List of Steven Universe characters
Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar. It is produced by Cartoon Network Studios, and is the first show by the studio to be created by a woman. The series focuses on the adventures of the Crystal Gems—magical alien warriors who protect the Earth from their own kind—and the humans they interact with in the fictional town of Beach City. It has received critical acclaim for the diversity of its characters and their depth of characterization; its portrayal of relationships, including queer relationships; and its subversion of stereotypical gender norms.
- 1 Main characters
- 2 Major recurring characters
- 3 Other characters
- 4 References
The titular protagonist of the series, Steven Quartz Universe (voiced by Zach Callison) is the enthusiastic youngest and only male member of the Crystal Gems. His characterization is loosely inspired by the series creator Rebecca Sugar's younger brother Steven Sugar, who is also a background artist for the show. Steven's portrayal as a male character whose heroism is based on traditionally feminine-coded attributes such as empathy and nurturing, and who seeks to live up to the legacy of his heroic mother, has drawn favorable reaction from critics.
In the context of the show, Steven is the son of Greg Universe, a human musician, and Rose Quartz, the former leader of the Crystal Gems. Rose is described as having "given up her physical form to bring [Steven] into the world" as the first Gem-human hybrid; her rose quartz gemstone is embedded in his navel. At the time of the show's narrative, he is 12–14 years old, but appears younger (due to the interaction of his gem's magic with his aging process). Steven is caring, protective, brave, gentle, quick to make friends and forgive others, and eager to help the people he loves with their problems; his optimism is often a source of strength for the other Crystal Gems. His gem gives him a wide range of magical abilities; one of the long-term story arcs of the series is his progress in learning about and mastering these abilities, beginning in the first episode with his first successful attempt to summon his "Gem weapon", a shield. Other long-lasting character arcs involving Steven include his anxiety about filling his mother's place in the Crystal Gems and living up to her example, and his developing friendship with his human best friend, Connie.
The disciplined current leader of the Crystal Gems, Garnet (voiced by Estelle) is the strongest of the four. She is quiet, stoic, pragmatic, and described by Steven as "mysterious", but over the course of the series she becomes more emotionally open, especially in expressing her love for Steven. According to the writers, her great self-confidence is reflected in the fact that she never asks questions. She possesses red garnets embedded in her hands, from which she summons her Gem weapon, a pair of heavy gauntlets. She also has a precognitive ability she refers to as "future vision". Garnet has three eyes, over which she wears a visor.
In the first season finale, "Jail Break", it is revealed that Garnet is a fusion of two smaller Gems named Ruby and Sapphire. Garnet's existence is thus a personification of Ruby and Sapphire's loving relationship—she describes herself as "a conversation" and "made of love"—and her personality is a stable blending of Ruby and Sapphire's traits. The character of Garnet has won acclaim from critics as a representation of a queer relationship. Though she is normally stoic, Garnet's strongest emotional displays are often centered around fusion: anger and revulsion at what she perceives as abuses or perversions of fusion, and delight when Steven develops the ability to fuse. The second-season episode "The Answer", a flashback showing how Ruby and Sapphire met and formed Garnet for the first time, was nominated for an Emmy Award and adapted into a children's book.
The youngest of the Crystal Gems until Steven was born, Amethyst (voiced by Michaela Dietz) has a rebellious and hedonistic personality. Her mischievous sense of humor often provides comic relief, and her fun-loving and relatively childish nature bolsters her friendship with Steven. Her amethyst gemstone, from which she can summon a whip, is embedded on her chest; she also makes frequent use of shapeshifting capabilities. Late in the first season, Steven learns that Amethyst (unlike the other Crystal Gems) was created on Earth as part of the Gem Homeworld's "Kindergarten" project to convert Earth into a Gem-occupied world; later on, Amethyst herself learns that the Kindergarten produced her malformed, smaller and weaker than other Gems of her type (the "Quartz warrior" caste). Her irreverent personality masks deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, resentment, and fear that the other Crystal Gems do not respect her; a long-term character arc involves her learning to respect herself and her capabilities.
