How ‘Steven Universe: The Movie’ introduces the Crystal Gems’ world
“Here we are in the future, and it’s bright.” Steven Universe: The Movie premiered last night on Cartoon Network after Steven Universe’s nearly 9 month hiatus. The film picks up two years from where season five’s finale “Change Your Mind” left off. Steven and the Crystal Gems are living their happily-ever-after until an unknown gem named Spinel comes to Earth with a drill that can wipe out all organic life.
Steven Universe: The Movie gives plenty of fanservice to those who patiently waited for the release, but surprisingly still enables non-fans to enjoy it. This movie comes after five seasons and 160 episodes of plot, so it’s shocking that the film could be used as an introduction for newcomers. Yet, thanks to a combination of efficient recaps and the time jump, newcomers to Steven Universe can easily use Steven Universe: The Movie as their jumping-off point.
Obviously we recommend anyone who’s interested in Steven Universe start with good ol’ S1E1. Given how big of a deal Steven Universe: The Movie is, it’s hard not to be intrigued. The film recognizes that and offers fans what they want while remaining easy to watch whether you know the show or not. Four key elements make Steven Universe: The Film versatile and understandable for everyone.
By sticking two exposition-heavy songs straight up in the beginning, newcomers completely understand the story leading into Steven Universe: The Movie. “Let Us Adore You” has the Diamonds explaining who Steven is and why he decides to return to Earth. This song also works as a reminder of the ending of “Change Your Mind”.
Directly after Steven’s return to Earth comes “Happily Ever After”, which sums up the events of each of the main Crystal Gems’ stories.
A full-length musical movie
One of the big appeals of Steven Universe is the music, with talented vocal performances from the main voice cast throughout all five seasons. There’s a reason “Stronger Than You” has been called a lesbian power anthem: it’s a kickass song!
The songs in Steven Universe: The Movie are just as catchy and enjoyable as the rest of the series. So those who know Steven Universe’s music but not the show will pay close attention to these songs.
“True Kinda Love” is arguably the catchiest out of the whole soundtrack from Steven Universe: The Movie, but plenty of other fantastic songs abound. The Steg/Opal duet “Independent Together” is gorgeous, especially with the Steg fusion that everyone didn’t know they needed. Pink Diamond stans may hate it, but Spinel’s “Drift Away” is tragically beautiful and the perfect introduction to her backstory.
Jumping into the future and separating from the show’s story
Normally it would make trying to get into a show a hundred times more confusing, but in the case of Steven Universe: The Movie, jumping ahead into the future actually makes the story easier to understand. The main plotlines of Steven Universe are wrapped up and pushed to the side for a totally new story to be told.
This new story focuses on a new antagonist, unknown Gem Spinel. Of course, with Spinel’s story wrapped up and Earth healed by the end of Steven Universe: The Movie, director and writer Rebecca Sugar has some work on her hands to develop a story for season six of Steven Universe.
Focusing on the lead characters’ arcs
Fan-favorite side characters have peppered Steven Universe’s run, some of whom are featured in Steven Universe: The Film such as Connie, Lion, Nanefua Pizza, Lars, Peridot, Lapis Lazuli, and Bismuth. But Steven Universe: The Film focuses mostly on Steven, Amethyst, Pearl, Garnet, and Spidel’s character arcs, avoiding confusion for first-time viewers.
For those who want to know where Steven Universe goes after this, the good news is more Steven Universe is coming. Both Cartoon Network and creator Rebecca Sugar have confirmed season six is happening. But nothing else has been revealed: no release dates, first looks, plot summaries, nothing. Besides Garnet, no one is sure of the future that awaits Steven and the Crystal Gems.