All I wanted for Christmas was Crystal Castle. And maybe She-Ra’s sword. And probably Swift Wind. Okay, okay. I was a little She-Ra obsessed as a kid.
To be honest, I still love her to this day. The kids and I have been catching up on original episodes on Netflix, so it is safe to assume we are all pretty excited about a reboot. For once, it is not just the nostalgia talking. A reboot, if done right, would be amazing and powerful—just like She-Ra. Why? Because her original story has never been more timely or relevant or relatable as it is right now.
If you have never watched She-Ra: Princess of Power, you may not know it’s a spin-off from He-Man: Masters of the Universe. If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, then you may proudly proclaim your absence from the 1980s. Wait for the reboot and start afresh.
HOWEVER: if you know exactly what I’m talking about, come with me to Etheria and revisit my top five She-Ra episodes. For the sake of brevity, I have not included the introduction episodes (The Secret of the Sword). Let’s just focus on the best episodes to showcase why She-Ra is a hero we need today:
1 Of Shadows and Skulls
A hero’s story is dependent on the villains they face. This episode has a great focus on the strength of its villains, highlighting the internal politics that can torment any group. It’s like the old saying, “the enemy of your enemy is your friend”. This episode has Shadow Weaver opting for a more powerful evil leader in the hope of gaining some more power herself. It doesn’t make the challenge any easier for She-Ra but it does show all of us how important it is to know people and analyze a situation before rushing into the battle.
2 The Stone in the Sword
The ultimate “what if She-Ra can’t be She-Ra” episode. The crystal in She-Ra’s sword is cracked in battle, preventing Adora from transforming into She-Ra. Here is the perfect opportunity to see the inherent qualities of Adora and what she brings to She-Ra. The sword does not transform Adora into a different person; instead, it enhances the true qualities already there.
3 The Price of Power
Little known fact: this episode has a lot in common with Star Wars: A New Hope. Norwyn tells a ‘long sad story’ about his apprentice who turned evil (Shadow Weaver). His impulsive new apprentice is eager to progress faster on his path to greatness, without heeding lessons from his elders. When Norwyn seeks help, his message is akin to Princess Leia’s hologram. Whether this was intentional or merely J. Michael Straczynski being influenced by his favorites is not clear. However, Straczynski does a fantastic job of showing how blurry the line is between good and bad.
4 Three Courageous Hearts
I know I should be telling you about the story for this episode but when I revisited She-Ra recently, the best part of this episode is the guitar riff. Of course, the story is awesome: about courage and commitment from even the smallest characters. I am interested to see which characters will survive the reboot, and in what form. The quirkiness of Madame Razz and the snark of Kowl would be sorely missed if they do not survive the cut. Sometimes they are a little too quirky for a contemporary approach but their storyline in ‘Three Courageous Hearts’ really allows the audience to see the entire cast as part of a bigger picture.
5 Just Like Me
Because Representation Matters. A young girl wants to join the Rebels and be just like She-Ra. In her eyes, She-Ra is the only hero of the show and no-one else is good enough. However, She-Ra shows how much she is strengthened by the support of others; from her friends to the villagers who provide grain to the rebellions. She-Ra’s greatest appeal is her straight-forward approach to situations. This episode is inspiring for all young audience members and reassures the older fans who are often disheartened by how little we think we can do.
She-Ra was super appropriate in the 1980s but she has the potential to be even more with a reboot. The recent DC comics have added a few twists to the original story but nothing to take away from the original spirit. In our current social climate filled with sexual harassment and discrimination, political unrest, and our own growing rebellion against hatred and inequality, She-Ra is the personification of “waking up”. I can’t wait to see where they take it.