Designed to resemble a ballerina in her slender build, costume, and graceful style of movement, Pearl (voiced by Deedee Magno Hall) is a short-tempered, precise, intellectual strategist. Her gemstone is a white pearl embedded in her forehead, with which she can summon a spear and create holographic images. She is the most overtly motherly and protective toward Steven of the Gems. Late in the second season, it is revealed that, on the Gem Homeworld, pearls are a "made-to-order" servant caste; but Pearl has rejected her caste role and trained herself to be a capable fighter and technician. Pearl harbored a deep romantic devotion to Rose Quartz, which has led to lasting grief over Rose's absence and jealousy over her relationship with Greg; major character arcs for Pearl include her slowly learning to cope with and move beyond these emotions. Critical response to Pearl has largely appreciated her portrayal as a complex, sympathetic, yet flawed queer character.
Major recurring characters
Steven's father, Greg (voiced by Tom Scharpling) is a former rock singer who now lives in his van and runs a car wash in Beach City. Although Steven lives with the Gems during the time period of the narrative, Greg remains a constant presence in his life. Greg is laid-back, accepting, and supportive of Steven's adventures, though often made uncomfortable by Gem magic. In a series of flashback episodes, framed as stories told to Steven by Greg, it is shown how Greg abandoned his career as a touring musician to settle in Beach City and pursue a romantic relationship with Rose Quartz.
Connie (voiced by Grace Rolek) is Steven's best friend, who eventually becomes a member of the Crystal Gems. Connie is introduced as an intelligent, introverted, and lonely person in the early episode "Bubble Buddies", and she rapidly develops a close relationship with Steven. An avid reader of fantasy literature, she admires what she calls Steven's "magical destiny" and is eager to be a part of it; her increasing involvement in Gem adventures is a long-term plot arc of the show, including learning to fight with a sword belonging to Rose Quartz and coming to see herself as Steven's equal despite not having magical abilities of her own. Another character arc involving Connie is her learning to push back against her overprotective parents.
Lars and Sadie
Lars Barriga (voiced by Matthew Moy) and Sadie Miller (voiced by Kate Micucci) are teenaged employees at the Big Donut, the donut shop that Steven frequently visits. Lars is inconsiderate, irresponsible, and abrasive, but insecure and desperate to be accepted by those he considers to be the "cool kids". Sadie is friendly and shy, but has difficulty asserting herself and tends to try and fix Lars' issues for him. Despite Lars's negative attitude, Steven considers Lars a close friend, and Sadie has a crush on him. Lars and Sadie's intermittently affectionate and antagonistic relationship is a recurring focus of episodes in which both characters feature. Matthew Moy has stated that Lars is one of his favorite acting roles, and has described his character as a "complicated fellow". According to Rebecca Sugar, Lars and Sadie are based upon characters she created while in college. They appeared in both the pilot episode of Steven Universe and the first episode of the series proper; they are the only characters other than the Crystal Gems to have speaking roles in either of those episodes.
Lars is prominently featured at the end of season 4 and beginning of season 5, during which he is abducted and taken to the Gem homeworld with Steven; his character arc in these episodes focuses on him learning to overcome his fear of embarrassing himself and being perceived as inadequate. This storyline culminates when he is killed defending Steven and others from Homeworld security robots, and then brought back to life by Steven's healing powers. When revived, Lars's body has turned pink, and he manifests magical properties, including the ability for Steven to teleport to a pocket dimension via Lars's hair. At the end of this storyline, he remains behind on the Gem Homeworld when Steven returns to Earth.
