’s pursuit. From the looks of things in the trailer, it appears the Resistance doesn’t stay hidden for long.
Which new addition to the Star Wars creature canon are you rooting for? Argue it out in the comments, and remember — there's no wrong answer!
The Last Jedi opens in theaters December 15.