The sizzle reel that dropped on Friday during the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story panel at Star Wars Celebration was phenomenal for a number of reasons; it gave us a look at the characters, showed us how intense and full of reality the filming techniques were, and it set the tone for the WWII-esque spy mission to come. But it also showed us a creature we’d not seen before, a cackling gunner on a helicopter-like ship. At Saturday’s “Creatures, Droids, and Aliens of The Force Awakens” panel, we got to see the “Space Monkey” up close and personal.
While most of the panel, moderated by the delightful Warwick Davis, was discussing the process of creating the movie’s many critters and robots with Neal Scanlan’s crew, the final few minutes was an unveiling of some of The Force Awakens‘ aliens, only to be treated to the Rogue One gunner in living form, being performed by an actual performer. From the look of him and the way he’s acting, the Space Monkey–what the team have dubbed him, though that can’t possibly be the real name–is a very obnoxious jerk, striding around the stage raising his arms in triumph and later tossing a Wicket plush toy at Davis, then laughing about it.
So there’s a bit of a scoop for you: the Space Monkey is a dick. It would stand to reason that such a character would be a Rebel, so at least he’s on the side of the good guys, but we certainly wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark cantina. The design looks like an aged Planet of the Apes ape, and he’s clearly meant to evoke images of helicopter gunners in Vietnam War movies, notably–to me–Full Metal Jacket.
But what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on Star Wars‘ newest creature in the comments below!
Images: Lucasfilm/Kyle Anderson
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist and will be at Star Wars Celebration all weekend long!Follow him on Twitter!