At the time of her introduction, Lapis Lazuli (voiced by Jennifer Paz) is a Gem from Homeworld who has been trapped in a magical mirror on Earth for thousands of years. When the mirror is given to Steven in the first season, she forms a friendship with him, but she initially mistrusts the other Crystal Gems and attacks them upon being freed by Steven. As the first sentient Gem other than the Crystal Gems to appear in the series, Lapis's appearance sets the stage for deeper plot developments and is cited by the show's writers as "really the beginning of the show". In "Jail Break", the first season finale, she prevents the Homeworld Gem Jasper from attacking the Crystal Gems by fusing with her and imprisoning themselves at the bottom of the ocean. After being released from the fusion in "Super Watermelon Island", the first episode of the third season, her character arc in her intermittent appearances has involved recovering from the psychological trauma of having been imprisoned and having been part of an abusive fusion. She has extremely powerful telekinetic control over water, and can produce wings made of water from the lapis lazuli gemstone embedded on her back.
In her introduction, Peridot (voiced by Shelby Rabara) is a technician dispatched by the Gem Homeworld to check on remaining Gem installations on Earth; her appearance late in the first season becomes an ominous sign that the Crystal Gems are under threat from Homeworld. Stranded on Earth after the events of the first season finale, Peridot becomes a recurring antagonist in the first half of the second season, until she is eventually captured by the Crystal Gems; she then chooses to ally with them to defuse the "Cluster", a Gem "geo-weapon" placed by Homeworld to destroy the Earth. When the Crystal Gems first encounter her she wears technological "limb enhancers", giving her a fearsome and robotic appearance; when she is captured, she loses them and appears childlike without them. She plays a prominent role in the last part of the second season, during which her character arc centers around learning to outgrow the hierarchical, utilitarian mindset of Homeworld and appreciate the value of friendship, individuality, and life on Earth. She is cranky and self-aggrandizing in demeanor, but demonstrates willingness to learn from her mistakes and attempt to treat others with greater respect and kindness. Her gemstone is a triangular peridot embedded in her forehead, and she discovers in the third season that she has the ability to telekinetically control metal objects.
Introduced at the end of the first season, Jasper (voiced by Kimberly Brooks) is a powerful fighter and veteran of the ancient war against the Crystal Gems on the Homeworld side. She is openly contemptuous of those she perceives as weak or defective and is "determined to never be weak or vulnerable" herself. Her gemstone is a yellow jasper in the place of her nose, and her Gem weapon is a heavy helmet. Although she dismisses Gem fusion as a "cheap tactic to make weak Gems stronger", when she is defeated in battle by fusions she resorts to attempting fusion herself, with disastrous results. She is the principal recurring antagonist to the Crystal Gems in the second half of the third season; as a perfectly formed Quartz warrior, she becomes the target of Amethyst's resentment and desire to prove herself. At the end of the season, she attempts fusion with a corrupted Gem monster, becomes corrupted herself, and is neutralized and captured by the Crystal Gems.
The original leader of the Crystal Gems, Rose Quartz (voiced by Susan Egan) is Steven's mother, who "gave up her physical form" to allow Steven to be born. Her gem is a pink rose quartz embedded in her navel. Although she appears only in occasional flashbacks, her legacy and her absence define the lives and relationships of the other main characters. Fascinated by the diversity of life on the planet Earth and the wide range of experiences and growth available to its creatures, she led the ancient rebellion against the Gem Homeworld and its plans to colonize Earth for its resources. The Crystal Gems describe her to Steven as loving and seeing beauty in all forms of life, and flashback episodes show the development of her relationship with Greg from infatuation into love and understanding. Steven feels great pressure to live up to her example as a compassionate leader. His relationship with her memory is complicated at the end of the third season when he learns of morally questionable actions she undertook during the war. "Lion 3: Straight to Video", the first episode in which she appeared (via a videotaped message to Steven), was nominated for an Emmy Award for short-form animation.
