2015 saw the release of Steven Universe, an animated show that initially aired on Cartoon Network. Its visually appealing character design, beautiful music, and sensitive writing have made Steven Universe one of Cartoon Network’s most beloved shows of the 2010s.
The show was directed by Rebecca Sugar, who was a storyboard artist and writer for Adventure Time. Since she had a bigger degree of control over the Steven Universe project, the hints (and not-so-hints) of LGBT+ themes shown in Adventure Time were completely out in the open for Steven Universe.
Among these themes is “Fusion,” the show’s mechanic for letting characters join their powers together.
Several fans have speculated as to what Fusion is meant to symbolize in the world of Steven Universe, and most seem to agree that it’s a union of gems in one physical form. Ruby and Sapphire’s Fusion, Garnet, sees Fusion as something sacred and personal. In another episode, Jasper asks Lapis Lazuli for her consent to fuse together and form Malachite.
If you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, that’s the exact same theory that many Steven Universe fans have come up with.
But if that’s what Fusion is, then does that mean Steven Universe‘s Connie and Steven…
Not really. In fact, Fusion isn’t even inherently sexual. Nor do gems have any actual gender or sex for that matter.
What Is Fusion?
Fusion is a way for gems to join together and form a new gem that combines the appearance and powers of the gems that make up the Fusion. Though the Fusion between Steven Universe‘s Connie and Steven was spontaneous, Fusion is typically done by performing a perfectly synchronized dance that lets two (or more) gems become in tune with each other.
When a dance between gems is executed perfectly, you get a Fusion. If not, the Fusion is unstable and either never forms or breaks immediately after it’s formed.
Opal, the Fusion between Pearl and Amethyst, demonstrates this for audiences very early into the first season. You can see what I mean here.
Though it admittedly has sexual undertones in some episodes, Fusion is just the love between gems made into a physical form. This means that any gem who feels secure and connected to another gem can fuse together, regardless of whether that love is familial, platonic, or romantic in nature.
The Fusion between two gems does more than give them a cool-looking new form, it actually grants gems extra powers.
In “Know Your Fusion“, the second episode of Steven Universe‘s 4th season, Sardonyx explains that every Fusion gets a new power and a new weapon. Opal’s weapon, for instance, is able to emit energy blasts, combining Pearl’s spear and Amethyst’s whip into a recurve bow.
That said, if Fusions are normally gem-to-gem combinations, then how was Steven Universe‘s Connie, a full-blooded human, able to fuse with Steven, who is part gem?
How Connie and Steven Formed a Fusion
The 9th episode of season 2, “We Need To Talk“, features a scene where Steven’s parents, Rose Quartz and Greg, try to fuse together. Despite Greg’s eagerness to fuse, their perfectly synchronized waltz doesn’t result in a Rose-Greg Fusion. This leaves Greg confused and Rose Quartz highly amused. She explains that they won’t be able to fuse the way she did with Pearl because Greg is, well, just a human.
This info makes the Stevonnie Fusion in “Alone Together” all the more confusing. Just like Greg, we’re left scratching our heads about Connie’s Fusion with Steven.
So, let’s take a closer look at the factors behind Connie and Steven’s Fusion.
1. Connie and Steven Actually Danced Together
A quick review of “Alone Together” shows Connie and Steven dancing in a way that isn’t too far off from the dance gems typically use. Its combination of a waltz with hip-hop elements is reminiscent of the dance between Pearl and Amethyst in “Giant Woman“.
To give you some context, “Alone Together” hints that Steven and the other gems are anxious about how he may never be able to fuse like a normal gem, given his human parentage. Connie reassures him that his attempts at Fusion were still worth the try and that she admires his courage to dance.
Surprised by this, Steven wonders if Connie has tried dancing and she admits she has never danced in public, owing to negative experiences that left her embarrassed. Steven then invited her to dance with him on the beach, even covering his eyes so she feels less self-conscious.
Steven stumbles during the dance and Connie catches him. Their close contact triggers Steven’s gem to glow, resulting in Stevonnie.
2. Connie and Steven Were Close Friends
Steven Universe puts a heavy emphasis on the trust and love between two people that allow them to fuse. In the episode “We Need To Talk“, Garnet explains the steps that gems need to take to make a Fusion:
“First, you need a gem at the core of your being. Then you need a body that can turn into light. Then you need a partner who you trust with that light.”
It’s no secret that Steven Universe‘s Connie and Steven are best friends, to the point that their relationship begins developing romantic aspects as the show goes on. Their sheer closeness and devotion are even more evident in “Sworn to The Sword” where Connie’s devotion to protecting Steven is paralleled with Pearl’s devotion to Steven’s mother Rose Quartz.
As though the show couldn’t be more clear about the complementary relationship between the two, Steven Universe splits up Rose Quartz’s signature shield and sword between the characters. Connie wields Rose Quartz’s greatsword, while Steven uses her shield, making them a great combination on the battlefield.
3. Steven Is an Adapter
Think about it, if Greg couldn’t fuse with Rose Quartz because he was human and she was a gem, then could it be that the combination of a gem and human genes is the reason why Steven can fuse with Connie?
Rebecca Sugar gives us a clue as to how this was possible in the Steven Universe Podcast, where she discussed the nature of Fusions.
In Volume 2, Episode 9, Sugar describes Steven as a cluster of “human cells held together by gem magic,” meaning that he’s human, but the only thing keeping his physical form together is the same light behind the gems’ bodies. Since previous Fusions are shown to meld their light-based bodies together, we can assume that the light of Steven’s gem rearranges his cells to combine with Connie, resulting in Stevonnie.
Connie and Steven’s “Stevonnie” Abilities
Steven Universe‘s Connie and Steven Fusion has their own unique abilities. But unlike other gems who seem to combine weapons and powers, Stevonnie combines the fighting styles of their components.
The episode “Crack the Whip” features a scene where Steven, Connie, and Amethyst are out together on the beach when an irate Jasper shows up and starts a fight. Jasper beats Amethyst, resulting in her physical form being dispelled and returned to her gem.
Steven and Connie leap into action almost instantaneously, their goal of saving Amethyst’s gem from being shattered keeping their moves synchronized. This makes them form Stevonnie again, who we then see wielding Connie’s sword.
Stevonnie then fights Jasper, using one arm to wield the sword and another for their shield.
As for non-combat, magical abilities, there’s a small fan theory about Stevonnie’s hidden gem powers: it might be charisma. This theory from the Steven Universe subreddit suggests that the interactions between Stevonnie and other characters in “Alone Together” can be explained by Stevonnie’s non-human charms.
The said episode has Connie and Steven’s Fusion walk into a donut store and charm Lars and Sadie, the employees, into giving her their donuts for free. Later on, a character by the name of Kevin, who thinks he’s the coolest thing to exist, admits Stevonnie is cooler than him.
Or it could just be because Stevonnie is presented as conventionally attractive.
The likelier conclusion is that Stevonnie doesn’t have any special magical powers. Apart from her amazing swordsmanship, Steven Universe‘s Connie has little to bring to the table in terms of power, seeing as she’s a human.
That doesn’t make Stevonnie any less cool, though. After all, how many shows are there where a character with a sword and shield charges into battle riding a magical lion?
If you’d like to see more shows where badass women wield blades, check out Trese, a female-led Filipino anime.