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Steven Universe (TV series)

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This article is about the television show. For the show's main character, see Steven Universe (character).

Steven Universe
Steven Universe logo

Created By




Rebecca Sugar

Cartoon Network

November 4, 2013 -


  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Fantasy[1]
  • Drama[2]

Steven Universe is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Steven, the youngest member of the Crystal Gems, a team of magical guardians who protect the Earth.

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. On July 25, 2014, it was announced that Steven Universe has been renewed for Season 2,[3] and on July 7, 2015, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a third season.[4]

The episode "Lion 3: Straight to Video" appeared in the list of nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Short-format Animation, but the list was removed.[5][6] It lost to Adventure Time episode "Jake the Brick".[7][8]


Main article: Episode Guide

In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil threats by the Crystal Gems, a group of intergalactic non-binary 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.

Voice cast

Main cast

Supporting cast

Special guest cast

NOTE: This is the cast for the episode "Say Uncle".


Concept and creation

The titular character, Steven, is roughly based on Sugar's younger brother Steven Sugar,[9] who is now a background artist for the online web series, Bravest Warriors, created by Pendleton Ward of Adventure Time fame (he is also a background artist for Steven Universe as well). Growing up, Sugar would create miscellaneous comics between herself and Steven, as well as with other friends.[10] 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."[11] 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.[9]


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".[12]


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".[12] 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.[13] The soundtrack for all of the episodes is composed by Aivi & Surasshu with some demos by Jeff Liu.

Broadcast history

The pilot episode for Steven Universe, along with a few other pilots, were released on Cartoon Network's video platform on May 21, 2013.[14] They were taken down and redirected to a 404 page shortly after.[15]

On July 20, 2013, Cartoon Network uploaded an edited version of the pilot to both their official website and Facebook page.[16] The pilots were also exhibited at the San Diego Comic-Con,[17] 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.[18]

The series premiered on November 4, 2013 on Cartoon Network, with two episodes. Season 1B ended on March 12, 2015, with Season 2 beginning on March 13, 2015. It's currently on a hiatus that will last until September.[19] The show is also available online internationally on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Instant Video, and in America on Hulu.


Initial announcements of the series have attained positive press for Sugar being the first female creator for any show produced by Cartoon Network Studios.[20] 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."[21]

Steven Universe has received critical acclaim for its music and voice performances, storytelling, its characterization, and the "breathtaking beauty", "intriguing, immersive environments" and "loveably goofy aesthetic" of its art.[22]


  • According to Matt Burnett and Joe Johnston, each episode takes approximately 9 to 12 months to make and release.[23]
    • After being pitched, approved and storyboarded, the phases of production are voice recording, animatics, design, overseas animation, editing, music and sound design.[24]
  • As a "board-driven" show, Steven Universe does not rely on traditional scripts. Instead, the writers write up episode outlines which cover the story framework, and then the outlines are given to teams of storyboard artists who do the storyboarding and write the dialogue.[25]
    • After the storyboards have been completed, a member of the production staff writes out the actual script for the recording session. Instead of scene headings or action descriptions like a traditional live action script, there are numbers corresponding to the numbered storyboard panels. During the recording sessions, showrunner Rebecca Sugar and voice director Kent Osborne pitch the scene to the actors using the storyboards as references.[26]
    • Storyboards are made with ToonBoom's Storyboard Pro software.[27]


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External links

Official links

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Digital distribution

Unofficial links

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Other Articles


  9. 9.0 9.1
  12. 12.0 12.1
  14. Amidi, Amid (2013-05-21). Sneak Peek: Cartoon Network's Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar. Cartoon Brew. Retrieved on 2013 August 11.
    "After storyboard, voice record->animatic->design->animated overseas->editing->music->sound design all have to happen."
    "As some of you know, Steven Universe is a storyboard driven show, meaning a team of storyboard artists are given an outline off of which they write all of the dialogue and storyboard the episode. The job of the outline, and my job, is to give them the basic framework for the episode - the story."

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