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She-Ra Interview: New York Comic Con 2018

This year Netflix reboots the classic eighties cartoon She-Ra. The show will feature She-Ra/Princess Adora as she leads her people against the evils of the Horde. This time with the show has a more modern, less objectifying take on the female heroes of Etheria. Created by Noelle Stevenson, the show will star Aimee Carrero (She-Ra/Adora) and Karen Fukuhara (Glimmer).

Noelle Stevenson is already an accomplished writer at just 26 years of age, having worked on various comics and both the Big Hero 6 (the series) and Duck Tales animated series. The American-born cartoonist is perhaps best known for her work on the fantasy comic Nimona, and now takes on She-Ra as creator and executive producer.

Aimee Carrero is a Dominican Republic-born actress raised in Miami. Though she holds a degree in International Relations, Carrero found her calling in entertainment. She’s appeared on screen in The Last Witch Hunter and NBC’s Blindspot, and currently voices another animated princess, Elana of Avalor on the Disney Channel. She’ll voice She-Ra’s main character, Princess Adora.

Karen Fukuhara already held a brown striped belt in karate, but it was months of sword training that allowed the Japanese-American actress to make her big-screen debut as Katana in Suicide Squad. In addition to playing Glimmer in She-Ra, she’ll also star alongside Karl Urban in Amazon Prime’s upcoming series The Boys, about CIA agents tasked with handling superheroes and keeping them in line.

Screen Rant: Welcome to New York Comic Con. We're here with the cast of She-Ra and also the creator of the reboot. I'm excited for this because when I was a kid, I was a She-Ra and He-Man fan. I remember it old school. What inspired the new version of what we're going to be getting?

Noelle Stevenson: Oh, so it was really just trying to find a version of this show that honors the original and captures the feeling of the original. Like the feeling that you get when you're that kid and you're watching Saturday morning cartoons or you're playing with the action figures and taking that so that kids today can have that same experience. It's going to be different in a lot of ways of course, but really just, you know, capturing that same, environment, the same atmosphere, the same fun of the original.

Screen Rant: So Aimee, this is an iconic character. How does it feel to step into these shoes per se? Or I guess use your voice to kind of step into these shoes?

Aimee Carrero: Voice shoes are great. No, it's intimidating. You know, I think like anything else, especially because when I first got the audition, I think I just missed the She-Ra, He-man – I was a little too young for it when it came out or not even born yet! But my husband as soon as –  because sometimes I'll read things out loud, I'm like “She-Ra”, And he was like “She-Ra”! He filled me in and I watched some of the episodes on youtube. And it was a very intimidating thing to know that it was such an iconic cultural experience for so many people. But you kind of do have to set that aside in order to do the job because otherwise you would just fall apart.

Karen Fukuhara: I actually got the same reaction from a lot of my older friends because I didn't know that it was a reboot when I first went in to audition for it. I had no idea. And then when I started talking about the role that I had just booked, everyone went crazy about it and they said, oh, I used to watch it as a kid. It was one of my favorite shows. I'm so excited to hear your voice and your take on it. And, I mean this journey has been really awesome. I think we've, or Noelle and the writers have tweaked and changed a lot of it, but I hope, I hope the older hardcore fans still can appreciate it.

Screen Rant: Well, chat me up about glimmer a little bit. What can we expect from glimmer?

Karen Fukuhara: Glimmer is the princess of Bright Moon. She's wildly enthusiastic about everything she does and she's passionate and she's stubborn. She, and Bo and Adora kind of come together as the best friend squad to, to defeat the greater evil.

Screen Rant: Noelle, talk to me about the transition from making this because this is an iconic 80 series. So talk to me about some of the differences that we're going to be seeing in this new version, but also some of the things that we're going to keep from the original series as well.