Ruby and Sapphire
Ruby (voiced by Charlyne Yi) and Sapphire (voiced by Erica Luttrell)—the two smaller Gems who are the constituents of Garnet—first appeared in "Jail Break". They are portrayed as having contrasting personalities and abilities: Sapphire is emotionally reserved, has the ability to freeze her surroundings, and is described as a "rare, aristocratic" Gem, while Ruby is impulsive and hotheaded, can generate heat, and is in a caste of common foot soldiers. Garnet's qualities are the result of a "conversation" between these two contrasting personalities. Her future vision is derived from a precognitive ability of Sapphire's.
Lion (animal noises by Dee Bradley Baker) is a mysterious pink lion who protects Steven and possesses a variety of magical abilities. Steven regards Lion as a pet. Lion provides Steven with connections to Rose Quartz's legacy—he brings Steven and Connie to Rose's secret armory, and a number of Rose's keepsakes are stored in a pocket dimension accessible via his mane, including her sword and a videotaped message to Steven. Lion is introduced in the early episode "Steven's Lion", in which he appears mysteriously in the desert and follows Steven home. In season 5, it is implied that Lion was originally an ordinary lion, and developed his magical nature as an effect of being treated by Rose Quartz's healing tears, and Lion's pocket dimension is the same one that becomes accessible through Lars' hair.
Other human characters
Steven Universe possesses a large cast of occasionally-appearing human characters in Steven's hometown of Beach City, many of whom become the focus of individual episodes that explore their relationships with the main characters and each other. According to critic Sara Goodwin, one of the great strengths of Steven Universe as a series is the depth of development it gives to its "normal human being" characters and how the superpowered characters are affected by them.
Recurring human characters include:
- Buck Dewey (Lamar Abrams), Jenny Pizza (Reagan Gomez-Preston), and Sour Cream (Brian Posehn): the "cool kids", three older teenagers who become friendly with Steven, and whose friendship Lars seeks.
- Onion (Zach Callison): Sour Cream's younger half-brother, whose odd and destructive unsupervised behavior Steven finds disturbing.
- Ronaldo Fryman (Zach Steel): a conspiracy theorist blogger who occasionally attempts to investigate the paranormal events caused by the Gems. His blog, "Keep Beach City Weird", is maintained in-character on Tumblr by Steven Universe writers.
- Peedee Fryman (Atticus Shaffer) and Mr. Fryman (Billy Merritt): Peedee is Ronaldo's cynical and world-weary younger brother, and their father Mr. Fryman is the proprietor of the french-fry stand "Beach Citywalk Fries."
- Bill Dewey (Joel Hodgson): Buck's father, the approval-seeking mayor of Beach City.
- Dr. Maheswaran (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) and Mr. Maheswaran (Crispin Freeman): Connie's strict and overprotective parents. Priyanka is a doctor and Doug Maheswaran is a security guard.
- Kiki Pizza (Reagan Gomez-Preston), Kofi Pizza (Godfrey), and Nanefua Pizza (Toks Olagundoye): Jenny's sister, father, and grandmother. The Pizza family runs a restaurant called "Fish Stew Pizza." Steven Universe animator/director Ian Jones-Quartey based Nanefua on his grandmother, noted Ghanaian stateswoman Theodosia Okoh.
- Harold Smiley (Sinbad, later Colton Dunn): the overworked manager of the Beach City Funland amusement park and video arcade.
- Vidalia (Jackie Buscarino) and Yellowtail (Tom Scharpling): Onion's parents. Vidalia is an old friend of Amethyst and Greg and Yellowtail is a fisherman.
- Marty (Jon Wurster): Greg's greedy and manipulative former manager and Sour Cream's estranged father.
- Jamie (Eugene Cordero): a postman and aspiring actor.
- Barbara "Barb" Miller (Kate Flannery): Sadie's mother, and a postal carrier.
- Andy DeMayo (Dave Willis): Greg's cousin, a pilot, who is initially uncomfortable with Greg and Steven's unconventional lifestyle.
- Kevin (Andrew Kishino): an arrogant teenager who makes unwelcome advances on Stevonnie.
