Though Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is about a bunch of plucky children teaming up to go on a magical adventure to save their world, the story it told was very much one about the emotional and physical devastation that war can bring to a peaceful society. And it seems if series creator Noelle Steven had her druthers, the show could have been much, much more gruesome.
Earlier this week, Stevenson took a look back at the show and discussed some of the decisions made early into the production process as elements of Adora/She-Ra’s power set were still being established. With Adora’s control over her powers increasing over the course of the series, Stevenson explained how, at one point, she considered introducing She-Ra’s healing abilities in a plot involving Glimmer and Bow getting badly hurt in battle, before discovering that Adora could use her magic to patch them right up.
Stevenson emphasized that learning about this new She-Ra power would lead to the Best Friends Squad taking more and more risks while fighting the Horde before ultimately leading to one of them getting hurt so badly that it would have taken She-Ra and the Princesses of Power into a much darker space, thematically.
“One of the earliest episodes I pitched was Bow and Glimmer finding out that Adora has healing powers and becoming increasingly reckless in battle and sustaining more and more dramatic injuries [because] they were so confident Adora would heal them,” she wrote. “We did not do this because it is.........terrifying.”
Instead, She-Ra ended up leaning first into the idea of Adora healing Etheria’s runestones with her powers, before she eventually learned how to channel that energy into living beings—healing their wounds up to a point (but not more significant kinds of magical damage, as was seen when she couldn’t help Glimmer recover from her bouts of “glitching”).
In the end, She-Ra was perfectly capable of giving its story emotional heft even without tearing literal holes into its heroes’ sternums, but one can’t help but wonder what a grittier, more bloodsoaked She-Ra might have looked like. Some things, though, are best left to the fanfic community to mull over.
All five seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power are now streaming on Netflix.
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