masks and helmets

Interesting Things from the Steven Universe Art and Origins book:

- The Gems were originally going to be straight up magical girls that transformed and had separate civilian identities.

- Another early concept is that they were created by a “mother” to protect the humans, but “mother” decided to destroy humanity so the girls formed “the giant woman” to defeat “mother” and save humanity.

- an early pre-pilot episode idea involved “Baby the badass biker-guy who wants to be a magical girl”

- other pre-pilot episode ideas had Steven’s crush on “Priyanka” (most likely early Connie), Pearl having a crush on the Pizza Guy, and Sadie possessed by a necklace that turns her into a popular singer and Lars potentially saving her.

- Steven is the opposite of a man-child, he’s a child-man!

- Rebecca says “Dramatic things don’t only happen to cool, serious people. And life doesn’t stop being ridiculous when a tragedy occurs.”

- Some old mythos from the pilot pitch - crystal gems were from another universe, Rose “vanished like a phoenix when Steven inherited her gem”, Rose would visit Steven’s dreams and give him advice and when he woke up roses would be growing around his body “which he finds very embarassing”

- the design of the human characters evolved from “food-centric” brainstorming. (i’m going to guess that being familiar with Akira Toriyama’s work might have helped with that)

- Rebecca in the pitch described the star symbol for the show as “They can look poppy and fun, but also ancient and magical.” and “It’s positive! It’s beautiful! It’s patriotic! It’s America!”

- Their goal was “doing Disney, seventies anime, and Hannah Barbera - all in the same art style”

- The crew enjoys using cartoons to talk about real world concepts because “People let their guard down when they watch cartoons.”

- The early Homeworld Gem concepts for “Cheeseburger Backpack” are extravagant and outlandish in a really gorgeous way, like a bunch of runway fashion models, They also played with the idea of having some of them wear faceplate helmets/masks like the Gem Temple statue has.

- Bismuth notes: “flirty with Pearl like construction worker”, thinks Pearl is hilarious/awesome “This high-class trophy wife who fights and kills people!”, “Huge respect for Garnet as an inter-class fusion - Sapphire for giving up privilege, Ruby for hitting that”

- The writers play a game where someone draws a scenario, and the picture gets passed to three different people who each write part of a story based on it. They’ve used a few of these for episode ideas.

- “Island Adventure” came from an episode idea that just read “Lars and Sadie make out - even though they’re not together.” It’s described as “Clearly, this was something we all wanted to happen.”

- “Onion Friend” also started out as one of these, the original idea involved “Grandma Shallot”

- “Future Boy Zoltron” came from two different writing games, one with Garnet using her future vision to do fortune telling (and being too blunt about it), and one with Steven reuniting Mr. Smiley with his old comedy partner. The notes for the latter include “also they were clearly lovers”

- The story game that eventually became “We Need to Talk” had Greg walk in on Steven and Connie kissing in the beginning and trying to give them the other “talk”, and he learned about fusion when he saw Pearl and Amethyst practicing it. 

- There was also an as-of-now unused idea set soon after Garnet joining the Crystal Gems about Rose asking her to fuse and Garnet being uncomfortable with it and Peal being annoyed that Garnet is uncomfortable with it

- There was an idea the writers kicked around for a while about a floating continent the Gems had elevated years ago called “Airstralia”

- It’s important that Steven is “as excited about everyday human things as he is about magic Gem things”

- About “Mindful Education”: “How can we make a story about meditation exciting? How can we get kids invested in a way that will make them want to see meditation work for the characters?”

- There are also “Design a Gem/Design Gem Technology” games where one person draws a character or object and another has to come up with the description. One of these is a potential design for a healed Earth Beetle, a tiny gem about the size of Steven’s head. Some of the “tech” is a gem embedded in a slice of pizza, a device that projects thoughts that Steven uses to spy on Lars’ dreams (complete with doodle of him dreaming about Sadie and Steven saying”I knew it!”), and a visor that shows you someone’s power level but also how sad they’re feeling - “with this information you can fight them physically and emotionally”

- The writers think ““I knew it!” is always better than “I didn’t see that coming””, so they like dropping lots of hints into the show

- With Ruby and Sapphire, Rebecca wanted to make a couple that looked very different from each other but were also obviously a perfect match for each other.

- Early versions of Peal and Garnet’s fusion were a lot more stoic-looking

- Steven and Connie’s relationship is described as “the pure love of children” and “that eternal love that could withstand anything” 

- About Peridot: shows that you can be hyperactive and weird but still loved, also showing that you can be friends with people who were raised differently from you, also “a straight-up corny alien”

- the ideas that Gems could pull things out of their gems and shapeshift came from old Tex Avery-type cartoons: “ What if we take the way that a classic cartoon character acted and turned it into a superpower?”. Also “One of our goals was to have these characters who were powerful heroes, but also have them be funny and weird too.”

- from a Storyboard Test for aspiring artists: the crystal gems and Steven = “like three Zeldas and a Mario”

- Estelle gave Rebecca advice on writing “Stronger Than You” and “Here Comes a Thought”

- “Comet” was an adaption of a song from a band Nick DeMayo (the animtion director) was in in the 80s

- “We wanted this beautiful perfection of everything that had to do with Homeworld and Gem society, but it had to be kind of eerie. One of the principal idea is that perfection is not something to strive for - that it’s not necessarily good, that imperfection should be celebrated.”

- They want the show to be “subversive in a positive way”