She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is chock-full of fun characters that also offer deeper commentary about how viewers see others and themselves. It is not a show that relies on stereotypes to make stories work. Adora, the hero of Etheria, isn't a badass stereotype; she struggles in Season 2 with how to be a hero. Another fascinating character who isn't bound by any stereotypes is Entrapta, the princess of science now aligned with the Horde.
CBR spoke with She-Ra showrunner Noelle Stevenson about Entrapta’s and Adora’s headspaces in the second season, as well that hilarious Dungeons & Dragons-inspired episode.
CBR: Entrapta seems to be an important character, not just because whatever side she’s on has better technology, but also because you can’t pin her as good or bad, and she’s so likable despite being socially awkward. Can you talk about how you navigated not making Entrapta a geek or a villain stereotype?
Noelle Stevenson: Entrapta is such a fun character, and she’s so interesting because she’s sort of the definition of chaotic neutral. She doesn’t wish harm on anyone else, but she also doesn’t have a huge self-preservation instinct, and that also extends to everyone around her. … Part of that is just how she kind of sees the world — she doesn’t really draw a big distinction between people and robots. She kind of sees herself as a robot. She sees robots as people. And she’s kind of right about that. Her robots developed personalities. She loves them, and they love her.
And so, I think you really do see the world through her eyes. She’s just a character who’s incredibly curious, who wants all the answers. She knows that there’s this mystery out here. ... Even with the black garnet storm that happened at the end of last season, that’s just an interesting experiment. The negative outcome is just another way to gather information for her. And that’s what makes her dangerous definitely on the side of the villains is that she’s so focused on getting those answers that it does put the other characters in danger at times.
But she’s not doing that out of any malicious intent. She just doesn’t see the world in terms of good and evil the way some of the other characters do. And she’s also doing it for her friends at this point, the same as Scorpia. She’s bonded with Scorpia and Catra and Hordak even in this season. These are the people who seem to understand her, who are interested in hearing about her theories. She feels accepted there. So you do sort of understand what she’s doing and why.
After the first season, the show has a recognizable design, and in the second season, you played around with other styles in the delightful Dungeons & Dragons battle-planning episode. Can you tell me more about the discussions that went into designing the different characters’ versions of their plan to infiltrate the fortress?
We were trying to figure out what would be fun: what would be fun to see and also what suited the characters’ personalities. So Glimmer being this sort of badass spy movie, she sees herself as this like true cool badass like leather jacket where everyone else is like, “You are the cutest sparkliest princess in the world.” But she’s like, “No, I’m gonna punch every bad guy, I’m so cool!” She’s sort of based on my very first DnD character who was a warlock and would run out of teleports at key moments all the time because I didn’t have that many spells left. So Glimmer is tiny shoutout to my very first D&D character who’s also kind of an angsty teen who is just getting the hang of her powers.
And someone like Bow who sees the world in such like a heroic and optimistic light, it really made sense for that to be our loving homage to the original, where it’s that hero, sword and sorcery like '80s Saturday morning cartoon style. It really seemed to fit how Bow would see himself and see the world. And he finally gets the chance to have a mustache, so we wanted to give him that.
All the other characters like I think Mermista is just committing to the bit. Her character is so deadpan but so weird when you dig under her surface a little bit. And Perfuma’s the type of D&D player who’s only trying to use her spells in really creative ways to the point where like she’d argue with the DM about it... We just had a lot of fun with it.
In the second season, Adora’s anxiety over being perfect kind of boils over. Why did you choose to make this struggle a part of Adora’s arc?
Adora’s core flaw is that she is, especially after the last season, she is she wants someone to tell her how to be good. She’s had this huge crisis of faith in Season 1 where she thought she was on the side of good, [and] she discovers that the horde was evil. And so she set out to figure out how to be She-Ra, how to be a hero. And she immediately inherits this other legacy, this other role that she’s supposed to be this inspiring warrior. Then she realizes, as a result of her conversation with Catra in the last season, that Catra sees her as a villain in her own story. Catra blames her for everything that’s going wrong and that really shook Adora.
She has this very black and white view of the world of good and evil, but she’s also very confused. She doesn’t know how to be the hero that everyone wants her to be. People are projecting onto her all the time, and she’s just really trying to be everything for everyone. To the point where she’s tearing herself apart. Realizing that she had been hurting Catra, even though it wasn’t her intention, made her afraid. Afraid that she would be accidentally hurting other people as she goes on, afraid that maybe she’s just somebody who hurts people.
She has so much fear, I think, even just of herself. And it does it affects how she fights, it affects her powers, it affects her leadership. As Adora, she’s physically very competent. She addresses every problem by punching it and attacking it. And so this is a problem she can’t punch away.
Her arc is so much about wrestling with, honestly, her privilege — being given this role that is such an honor and does come with so much power, but it also comes with so much responsibility. Her role is to manage that responsibility when that is something that does not come naturally to her.
Available on Netflix, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power stars 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.