Vulptex: How Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi's chandelier-inspired crystal foxes were made

They're set to play an important part in the film's plot

Christopher Hooton
Thursday 23 November 2017 10:20
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One of the most intriguing new animals (porgs be damned) glimpsed in the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer was the crystalline fox seen running across a barren, icy land.

It is, in fact, called a vulptex (plural: vulptices), an inhabitant of the mineral-rich, former Rebel Alliance hideout world of Crait where it darts across the salt flats and burrows into crevasses.

Since the events of the original trilogy, vulptices have come to roam free on Crait, something that is set to be a breathtaking sight in The Last Jedi.

"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," Neal Scanlan, head of Star Wars' practical effects creature shop, told EW. "The designers took inspiration from “crystal glass chandeliers and the sort of luminosity and elements of refraction" they create.

The first experiments in creating the animal involved strapping a dog with clear drinking straws, but ultimately 25,000 crystals would be used to bring them to life.

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In a making-of video Lucasfilm released, Scanlan explains: "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 vulptices look sensational, they're set to play an important part in the film's plot.

"They live within the burrows and within the tunnels beneath the planet," Scanlan added to EW. "So there is a time where their ability to shine within the darkness, should provide a guiding light to our heroes."

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in cinemas 15 December, 2017.

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