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She-Ra is a fictional character in the 1985 Filmation cartoon She-Ra: Princess of Power and its 2018 reboot She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.[3] A series of toys under her name was produced by Mattel.[4]

She-Ra comparison.png
First appearanceThe Secret of the Sword
Created byLarry DiTillio
J. Michael Straczynski[1][2]
Portrayed byMelendy Britt (1985–1987)
Aimee Carrero (2018–present)
NicknamePrincess of Power
The Most Powerful Woman In the Universe
OccupationRebel Leader, formerly military captain
FamilyKing Grayskull (ancestor)
King Miro (grandfather)
King Randor (father)
Queen Marlena (mother)
Prince Adam/He-Man (twin brother)

In the 1980s series, She-Ra was intended to extend the appeal of the Masters of the Universe setting by being of interest to young girls in the same way that He-Man appealed to young boys.[5][6] Filmation writers Larry DiTillio and J. Michael Straczynski created the backstory for the property.[1][2][7] She-Ra was introduced in the movie The Secret of the Sword as Force Captain Adora of the Evil Horde ruling Etheria,[8] but turned out to be Princess Adora, the long-lost twin sister of He-Man, Prince Adam.[9]


In She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985)Edit

Fictional character biographyEdit

King Randor and Queen Marlena from planet Eternia had twins, a boy and a girl named Adam and Adora. Hordak, leader of the Evil Horde, kidnapped Adora and escaped to Etheria, where Adora was raised as a mind-controlled Force Captain of The Horde. Adora's uniform – which she continued to wear throughout the series, even after defecting to the Rebels – consisted of a red leotard with long white sleeves, red boots with matching gauntlets, and a black belt.[10]

The Sorceress sent Adam and Cringer to the planet Etheria to find the Sword of Protection's rightful owner. The Sorceress, through the jewel in the Sword of Protection reveals to Adora that she was kidnapped by The Horde when she was a baby and that she had a twin brother. By repeating "For the honor of Grayskull" she is transformed into the heroine; She-Ra. She then releases a captured He-Man and jumps from a window, crashing into the Horde stables. She-Ra lands atop Spirit who is transformed into Swift Wind, a talking unicorn.[11] They fly ahead to warn The Rebellion. He-Man and She-Ra return to Eternia, but she decides she must return to Etheria so that she can help free the planet from the Horde oppression.[12]

Adora, having been trained by the Horde her entire life, assumes leadership of the Great Rebellion. The epic battle to free Etheria from the grip of the Evil Horde rages on, spreading across the corners of the planet. Through this war, She-Ra calls upon her allies across the globe, using their special talents to battle against Horde creations. Whether or not She-Ra and her forces were ever successful in defeating the Horde was never revealed as the series was cancelled before any resolution could be reached. However, it was shown little-by-little that the citizens and kingdoms all over Etheria were rising up against the Horde and pushing back against their tyranny. Unlike Adam, who often feigned laziness and a carefree attitude to deflect any suspicion that he may be He-Man, Adora never acted against her nature and was always seen as brave and selfless, willing to help others in need at a moment's notice.

When Adora transforms to She-Ra, two castles are shown in the background. The first is Castle Grayskull. The second is the Crystal Castle. The Crystal Castle is located atop Skydancer Mountain and is overseen by an entity called Light Hope, who advises She-Ra in times of crisis. In the Princess of Power toyline, the castle is also protected by two winged crystal horses, Moonbeam and Sun Dancer. The Crystal Castle's location is known only to Ahgo (King of the Trolls), She-Ra, and He-Man (she brought him there one time); She-Ra has sworn to secrecy its location, thus earning the title of "Defender of the Crystal Castle."

Powers and abilitiesEdit

She-Ra is known for her incredible strength. Many times she has been shown to be able to lift not only full-grown men and robots, but also mountain-like rocks and buildings. She is also depicted as being extremely fast and acrobatic. Her speed allows her to easily deflect multiple incoming energy blasts with her sword. She-Ra also demonstrated a series of other abilities which appear to be more nurturing in nature such as empathic understanding, mental communication with animals, and healing. Whether there is a limit to the length of time she can remain in her heroic form before she reverts to her original form of Adora is unknown, however there have been occasions in which she has been forcibly transformed back into Adora, implying that her powers do have limits to them.

