She-Ra’s Origins. The spin-off of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, this show was designed a bit differently than its predecessor. While the first show was based off of the Masters of the Universe toy line by Mattel, She-Ra: Princess of Power was designed in collaboration between the toymaker and Filmation Associates, who animated both shows. She-Ra’s target audience was a young female crowd to compliment the young male viewers of He-Man. However, She-Ra was still designed with toy lovers in mind, as a way to boost the sales of Mattel’s Barbie dolls. The plan actually seems to have worked, as Barbie sales topped $350 million by 1986, about a year after Princess of Power began its syndicated run.
Beloved by Both Girls and Boys. Despite the intent to be an aid to Barbie sales, She-Ra was preferred by more kids. In a survey of children, She-Ra was voted “most likely to hold back tears.” Girls liked her assertiveness while Barbie was seen as more passive. And boys liked that She-Ra was smart and strong, while they disliked Barbie for focusing on material things, like her Dream House.
Almost on the Big Screen. The titular character was almost featured in the 1987 Dolph Lundgren adaptation Masters of the Universe, but director Gary Goddard decided he would feature She-Ra in the sequels. But of course, the live action series never got its sequel.
Hey, that looks familiar! Many shots in She-Ra: Princess of Power were actually recycled from He-Man in order to save money, as Filmation’s animation style operated very much under the mantra of “quantity over quality.” Kids didn’t really notice the reused assets though, so this helped the studio make a lot more money off of the cartoons. And if you recognize certain sound effects, that’s because they reused effects from 1978’s Battlestar: Galactica.
Mattel actually purchased a rival, Sheera. This really wasn’t a rival so much as Mattel wanting to make sure they had their bases covered. Barbara Hambly’s fantasy novel, Ladies of Mandrigyn, featured a character named Sheera. There were no real similarities other than the name, but Mattel paid her $25,000 just in case.
She Almost Had A Second Career. In 2006, there was some talk of reintroducing the character, but rebranded as a rock star. Fans were outraged at the idea of replacing She-Ra’s sword with a guitar. The idea never went anywhere, but She-Ra has returned into popular culture through the production of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
Respecting the Character. The series’ writers found that creating action scenes for She-Ra was even more frustrating than with He-Man because not only did they have to minimize the violence, but they also had to contend with what they considered sexist pressure against the idea of a female hero. The titular character design includes a skirt, but it never flies up, despite her acrobatic prowess. An executive producer specifically asked the animation coordinator to make sure that the character’s modesty was kept intact.
The Influences Continue. Just like its predecessor’s original concept, She-Ra was heavily influenced by George Lucas’ Star Wars. The cartoon’s major conflict is about the Great Rebellion fighting to free the land of Etheria from Hordak, very similar to the main theme taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Consider this as well: She-Ra and He-Man are twins, just like the characters of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia from Star Wars.