She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is a reboot of an ‘80s classic, however, it departed from that original narrative. The show took on typical gender roles and showed an imperfect hero in Adora. It made the world of Etheria inherently gay, and just an integral part of who these characters are, something that wasn’t out of the ordinary.
From a non-binary character in Double Trouble, to the attraction different characters had for one another regardless of gender, it was all so normal. And to see that on-screen, and get a final Catradora kiss, is what made the series groundbreaking television. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power].
LGBTQ romance is so underrepresented in media
It’s already a no-brainer that diversity of any kind is already underrepresented in television and film. When it comes to race or gender, it’s prevalent. It’s also especially blatant when it comes to LGBTQ rep. Even when a character is gay, there are so many harmful stereotypes they often possess. And they hardly get a meaningful romantic storyline.
As showrunner Noelle Stevenson told Pride.com in May, she grew up without any interest in romance in media because she never saw herself reflected in it.
“I didn’t care for it until I fell in love with my wife,” Stevenson said. “I didn’t see myself in it, certainly, because I’d only ever seen straight romance. And then once I fell in love… That changed. My heart started changing.”
With that development, Stevenson said she realized that she’d “closed” herself off to romance all her life. But she welcomed this newfound interest in romance, especially — of course — queer love.
“Romance is a very powerful thing. I think it’s become a cliche over time because we only ever see one kind,” she said. With She-Ra, she’s shaking the table and making romance overall more accessible and entertaining.
The road to Catra and Adora’s Season 5 revelation was tough and showed their bond
While there are several same-sex couples in the series, Adora and Catra are the major “ship.” They grew up as childhood best friends who looked out for each other above anyone else in the Horde.
However, when Adora realizes she can wield the Sword of Protection and become She-Ra, and that the Horde is evil, she chooses to leave. Catra doesn’t understand any of this and has a lot of emotional trauma when it comes to relying on others and feeling betrayed. She stays with the Horde and her hurt grows more and more through the seasons.
And even though the two of them don’t find their way back to each other until Season 5, there are so many obstacles the two of them go through. There’s a point where Catra even willingly hurts Adora to gain traction for the Horde. However, their strong bond and chemistry are always on display. The story was always going to pull these two back together. It was just a matter of “how?”
“It was something I came forward with that I wanted to do with these characters and the ending that I visualized for them because I think their story has always been about them finding each other again,” Stevenson said. “After everything that they’ve been through, after all of the hardship and all of the misfortune that both of them have gone through, these are the two characters I think who have been through the most their whole lives.”
Their ‘I love you’ scene was central to ‘She-Ra’
The most groundbreaking, powerful moment in the series was definitely when Catra and Adora confessed their love for each other in the finale. From the moment Adora saved Catra from Horde Prime’s chip, you start to see them find their way back to the other. Catra still has a lot to overcome, emotionally, and with her guilt. But their love essentially saves Etheria.
After Adora breaks her sword at the end of Season 4, she’s no longer able to turn into She-Ra when Season 5 starts. But she finds that when she’s fighting for love, whether it be for her friends or Catra, she can turn into the powerful She-Ra. So when she’s on the verge of giving up as the failsafe eats away at her, it’s Catra’s declaration of love that brings her back.
“It is the climactic moment of the entire show, that moment, that confession, that kiss, and that’s what I wanted it to be,” Stevenson said. “I wanted it to be everything that we’ve been building to, the message of love that’s always been at the heart of the show.”
Not only does it show Adora that she possesses the power of She-Ra all on her own, and with the love she carries, but it also finalizes this groundbreaking relationship and, quite frankly, gives the people what they want.
“It becomes about this moment between two people who’ve been trying to get back to each other and getting farther and farther apart through this whole show. It felt like something that I needed to see.”