Adora’s Personal Journey Changed She-Ra’s Look in ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’
One of the best parts of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is Adora’s transformation from Adora into She-Ra. It’s come a long way from the original 1980s cartoon. In fact, her transformation is much closer to Sailor Moon’s in the 1990s. And as the series progresses, Adora’s shift into the 8-foot, mighty She-Ra changes. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power].
When Adora first found her sword, its magic transformed her
When Season 1 starts, Adora is a lead trainee with the Horde, located in the Fright Zone. Their mission is to conquer the Rebellion on Etheria, and Adora and the rest of her fellow soldiers are taught that the Princesses are bad and should be eliminated.
Adora’s journey really starts when she finds the Sword of Protection in the woods and finds out that the Princesses and Rebellion aren’t actually the bad guys. The Horde is. And she discovers that she can turn into She-Ra by yelling, “For the honor of Grayskull!” while holding the sword.
And while it’s a great responsibility, and one Adora is pretty good at, the transformation and look of She-Ra is different by the end of the series.
“Adora’s original She-Ra form was like this uncomfortable suit she has to wear. She never really feels at home in the original She-Ra form,” showrunner Noelle Stevenson told Entertainment Weekly on May 16. “It combined the militaristic aspect of Adora’s upbringing in the Horde with the role She-Ra has with the First Ones.”
Stevenson described how the shirt is buttoned, with “pointy shoulder blades.” Most importantly, She-Ra has a lot of feminine features that Adora isn’t comfortable within her everyday life.
“The skirt, the tiara, the long flowing hair,” Stevenson said. “She’s really trying to fit this version of She-Ra, but it’s not her. She’s never comfortable in that form.”
However, when she transforms in Season 5, it’s a whole new look
That’s not to say she’s necessarily deterred by any of that. For seasons, Adora kicks butt in this form of She-Ra. Stevenson is just noting that it’s a form chosen for her. Something that doesn’t fit Adora’s personality.
However, at the end of Season 4, Adora has to make the tough decision to break her sword to stop the Heart of Etheria from destroying the universe. As Stevenson said, Adora realizes that She-Ra’s destiny and look aren’t inherently hers.
When she breaks that sword, when she realizes that version of She-Ra is not who she ever wanted to be, the question is, what do you want to be? How do you want to dress? I don’t think she has ever asked this question… We wanted the new She-Ra design to be Adora’s mature adult form, and then combine that with elements Adora would be more comfortable with: The ponytail, the boots. That’s more Adora’s style. This is the version of She-Ra that comes from the pure magic of Etheria. It is not a uniform, it is an actual manifestation of magic.Stevenson, Entertainment Weekly
The reason Adora can transform into She-Ra is different in Season 5, too
At the beginning of Season 5, Adora has no special powers and has to just fight with a staff. The first time she transforms again, without her sword is when she’s holding the cave entrance for her friends. This wasn’t a full She-Ra moment, but still allowed Adora to save them. She declared that no one was staying behind, and so She-Ra came forward to help.
When she’s actually able to fully transform into She-Ra in all her glory, it’s in Episode 5 when Catra is severely hurt on Horde Prime’s ship. Adora is so determined, yet again, to save her friend that she’s able to take form.
This happens throughout the season; her determination to save those she loves allows her to call the sword forth without there being a physical sword. She has trouble focusing and keeping her She-Ra form near the end, though, and Shadow Weaver tells her it’s because Catra is a distraction. But actually it was Adora’s doubt and anxiety about being She-Ra that was stunting her powers.
Adora finally realizes that she can call She-Ra through the power of love, for her friends and for Catra. When Catra declares her love for Adora in the finale, she is able to come-to, say it back, and then transforms and saves the day.
“The thing that gives her the purity of emotion to transform is love: Love for her friends, love for Catra, and the need to protect them,” Stevenson said. When Adora is fighting for what she loves, she’s in her most powerful form.