She-Ra creator shares how the show’s groundbreaking queer romance almost didn’t happen
Netflix’s She-Ra massively flipped the status quo by centring a lesbian love story on a kid’s TV series — but the show’s creator has revealed that it almost didn’t happen.
Warning: major spoilers ahead for season five of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
The Emmy-nominated reboot of the hugely-popular 1980s series made huge strides for inclusivity on television, with a fantastically diverse and gender non-conforming cast. The show’s creator Noelle Stevenson wanted to go one step further, though.
She was determined that the relationship between the two starring characters, Adora and her frenemy Catra, would be the queer romance it was destined to be.
She-Ra creator made sure Adora and Catra could only end up together.
“My big fear was that I would show my hand too early and get told very definitively that I was not allowed to do this,” she told io9.
“I sort of had a plan and it was like: If I can get them to this place where their relationship and that romance is central to the plot, and it can’t be removed, can’t be noted-out or it can’t be something that’s cut later, then they’ll have let me do it.”
Stevenson explained that the final season was always going to be about Adora and Catra’s reconciliation, but that didn’t mean they were going to become a couple.
Along with countless Catradora fanfic writers, she’d always imagined them together. So she worked to plant seeds over the course of several seasons until it reached the point where the characters’ love-hate relationship couldn’t be anything but romantic love.
Once everything was in place, she broke the news to the series executives.
“It’s very vulnerable — especially as a gay creator — to be like, ‘Here’s what I want to do. I want to take She-Ra Princess of Power, a classic iconic character, a legacy character, and give her a female love interest. And a romantic ending,'” Stevenson said.
She was afraid the studio wouldn’t let her portray a same-sex relationship in an animated TV show, risking the wrath of One Million Moms (or rather, the 4,000 or so mostly-male Twitter followers behind One Million Moms).
Although Stevenson didn’t reveal to io9 what the showrunners’ reaction was, we know that she got her wish, and so did legions of fans.
THEY’RE GAY AND HAPPY AND SO FUCKING IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER AND I-
CATRADORA CANON, LESBIANS WE STAY WINNING pic.twitter.com/dkYxmIwZs6
— ???⁷ ♡’s Pau (@notcoolhajime) May 15, 2020
She-Ra said Gay Rights pic.twitter.com/jFPlvy1NFN
— ??? ♡ (@alyciasgoId) May 15, 2020
SHE-RA SPOILERS ///
GAYS STANS HOW WE FEELING ? pic.twitter.com/YaMGpPnoGX
— Tom (@DrawsTom) May 15, 2020
— Camy?️?⁷ (@eightspringdays) May 15, 2020
The series finale was everything that it should be — heartwarming, bittersweet, and packed with packed with big queer energy. Put simply, lesbian love saves the world.
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“It’s been this secret that I’ve had to keep for years now, as everyone [was] theorising about what’s going to happen,” Stevenson said.
“And I’m like, I don’t want to ‘like’ all the fan art [because] I don’t want to tip it too early. But to finally have it be out there and for people to know what it is that we’ve been doing, it’s a big deal. It’s amazing.”