In this article:
- She-Ra: Princess of Power was an 80s cartoon about She-Ra, He-Man’s sister, that was meant to appeal to young girls who enjoyed the Masters of the Universe franchise.
- Netflix made a reboot of the show in 2018, featuring a drastically different (read: more diverse) cast of She-Ra characters.
- Particularly controversial was the character design for Adora, who later goes on to become She-Ra, which changed her body type.
- Despite the initial backlash, the She-Ra: Princess of Power reboot quickly gained fans due to its fantastic writing that gave all of the characters a deeper story.
- While the original She-Ra show was great for its time, the new She-Ra is proof that sometimes a reboot can do it better.
She-Ra: Princess of Power was made for the same reason most 80s cartoons were made: to sell toys.
In the case of our beloved sword-swinging princess, she was created to appeal to girls who were showing up at stores to buy He-Man toys. Here’s the thing about making shows for selling toys, though: The characters end up having the same body types to save on manufacturing costs.
Hence, all of the original She-Ra characters had the same classic comics look that was iconic for its time but also, admittedly, very same-same.
Decades later, streaming giant Netflix announced a new original series that would reboot She-Ra: Princess of Power into She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. When the show was released, it became clear that each character was distinctly different from the other, including their counterparts in the original series.
While the new art style received some backlash — mostly from fans of the original She-Ra — the reboot later became well-loved among audiences. That’s all thanks to the writing that made these She-Ra characters feel human and relatable to a wider audience.
The 9 She-Ra Characters That the Reboot Did Better
There wouldn’t be any She-Ra characters without the She-Ra herself. Like the original, Adora starts out as a Force Captain for the Horde.
Unlike the original She-Ra, though, she isn’t secretly He-Man’s sister and she isn’t magically hypnotized into serving the Horde only to break free from the spell when she realizes she has a family.
There’s a lot more to unpack with the new Adora. For one, what kept her serving the Horde wasn’t a spell but years of emotional abuse that trained her into thinking that she’s only worthy if she’s Shadow Weaver’s golden child.
This makes her decision to leave the Horde even more impactful because she chooses to fight for the people of Etheria as a whole when she realizes that the Horde is an invading army that seeks to subjugate them.
New Adora isn’t perfect, though. While she’s confident, she isn’t as confident as the original She-Ra for one key reason: She-Ra and the Princesses of power is a coming-of-age story and for Adora, her development lies in figuring out who she is outside of being a Force Captain and She-Ra as well as how to break the cycle of abuse.
The original Catra was more or less your typical catty (literally) female villain. New Catra has a laundry list of issues that couldn’t be outclassed even if you combined all of the problems other She-Ra characters on this list have.
Just like the older version of this She-Ra character, Catra is unapologetically evil and cut-throat. The reboot depicts Catra as both a victim and perpetrator of abuse.
She cares about Adora and wants the recognition that the Force Captain gets from Shadow Weaver, but she also despises her for it. Since the two grow up together, their rivalry in the later episodes of the show is a lot more personal than the conflict between the original Catra and Adora.
There’s not a lot going on with the original Entrapta. In She-Ra: Princess of Power, she was just the Horde’s engineer/technician with prehensile hair.
With the new Entrapta, not only do we get to learn where she comes from and what her life was like as the princess of Dryl, but we’re also treated to one of the best representations of a neurodivergent character in a cartoon.
Entrapta is extremely friendly but comes off as odd and socially awkward. She’s aware that she isn’t behaving “normally” but she doesn’t know how to deal with that so she turns to her machines, the only thing she’s really interested in.
But her gift for engineering eventually connects her with people who appreciate her work and appreciate her.
And no, Entrapta isn’t just an autism-coded character. The show’s creators have said that they wrote Entrapta that way on purpose.
Showrunner ND Stevenson shared crew members who were on the spectrum were involved with making the new Entrapta which explains why the show doesn’t fall into tropes like giving Entrapta a “keeper” nor does it deprive her of agency.
Scorpia is one of the She-Ra characters who changed the most in the reboot. The original Scorpia was a queen who aligned herself with the Horde and owned slaves in the Crimson Waste.
The reboot ditched this by making Scorpia a kidnapped princess raised to believe that her parents willingly joined the Horde.
But where she really shines is how feminine she is. One of the main complaints against the reboot was that the characters weren’t “feminine” which mostly meant they weren’t traditionally sexy women.
Scorpia doesn’t look feminine, but she’s the most traditionally feminine character on the show in terms of her personality. She’s intensely maternal, very squeamish, and enjoys feminine hobbies and interests.
