My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
|My Little Pony: Equestria Girls|
|Films and television|
|Video games||Equestria Girls mini game in the Gameloft mobile game|
|Toys||My Little Pony: Equestria Girls|
|Launched||2013; 3 years ago|
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls is an American product line of fashion dolls and media franchise featuring anthropomorphized version of My Little Pony characters, launched in 2013 by Hasbro as a spin-off of the 2010 reboot of main My Little Pony franchise. It includes various doll lines and media spin-offs (including multiple films, music albums, and a mobile app).
Development and release
The earliest use of the "Equestria Girls" name occurred during 2011, when the American television channel The Hub (a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Hasbro; now known as Discovery Family) released a promotional commercial for Hasbro's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic television series which featured a modified version of Katy Perry's "California Gurls"; the commercial has nothing to do with the later-launched franchise, however. Meanwhile, fans had registered the domain name "equestriagirls.com", but it was later shut down and taken over by Hasbro.
Initial speculation on the franchise was found through trademark registrations for the name "Equestria Girls" by Hasbro in late 2012. The franchise was briefly mentioned in the Kidscreen magazine released at the 2013 American International Toy Fair in February 2013. Hasbro's senior vice president of international distribution and development, Finn Arnesen, called My Little Pony a "top-priority" brand for the company; the film was described as "a new companion series" that would "[send] the pony heroes on a mission to a new world where they take on human form". The film was formally announced in The New York Times in May 2013. Equestria Girls was part of the 30th anniversary of the My Little Pony brand.
Along with the toys, Hasbro planned to produce related merchandise and media including film, publishing, apparel and accessories. Hasbro's chief marketing officer, John A. Frascotti, called the franchise a "major strategic initiative" for the company. The human-based toys were developed to appeal to girls in their teens as a means to extend the My Little Pony brand. In addition, Hasbro will continue its licensing deals with book publisher Little, Brown and Company and comic book publisher IDW Publishing to publish related works.
In the audio commentary of the Rainbow Rocks DVD, Meghan McCarthy commented that Equestria Girls was initially not intended to become an ongoing franchise, and the thought of a sequel did not cross her mind.
|This section requires expansion with:
- Equestria Girls (2013): The first lineup to be released, it features humanized version of My Little Pony characters from the 2010 relaunch.
- Rainbow Rocks (2014): The succeeding lineup named Rainbow Rocks, featuring music-themed toys and media, was announced by Hasbro as part of a press kit at the 2014 International Toy Fair.
- Friendship Games (2015)
- Equestria Girls Minis (2015): A lineup featuring caricatured Equestria Girls characters.
- Legend of Everfree (2016)
The following characters made their debut in the Equestria Girls series, which is primarily set in a fictional world parallel to the pony-inhabited fantasy setting of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic television series, accessible via a magic mirror. The toys and other series of media additionally features alternate humanoid versions of pony characters in roles similar to the television series; characters as depicted in the television series who travel between worlds assume similar forms in the alternative setting.
Characters who originated from Friendship Is Magic
|This section requires expansion with: Additional characters. (July 2016)|
- Twilight Sparkle – Two alternate versions of Twilight Sparkle appear in the Equestria Girls series. In the first two lineups, Twilight is primarily the same princess character from Friendship Is Magic, transformed into a human teenager after traveling from the pony-inhabited world of Equestria. The Friendship Games lineup formally introduces the alternate universe counterpart of Twilight, a curious student at Crystal Prep Academy who transfers to Canterlot High School, occasionally distinguished as "Sci-Twi".
- Spike – In the Equestria Girls series, Spike the baby dragon is depicted as a dog with the ability to speak. Similar to Twilight, the character's Friendship Is Magic incarnation appears in the first two lineups, masquerading as a speechless animal. His alternate universe counterpart included in the Friendship Games lineup is "Sci-Twi's" ordinary pet dog who gains his speaking ability from Equestrian magic.
- Applejack - A Canterlot High student who works on her family's farm. She is the bass player for the Rainbooms, a band formed by the alternate world versions of the Mane 6.
- Fluttershy - Fluttershy's alternate universe counterpart is a Canterlot High student who is a volunteer worker at the local animal shelter. She is the first alternate version of the Mane 6 that Princess Twilight encounters in the first movie. She is also the tambourine player for the Rainbooms.
- Pinkie Pie - an eccentric and friendly Canterlot High student. She is the percussionist for the Rainbooms.
- Rainbow Dash - A student/star athlete at Canterlot High, stated to be the captain of every sports team the school has. She is the lead guitarist for the Rainbooms.
- Rarity - A Canterlot High student and a talented seamstress, much like her Friendship Is Magic counterpart. She plays keytar for the Rainbooms.
- Principal Celestia - the principal of Canterlot High.
- Vice Prinicpal Luna - the vice principal of Canterlot High. Like her counterpart from Equestria, she is Celestia's younger sister.
- Dean Cadance - the dean of Crystal Prep Academy who maintains a close friendship with Twilight's human counterpart. Her only appearance in the film series was in Friendship Games.
- Shining Armor - Twilight's older brother and an alumni of Crystal Prep Academy. His only appearance in the film series was a small appearance in Friendship Games.