Other Gem characters
Great Diamond Authority
The Great Diamond Authority are the leaders of the Gem Homeworld and the existing Gem colonies, whom all other Gems are created to serve and regard with veneration. Yellow Diamond (voiced by Patti LuPone) is shown to be unforgiving and impatient; at the end of the second season, it is her vindictive disdain towards Earth that leads to Peridot's defection to the Crystal Gems. Blue Diamond (voiced by Lisa Hannigan), who first appears in the second season in a flashback in "The Answer", makes her first in-person appearance in the fourth season, deep in mourning. Blue and Yellow Diamond are both motivated by their mutual grief over Pink Diamond, who is revealed at the end of the third season to have been shattered by Rose Quartz during the rebellion. The existence of a fourth, White Diamond, has been inferred by some viewers, including The Mary Sue's critic Vrai Kaiser and The A.V. Club's critic Eric Thurm, but if she exists she has not yet been mentioned in the series.
The Crystal Gems' weaponsmith during the ancient rebellion, Bismuth (voiced by Uzo Aduba) is passionately devoted to overthrowing the hierarchical structure of Gem society and grateful to Rose Quartz for showing her that an alternative existed. In the show's special hundredth episode, Steven discovers her gem (a bismuth crystal) stored in a bubble in Lion's mane and accidentally frees her. Steven eventually learns that Bismuth was bubbled by Rose as the result of an argument over war tactics: Rose rejected Bismuth's proposed use of a weapon that would permanently destroy enemy Gems, rather than incapacitate them. When the same argument plays out again, Steven is forced to bubble her once more.
Aduba's guest performance, and Bismuth's portrayal as a sympathetic character whose complex disagreement with Steven has no easy answers, won praise from critics, although some commentators objected to possible stereotypical implications in the portrayal of a character played by an African-American woman as holding a dangerously militant ideology.
The Ruby squad (all voiced by Charlyne Yi) consists of five Ruby soldiers sent by Yellow Diamond to locate Jasper during the third season. Yi's performance of their diverse personalities drew praise from critics. Steven nicknames them according to the location of their gems: Leggy, Eyeball, Navy, Army, and the leader Doc. They are portrayed as comically gullible, but become ruthless in their opposition to the Crystal Gems once they finally realize that they have been tricked.
Centipeetle (monster noises by Dee Bradley Baker) is an acid-spitting, centipede-like corrupted Gem monster that first appeared in the series premiere "Gem Glow", in which the Crystal Gems fight and defeat her and encase her in a bubble. In the mid–first-season episode "Monster Buddies", Steven frees her from her bubble and befriends her; in the third season, he is able to partially and temporarily heal her gem's corruption, and he learns of her history as a member of the Homeworld army who was left behind when the Homeworld Gems fled Earth.
Pearls (all voiced by Deedee Magno Hall) are a servant Gem caste on Homeworld, belonging to respected Gems. Aside from the principal character Pearl, pearls belonging to Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond (labeled Blue and Yellow Pearl in the credits) have appeared in the show to date.
Holly Blue Agate
Holly (voiced by Christine Pedi) is the supervisor of Pink Diamond's human zoo, under the direction of Blue Diamond. She is abusive and dismissive to all of her subordinates at the zoo and grovels incessantly to any superior-ranking gem she encounters.
Aquamarine (voiced by Della Saba) is a Gem sent on a mission by Homeworld in the fourth season, accompanied by Topaz. Her childlike, innocent appearance is at odds with her ruthlessness and sarcastic personality; Steven describes her as "awful, small, and mean".
Topaz (voiced by Martha Higareda) is a fusion of two Topazes who imprison captured humans by fusing around them. Although she is silent and menacing in her first appearance, she soon reveals a sentimental and sympathetic side.
