'Last Jedi' director says porgs are a 'nightmare' to work with

Such a diva.
Such a diva.
Image: lucasfilm

It isn't just you. The internet has gone even more crazy than normal for porgs, those cute puffin-like creatures we've seen for two seconds, max, in The Last Jedi trailers.?

Most of that is chartph.coming from Twitter, where porgs were trending Tuesday thanks in part to the addition of porg emoji to porg hashtags. And Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has been stoking the flames by using a hashtag beloved by fans, #porgnation. ?

As part of a social media Q&A offensive, Johnson also had this to say about his feathered friends: they were harder to direct than Chewbacca.

"Don't believe any of their press, they are an absolute nightmare," Johnson said with a straight face. It's possible that he wasn't entirely joking.?

We know that many of the porgs seen on Luke Skywalker's ocean planet of Ahch-to were actual practical effects — animatronics rather than CGI. And Star Wars filmmakers have a long history of frustrating battles with practical effects that audiences deemed cute.

R2-D2 was the first and finest example of this phenomenon; in the original Star Wars, only clever editing prevented audiences from seeing that the Artoo unit was heading for a clash with a nearby wall in almost every shot.?

The practical effect problems were worse for director Irvin Kershner on The Empire Strikes Back. Not only did he have the continuing Artoo nightmare to deal with, but also Frank Oz's Yoda puppet — which was so problematic that the Lucasfilm team had originally suggested putting a monkey in a suit instead. (The difficulties with a lifelike Yoda were one reason Kershner's shoot overran by nearly a month, plunging Lucasfilm into financial crisis.)?

So were the practical porgs as much of a nightmare to direct as Artoo and Yoda? Lucasfilm isn't revealing anything in the way of behind-the-scenes stories just yet, but we may learn more once The Last Jedi is released on December 15 — the same date audiences will discover whether or not Chewie was frustrated enough by the flightless creatures to snack on them.?