She-Ra's primary weapon is her Sword of Protection. Her sword is apparently almost indestructible and able to deflect bolts of energy, both magical and technological, as well as to project beams of energy from the stone in its center. The stone is also used to turn Spirit into Swift Wind, as the power beam needed to perform the transformation comes from it (as opposed to the Sword of Power, where the energy beam that is used to transform Cringer into Battle Cat is shot from the tip of the sword and requires He-Man to point it directly at Cringer in order for it to work).

However, in one episode, the stone in She-Ra's sword becomes damaged, causing her to be unable to transform into She-Ra. The sword also had transmutation abilities – upon command, it would instantly change shape into whatever She-Ra required at the time; examples include: a shield, parachute, helmet, rope with grappling hook, and a boomerang.

She-Ra is largely non-violent, and usually only resorts to combat as a last resort. She uses intelligence and her wits, often preferring to outsmart her adversaries; her most violent actions typically consist of body throws. As per broadcast standards of the period, in the Filmation cartoon, neither He-Man nor She-Ra were allowed to use their swords as offensive weapons, nor were they allowed to directly punch or kick anyone. She-Ra was only allowed to destroy robotic enemies, which were her primary foes.


She-Ra is mostly considered a positive role model for women.[13][14][15][16] Some critics have criticized her for being a poor female counterpart to He-Man.[17][18]

In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018)Edit

Promotional poster with She-Ra in centre

On December 12, 2017, DreamWorks Animation and Netflix announced a new reboot series based on She-Ra. The series was executively produced by award-winning author Noelle Stevenson (creator of Nimona and Lumberjanes). The cast was revealed on May 18, 2018 alongside a poster and the official series title: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. It premiered on November 13, 2018 on Netflix. Unlike the original series, He-Man has no presence in the reboot storyline since he appears in 2002 series.

In this series, Adora is portrayed as a willing member of the Horde as she was naively content due to her upbringing in a rigorous yet supportive environment where she is taught that surviving members of the Princess Rebellion are evil. As such, Adora pursues a military career within the Horde and is quickly promoted to Force Captain with a pending active duty assignment ahead of her colleagues. But Adora's world view changes in the events that result in her finding the Sword of Protection and being captured by two Rebels, Princess Glimmer and Bow. Though her captors open her eyes to the truth of the Horde's actions, Adora only joins the Rebellion as She-ra upon witnessing the Horde's atrocities firsthand. After her defection, Adora struggles in both mastering her powers as She-Ra and gradually winning the friendship of those in the Rebellion who were slow to trust her due to her former ties to the Horde while trying to win over the other princesses to reform the Princess Rebellion. These adjustments prove more difficult for Adora as she caused a rift between her and Catra, her former best friend and rival in the Horde who saw Adora's defection as a personal betrayal.

Compared to the original version of the character, Adora has a much younger appearance in reflection of her age, but she becomes considerably taller as She-Ra. In addition, She-Ra's costume is much more modest and practical in this incarnation; she wears a full tunic that covers her upper torso with metallic epaulets while wearing bike-short type leggings under her short skirt. Furthermore, she now wears more practical armored boots with flat soles. In the season 1 finale, She-Ra wears a golden battle armour very similar to when her 2002 twin brother He-Man wears a snake armour in Season 2.[19] In the second season She-Ra is utilizing a new power in her sword which can transform it into any kind of weapon or piece of equipment, although her control over the transformations is initially less than absolute.

In other mediaEdit

Masters of the Universe film (1987)Edit

She-Ra was originally intended to appear in Masters of the Universe and concept art by production designer William Stout was even commissioned, but director Gary Goddard felt it would be best to concentrate on He-Man for the first film. (It would be the only film.) [20][21] She-Ra was planned to appear in the sequel; the sequel film was cancelled and rewritten into Cyborg.

Masters of the Universe Classics (2008–2015)Edit

She-Ra appears in the Mattel Masters of the Universe toyline launched in 2008, which attempts to create a new canon by merging selected portions of existing media together with new story elements. The story is told via a combination of mini-comics packaged with the action figures and the biographies printed on the toy packaging.

In this version of events, Hordak arrived on Etheria after being trapped in the dimension of Despondos by King Grayskull. His apprentice Skeletor kidnaps Adora and sends her to Etheria. After being raised by the Horde and becoming She-Ra (as in the cartoon series), she eventually returns to Eternia with several of her friends and allies, to help He-Man defeat Hordak, who has overthrown King Randor and conquered the planet. She-Ra follows her brother into space on their New Adventures to the planet Primus, and together they battle the Horde Empire's ruler Horde Prime. At some point in the future, she would end up returning in the new, villainous persona of Despara.[22]

DC Comics (2012–present)Edit

In December 2012, She-Ra appeared in her own DC Comics series as a lead-in to her introduction into the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comic series.[23] Adora's introduction is an updated retelling of her classic origin story.[24] Although she was still kidnapped as a baby and raised by the Horde, Adora's personality and life are made much more violent and tragic when compared to her animated counterpart.