A group of fugitive Gems on Homeworld, first appearing in season five, who live in hiding underground because they are regarded as defective or do not conform to Homeworld's expectations. They include the Rutile Twins (voiced by Ashly Burch), a Gem with two conjoined bodies from the waist up; Fluorite (voiced by Kathy Fisher), a huge caterpillar-like fusion of six Gems; Padparadscha (voiced by Erica Luttrell), a Sapphire whose "future vision" can only predict the recent past; and Rhodonite (voiced by Enuka Okuma), an anxious two-Gem fusion.
Fusion is a process whereby two or more Gems combine their physical forms and minds to create a larger and more powerful individual. They are often able to combine the Gem weapons of their component Gems into a more powerful fused weapon. While the Gem Homeworld allows Gems of the same caste to fuse, forming a larger version of the components' identical forms, the formation of mixed-Gem fusions is rare and considered offensive. Mixed-Gem Fusions usually have extra body parts; for example, Garnet has three eyes and Opal has four arms. Garnet describes the experience of being a fusion in this way: "You are not one person. And you are not two people. You are an experience." The concept of fusion is used by the writers for thematic purposes as a broad metaphor for a range of types of intimacy and relationships.
Garnet is listed above as a main character; below, other fusions involving major characters are listed in order of appearance.
- Opal (voiced by Aimee Mann): The fusion of Amethyst and Pearl, who appears in the early episode "Giant Woman" as Steven's introduction to the concept of Gem fusion. Amethyst and Pearl rarely fuse, as their conflicting personalities make it difficult for them to achieve the necessary mental and physical harmony. Opal can combine Pearl's spear and Amethyst's whip into a bow.
- Sugilite (voiced by Nicki Minaj): The fusion of Garnet and Amethyst, featured prominently in the first-season episode "Coach Steven". Sugilite's behavior is dangerously violent, as Amethyst and Garnet's personalities when fused together become more unrestrained and aggressive, and she is unwilling to be split back up into Garnet and Amethyst. She can combine Garnet's gauntlets and Amethyst's whip into a giant flail.
- Alexandrite (voiced by Rita Rani Ahuja): The combined fusion of Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, introduced in the first-season episode "Fusion Cuisine". She is formidable in combat, but confused and unstable when trying to socialize with Connie's parents. She appears in the mobile video game Steven Universe: Attack the Light! as a powerful combined-attack move.
- Stevonnie (voiced by AJ Michalka): The fusion of Steven and Connie, and the only known instance of a human successfully participating in Gem fusion. Introduced in the first-season episode "Alone Together", Stevonnie has the appearance of a beautiful teenager of indeterminate or nonbinary gender. The character has received critical acclaim both as a rare example of a nonbinary character and as a metaphor by which the writers explore themes of puberty and maturation, consent, and healthy communication.
- Malachite (voiced by Kimberly Brooks and Jennifer Paz): The fusion of Jasper and Lapis Lazuli. In the first season finale, Jasper fuses with Lapis in order to defeat the Crystal Gems, only for Lapis to take control of the fusion and imprison themselves at the bottom of the ocean. Though unstable, Malachite remains fused until she is defeated in battle by Alexandrite in the third season premiere. In the third-season episode "Alone at Sea", in the aftermath of Malachite's separation, Jasper and Lapis's fusion is used as a metaphor for an abusive relationship.
- Sardonyx (voiced by Alexia Khadime): The fusion of Garnet and Pearl, who has the personality of an elegant but attention-seeking entertainer. She can combine Garnet's gauntlets and Pearl's spear into a giant warhammer. A major plot arc in the second season, advertised as the "Week of Sardonyx", deals with Pearl tricking Garnet into fusing for fabricated reasons, and the emotional consequences of that violation.
- Smoky Quartz (voiced by Natasha Lyonne): The fusion of Steven and Amethyst. Smoky Quartz first appears in the episode "Earthlings", near the end of the third season, formed during a moment of commiseration between Steven and Amethyst over their shared fears of not being able to live up to their potential. Smoky Quartz can combine Steven's shield and Amethyst's whip into a yo-yo that they use in combat.
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