It was announced on Tuesday that the classic ’80s animated series She-Ra: Princess of Power would be getting an animated reboot from DreamWorks Animation set to air on Netflix in 2018, with none other than Lumberjanes creator Noelle Stevenson as the showrunner. This is exciting news for those of us who grew up with the classic cartoon and have waited for it to come back in some form for years.
She-Ra was originally a toy and cartoon spin-off of the insanely popular He-Man and the Masters of the Universe brand. The premise was that She-Ra was really Princess Adora, He-Man’s long lost twin sister, who was stolen as a baby and taken to the planet Etheria. There, she eventually grew up to become the hero of the Great Rebellion, fighting against the Evil Horde, a tyrannical galactic force that had taken over the planet. In an era where female characters were underwritten or just tokens, She-Ra was a breath of fresh air.We expect the new series to have modern updates, but some core She-Ra things need to be in this new version. The last thing anyone wants is something unrecognizable made out of this property, like that Jem and the Holograms movie. Here are some classic elements the new series should include and one it should not:
Keep The Cast Female/Male Ratio The Same
In the original She-Ra: Princess of Power animated series, there were essentially eight main members of She-Ra’s Great Rebellion and only one of them was a dude, the archer named Bow. There are seriously enough major pop culture groupings comprised of mostly men and one woman–The Avengers original line-up, the Justice League, the Fantastic Four–so let She-Ra’s group be one where ladies rule the day.
Let The New Show Continue To Be A Feminine Star Wars
She-Ra’s parent show, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, was a mix of sword and sorcery and classic sci-fi. And while She-Ra was that too, it was even more heavily influenced by Star Wars. How much so? Let us count the ways: the Evil Horde ruled Etheria with an iron fist, led by Hordak and his identically armored Horde Troopers. Hordak takes orders from the mysterious Horde Prime, who mostly appears to him in hologram form. So just in this example, the Evil Horde is the Empire, Horde Troopers are stormtroopers, Hordak is Darth Vader, and Horde Prime is the Emperor.
And the similarities don’t end there. Princess Adora, She-Ra’s alter ego, leads the Great Rebellion against the Horde. Obviously, Princess Adora stands in for Princess Leia, and the Great Rebellion is the Rebel Alliance. She-Ra even has a similarly powered twin brother from whom she was separated at birth, just like Luke and Leia. She-Ra is Star Wars from a female perspective and with more multi-colored flying horses and crystal castles. Being a feminine version of Star Wars made the original kind of awesome, and I hope the new series follows suit.
Don’t Overuse He-Man
Yes, She-Ra should still have a famous brother, but like how the live-action Supergirl series on The CW keeps Superman appearances to a minimum, She-Ra doesn’t need to have He-Man showing up every other week to bolster her ratings. She-Ra is just as big a name as He-Man, she doesn’t have to use him as a crutch in 2018. It would be weird if he’s never mentioned or if he never appears, but for the most part, He-Man should stay on his home planet of Eternia. She-Ra is fine without him.
Don’t “Butch It Up”
One of the great things about the original She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon is how unapologetically girly it is. Sure, She and her rebel friends fought the forces of the Evil Horde week after week, but they did so while wearing lots of pastels, encrusted jewels, and sporting names like “Perfuma” and “Princess Glimmer.” It showed you don’t have to be a Ripley from Aliens or Sarah Connor from Terminator type to be strong and kick lots of ass. If they want to play up how the Evil Horde represents toxic masculinity trying to destroy a beautiful, matriarchal planet, well…that would be very representative of the current times, wouldn’t it?
Ditch The Annoying Sidekicks
The annoying, cutesy sidekick was a staple of almost all ’80s cartoons. He-Man had Orko, the Thundercats had Snarf, and She-Ra had Kowl, a weird flying koala bear/owl. In the grand scheme of things, Kowl wasn’t that bad, especially compared to other animated shows of the day. But the need for an annoying sidekick no longer exists. Let She-Ra just talk to her flying horse, Swift Wind.
Keep The Classic Theme Music
While it probably needs to be reworked a little for the current era, I vote we keep a version of She-Ra’s theme music. The 2002 He-Man reboot changed the awesome music from the Filmation version, and though in many ways the new show was superior, they kind of lost me with the theme change. So for the honor of Grayskull, please let us hear something that evokes the old school theme while the opening credits roll.
Make It Slightly More Complex
Netflix has handled series like Voltron and Trollhunters in such a way that adults can enjoy them as much as kids, without making them too violent or excessively “grown up.” She-Ra should follow this pattern. Make it something that adults who grew up with the original and their kids can enjoy together.
What do you want to see in the new She-Ra series? Let us know below in the comments.
Catch up on more animated news!
- MTV’s Liquid Television archive is available online for free.
- Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors animation franchise is spotlighting diverse characters.
- The Simpsons’ home re-imagined in different styles.