Noelle Stevenson: I mean, everything in the show has its roots in the original series, you know. It's so fun for me, like it's the feeling of being a kid again in a lot of ways and saying, here's my box of action figures, here's what I have to play with. So, you know, you have a character like Adora or like Glimmer and you have the basics about them from the show. And then, you know, you try and take it to the next step. You're sort of like, okay, Adora was raised in this evil army. It makes sense that, for example, she would still have friends there when she left. Leaving might've been really hard for her because this is her family essentially. Getting more into that. I think the Masters of the Universe, He-Man and She-Ra has always been about the characters. So it's finding a way to let those characters shine and making them feel real, like they could exist in the world. So that's the challenge and that's what every single thing, you know, I think every, almost every single thing in the show has its roots in the original. It's just finding new ways to twist that, to explore that and, you know, find a new way to make these stories feel real.

Screen Rant: Aimee, you are no stranger to voicing princesses. So talk to me about how this princess may be different differ from the other princess you play.

Aimee: Yeah, She-Ra/Adora she has a darker past. I mean, she was sort of brainwashed as a child into thinking that she was working for the good guys and then she realizes, you know, as a teen and pretty quickly within our series that she isn't actually working for the good guys. In fact, I think there is a line that's like, “you literally worked for the evil Horde: It’s like that. And she's like, “well no princesses are evil”. So there's that. There's a darker past, and I think this is much more a story, at least for Adora, at least for me, maybe my own private story is really a story about redemption and about being a leader and what that means. And I think in our story, in the She-Ra story , it's so much more about the sacrifice of a leader and, all the learning curve of a leader than it is about any kind of royalty or any kind of special gown or anything like that.

Screen Rant: Now, Karen, She-Ra was an important property to a lot of people and you've been a part of that before with Suicide Squad in the past. What are you hoping that translates, that hardcore fans can grasp onto in the series?  

Karen Fukuhara: You know, I think that it's cool because our show is very relevant to today's culture and t's very modern. I hope that the hardcore fans from the past can enjoy what we bring to the table, although it might be different from what they're used to, and start a conversation with the younger generation, about the topics in a fun way.

Screen Rant: Now, Noelle. You've also wrote an episode of one of my other favorites. Duck Tails. Let's talk about classic eighties cartoons. What other reboots would you guys like to see? All of you?

Noelle Stevenson: Oh, I feel like they're, like so many things have been rebooted.

Aimee Carrero: I know one that hasn't. Rugrats. Not an eighties baby. Cat Dog. Rocko’s Modern Life.

Karen Fukuhara: Can I jump in and say Recess?

Noelle Stevenson: I don't have one. She-Ra. That’s the one we should all go watch.

Aimee Carrero: It's so cool that you're like, when someone's like, what do you have to reboot? And you're like, I already did it. It's called She-Ra.

Noelle Stevenson: People ask me these questions now and I'm like, I've been making a show, I don't have time to watch things.

Screen Rant: How much research actually goes into the old show that you, that you actually have to study?

Noelle Stevenson: We're such nerds. We get so deep into it so it will be in the writer's room and we've been in there for like five days and we're all like conspiracy theorists, like making like ribbon boards and stuff and like, and we're like, we're combing through old episodes, were looking for things. We're looking to expand the lore, you know, it's like, oh, we could bring this creature back. We could be like, we need a character who's going to be like this. Why don't we try and use this classic character? And you know, it's so much fun. We do a lot of research. We love the original show. And it's really fun.

Aimee Carrero: I think you were kind of limited as to what we can say about it, but there are so many characters that you're going to recognize. There are so many and you're going to be so happy I think.

Noelle Stevenson: Yes, you're going to be incredibly happy.

Screen Rant: Can you just give me a wink if Battlecat, my favorite character, is going to be in any of the episodes.

Noelle Stevenson: There is a cat who battles. If you like cats, you'll be happy.

Screen Rant: Karen, what have you learned through the voiceover process? Is this a lot different than other stuff you may have done previously?

