Spoilers for She-Ra & the Princesses of Power Season 1 ahead.
Have you binged watched all of Dreamworks Animation's She-Ra & the Princesses of Power on Netflix? Are you feeling that void most binge watchers encounter after watching a new television show?
Well don’t worry, Newsarama has you covered, as we talked to the executive producer and creator of the new animated show, Noelle Stevenson, to discuss all of the key moments from this season to help you get through your She-Ra withdrawal.
Newsarama: What were you most excited for fans to see with your version of She-Ra?
Noelle Stevenson: There were a couple of episodes in Season 1 that I’m really excited for fans to see that are a little bit more experimental, a little bit more of our passion projects. I’m really excited for them to see the prom episode and Episode 11. I’m also just excited for them to meet the characters. I’ve been living with them for about three years now, and they are all just so close to my heart. I just can’t wait for people to come to the show, and meet them and form their own attachments to them.
Nrama: Speaking of the Prom episode and Episode 11 – those are two of my favorites. Especially Episode 11, because you explore both Adora and Catra’s past. Can you walk us through Catra’s final decision to betray Adora?
Stevenson: That was an episode that was very personal for me. I was very passionate about that episode. Exploring the relationship between Catra and Adora is what’s interesting and strong about it, but also tragic. Where the cracks in their relationship are - even though they have this intense love for each other, they also have these inherent flaws in the dynamic, in the relationship, and just the way they were raised in the Horde. The way they’ve been trained to be.
It was inspired by the one episode from the original show in a roundabout way, the episode is called “Magicats." She-Ra and Catra fall in this crack in the earth and end up in this underground kingdom. Watching it, I’m like oh my God, they are going to have to find a way out together. They are going to have to rely on each other. They must have known each other in the Horde. So is that going to come up. Maybe Catra has all these feelings of betrayal towards She-Ra still - and it doesn’t happen at all. They go in different directions and have completely different adventures, and Catra becomes queen of the Magicats. The episode I wanted didn’t end up happening. So I guess I’m just going to have to do it then.
I love the idea of sort of isolating these two characters from their support systems and putting them in a setting where they have to rely on each other to get out, even though they still have so many conflicting feelings towards each other and seeing them work through these feelings together.
Catra, as much as she loves Adora, as much as she felt betrayed with her leaving, and as much as she’s been longing for her to come back – she also feels insecure around Adora. Adora is just this golden child, who always made her feel that she was lesser than. That’s the emotion she chooses to cling onto really tight, that’s the lesson she takes from the memories she’s seeing, and I think she just doubles down. She takes her feelings of pain, confusion, anger, and betrayal and latches onto this idea that it was Adora’s fault the whole time. That the only way for her to be happy is to get rid of Adora. It’s a little bit of a tragedy in that way, and it was one that I had a lot of fun with executing.
Nrama: Do you think fans will pick up on a romantic relationship between Catra and Adora or would you rather fans pick up on the friendship they have?
Stevenson: The characters on the show, especially in the beginning, are in a transitional period. They are on the edge of being teenagers and adults. They have to make decisions for themselves for the first time, and because of that a lot of the relationships, right off the bat, aren’t fully defined. There’s a real beauty and a real fun, for me especially, in that ambiguity where characters, because they are so young, do not understand their own feelings yet. They are still trying to figure them out, and being put into different context they come to different conclusions.
I won’t say either way for sure what I hope audiences take away from that, but I will say that there are so many places in the show where the line between romantic and friendship feelings are sort of blurred. The characters have these really powerful feelings for each other. Platonic feelings as well can be very powerful and romantic feelings can be incredibly powerful, and the characters may not know, which ones are which.
Nrama: Speaking of relationships, what was the decision of making Shadow Weaver a maternal figure?
Stevenson: Shadow Weaver is a super interesting character to me. In the original show, she did consider herself a mother to Adora specifically. I thought that was so interesting because she also just seemed like someone who was power hungry and who was sort of driven by ego. What is she getting out of this relationship with these cadets that she’s basically raising? What is feeding her ego with these kids and how does that mess them up as they go?
So I do think those maternal strings are there. It’s so unique, especially because the Horde, the way they are raised, they don’t have the concept of family structure. They don’t have the concept of relationships at all. It’s so unique for the characters because they are separated from any version of the world where they can have a healthy family, friendship relationship dynamic.
Nrama: Another relationship I thought was really fun was between Mermista and Sea Hawk. What made you decide to put these two together?
Stevenson: It just sort of happened. It felt organic and it felt like her very dry, unimpressed personality worked so well with his pathological need for people to be impressed with him. Even though they are always ragging on each other – they are a little bit of a garbage couple, but Mermista is a lot fonder of him than she lets on, and I think Sea Hawk knows that. She also keeps him humble a bit more. I think overall, they are just such a fun dynamic. They are so much fun for me to write and I love seeing how it plays on the show.
Nrama: What is Bow’s title in the show because we have a lot of princesses. Is he a prince?
Stevenson: His official title is tech master, and master archer. He’s a master of a lot of things. We refer to the group of princesses, including Swift Wind, Sea Hawk, Bow, and other non-princess characters as just the princesses in general. So I don’t think Bow minds at all as being referred to as a princess because there are a lot of princesses and they are all really cool and powerful. Sometimes we just include him in the overall plural form of princesses.
Nrama: I really love the Sailor Moon influence with She-Ra’s transformation. What was the decision behind that? Did you want the show to have a Magical Girl, anime feel to it?
Stevenson: I think it just made sense because She-Ra is a magical girl in the simplest of terms. It was bringing the classic She-Ra transformations for audiences of today. It just made sense to look at other transformation sequences that have been successful and iconic and to see what made them so exciting, fun and sparkly. Also there are just a lot of Sailor Moon fans on our crew. So I think that was just something that our board artists, who created it, were just really passionate and excited to pay homage to.