Neal Scanlan on the Creation of Star Wars 8’s Vulptex
With the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi just over two weeks away (depending on where you are), there’s been a lot of questions floating around such as who is Snoke? Is Luke Skywalker now a grey Jedi? Will Rey turn to the dark side? Will Kylo Ren turn to the light? What will become of Princess Leia and so on. These are all valid questions that I’m sure every Star Wars fan on the planet right now wants answered. Maybe less importantly, but intriguing none the less is: what are the crystalline foxes and what part do they play in the film?
These fascinating creatures now know officially as vulptex .or plural: vulptices, are native to the crystalline planet of Crait, a former Rebel Alliance base. It’s interesting to see them running to the base and presumably away from some First Order walkers in some of the recent trailers. it’s not clear yet if they are doing this because they are familiar with the base and it’s inhabitants in some way, or it’s just a nearby safe place for them to hide in. We shall see in the movie.
There is a little official information about them from an interview Neal Scanlan, head of the Star Wars practical effects creature shop gave to Entertainment Weekly last week; “The idea is that these wonderful sort of feral creatures had lived on this planet and had consumed the planet’s surface and as such had become crystalline. The designers took inspiration from crystal glass chandeliers and the sort of luminosity and elements of refraction they create”.
In a making-of video Lucasfilm released (see above), Scanlan goes on to say: “We’ll do a combination of a hand puppet, animatronics in the face and then we’ll make a perfect version for the CGI team who’ll be able to scan it and bring her to life in any way that Rian [Johnson, the director] wants.”
Not only do the they look fantastic, but Judging by the next statement, the vulptices have an important role to play in The Last Jedi and aren’t just background filler; “They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet, so there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness should provide a guiding light to our heroes.”
From what we’ve all seen so far, I’m really looking forward to seeing these creatures in action, especially now knowing they have a part to play in the movie’s story.
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