The library of the late Filmation has gone all over the place. Some went into the ether but Dreamworks picked up three of their last shows, He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe, She-Ra: Princess Of Power, and Bravestarr. Just as with Voltron: Legendary Defender, they’re now creating a new Netflix series, but this time they own the show. (World Events Productions still owns Voltron; Dreamworks just makes the show.) Of course Mattel still owns the intellectual property and Super 7 licensed out the action figures since Mattel stopped making them. I think DC still owns the comic rights.
While I was looking up the comic for yesterday’s Free Comic Inside I noticed a news story about a press release from Dreamworks about the new She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power, because I guess everyone gets to be a princess now. Yes, even Hordak. There’s a mental image for your nightmares, kids! I thought I would give this a going over. We have four images, which I picked up from He-Man.org, and combined them with images from the original cartoon, courtesy of the He-Man wiki. (There’s a wiki for practically everything folks. Including some topics I would prefer not to look up or be told about. Thank you for your understanding. If you don’t understand, note that I don’t usually exercise my power over the comments but that doesn’t mean I won’t if I have to.) This comes with a description of the show, so let’s start there.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the story of an orphan named Adora (Carrero), who leaves behind her former life in the evil Horde when she discovers a magic sword that transforms her into the mythical warrior princess She-Ra. Along the way, she finds a new family in the Rebellion as she unites a group of magical princesses in the ultimate fight against evil.
Why is there a group of magical princesses? In the original She-Ra is only a princess because she’s actually royalty from Eternia, kidnapped as a baby. Here she’s an orphan. I want to hear a bit more about this backstory, but this is all we get. Anyway, Glimmer was also a princess because her mother was a queen on Etheria. Every other lady warrior was not a princess but still had great powers and could fight evil as well. Now apparently girls only like heroes if they’re princesses? I feel sorry for Supergirl.
What also gets me is the list of voice actors given for the roles we know of: Adora/She-Ra, Catra, Glimmer, and Bow, the four we’ll be seeing in the upcoming images. Adora/She-Ra is voiced by Aimee Carrero, the voice of the title character of Elena Of Avalor. She at least I know is going to do a good job because she’s great on that show. Every other person is only credited for their live-action work. I’m surprised Carrero wasn’t credited for one of her live-action series. In other words I’m not convinced they’re going to be as good. There is a big difference between physical acting and just voice acting. It requires different talent ranges. One is not better than the other, just different. And we’ve seen plenty of good “regular” actors do terribly as voice actors. It’s not the same as doing ADR and frankly I’ve heard terrible ADR in the same production as decent regular acting. So thus far I’m not impressed. Let’s see what the visuals have for us, starting with the one piece of background art released in the press release.
You can click on the images for a larger view in another tab/window (depending on your browser settings). I do like this image of what I assume is the new Castle Bright Moon. I think this is the same animation team as Voltron: Legendary Defender, and while that show doesn’t hit my nostalgia button the way it has some of my colleagues who love the show I’m not so blinded as to say it’s bad. It’s actually quite beautiful. I just don’t like some of the style choices in the writing and acting mainly because I like the original too much. Of course I’ve only seen one episode and a bunch of clips since I don’t have Netflix. So the backgrounds are nice, but what about the character designs?
I see sword redesigns aren’t exclusive to He-Man’s Power Sword. I do like the version of the Sword Of Protection, mind you. While I haven’t really caught any of the other reviews, wanting the opinions to be based on my look rather than others, I have seen comments that the new design looks too “manly”. Why? Because she doesn’t have as big a chest as the original? As we’ll see she’s not an adult as She-Ra, like Prince Adam was as He-Man in his last remake. She’s like 13 or 15 at best. She darn well better not have adult She-Ra’s bra size or someone needs a visit from Chris Hansen. I’m assuming this is also why New She-Ra also gets a full collar and visible shorts under her short skirt. (I hope classic She-Ra at least have panties. To be honest I never paid attention because I was focused on the butt-kicking and boulder-tossing.) I actually like the redesign but I wonder why Adora isn’t “growing up” as She-Ra. It worked for her brother. And Mary Marvel. And Amethyst, princess of Gemworld…at least in the comic. The webseries didn’t age her on Gemworld either. Maybe it’s some new trend I don’t follow.
I should note that this new version of She-Ra is completely disconnected from any version of He-Man or Masters Of The Universe and I’m not sure that’s a positive thing. Sure it won’t matter to the new generation but fans have been disappointed by He-Man cartoons that didn’t get to She-Ra for one reason or another and now we have She-Ra without He-Man. Mattel never seemed to really connect these two series beyond one line in one commercial and the first mini-comic. The Princess Of Power line always seemed more girly, and I guess Dreamworks is going with that instead of her depiction in the Filmation series, where she was feminine but the show itself could appeal equally to girls and boys. I’m not sure the new series will do that as well. As long as it’s not Winx Club I guess. Something closer to W.I.T.C.H. perhaps?
And here’s where I start having problems with the age thing. Adora’s fine enough and the badge on her jacket is a nice touch (although it probably takes more time to work into the animation), but now Bow is the same age as she is, which he was in the original but they were both adults. And yes, Bow is black now. That doesn’t bother me as much as you’d think given my previous cries for proper adaptation. This is only the second time the toys have been made into cartoons. The old show added a mustache. And frankly there always was a lack of diversity on Etheria compared to Eternia. No, there’s no reason they’d have their own Asian people but I could see if Bow’s ancestors were from a different region of Etheria where, like Africa, there is an advantage to a darker skin color in the region’s climate, he could have darker skin.
Of course when I speak of lack of diversity I’m referring to a wider scope. Etheria never had plant people, racoon people, people made of fire, animals made of fire, various other monsters and demons, the forest never tried to eat them, no rock-based life…Etheria is rather plain compared to Eternia. I can see why Hordak left the place to Skeletor.
It’s Glimmer’s new role that bothers me. She’s an adult now, and why is she holding the Sword Of Protection? Is she now in on Adora’s identity? Is she her mentor? Is Light Hope still involved? Is she queen now instead of Angela, her mother in the original? I kind of had a crush on classic Glimmer as a kid and I’m sorry she seems completely different now. I’m not saying the character is going to be bad. I’m saying I preferred the original. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, INTERNET!
Catra’s the one who seems the most changed. Assuming this scene is before Adora leaves to fight the Horde while Catra joins it, it looks like old friends who take different paths and have to deal with fighting each other. Maybe Catra will make a heel turn later and actually join the good guys, like I think Lotor has currently in their Voltron remake. It might make sense in-story but Catra in the original was more fun villain. She kind of thought she was the best, she didn’t get along…she was like Evil-Lyn but a bit more full of herself. I can’t really judge what their relationship will be based on this one picture but I do have questions. What really gets me is the cat-like human is now more anthropomorphic. It’s an okay character design but I’m not looking at her and seeing Catra.
Overall I’m not really sure what I think. There are some good things here but also a few changes that makes me wonder if this going to be a good update or a new idea fitted with Princess Of Power dress-up (hopefully better than the time She-Ra actually did play dress-up…seriously Mattel, did you even know why girls like the He-Man cartoon?). It might be better suited for an update of Princess Guinevere And The Jewel Riders than She-Ra. That might have…wait, there’s an official YouTube channel for that show? What do you say, guys. Saturday Night Showcase? Seriously, if enough of you ask for it, I’ll do it. Back on topic: I can’t judge the quality until the show comes out and I somehow get to see it, but I don’t see this connecting with me the way the old show did. But at least She-Ra does get more than one show finally. He-Man had three.