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Steven Universe's Rebecca Sugar Lifts the Lid on an Episode That Never Was

Rebecca Sugar’s early sketches for the idea of Steven’s “perfect” powered up gem form, as seen in the artbook.
Rebecca Sugar’s early sketches for the idea of Steven’s “perfect” powered up gem form, as seen in the artbook.
Image: Rebecca Sugar/Abrams

Steven Universe may have come to its end, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to learn about the life and times of everyone’s favourite Human/Gem hybrid. In fact, there’s still so much more to discover about how the show got made—and Rebecca Sugar herself just gave us some intriguing details about an episode that never made it to the screen.

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Speaking during today’s New York Comic Con panel for the upcoming artbook Steven Universe: The End of an Era—hosted by our very own Crystal Gem, Charles Pulliam-Moore—Sugar discussed an idea for an episode covered in concept work in the book about the Homeworld Gem Morganite’s former Ruby and Pearl, now part of Rodonite the off-color Gem, but ended up being left on the proverbial drawing board.

Rhodonite’s episode would’ve further explored the show’s approach to acceptance and identity through Homeworld’s recalcitrant relationship with the concept of fusion, revealing her back story as the Pearl and Ruby of Morganite, the artistic designer of the Diamond Authority’s lavish palanquins. “The idea was that Peridot had created a device that could let you know how many times you’ve been rejuvenated [the process of reverting a Gem to their original state, as Spinel did to the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe the Movie]” Sugar said of the idea. “And so everyone in Little Homeworld is getting checked out to see if they’ve had these lives they couldn’t remember. Most people didn’t have any, some people had one, some people had two, and they try it on Rhodonite and she’s been rejuvenated, like, 17 times. Like, a lot of times.”

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From that revelation, the episode would’ve seen Rhodonite attempt to recover her memories from her many lives, a cyclical love story where she discovered that the Pearl and Ruby that are part of her were constantly being reset by Morganite, and their love for each other kept bringing them together in spite of that.

It’s all very sweet, but an idea that was perhaps a bit too grand for even a show like Steven Universe—and so the Rhodonite idea was left on the table. “The issue with the story was that it was massive, it was like 17 episodes crammed into one episode, and it just could not fit and be as full and dramatic as we wanted it to be.” Sugar concluded.

“We really tried to make it work,” added Kat Morris (a writer, storyboard supervisor, supervising director on the series), “but it was a lot of design that we just couldn’t ask the crew put on their timeline.”

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At least the story, and art from other tales that never were, will live on when Steven Universe: End of an Era hits shelves next week, on October 13.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

A new 17-episode arc? So... how about you make it anyway - make it a whole season? It’s not too late.

Do it. For us.