I never trusted Ariel. She was clearly far more intelligent than anyone around her… especially Thundarr. I also never liked the whole sorcery schtick.
I gave her a new backstory to go along with her new look. Something akin to a vault that had been locked down for centuries because of the cataclysm to protect and progress society. Technology flourished while the surface world crumbled. So, the “magic” is just uber advanced tech that only she has. That gives her her future look.
I also gave her pants. That swimsuit look was stupid.