The final season of Star Wars Rebels has everything a Star Wars fan would want: Mandalorians, Thrawn, references to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and a closer look at the Force.
One of the ways we explored the Force was through Loth-wolves.
“That’s one of the great questions: What are these wolves all about?” Executive producer Dave Filoni told EW back in September. “I like wolves, I’m interested in them as an endangered species, and they have a dual nature. Some people see them as a guide, and some see them as a predator and destroyer. I find that to be true of the Force.”
Wolves also play a part in Princess Mononoke, a 1997 Japanese anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. Interestingly, the same film provided inspiration in the design of Ahsoka Tano as well as the design of the Loth-wolves.
To help celebrate the fourth and final season of Rebels, artist Michael Pasquale took the Japanese theatrical poster of Princess Mononoke and gave it the Star Wars touch by incorporating Ezra Bridger into the mix.
“My immediate reaction when first seeing the wolves in the trailers was definitely something cosmic and spiritual,” he told TWG. “Ezra’s connection to creatures has always helped them get out of tight situations, so like the Loth-cat, I assumed the wolf would do the same but on a grander scale. And after watching the last few episodes, they’ve certainly done that, but it also seems like there is more at stake. They’re strong with the Force and seem to know about Ezra and Kanan and maybe about the entire Rebellion. They haven’t appeared in over 100 years, which makes me believe it is a desperate time for the planet to send these protectors out for help.”
He added, “I don’t see them as someone we’ve already met, but more of an extension of the planet itself and what could possibly be some foreshadowing of events yet to come. Sadly, their focus on Kanan has me worried for him, and their paths connecting once again to Lothal is no coincidence. From the very first time seeing the wolves, their massive appearance, their connection to the planet and the Force, even the way the wolf talks, of course reminds me of many aspects of the film Princess Mononoke. Hard to not see the inspiration there, and hard to not be inspired to create this piece as well.”
The mid-season finale of Star Wars Rebels will air tonight, November 13, at 9PM ET/PT, and it will return for the second half of the final season in early 2018.
Princess Mononoke is available on DVD and Blu-ray in a variety of places, including Amazon.
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