Spoiler alert: This post contains light spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
For months now, it’s been impossible to open Twitter or turn on the TV without running into a porg.
You know exactly what we’re talking about, even if you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet. They’re those adorable aquatic bird aliens that look kind of like puffins crossed with penguins.
They won over the fandom the moment we saw them. With those enormous eyes, that pug nose, and that alarmed squawk, they were impossible to resist.
Disney knew it, too. Porgs were plastered all over the marketing and the merchandising. We ate it all up and demanded more. Each new sliver of porg footage became a headline; each new toy or mug or pajama or blanket landed on a holiday gift guide. Porg content begat more porg content, and on and on until it seemed to be all anyone could talk about anymore.
Which is why it’s kind of a letdown to realize how little porgs are actually in the movie. And, honestly, kind of a relief.
It’s not like porgs are hard to come by in The Last Jedi. The first ones appear just a few minutes into the movie, eliciting giggles and awws from the audience. You can peep them in the background of many of the Ahch-To scenes, and sometimes you can hear them even if you can’t see them. They’re all over the Millennium Falcon, to Chewie’s enduring irritation.
But The Last Jedi treats them more like a garnish or a condiment than a meal (with apologies to anyone who hates hearing porgs likened to food). They do get the spotlight a couple of times, and we’re never sorry when they do. For the most part, though, they enhance scenes rather than steal them.
Nothing they do is even plot-essential. Anyone who feared porgs would be the new Ewoks can rest assured they’re not. They’re there if you’d like to admire them, but easy enough to ignore if you don’t. Or maybe you’ll think you dislike them, but realize over the course the movie that you don’t. I heard more than one porg skeptic change their tune after the film.
That’s as it should be. The porgs are so endearing that it must’ve been tempting for The Last Jedi team to overload on them – and there’s no faster way to take something from lovable to hatable than by giving us way too much of it.
As it stands, these creatures are in the movie enough that anyone who bought a porg t-shirt or stuffed animal won’t feel cheated. (If porgs aren’t the new Ewoks, nor are they the new Constable Zuvio.) But you probably won’t walk out feeling like you got your porg fix. You’ll probably leave hoping to see more of these little guys in Episode IX, whatever it ends up being called.
And that’s the genius of it. Whether it’s in our galaxy or theirs, the principle remains the same: Always leave ’em wanting more.