By Samantha Puc
Ahead of premiering the full season one trailer of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (which you can see below) at New York Comic Con 2018, creator and executive producer Noelle Stevenson, Adora/She-Ra voice actor Aimee Carrero, Glimmer voice actor Karen Fukuhara, and Bow voice actor Marcus Scribner joined panel moderator Krutika Mallikarjuna at the Hammerstein Ballroom to talk about the new series, how it makes callbacks to the original, and how their approach to the series changed over the course of production.
“I could have never in a million years imagined that I’d be here,” Stevenson said at the start of the panel. “It’s blowing my mind.” She said that when she heard Dreamworks was searching for someone to pitch a reboot of She-Ra, she jumped at the opportunity.
Meanwhile, Carrero, Fukuhara and Scribner admitted that they weren’t familiar with “She-Ra” prior to auditioning. “I think we just missed the original,” Carrero said, admitting that when she read the title of the project out loud from her e-mail, her husband “was like, ‘OH MY GOD, YOU DON’T KNOW SHE-RA?’ And I was like, well now I have to audition.”
The new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power takes root in the original series, but with a more concentrated focus on She-Ra that doesn’t depend on her connection to He-Man. After clips of the show aired for the panel audience, Stevenson noted that there are tons of easter eggs for “die-hard fans” of the original show, though she and her writing team wanted to be sure that each character in the reboot is significant from the others in personality, body shape, and presentation.
“You have to take the original material and take lessons from it but … what’s been done has been done,” Stevenson said. “It has to be different, otherwise, why are we doing this?”
When the 13-episode animated show hits Netflix in November, fans will be able to watch orphan Adora as she learns that the horde she’s been raised by is actually not doing the right thing, like she thought. When she’s taken prisoner by Glimmer and Bow, “Adora starts to see the world through their eyes,” according to Stevenson, which pushes her to embrace her power as She-Ra and fight for the good guys.
Once she joins Glimmer and Bow in the rebellion against the horde, the “best friends squad” goes on a mission to recruit other princesses to the cause so that they may join together and defeat the evil guys, who are people Adora once considered her family.
“What I love about Adora is that she’s so imperfect and that’s really fun to play,” Carrero said. “I find [‘She-Ra’] to be a story of redemption —what do you do when you find you haven’t been doing the right thing?”
“It’s about the dark and the light in all of us,” Stevenson agreed, adding that one of the core elements to the series is the friendship between Adora and Catra (voiced by AJ Michalka). “When Adora left the horde, Catra was devastated.”
“I think everyone can relate to having someone … who means so, so much to you but they’re not doing the right thing,” Carrero said, remarking that one of the most painful elements of the relationship between Adora and Catra is that in the horde, they are best friends, but once Adora embraces the side of good she chooses to walk away from Catra over and over.
Meanwhile, Glimmer and Bow represent a more fun dynamic as the other core duo of the series. “Bow and Glimmer have the most fun friendship going on. … He’s her number one cheerleader and supporter,” Fukuhara said. “Through thick and thin, he’s there. … It’s always nice to have those unconditional friendships. Sometimes we do make mistakes and we don’t do the right thing and it’s always nice to have those friendships that will be there no matter what.”
“They just build each other up like Jenga blocks, you know what I mean?” Scribner added. He also noted that, since Bow is the only main male character in a show that otherwise focuses solely on princesses, “Bow is really there as a safety net.” Scribner said he supports his female companions (and is even sometimes the ‘damsel in distress,’ according to one shared clip of the show), which is a unique dynamic even in this age of more progressive and equal-opportunity storytelling.
In addition to sharing the full season one trailer, Mallikarjuna also took the opportunity to share with the panel audience that the episodes of “She-Ra” she watched have her especially excited to see the full season. In between questions for the panelists, she introduced several clips from the show that gave a full scope of what viewers can look forward to seeing.
Audience members were treated to the first four minutes of the “She-Ra” pilot, which introduces Adora and her fellow horde cadets, including Catra, fighting “vicious violent” princesses in a battle simulator of the Whispering Wood. Other clips included a brief look at the friendship between Bow and Glimmer (in which he declares, “I’m like the only one who’s not a princess!”), an emotional moment where Adora and Catra face each other from opposite sides of the war for the first time (and Adora goes through her full magical girl transformation into She-Ra), an introduction to Hordak and Shadow Weaver (“the big bads,” per Stevenson), and even a glimpse of the princess alliance working together to rescue a captured Bow.
“We need you,” Glimmer declares in one clip. “We need She-Ra.” In the trailer, Princess Mermista (voiced by Vella Lovell) apparently agrees to join the new princess alliance because, “Your friend over there can turn into like an eight-foot tall lady with a sword, and I want her on my side.”
The series looks truly epic, and Fukuhara said she hopes kids are able to connect with it in the same way she connected with “Sailor Moon” when she was growing up. “I’m excited to see younger girls grow with the show and grow a relationship with one of their favorite characters and then maybe cosplay it one day,” she said.
Other gems from the panel included Carrera revealing that in the new series, Bow has two dads and apparently, Scribner gets the chance to sing.
“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” premieres on Netflix on Nov. 16. To keep up with trailers and updates, follow the #SheRa hashtag or /dreamworksshera across social media.
Samantha Puc is an essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bitch Media, The Mary Sue, Bustle, and elsewhere. She mostly writes intersectional pop culture analysis with a particular focus on representation of LGBTQ and fat characters in fiction. Samantha is the managing editor at The Beat, as well as the co-creator and editor-in-chief of Fatventure Mag, an outdoors zine for fat creators who are into being active, but not into toxic weight-loss culture. She lives in Montana with her partner and cats.