- Trixie Lulamoon - a self-absorbed student at Canterlot High. Negated to the background for most of her appearances, she has a minor role in Rainbow Rocks, manipulated by the Dazzlings into going up against the Rainbooms.
- Filthy Rich - appears in Legend of Everfree.
- Sunset Shimmer – Introduced in the first lineup, Sunset is a unicorn from Equestria who resides in the alternative universe as a student at Canterlot High. In the films, the character is depicted to be a renegade student of Princess Celestia's who was once corrupted but is later reformed. She is the antagonist of the first film, where she is the school bully of Canterlot High School who steals Twilight Sparkle's crown-shaped Element of Magic to control the school. After Twilight pursues and defeats her alongside the counterparts of Twilight's friends, Sunset befriends them. Later films follow her efforts to redeem herself and fit in among the student body. Sunset did not become a main character until the second draft of the script for Rainbow Rocks film. She is voiced by Rebecca Shoichet in all animated appearances.
- Flash Sentry – Introduced in the first lineup, Flash Sentry appears as a Canterlot High student. The character appears in all Equestria Girls films, being depicted as Sunset Shimmer's ex-boyfriend who takes a romantic interest in Twilight Sparkle. His counterpart in Equestria, a royal pegasus guard at the Crystal Empire, also appears in the first film, and has brief appearances in the episodes "Three's a Crowd" (without any dialog) and "Twilight's Kingdom, part 1" from the fourth season of Friendship Is Magic. Vincent Tong voiced the character in all of animated appearances.
- The Dazzlings – The Dazzlings are a "villainous band" of sirens introduced in the Rainbow Rocks lineup. They are composed of the leader Adagio Dazzle (voiced in the film by Kazumi Evans) and her two backup singers, the airheaded Sonata Dusk (voiced by Maryke Hendrikse, singing voice by Madeline Merlo) and abrasive Aria Blaze (voiced by Diana Kaarina, singing voice by Shylo Sharity). In the Rainbow Rocks film, the team are portrayed to be the antagonists, being banished from Equestria, and aiming to control the residents of the parallel world through their enchanted singing.
- Principal Abacus Cinch – Cinch appears in most of Friendship Games media (including the film) as the main antagonist, but no toy of this character has been released as of 2016. She is portrayed as the strict principal of Crystal Prep Academy, a prestigious school that rivals Canterlot High School, and is obsessed with maintaining her school's reputation by manipulating her prized student, the alternative universe counterpart of Twilight Sparkle. She is voiced by Iris Quinn in the film.
- The Shadowbolts – The Shadowbolts, introduced in the Friendship Games lineup, are Crystal Prep's sports team that opposes Canterlot High's Wondercolts team. Their name is shared with Nightmare Moon's illusion that is based on the Wonderbolts flight squad from the two-part Friendship Is Magic pilot. Apart from the counterpart of Twilight Sparkle, the team includes the blunt Sugarcoat (voiced in the film by Sienna Bohn), two-faced Sour Sweet (voiced by Sharon Alexander), hyper-competitive Indigo Zap (voiced by Kelly Sheridan), disdainful Sunny Flare (voiced by Britt Irvin), and obnoxious Lemon Zest (voiced by Shannon Chan-Kent).
- Gloriosa Daisy – Gloriosa is a counselor at Camp Everfree introduced in the Legend of Everfree lineup.
- Timber Spruce – Timber Spruce is another counselor at Camp Everfree introduced in the Legend of Everfree lineup.
- Gaia Everfree – Gaia Everfree is a legendary and mythical creature introduced in the Legend of Everfree lineup.
Releases by media
The animated films (and their related shorts), all produced by DHX Media's 2D animation studio in Vancouver, Canada for Hasbro Studios (the same production companies as Friendship Is Magic television series), revolve around the main cast of Friendship Is Magic, normally ponies, as teenage human characters in a high school setting in alternative universe. The first two films were written by Meghan McCarthy and directed by Jayson Thiessen; the third film was written by Josh Haber and directed by Ishi Rudell. A fourth film is in development and is to be released in October 2016.
In the United States and Canada, the first two films, Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks, had limited theatrical screenings in select cities before they were released on home media (by Shout! Factory for the region) and broadcast on television. In the U.S., these films were screened in Screenvision theaters, without MPAA ratings, while in Canada, they were shown in Cineplex theaters, with classifications from provincial film boards (usually G). No box office records in both areas are available for the two films. Internationally, there have been theatrical releases of the films in some areas, but in most cases the films were only shown on television before (or after) it was released on home media.
For the films Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games, a series of animated shorts released online accompanies each film. The shorts are also included on physical media releases of the films as a part of special features.
To maintain continuity of the films with the Friendship Is Magic television series, Hasbro used the same writing staff as the show, including the current story editor Meghan McCarthy, who considered the story to be "an extension of our mythology". McCarthy stated that with the Equestria Girls setting, "we might explore different aspects of relationships that in the pony world don't quite work the same as they do when you set it in a high school setting", thus making the work more appealing to older girls that are in high or junior high school.
