New details about the Fathiers, creatures that will debut in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, have been revealed. Though a majority of the film’s plot remains under lock and key until its premiere in December, Lucasfilm has strategically unveiled information over the course of the last several months, including the fresh locations that will be explored. One of the more noteworthy in that regard is Canto Bight, a giant casino city that serves as a playground for the galaxy’s upper class. Finn and Rose Tico’s mission for the Resistance takes them there, where they encounter the enigmatic DJ – and perhaps Maz Kanata.
Canto Bight certainly seems like a gambler’s paradise, and there’s more than just the occasional card game to place a bet on. Apparently, the city has its own race track, and this is where the new horse-like aliens come into play.
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Empire sat down with Neal Scanlan of the creature workshop, where he shed some light on the Fathiers and how they were brought to life on the big screen. Like so much of the sequel trilogy, it was a combination of CGI wizardry and practical effects:
“Fathiers have the power and majestic quality that one might find in a male lion and also beauty in their equine aspects. They’re racing creatures, with bets placed upon them, and are subjected to slightly cruel treatment. We knew any version of those in a wide shot would be CG but we produced a real-scale practical version for the first encounter with a Fathier, so it was able to look over the stable door and Finn could touch and act with it. They’re amazing creatures.”
The Fathiers obviously haven’t been as heavily marketed as the Porgs, but the studio hasn’t kept them completely hidden from the public to this point. A quick shot of one can be seen in the Last Jedi behind-the-scenes reel that was shown at the D23 Expo in July, showcasing the animatronic that was constructed for certain scenes. Some leaked images from the set showed Finn and Rose riding on the back of a Fathier, with the belief being it is part of an action sequence where they are being chased by local law enforcement. It should be interesting to see the Fathiers in motion, as they’re certainly unique in their design and have no real reference point in previous Star Wars films. Characters in the saga have ridden creatures before (most famously the tauntauns), but rarely use them to make daring escapes. Obi-Wan Kenobi was on Boga the veractyl while pursuing General Grievous during Revenge of the Sith, and hopefully whatever Rian Johnson has in store for the Fathiers is more grounded than those results.
Small teases of Canto Bight have been highlighted in some images, but Lucasfilm has largely held this section of the movie back in advertising. In both official trailers, nothing from the extravagant city was shown, with the focus being on Ahch-To and Crait. This means that whatever awaits Finn and Rose there will be a surprise for the audience, and hopefully a pleasant one. It looks like whatever happens at Canto Bight is part of the critical second act, setting the stage for what should be an explosive finale.