How Netflix's She-Ra Redefines the Concept of the Princess

SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

One of the big things Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power does in moving away from its '80s source material is redefine the concept of what being a "princess" truly means. The old cartoon, as the title She-Ra: Princess of Power implied, was all about one heroine given the ultimate power to save Etheria.

However, the reboot dives deep into focusing on the princesses (plural) of the planet and how important they really are. As Season 1 ends with them temporarily defeating Catra's army, it becomes perfectly clear how executive producer Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes) and company give the station of "princess" agency like never before.

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In the penultimate episode of the season, "Light Hope," Adora enters the Crystal Castle created by the First Ones and meets the facilitator there, a holographic construct called Light Hope. If you're familiar with He-Man's lore, she's basically the Sorceress of this establishment. There, we learn that Etheria was founded by the First Ones, explorers from the depths of space (quite possibly Eternia) who ran their technology throughout this new planet.

Now, this is where the lore gets bucked, because in the old cartoon, Adora/She-Ra was given the Sword of Protection by her brother, Prince Adam/He-Man, when he came to rescue her. However, the runestone inside it was still connected to Castle Grayskull on Eternia, which meant She-Ra was meant to be that planet's savior. In the new series, we find out the First Ones gave runestones (imbued with the planet's various essences) to princesses all across Etheria, and once these runestones are in balance with each other, seeing as they control the elements, Etheria will enjoy peaceful harmony.

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This was known as the Princess Alliance, where the princesses weren't just a bunch of rulers -- they were keys to a mystical network safeguarding the planet. As for the person donning the mantle of She-Ra, well, she's meant to protect and unite all these princesses, thus keeping the integrity of the planet intact like a well-oiled machine. For thousands of years, a She-Ra has existed to do this job, but when Mara (the She-Ra before Adora) went mad and plunged Etheria into Hordak's dimension of Despondos, the network broke up and became isolated from each other.

From the dark reign that followed, we can see each princess is just as crucial to the planet as She-Ra. The titular hero may be the glue at the center, but the runestones scattered across Etheria are pieces of the planet's heart. It's an interesting and progressive angle, and one that ultimately works for the best because these princesses are no longer throwaway characters, as per the '80s. Everyone's integral, which shows in the finale when they all unite and share power to stave off Hordak's minions. We see the mystical runestone of Mystacor charged with magic again, Princess Glimmer's Bright Moon runestone powered up with the moon's energy, Princess Perfuma's Plumeria in full bloom once more, Princess Frosta's Kingdom of Snows recharged with its ice magic and, last but not least, Princess Mermista's Salineas harnessing the power of the ocean once again.

With that in mind, we're eager to see more Rebel Princesses (such as Netossa and Spinerella) join the fray next season, because She-Ra will be liberating other areas. That means we'll see more runestones, the planet getting stronger and more princesses with power.

Of course, some could give their runestones to Hordak, like Scorpia did with the Black Garnet in the Fright Zone, to derail this crusade of peace, love and unity. And with Entrapta working with them, hacking these runestones and, by extension, the planet, there could be trouble in the princess' future. But for now, the Princess Alliance is equipped to handle such issues, because they have strength in numbers, where everyone's a She-Ra in their own way.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, starring Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka, Marcus Scribner, Reshma Shetty, Lorraine Toussaint, Keston John, Lauren Ash, Christine Woods, Genesis Rodriguez, Jordan Fisher, Vella Lovell, Merit Leighton, Sandra Oh and Krystal Joy Brown, is now available on Netflix.

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