|Masters of the Universe character|
Catra in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
|First appearance||The Secret of the Sword|
|Portrayed by||Melendy Britt (1985)|
AJ Michalka (2018)
|Alias||C’yra of D’riluth III|
Princess of Purrsia
Catra is a fictional antagonist in the toyline, and animated television series, She-Ra: Princess of Power and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which is part of the Masters of the Universe franchise.
In both animated series, Catra is the Force-Captain of Hordak's Evil Horde, a position previously held by Adora before she defected. In the first series, Catra displays minor sorcery abilities, possessing a magical mask, which when slid over her face gives the ability to transform into a purple panther-like beast, also showing telepathic control over all cats; in the second series she has cat-like features of her own, including a tail and claws.
In the toyline, she is the principal villain.
In She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985)
Fictional character biography
In Filmation's She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon series, Hordak is the leader of the Evil Horde, with Catra as of one of his minions. However, when the Princess of Power toyline was released, Mattel decided to make the male Evil Horde characters part of the Masters of the Universe toyline, and therefore Catra became She-Ra's nemesis in the Princess of Power toyline instead. When a race called the Magicats were taken prisoner, their Queen set out to find them. The Queen, however, was also captured and imprisoned by Hordak. Without the magical mask which bestowed on her the title of Queen, she was powerless to escape. Hordak had taken the mask from her and had given it to Catra, from which she gained additional feline qualities to those of her native Purrsia, and the ability to transform into a large panther. To transform into her feline state, Catra slides the mask from her forehead over her eyes. In her cat form, she retains the ability to speak and possesses greater strength than her human form. When Adora is reconciled with her twin brother Adam, she leaves the Horde and is replaced by Catra as the Force-Captain. Several times, while serving Hordak, Catra strikes out on her own, showing that she does not need Hordak. This is quite evident when Catra betrays Hordak to Skeletor, in an attempt to overthrow him. Even though there are a few other female villains in The Horde, Catra does not get on that well with any of them, only working with them as a last resort. She appears to have a particularly intense rivalry with fellow female villain Scorpia. Catra, along with the other Horde members, holds an intense hatred for Imp.
With the magical mask, Catra is able to transform into a panther with light purple fur. One of the most overlooked details about Catra is that she also possesses the power of teleportation. She only demonstrates this ability on one occasion and it is uncertain where this power originates, although it is assumed that it is another power bestowed by her magical mask. However, the Magicat elder, Tao states that the Queen kept virtually all of the mask's powers secret, so this is unlikely. However, Tao does reveal one of the powers to Catra called Freezefire, which generates an energy beam that can encase its target in ice. Catra has subsequently lost any knowledge of this power. Additionally, the Magicat Percival, states that once the mask has been used for evil, it can no longer be used for good.
Catra is also the owner of a pink lion named Clawdeen. Clawdeen only appears once during the series' run. In that episode, she scares the rebels into the Cage-Mines so The Horde can capture them. Bow traps her in one of the Cage-Mines and she is never seen again.
In the Ladybird books, Clawdeen is female (despite looking like a male lion in the animated series) and only referred to as a giant cat. Nonetheless, she can talk and is Catra's mode of transportation. She also appears in the mini-comic "A Born Champion," but has a minor role.
In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018–present)
In the 2018 series, a teenage Catra was a childhood friend of Adora, raised alongside her by their trainer/mother-figure, Shadow Weaver. Though Adora defended Catra from Shadow Weaver's emotional abuse throughout their childhood, Catra resented Adora for the favoritism shown her by Shadow Weaver. Furthermore, unlike Adora, Catra is well aware of the Horde's manipulations and accepted it for the sake of her own ambitions. After Adora defects from the Horde, Catra rejects her former friend's attempt to talk her into leaving as well. Stevenson explains: “Catra’s feelings of betrayal towards Adora are personal. Adora’s more idealistic, and she loves everyone in the world and wants to save everybody. Catra can’t understand or accept that. That’s the core tragedy, not just of the characters, but of the show.”
Catra seizes the opportunity to prove herself to the Horde and is quickly promoted to Force Captain by Lord Hordak. Although her plan to capture Adora fails, Catra is able win the allegiance of the eccentric genius Princess Entrapta, providing the Horde with new technology for an attempted conquest of Etheria. Although that plan fails as well, Catra impresses Hordak enough to replace Shadow Weaver as his second in command.
During the second and third seasons, Hordak begins losing faith in Catra due to her arrogance and putting her personal grudges before the Horde's agenda. When Shadow Weaver is due to be exiled, she tricks Catra into providing the means for her to escape. As punishment for her mistake, she is sent on a dangerous mission in the hazardous desert of the Crimson Waste. There she becomes the leader of a local band of bandits, and is tempted to abandon the Horde for her new life in the desert, but when she learns that Shadow Weaver has defected to the rebels, her resentment and jealousy of Adora drives her to return to the Horde. Obsessed with vengeance, she activates Hordak's experimental portal even though she knows it might destroy the planet, and then blames Entrapta for its failure.
In the fourth season, Catra coerces Hordak into letting her command the Horde's war effort, and hires shapeshifting mercenary Double Trouble to sow dissent in the Rebellion. But the Horde's victories leave Catra unsatisfied, as her obsession with proving herself drives off her few remaining friends. When Hordak learns the truth of Entrapta's exile from Double Trouble, he attacks her, but she immobilizes him. Double Trouble switches sides, enabling the Rebellion to reverse the Horde's gains; their analysis of Catra's character flaws causes her to emotionally break down and accept her defeat. At the end of the season, Catra manages to convince Hordak's creator Horde Prime to refrain from destroying Etheria in order to use it as a weapon.
In popular culture
Catra appears in the Robot Chicken episode "Slaughterhouse on the Prairie", voiced by Eden Espinosa. She accompanies Scorpia and Entrapta into attacking Castle Bright Moon only to be impaled on Scorpia's tail by She-Ra.
Comic Book Resources listed the original incarnation of the character in He-Man: Eternia’s 15 Mightiest Villains. The rebooted incarnation of Catra has been praised as one of the show's most complex and interesting characters.
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