On the surface, Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has the same premise as the She-Ra: Princess of Power show from the '80s. A young woman named Adora turns into She-Ra thanks to a magical sword and then fights with the rebellion against the evil Lord Hordak. But while a lot of the character names from the original show have crossed over, showrunner Noelle Stevenson has ushered in a new age of She-Ra, one that children and adults can appreciate.
The emphasis on making the title of the new show about princesses and not just one princess is deliberate. The creative minds behind She-Ra and the Princesses of Power have assembled a team of strong brave girls with different personalities, body types and relationships to others. Because of the strength of the writing, everything about the show seems unforced, and viewers of all ages can take comfort in that.
Adora and She-Ra
Adora grows up believing that princesses are evil, but when she leaves the Fright Zone for the first time, she learns her lifelong enemies are the heroes after all. She witnesses the devastation the Horde causes on civilian populations, and it shocks her. Adora changes her long-held beliefs based on what she experiences, thereby teaching kids to be flexible and open-minded when they go out and experience the world. Not everything we learn at home reflects the truth of what’s happening outside of our comfort zone.
When Adora turns into She-Ra, her body changes. She grows to somewhere around 8 feet tall, and her muscle mass increases. Girls still get teased when they’re tall in their childhoods, but the other characters are in awe of She-Ra’s height. We see She-Ra as strength, pure and simple, with her defined arms and athletic legs. She can lift wagons over her head! The She-Ra redesign, for all the characters, focuses on power. Unlike the original She-Ra show, none of the characters wear clothes that are unnecessarily revealing.
Catra + Adora = Catdora
Adora’s best friend growing up is Catra, a Horde soldier with a wild streak. Adora and Catra have that playful rapport you only get when you’ve been best friends for a long time. These two have quickly become a fan-favorite pairing, as there are hints of an underlying romantic tension between them, especially in the Princess Ball scenes.
The Princess Ball is a very formal affair that all the princesses, regardless of affiliation in the war, are invited to. Catra is the plus one of Princess Scorpia, whose family has aligned themselves with the Horde. She wears a maroon suit and dances with Adora, dipping her while teasing that something is about to go down.
It’s a scene we’ve seen in movies like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They’re clearly about to fight, but there is an electric current of chemistry. We just don’t know what kind, yet, and that’s fine. The point is there’s potential for it, and it’s in a children’s show. Normalizing queer relationships means representing them in our media for our children to see growing up.