This article contains information on a subject that is not considered canon in Steven Universe.
It must be tougher for you, Lars. At least people like jokes!
The seven minute, online only "Pilot" of Steven Universe was released May 21, 2013, via Rebecca Sugar's father's YouTube channel and on Cartoon Network's website (but was later removed). It has not aired on Cartoon Network. The shortened version can also be found on the Steven Universe Facebook Page.
The YouTube description of the Pilot:
"Rebecca Sugar was asked by Cartoon Network to create a pilot for a proposed cartoon series. The result: Steven Universe. Here's the finished pilot. Rebecca and her crew are hard at work on the series, and what you see here are early versions of character designs and animation. Rebecca's brother Steven is working on the backgrounds for the show, so to say I am super proud would be an understatement. Enjoy the video and look for Steven Universe to start in the fall".
Steven is given a magical time travel hourglass from Amethyst and does what any kid would do. He uses it for comebacks, but toying with magic draws trouble to his sleepy beach town and Steven has to step up and save the day, with more comebacks.
The episode begins with a now scrapped intro with the Crystal Gems introducing themselves. Steven is waiting for the other Crystal Gems to come back from the Crystal Palace. When they arrive via Warp Pad, Amethyst shows an Electric Skull to Steven, and it then starts laughing hysterically. Pearl slaps it out of Amethyst's hand. Pearl then smashes it with her foot. Pearl says their Crystal Palace was swarming with the creatures. Amethyst takes the hourglass out of her fanny pack and says that the creatures were after it. Steven asks if he can see it. Amethyst says he can, but Pearl says no because it is extremely powerful and that they should not have brought it home. Steven tells Garnet to make Pearl let him see it. She shushes him. Steven is disappointed and says that he wants to go on adventures with them next time. He tells them that he wrote a song for the team and begins to sing We are the Crystal Gems (which later on turns into the theme song for the finalized show). Amethyst and Pearl begin to tease him, saying that he will look like a clown if he were to play the song in battle. Garnet tells them not to make fun of Steven, and they stop. Pearl explains to Steven that he is too young to come with them, and he does not have powers in his gem yet. Steven wants to help, and Amethyst suggests to grab some donuts. She gives him money, and he leaves.
When Steven walks outside to go to Big Donut, he learns that Amethyst gave him the Hourglass. He keeps it in his pocket and proceeds to buy donuts. As Steven enters the store, Lars, the cashier, begins to mock Steven. Steven slams his money on the desk and demands to have three donuts. Lars retrieves the donuts and makes fun of Amethyst, Garnet, and Pearl. Steven says that they save the world and that he is also a Crystal Gem. Lars says that they are all hot girls, and Steven is not. Steven storms out as Sadie tells Lars to lay off. Steven broods about it, and says, "If I was a hot girl, I wouldn't be talking to you". He regrets not saying that as it would have been hilarious. His pocket begins to glow and is back at Big Donut when Lars made the comment. He says the comeback and high fives Sadie. Lars calls him a joke and Steven storms out again. He comes up with another comeback and is again transported through time to say his comeback: "It must be tougher for you, Lars. At least people actually like jokes!". Sadie jokingly says that Steven is on fire.
Back at their home, Garnet is saying that she has a bad feeling as Steven walks in. Steven tells them what happened and that The Hourglass took him back in time. Pearl is shocked and asks him why he has it. She turns to Amethyst and asks why she gave it to him. Amethyst says she was letting him see it because he wanted to. Pearl reveals that they had been protecting the hourglass for a thousand years, and now that it was activated, it could only be used by Steven for its chosen purpose. Steven tells them it was for comebacks and Amethyst laughs. Garnet notices an Electric Skull outside and alerts the others. Pearl explains that activating the Hourglass caused holes in the fabric of time, and the creature sensed it. Garnet asks Steven why he is such a buttface. Steven is offended by this. Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet retrieve their weapons from their gems and begin to fight the Electric Skull. They are beaten, and Steven tries to help them when they fall. They are all down, and Steven must think of a comeback to Garnet's comment. He does and is transported back to the moment that Garnet called him a buttface. He says the comeback and directs the gems to get on top of the Big Donut and hide behind the sign. Steven points out they need to destroy its hair, so they push the sign onto the Electric Skull. It begins to get struck by lightning and eventually dies. Steven wishes he could've told them this morning that 'this clown is gonna save your lives'. The Hourglass takes him back in time to the morning. He tries to stop it but fails. He smashes it on the ground, preventing the majority of the previous events to occur. The episode ends with him saying, "This clown is going to save your life".
- Steven (debut)
- Amethyst (debut)
- Pearl (debut)
- Garnet (debut)
- Electric Skulls (debut/antagonists)
- Lars (debut)
- Sadie (debut)
- The Hourglass (debut)
- Warp Pad (debut)
- Steven's Ukulele (debut)
- Garnet's, Amethyst's and Pearl's Gem Weapons (debut)
- The episode was originally going to be named "The Electric Skull".
- The song that Steven sang was re-used in the extended theme.
- A shortened version of the pilot was shown on Cartoon Network's official Facebook page on July 20, 2013.
- This was included on the Gem Glow DVD as a special feature, albeit modified with a still backdrop end credits with the pilot's music and the Cartoon Network Studios logo containing a sound byte from the Ending Theme.
- The hourglass used in the pilot would later be used as the smallest hourglass in "Steven and the Stevens".
- Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet's ears were visible in the pilot unlike how they are now.
- Note that Steven's eyes slightly resemble the redesigned Steven's eyes in the first episode of the first season.
- One of the most notable changes are the designs in most of the characters: The art is more detailed, which has been modified so the actual series could be simpler to animate.
- The Timing Director for the pilot was Genndy Tartakovsky, who created and directed episodes of Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, and Sym-Bionic Titan.
- Lars has black hair instead of reddish-orange hair.
- Steven has less "poofy" hair and pink "sunburned" skin.
- Garnet has straight hair instead of her trademark cubic afro, smaller hips, and has a different outfit design.
- Amethyst has a yellow star barrette in her hair, nails painted dark purple, and a different outfit design.
- Pearl has changed the most from her pilot design to her current design, having blue skin, visible ears with star earrings, differently styled hair in a darker shade of orange, and a different outfit design.
- Sadie, however, has no changes in her design.
While the episode is not canon and isn't part of the official continuity, elements of it were reused in later episodes:
- The brand of "Chips" Steven ate reappear in "Cat Fingers", where Amethyst is seen eating them.
- The Hourglass reappears in "Steven and the Stevens".
- Pearl's form is referenced for a split second in "Steven the Sword Fighter" when she regenerated.
- The three dollar bills used reappear in the main series.
- Garnet rips a piece of hair off the Electric Skull, but when the scene changes, you can see that the hair that was removed is still there.
- When Steven says "Just give me three donuts", Lars puts three chocolate donuts in the bag, but when Steven drops the bag in the next scene, the donuts are all different flavors.
- Throughout the pilot, Pearl's dangling earring is located on her right ear, and the stud earring is on her left. However, when summoning her weapon, the dangling earring is on the left ear, and the stud is on the right ear.
View the episode's transcript here.