Steven Universe fans, the wait is over.
The hit Cartoon Network series returns on Thursday with back-to-back episodes for the premiere of its third season, in what the network is calling the "In Too Deep" Event. For those that have been watching the show or caught up during the hiatus, Steven and the Gems are out to destroy the Cluster from inside Earth while Yellow Diamond is now aware of Peridot's betrayal.
On the eve of Steven Universe's season premire, Newsarama talked with series creator Rebecca Sugar and writer Lamar Abrams about this first block of new episodes.
Newsarama: Rebecca, Lamar, it's been a year since we've talked and so much has happened with Peridot joining, meeting Yellow Diamond, and more of Rose and Pearl's origin. There was just a lot of revelations, do you feel relieved that a lot of that is out of the way?
Lamar Abrams: I don’t know how I feel…I feel…I don’t know if I ever feel relieved! [laughs] There’s still so much story to tell and I’m still excited for everyone to see everything.
Rebecca Sugar: I think I actually feel more pressure than ever! I loved working on the Peridot arc, it was one of my favorite stories. I want to keep building on these characters and expanding their world, and we’ve seeded so many ideas that we’re only just beginning to pay off. I’m really excited for the world to see the next run of episodes, but all the ones up to this point have a really special place in my heart. I want to make stories into the future that I feel just as strongly about.
Nrama: The Gems' relationships have changed, too. You had Garnet and Pearl at odds with one another, add in the tension with Peridot, do you think they're stronger than ever or is this where we see some of the cracks show?
Abrams: I feel like we’re always seeing cracks show here and there, and then maybe some cracks seem bigger than others, but I feel like we’re getting a better sense of what the Gems are actually like as people, and that feels really good.
Sugar: I think that working through these really difficult problems is in and of itself the strength of the gems. They always had problems and will always have problems but they don’t give up on each other. I think it’s the nature of having people coexisting who are radically different personalities. They have to be flexible and they have to communicate just like real people.
Nrama: The musical numbers have gotten stronger, I think, do you feel there's one from this last batch that is the one on a pedestal that you want to reach again?
Sugar: "Stronger Than You" was one of the most challenging songs I had to write and I made several different versions before the final one. There are several songs coming up which were just as challenging if not more, especially in a musical episode that’s coming up. I actually am the most fond of the song I wrote for the Adventure Time mini series Stakes called “Everything Stays.” Ever since then I’ve been trying to write a better song for my show [laughs].
Abrams: "Stronger Than You" was so good and so important, it’s hard to believe that we have more important moments like that coming up with music, I get excited whenever I hear a new song by Rebecca, I’m always blown away. That’s all…
Sugar: Aw shucks, Lamar!
Nrama: Will we see more of the Gem hierarchy at work in the coming year?
Sugar: You’ll be learning a bit about Gem society via our characters on Earth. For better or for worse!
Abrams: I know it seems like we’re trying to torture you with all this build-up, but we don’t do these things to upset you! [laughs] Just keep watching, and everything will be revealed!
Nrama: We've seen Greg have this relationship with Amethyst and Pearl, where does he stand with Garnet?
Sugar: Garnet is a big supporter of love and romance, so she was always on board with Greg, and was very encouraging with him in the past when he was hitting a wall in regards to Rose’s alien-ness, I think Greg doesn’t ask for much from her since she’s always been generous with her support, and he certainly hasn’t had conflict with her in the way he’s had with Amethyst and Pearl.
Abrams: They get along great! They play tennis on the weekends!
Nrama: Is it weird looking back at how much Steven as grown as a character? He still hasn't lost heart, but his world is so much more different than it was starting out.
Sugar: His world is definitely expanding, but I don’t think he’s been hit yet with the full reality of what that means. He’s been rolling with it, trying hard to understand the Gems and what they are. In the beginning he was more self-centered only because he didn’t know what was going on around him, and now he’s just drowning in everyone else’s problems. He has to grow into this huge world he’s uncovering, that’ll really be when he starts growing.
Abrams: Steven’s been focused on taking care of the people he loves, it doesn’t seem like he has focused a lot of attention on himself, but maybe when he does he’ll start growing a bit more.
Nrama: You've been renewed for your fifth season. Do you see a possible endgame soon, or do you feel as though there's plenty of time left?
Sugar: I have big plans for that season! Endgame or not I’m shooting for the moon, I’m going to write us into a serious corner!
Abrams: I have no idea…I’ll draw as long as Rebecca wants me to [laughs].