In writing the script of the first film, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Meghan McCarthy went back to the self-titled two-part pilot episodes of Friendship Is Magic, where Twilight Sparkle is sent to Ponyville for the first time and forced to meet new friends. She wanted to do the same with the film, in this case putting Twilight into a new world where she would again be forced to make new friends to succeed in her quest. Released in 2013, the film was premiered on June 15 as a part of Los Angeles Film Festival that year, before having limited theatrical releases in the United States and Canada the next day, and was released on home media on August 6.
The second film released in 2014, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, centers around Twilight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer and friends' activities against evil sirens using music. On February 13, 2014, Meghan McCarthy wrote on Twitter that she had worked on the film during the summer of 2013. That same day, songwriter Daniel Ingram also wrote on the service that there would be a total of 12 songs in the film; however, only 11 songs were used in the film. The film had a limited theatrical release from September 27, 2014, before it was out on home media on October 28 that year.
Released in 2015, the third installment, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games, was first teased by Rainbow Rocks co-director, Ishi Rudell on December 12, 2014. The film was first broadcast on September 26, 2015 on Discovery Family in the U.S. and Family Channel in Canada, and was released on home media on October 13 that year. In the film, the alternative universe counterpart of Twilight Sparkle, a student at Crystal Prep, is forced by Principal Abacus Cinch to disrupt Friendship Games (a sporting event held every four years with Canterlot High) with magic.
On October 3, 2015, CEO of Hasbro Studios Stephen Davis said that a fourth film, subtitled Legend of Everfree, was in development. It was revealed by Entertainment Weekly that the film will be available to watch on Netflix beginning on October 1, 2016.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director(s)||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)||Status|
|My Little Pony: Equestria Girls||June 15, 2013[nb 1]||Jayson Thiessen||Meghan McCarthy||Sarah Wall and Devon Cody||Released|
|Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks||September 27, 2014[nb 2]|
|Equestria Girls: Friendship Games||September 26, 2015[nb 3]||Ishi Rudell||Josh Haber||Devon Cody|
|Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree||October 1, 2016[nb 4]||Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco||TBA||Completed|
- Premiere during Los Angeles Film Festival 2013.
- Released in select theaters.
- Television premiere on Discovery Family.
- Availability on Netflix.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Soundtrack (2013)
- Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks – Soundtrack (2014)
- Equestria Girls: Friendship Games – Soundtrack (2015)
The My Little Pony 2015 Convention Collection released for San Diego Comic-Con International 2015 contains four songs from two films: Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks.
A special short story, featuring the origins of Sunset Shimmer, was published in the IDW My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic 2013 San Diego Comic Con comic variant in July 2013. It also included additional stories in a stand-alone issue in October 2013.
An issue of IDW's Fiendship Is Magic features the Sirens, the evil creatures as appeared in Rainbow Rocks.
Equestria Girls Minis shorts
An online series of three 15-second shorts and one 20-second short was uploaded onto the official website and official YouTube channel from February 11 to August 15, 2016 to promote the Equestria Girls Minis toy line.
|"Pinkie Pie Slumber Party ft. Pinkie Pie"||February 11, 2016||Pinkie Pie||15 seconds|
|"Pinkie Pie Slumber Party ft. Twilight Sparkle"||February 11, 2016||Twilight Sparkle & Spike||15 seconds|
|"Pinkie Pie Slumber Party ft. Rarity"||February 11, 2016||Rarity||15 seconds|
|"Pinkie Pie Slumber Party"||April 8, 2016||The main cast (a.k.a. The Mane Six)||20 seconds|
|"Dance Off"||August 15, 2016||Twilight Sparkle & Rainbow Dash||30 seconds|
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- "Friendship is Witchcraft & Equestria Girls Taken Down". Equestria Daily. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
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- Connelly, Sherrily (2014-10-22). "The 14 Coolest Things from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow Rocks DVD Commentary". Topless Robot. Retrieved 2014-10-22.
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- Bryan, Steven (2013-06-26). "'My Little Pony: Equestria Girls' Takes the Ponies to a Brand-New Universe". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- Busis, Hilary (2013-07-30). "'Equestria Girls': Go behind the scenes of 'My Little Pony' spin-off in exclusive clip". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- McCarthy, Meghan (2014-02-13), "["Rainbow Rocks" Production Work Confirmation]", (Self-published), Twitter, retrieved 2014-02-13.
- Ingram, Daniel (2014-02-13), "[Number of Songs in "Rainbow Rocks" Confirmation]", (Self-published), Twitter, retrieved 2014-02-13.
- Rudell, Ishi (December 12, 2014). "#3 confirmation tweet". Twitter. Retrieved December 12, 2014. (Archived locally)
- The Ferret (February 12, 2016). "New Equestria Girls - Legends of the Everfree Coming Fall 2016". Equestria Daily. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Keynote: Stephen Davis, Hasbro – MIPJunior 2015. YouTube. October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2015. Note: Confirmation at 18:37.
- Johnson, Rich (2013-07-11). "Samurai Jack Joins Doctor Who, Khan And My Little Pony As Locke & Key Comes To An End In IDW's October Solicitations For 2013". Bleeding Cool News. Retrieved 2013-07-11.