Rather than being a kind woman who has been under the mind control of Shadow Weaver, Despara (Adora's Horde name) is a brutal force captain who is fully aware of the Horde's cruel and evil nature and, although she has some reservations, serves them willingly. Rather than having already taken over the planet of Etheria, instead, Despara leads the Horde in taking over Eternia and driving He-Man, King Randor and the Masters into hiding so as to rebel against the Horde. Due to a connection between herself and Teela, Adora begins to break free of the Horde's will, and begins her journey into becoming She-Ra.

He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe (2012)Edit

She-Ra appeared in the 2012 handheld video game He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe.[25]


  1. ^ a b J. Michael Straczynski [@straczynski] (July 16, 2018). ""The original He-Man bible was written in large measure by Larry DiTillio; Larry and I later co-wrote the bible for the She-Ra series. Filmation, being Filmation, never wanted any credits on those docs so I don't know if they survive with or without the credits."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b J. Michael Straczynski [@straczynski] (July 16, 2018). ""Larry and I created the character and her world (after Filmation/Mattel named her She-Ra)..."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ Baer, Brian C. (7 March 2017). How He-Man Mastered the Universe: Toy to Television to the Big Screen. McFarland. ISBN 9781476665900. Retrieved 15 November 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Hiltzik, Michael A. (1985-02-17). "Licensing Plays a Growing, Risky Role in Toy Business". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  5. ^ "Remembering She-Ra and He-Man: Interview with Lou Scheimer". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  6. ^ "By The Power of Grayskull: HE-MAN ART Show!". Newsarama. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  7. ^ "MOTU Chronicles Podcast Episode 9 (Larry DiTillio interview)". iTunes. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
  8. ^ "The Best of She-Ra: Princess of Power Review". IGN. 2006-08-03. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  9. ^ "Video: A He-Man for All Seasons". Time. 1985-01-07. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  10. ^ "The Best of She-Ra – Princess of Power". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  11. ^ "A Psychedelic Stallion: MOTUC Swiftwind Review". MTV. Archived from the original on 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  12. ^ Villarreal, Phil (August 4, 2006). "Phil Villarreal's Review: Still a surefire hit with 6-year-olds". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  13. ^ Boyd, Phoebe-Jane (29 December 2017). "She-Ra is the superhero needed to fight back against Marvel's male dominion – Phoebe-Jane Boyd". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2017 – via
  14. ^ "Was She-Ra A Feminist Superhero?". Jezebel. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  15. ^ "She-Ra and the Fight Against the Token Girl". Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  16. ^ Claudia Mitchell; Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, eds. (30 December 2007). "She-Ra: Princess of Power". Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 531. ISBN 978-0-313-33909-7. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  17. ^ Sherrie A. Inness, ed. (16 January 2004). ""It's a Girl Thing": Tough Female Action Figures in the Toy Store". Action Chicks: New Images of Tough Women in Popular Culture. Palgrave Macmillan US. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-4039-8124-0. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  18. ^ Derek Johnson (22 March 2013). Media Franchising: Creative License and Collaboration in the Culture Industries. NYU Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-8147-4389-8. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  19. ^ "She-Ra gets a makeover! A first look at the new Netflix series and meet the cast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  20. ^ Sawyer, James (February 24, 2010). "Q & A With Director Gary Goddard!". MOTU Movie.
  21. ^ Sawyer, James (June 29, 2010). "Q & A With Production Designer William Stout". MOTU Movie.
  22. ^ "She-Ra™ Figure". 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  23. ^ "It's She-Ra 2.0: The dramatic beginning". CNN. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  24. ^ "Abnett Preps She-Ra's Return in More Grown-Up "Masters of the Universe" – Comic Book Resources". 2014-05-06. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  25. ^ "New Update Introduces She-Ra To 'He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe'!". MTV. Retrieved 2012-12-17.

Further readingEdit

  • Andrade, Jessica. (2003) “The Gender Politics of Female Action Heroes in Television and Films.” Bachelor's thesis, University of Washington

External linksEdit