Karen Fukuhara: Yes, absolutely. You know, other than the fact that you can be so much bigger than what you actually are naturally because you are not restrained by your physical appearance with voiceover. Other than that, I've also portrayed a lot of characters on screen that are a lot darker, has dark past. It's not really happy go lucky. So I love playing Glimmer because I get to tap into the girlier side of who I am. Even though she is very girly and she's wearing a purple dress or a purple outfit and pink hair and everything, she also has the strong side that kind of also taps into what I've done in the past onscreen. So it kind of marries both. it's super fun playing her.

Screen Rant: I'm a big fan of the animation style that you guys chose to go with this. I really like it a lot. What went into that decision that you were like, you know, this is the style that we kind of want to go with?

Noelle Stevenson: A lot went into it. Obviously creating the new looks of the characters was a really careful process that had a lot of eyes on it and a lot of voices. But ultimately, you know, we wanted characters who paid some homage to the original so that they were more or less a realistically rendered. But also had an iconic nature to them, where they would be simplified in certain ways so that, you know, they would read more, more quickly as being their own character so that they're not all the same body type.

They're not all the same mold. They are, every character is unique in the way that they're shaped the way that they're dressed., So that was really important to us to show different types of characters, different types of body types, different races, making sure we had a diverse a cast was very important to us. Also, you know, infusing a little bit of that because she has that magical girl side to her, a little bit of that anime influence as well. So that was all of the thoughts that were going into the show while we were making it. Also just making sure that they seemed like they were cool, fun people that you'd want to be friends with. That’s the idea.

Karen Fukuhara: A lot of the animation goes to Korea.

Noelle Stevenson: Yes, we have a Korean studio. They're incredible to work with. Incredible partners. Every time I get animation back it blows my mind. Hand drawn animation is one of the coolest things in the world.

Screen Rant: I'm really appreciative of that. Mainly because I don't feel like, besides anime, there's really a lot of hand drawn animation out there left. So that's interesting. Now Aimee you're obviously a big influence for a lot of young women by playing another iconic role. What are you hoping audiences take away from this version of She-Ra?

Aimee Carrero: I hope they take away that no matter how young you are, you can always kind of reset your priorities in your life. She is young. This Adora is in her teens and yet has made her mistakes but is finding a new way to service the world. And I think this is a question that not only young women feel right now, I think everybody feels like, what can I bring to this world that I've inherited, what can I do to make it better? And so I hope that in watching Adora, somebody else do it in a safe way, in an animated world, they feel a little empowered to make a brave choice to stand up for somebody that doesn't have a voice. And every day is a new day. You can start again. Even if you were working for the Horde one day, you can be working for the Princess of Etheria the next day. So you can make a change.

Noelle Stevenson: And that's the thing. I mean, the characters make mistakes too. I think that that's important for kids to see, to be like, oh, you know, sometimes seeing an aspirational character, the temptation is to be like they are perfect at everything on the first try. They always look great doing it and they don't mess up. Our characters mess up. I think it’s important for kids to see, especially female characters doing that knowing that there's still a way forward that you can still be that inspirational, aspirational leader. You don't have to get it right every time. The important thing is that you try and that you're brave.

Screen Rant: Now being on Netflix, um, has that changed anything at all with the development process or any kind of speed that you may do from traditional television at all?

Noelle Stevenson: Oh, absolutely. I think working with Netflix is so exciting because it's this kind of new way of making cartoons. Before you might not know when it's going to air, what the order is going to be on the air. So doing a serialized story was, was harder in the past or when it's not on, when you can't binge all the episodes at once. With Netflix, you know that someone's going to sit down and watch one, two, three, maybe the whole season at once. And so you don't have to remind people all the time of plot devices that might've come up a couple episodes ago. You can assume that they've just watched it. So I think that really frees us up to really have a very serialized story, have a lot of continuity and you know, have a lot of mythology as well. So that's really exciting.

Screen Rant: And then last question and this is a little off topic real quick. Karen, there's not a lot known about Birds of Prey. What can you tell me about it?

Karen Fukuhara: Can't tell you anything about it.

Screen Rant: Fair enough. Guys, thank you so much for joining us. I'm super excited to see She-Ra. You guys are amazing.

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