In 1985, the cartoon She-Ra, Princess of Power, a He-Man spin-off, drew in children and grown-ups alike. Adora, a soldier of the Evil Horde controlling Etheria, is revealed to be Princess Adora, whose alter ego is none other than the legendary warrior princess She-Ra. It’s up to Adora/She-Ra and her new friends to defeat Hordak and the Evil Horde and restore balance to the planet of Etheria. She-Ra was widely successful, and so too, were the toys derived from the show. This was to be expected, of course, as the He-Man and She-Ra universe was inspired by He-Man toys.
In 2018, fans were delighted to see a new reboot of the 1985 cartoon on Netflix. Though the initial release of the new character design sparked undeniable controversy online, the show’s actual target audience, as well as critics, praised the Netflix reboot for its inclusivity, its representation of different characters, and its story arcs.
The new She-Ra is, in many ways, different from the original, but both shows are rooted in the same lore, and there’s a lot to be said about their titular heroine. She-Ra (or Adora) is not only a mythical warrior, she’s also an interesting character with a tragic background that could rival some superheroes. In honor of the Netflix re-release, here are 25 things only fans would know about She-Ra! Whether you’re a long-time fan of the 1985 show or a newly enthusiastic supporter of the reboot, you might find out some things you never knew about your favorite warrior princess.
Before the show was rebooted, back when the new design for She-Ra was released, it caused quite a stir online. Some were upset that the mythical princess’s new design was less feminine than She-Ra’s previous incarnation.
However, since the show came out, many fans have expressed their love for the new She-Ra and said that the new style fits the show quite well.
And after all, She-Ra is meant to inspire children who watch the show—it doesn’t matter if she’s feminine or not, as long as she’s an amazing warrior.
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Avatar is reincarnated every time an Avatar’s life ends. Just like there have been many Avatars, there have been many She-Ras, and Adora is part of a long reincarnation cycle. The cycle was broken when the previous She-Ra, Madame Razz’s friend Mara stranded Etheria into an empty dimension; Adora is the first She-Ra to walk the land of Etheria for a thousand years. There’s a parallel to be made between this break in the cycle and the 100-year break when Aang is frozen in the iceberg in Avatar.
In the reboot, at least. She-Ra is constantly described as an “8-foot tall warrior woman”. While Adora looks fearsome in her Horde uniform, She-Ra towers over the other princesses.
In the first episodes, she also emits a beautiful light, highlighting her status as a magical, powerful being.
In fact, Princess Entrapta seems fascinated by Adora’s transformation into She-Ra and asks Glimmer “She became less tall. How does that work?” in “System Failure.” When Adora transforms, there is a moment when you can notice her getting taller.
In the reboot, Adora doesn’t initially seem confident in her powers; for instance, she’s not sure she can heal the land of Plumeria in “Flowers for She-Ra.” But fans of the original series will remember She-Ra is indeed able to heal things. She’s also extremely strong, and, as we see throughout the series, able to cast beams of magical energy, and repair magical artifacts such as the Sea Gate. She can also transform animals, as she does with Swift Wind (and with a chameleon in the Whispering Woods).
However powerful She-Ra may be, she is more powerful with her friends beside her. This is why she, Bow, and Glimmer are trying to rebuild the Princess Alliance.
She-Ra is incredible, but she can’t save Etheria by herself. This is shown time and time again throughout the series.
For instance, when she repairs the Sea Gate, she initially struggles, before succeeding once all her friends are standing by her side. In “The Battle of Bright Moon,” She-Ra is seen as more powerful once she is standing next to her friends.
Which is exactly why it doesn’t matter if her new costume is more modest and less “feminine!” She-Ra is a warrior princess. Yes, she’s beautiful, but she’s also a fighter above all else. As Adora, her no-nonsense style and her pinned-up hair reflect that. To become She-Ra, Adora needs to forge a connection with the sword, and that also shows that she’s a warrior. And as Adora, she is still a formidable fighter and a skilled warrior, as she was trained by the Horde.
She-Ra’s new costume is much more practical and seems designed for fighting. She sports a tunic rather than a strapless dress, and her headdress looks much less cumbersome. In the original show, her short skirt magically stayed in place no matter what she did, and her dress never slipped down. In the reboot, her tunic remains flowy and dress-like but has more practical-looking shorts. She also gets some sweet white and gold combat boots to replace the original’s golden heels.
If, like me, you got into She-Ra after watching the Netflix reboot, you might not know that in the original series, Adora kept her identity as a princess a secret.
The people who worked on the new She-Ra decided it made more sense for Adora not to hide her identity.
Especially not to Bow and Glimmer, who are, after all, her closest friends. Would the Best Friend Squad really keep secrets from each other? I don’t think so. In the context of the reboot, it makes sense for Adora to openly admit she’s She-Ra.
Space princess brings hope to the Rebellion and stands up to tyrannical, power-hungry villain with a huge army and battle robots. Sound familiar? Star Wars inspired She-Ra in more ways than one. In the reboot, you can have fun spotting the references to Star Wars—like the scene where the Best Friend Squad meets Captain Sea Hawk.
And, of course, She-Ra herself is directly inspired by Princess Leia.
Despite her Force sensitivity, Leia doesn’t have She-Ra’s extraordinary powers, but she’s also a warrior princess acting as a symbol of hope for her Rebellion—the parallel is obvious.
He-Man is She-Ra’s twin brother; in the original, they’re often associated, and there are crossovers between the two series. And yet, in the reboot, He-Man’s nowhere to be seen, and for good reason.
She-Ra doesn’t need a brother; she’s got an interesting storyline and is more than powerful enough on her own.
