Steven Universe is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Steven, the youngest member of a team of magical guardians of the Universe called the Crystal Gems.
The Pilot released on May 21, 2013 on Rebecca Sugar's Father's YouTube Channel, but has been removed. It aired on Cartoon Network on November 4, 2013 in the US. It aired January 6, 2014 in some parts of Asia, and April 7, 2014 in South America.
- Main: Episode Guide
In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil threats by the Crystal Gems, a group of intergalactic female warriors who use the power of special gem stones embedded on their bodies to summon magical weapons. The four Gems are: Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl and Steven. Steven is a young boy who inherited a gem stone from his mother, a Crystal Gem named Rose Quartz. As Steven tries to figure out the secrets to using his gem, he spends his days in Beach City doing activities with the other Crystal Gems, whether it's helping them save the universe or just hanging out.
- Tom Scharpling as Greg Universe
- Grace Rolek as Connie
- Matthew Moy as Lars
- Kate Micucci as Sadie
- Billy Merritt as Fryman
- Atticus Shaffer as Peedee Fryman
- Joel Hodgson as Mayor Bill Dewey
- Eugene Cordero as Jamie
Concept and creation
The titular character, Steven, is roughly based on Sugar's younger brother Steven Sugar, who is now a background artist for the online web series, Bravest Warriors, created by Pendleton Ward of Adventure Time fame (he is also the background artist for Steven Universe as well). Growing up, Sugar would create miscellaneous comics between herself and Steven, as well as with other friends. In an interview with The New York Times, she commented on the development of the titular character's background, expressing her desire to base the character from the viewpoint of her brother growing up "where you're so comfortable in your life because you get all the attention, but you also want to rise up and not be the little brother." The show is set in the fictional Beach City, which is loosely based on Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, and Dewey Beach, Delaware, all places that Sugar visited as a child.
According to Sugar, production began on the show concurrently while working on Adventure Time. Her last episode for the series was "Simon & Marcy", in which working on both simultaneously "became impossible to do". Similarly, she would encounter difficulty around the production of the episode "Fionna and Cake".
The series features songs and musical numbers produced by Sugar along with her story writers, who collaborate on the lyrics for each song. According to Sugar, not every episode will feature a song, instead opting to feature one every couple episodes "where it always feels right". The series premiere, "Gem Glow", features a rap song written by storyboard artist Jeff Liu, who programmed the beat into his Game Boy using Little Sound DJ.
The pilot episode for Steven Universe, along with a few other pilots, were released on Cartoon Network's video platform on May 21, 2013. They were taken down and redirected to a 404 page shortly after. On July 20, 2013, Cartoon Network uploaded an edited version of the pilot to both their official website and Facebook page. The pilots were also exhibited at the San Diego Comic-Con, and from July 27 to July 28, 2013, Cartoon Network aired a sneak peek of the pilot as part of Big Fan Weekend, along with the pilots for Clarence and Uncle Grandpa. A 30-minute panel dedicated to the series was hosted at the New York Comic Con on October 13, 2013, with Rebecca Sugar hosting. The series premiered on November 4, 2013 on Cartoon Network, with two episodes. New episodes started to air on January 13, 2014. The latest episode was season 1, episode 19, Rose's Room.
Initial announcements of the series have attained positive press for Sugar being the first female creator for any show produced by Cartoon Network Studios. When asked about her role as a solo female creator, she responded with gratitude towards the feedback, ultimately voicing her passion to be a role model "just in the sense that I get to make what the ultimate cartoon should be. I tried to be a role model [by showing that] anyone who wanted to could take really traditional ideas of animation and bring them into the present but keep all the trappings of what [was] used [to make cartoons great] in the past."
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