The final season of Star Wars Rebels has prominently featured the mysterious, Force-sensitive creatures of Lothal, and based on the latest trailer it's all building to a head.
Filoni cited the Hayao Miyazaki classic Princess Mononoke and the story Never Cry Wolf as inspirations for the creatures, and admitted he has a personal reason for including them so prominently.
"One of my purposes was having wolves as the avatar for this Force type character was to give kids another positive image of a wolf. There are so many negatives around the wolf," said Filoni. "So this is just another positive, I hope, representation of the animal while still respecting that there is a duality there, as all things in nature have."
In the mid-season finale, Kanan found himself face to face with a loth-wolf and many fans question if they were friendly in the context of the scene.
"More will be revealed about that as we go. I think the key for me with the wolves is that they are something that is to be respected, and they can be dangerous or they can be beneficial, and our heroes have to figure out what that means," Filoni said. "But I think given the power of them, as an animal and an archetype, there needs to be a feeling of respect and a feeling of thought behind them."
Ezra and Kanan's connections to the creatures goes back to their sensitivity with the Force, as the Rebels showrunner explained.
"Their own connection to the natural world is definitely driving them, but it seems like there is something more," Filoni said. "And what you’re seeing in the trailer, I like to think of as that something more, and I definitely think people will start to draw some correlations between other things we’ve seen in Rebels and what they’re seeing with this experience that Ezra has with the wolves.
"I would say the reaction of the wolves, everything they’re doing is very specific and not necessarily meant to be completely benevolent either. There is a purpose behind them and what they’re trying to represent. I always think that the purest form of the Force is nature itself giving life and destroying it, birth and death and I think that these wolves are just kind of a vessel that I’m using in a new way to communicate through this story but hopefully stay true to what the Force actually is."
Star Wars Rebels returns for its final episodes on February 24th on Disney XD.