She’s got her own villain to fight and her own destiny to follow. In fact, you could argue that she’s a better hero than He-Man, as He-Man’s alter ego is simply Prince Adam, while She-Ra remains a formidable warrior when she’s Adora.
Talking about Adora, it’s interesting that in both the original series and the reboot, she keeps her Horde uniform even after having defected and joined the Rebellion. In the first episodes, Glimmer and Bow make her hide her jacket and the Horde symbol on her back, but once she reveals herself as She-Ra, she keeps her old uniform. It’s unclear why she chooses to keep clothing that symbolizes her affiliation with a faction she now despises—maybe her uniform is meant to emphasize Adora’s conflicted identity or her role as a warrior.
And no, we’re not talking about Swift Wind—he can talk on his own. In the original series, She-Ra is seen talking to several animals, sometimes telepathically.
It just goes to show that the legendary heroine’s powers stretch beyond just having a magical sword.
Yes, as I’ve said, she’s first and foremost a warrior, but she’s also a healer and a peace-maker. In the end, She-Ra is meant to bring balance back to Etheria. Once again, the parallel with Star Wars seems pretty obvious.
In the early 2000s, there was already talk of a She-Ra reboot. It was supposed to be very different from the new Netflix adaptation, however. Entertainment Right CEO Michael Heap stated that: “We’ll probably re-launch She-Ra featuring a rock-and-roll band and a girl with long blond hair who will have a guitar instead of a sword.” While we would have loved to see She-Ra and the princesses of Etheria in a rock band, there’s no denying it’s hard to imagine her as anything but a warrior princess.
The original She-Ra toys featured a rather clunky headpiece that circled her head and was intricately decorated. If you flipped the headpiece, it became a mask.
This is, of course, because She-Ra’s identity is a secret in the original series.
The mask/headpiece conforms with the stereotype of the masked superhero—but it wasn’t a hit with the fans. In fact, later She-Ra toys did away with the reversible mask, opting for a simpler headdress. 2018’s She-Ra has a more discreet tiara instead.
To ensure She-Ra could resonate with younger audiences, Netflix aged her down, making Etheria’s warrior princess a teenager instead of a grown woman. This explains her change in appearance, too. The new She-Ra is 16, and it would have been inappropriate for her to be depicted as an adult. This also takes away from the focus on her body and allows the show to focus on her story. She’s not the only character who was aged down— Princess Frosta is eleven in the new series, for instance.
Back when She-Ra figurines were being sold in toy stores, they became quite popular. They even boosted sales of other toys—like Barbies. In fact, she was so popular that Mattel hired actresses to become She-Ra and make appearances in toy stores. Think how cool that would be! Even outside of toy stores, She-Ra fans often cosplayed their favorite characters. With the redesign, it would be interesting to see how new cosplays of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power turn out.
Talking about She-Ra figurines in toy stores, they confused toy store owners back in the day. She-Ra was technically part of the He-Man franchise, so thematically, it would have made sense to stock her toys next to his. While toy stores today have thankfully begun to do away with the dated idea of “girl toys” and “boy toys,” back then, the question puzzled people. No one knew whether to put She-Ra next to toys like Barbies or next to other action figurines.
In fact, that’s just the problem: the original She-Ra toys were action figures, and not dolls, unlike Barbies. As such, they were more similar to He-Man action figures than to the typical dolls you would find in stores. As both boys and girls loved He-Man and She-Ra, the question of whether the toys were targeted towards little boys or girls was clearly irrelevant. Now, in 2019, it would be interesting to see if new She-Ra toys will be dolls or action figures.
“Sounds like this Shadow Weaver did quite a number on you growing up.” In the 2018 episode “In the Shadows of Mystacor”, Bow and Glimmer really nail Shadow Weaver and Adora’s relationship. The episode explores this relationship as we learn that Shadow Weaver used to be a Mystacor Sorceress named Light Spinner. It really highlights Adora/She-Ra’s internal struggle as she realizes just how much the woman who raised her and was, in many ways, her only mother figure, manipulated and conditioned her to be the perfect Horde soldier.
This is another cool thing that She-Ra can do that He-Man can’t! Her weapon is so much more than just a sword.
In the reboot, we see her use her sword as a shield against Shadow Weaver in “In the Shadows of Mystacor”, and she uses it in “The Battle of Bright Moon,” too.
In the original series, the sword transforms into a series of different weapons, showing that She-Ra is not only a powerful hero, but she’s also a polyvalent one, too.
In the original show, Catra was a very stereotypical villain, sinister for sinister’s sake. In the reboot, she’s given more of a backstory and a more complex relationship with Adora. She becomes a main character of the show, and her story drew fans and critics in as much as Adora’s did.
She-Ra and Catra’s relationship becomes fundamentally different; the two grew up together and were there for each other in tough situations.
There’s also an underlying romantic tension between the two, during the “Princess Prom” episode, for instance.
It may seem like a minor difference, but long-time fans of the show will have noticed something a little different about the new She-Ra’s voice.
In the original, her accent is vaguely British, while Adora/She-Ra’s accent in the 2018 show is clearly Western.
Sure, she sounds different and looks a bit different, but at the end of the day, She-Ra’s values are the same, and she remains a heroine children and adults alike can look up to—after all, that’s what really matters.
In 2018’s She-Ra, Adora is more than happy to transform into She-Ra and run into combat fists first. In “System Failure,” she and Glimmer charge ahead, relying on their magic and staying on the offensive, while Bow urges them to fight strategically. In the original 1985 show, however, She-Ra was more of a pacifist and resorted less to violence. She was described as a strong character, but her strength also lay in her empathy. Meanwhile, 2018’s She-Ra is younger, and thus more prone to rash decisions.