And that’s rare in a female character — even though male gentle giant types are fairly common — whose design screams brutish.
Hordak’s design in both the new and old She-Ra are great, but the reboot turns Hordak into more than just a one-dimensional antagonist. Over the course of a few seasons, we come to see Hordak as someone who isn’t just a villain but as somebody who was literally created to be that way.
Does this excuse the fact that he’s hurt people? No. But it does add depth to his character by giving him a very human motivation.
This isn’t to say that the old She-Ra didn’t try to make him relatable. Old Hordak ends up in Etheria after being betrayed by Skeletor, his former mentor and He-Man’s nemesis. The new show amps up the drama by making Hordak the rejected clone of Horde Prime.
The reboot’s Hordak is a lot like Adora as the two share a crippling need to prove their worth. Hordak struggles with not being meeting Horde Prime’s criteria for perfect.
Instead of being shown as nothing more than enemies, both Adora and Hordak learn to break free from the people (and A.I) that try to define who they are.
For Hordak, that means rising above his insecurities about needing tech augmentations, like Peridot from Steven Universe, and accepting that they don’t make him “less than.”
Glimmer was one of the She-Ra characters to get relentlessly lambasted and while some concerns were valid, others were basically just complaints about her weight.
The reboot Glimmer is noticeably chunkier than her counterpart in She-Ra: Princess of Power and she’s written to be much younger too.
While Glimmer comes off as annoying in some scenes of the earlier seasons, it’s understandable because she’s literally a teenager who’s trying to grow out of her mother’s shadow and make her proud at the same time.
And maybe her original version’s shadow too because Glimmer is clearly self-conscious about not being as “elegant” and queen-like as her mother.
Glimmer eventually grows to become queen in her own right and into being her own person, including the responsibilities that come with that.
7. Double Trouble
Most of the She-Ra characters in the reboot stick fairly close to their original iterations or are at least heavily inspired by them, but Double Trouble couldn’t be more different from their She-Ra: Princess of Power self.
A major difference between them is that they’ve never appeared in the original She-Ra cartoon and were only included in the marketing for the Princess of Power toy line. Another difference is that they were once Glimmer’s cousin.
Since the original She-Ra never actually builds on this, the She-Ra reboot’s Double Trouble is a mysterious double agent who shows up at the Horde base to offer their services to Catra. The O.G. Double Trouble is a double agent, too, but they seemed more like a Mystique-ish type than the androgynous theatre kid we got in the reboot.
Like Entrapta, Double Trouble is morally gray and is primarily motivated by love for their craft. They use their “roles” to understand what makes people tick by physically and psychologically becoming them. The show takes this as an opportunity to hold a mirror up to Catra.
And that scene‘s vibe check is about as close as Catra gets to therapy in this show.
8. Shadow Weaver
Who could have seen it coming? Along with Hordak, Shadow Weaver is among the She-Ra characters that had the biggest plot twists in the reboot.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power expands Shadow Weaver’s story and leans heavily into the implied drama of the Masters of the Universe lore about her that said she was once a mage known as Light Spinner who left the Kingdom of Mystacor to join Hordak in exchange for power.
The reboot makes her motivations a little more unclear by showing that she has a power-hungry personality while also depicting her as someone who’s willing to make hard, and morally questionable, decisions to protect what she cares about.
Though it’s clear that she’ll do anything for power and that she abused both Catra and Adora, we get the impression that Shadow Weaver did care about them both in her own twisted way, seeing them as her daughters.
Mara gets the most drastic update of all the She-Ra characters if she can even be counted as one.
Mara doesn’t appear in She-Ra: Princess of Power because she’s actually part of The New Adventures of He-Man where she’s the assistant of Master Sebrian before becoming the Queen of the Mytes.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power takes her name and face and turns her into She-Ra. Through her, we find out that She-Ra isn’t a princess but is a First Ones superweapon intended to destroy the forces of Horde Prime.
She gives Adora, the current She-Ra, someone to relate to in the process of discovering what Light Hope really is and the truth about the power of She-Ra: That the She-Ras are merely told that the Sword of Protection is the source of their power to keep them under Light Hope’s control.
TBH, Most of the She-Ra Characters Are Better Written In the Reboot
While the original She-Ra: Princess of Power was great for its time and is still fun to watch today, the new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was created free from the constraints that the original series had.
It builds heavily on the foundation left by one of the few superhero shows marketed to girls in the 80s. For all their differences, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power did exactly what the original did: Relate to a wider audience.
But man are these new She-Ra characters darker than their original counterparts.