|First appearance||The Secret of the Sword (1985)|
|Race||Human (1985) First One (2018)|
She-Ra, real name Adora, is a fictional superheroine in the 1985 Filmation series She-Ra: Princess of Power and its 2018 reboot She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. A series of toys under her name was produced by Mattel in 1984.
Her very first published appearance was in the 1984 minicomic "The Story of She-ra", which, like the subsequent He-Man and She-Ra animated feature film, introduced her as He-Man's twin sister, Princess Adora, kidnapped by Hordak in her infancy. That minicomic, which features He-Man, the Sorceress of Grayskull, and Grayskull itself, also features one of the very first published appearances of both Hordak and Catra. The minicomic was shipped with the 1985 released original She-ra action-figure/doll.
In the 1985 series, She-Ra was intended to extend the appeal of the Masters of the Universe setting by being of interest to young girls in the same way that He-Man appealed to young boys. Filmation writers Larry DiTillio and J. Michael Straczynski created the backstory for the property. She-Ra was introduced in the movie The Secret of the Sword as Force Captain Adora of the Horde ruling Etheria, but turned out to be Princess Adora, the long-lost twin sister of He-Man, Prince Adam. The 2018 series features a younger She-Ra and is set in a different universe without connections to Masters of the Universe.
In the She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985)
Fictional character biography
King Randor and Queen Marlena from planet Eternia had twins, a boy and a girl named Adam and Adora. Hordak, leader of the Evil Horde, kidnapped Adora and escaped to Etheria, where Adora was raised as a mind-controlled Force Captain of The Horde. Adora's uniform – which she continued to wear throughout the series, even after defecting to the Rebels – consisted of a red leotard with long white sleeves, red boots with matching gauntlets, and a black belt.
The Sorceress sent Adam and Cringer to the planet Etheria to find the Sword of Protection's rightful owner. The Sorceress, through the jewel in the Sword of Protection reveals to Adora that she was kidnapped by The Horde when she was a baby and that she had a twin brother in Adam/He-Man, which she instantly believed. Through her newfound love for her brother and seeing him in trouble, Adora breaks the spell that was making her serve the Horde then said "For the honor of Grayskull" as she is transformed into the heroine; She-Ra. She then releases a captured He-Man and jumps from a window, crashing into the Horde stables. She-Ra lands atop Spirit who is transformed into Swift Wind, a talking unicorn. They fly ahead to warn The Rebellion. He-Man and She-Ra return to Eternia, but she decides she must return to Etheria so that she can help free the planet from the Horde oppression.
Adora, having been trained by the Horde her entire life, assumes leadership of the Great Rebellion. The epic battle to free Etheria from the grip of the Evil Horde rages on, spreading across the corners of the planet. Through this war, She-Ra calls upon her allies across the globe and the Universe, using their special talents to battle against Horde creations. in several episodes She- Ra and the rebel pirate Sea Hawk are romantically involved and he is attracted to her in the guise of Adora as opposed to She-Ra, which he finds out later on In the continued storyline of Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power, Adora and Sea Hawk are married after defeating the Horde and sail away in his ship and start their family, eventually returning back to Eternia to fight the forces of evil of Skeletors and Hordak, who are now trying to conquer Eternia. The Sorceress keeps a dimensional rift open for Adora and her Husband to secretly travel between Eternia and Etheria eventually defending both worlds due to He Man being on a mission through space and time defending a world called Primus, until eventually Man at Arms creates a special tech with an inventor named Guildor that allowes them to travel between worlds defending the galaxy which includes Eternia, Etheria, Primus and Earth, where the twins Mother Marlena is from and other worlds across the Universe as the Galaxy Defenders. In the original She- Ra series, whether or not She-Ra and her forces were ever successful in defeating the Horde was never revealed as the series was cancelled before any resolution could be reached. However, it was shown little-by-little that the citizens and kingdoms all over Etheria were rising up against the Horde and pushing back against their tyranny. Unlike Adam, who often feigned laziness and a carefree attitude to deflect any suspicion that he may be He-Man, Adora never acted against her nature and was always seen as brave and selfless, willing to help others in need at a moment's notice.
When Adora transforms to She-Ra, two castles are shown in the background. The first is Castle Grayskull. The second is the Crystal Castle. The Crystal Castle is located atop Skydancer Mountain and is overseen by an entity called Light Hope, who advises She-Ra in times of crisis. In the Princess of Power toyline, the castle is also protected by two winged crystal horses, Moonbeam and Sun Dancer. The Crystal Castle's location is known only to Ahgo (King of the Trolls), She-Ra, her allies who know of her secret (Madame Razz and Kowl) and He-Man, his allies who know of his secret (she brought him there one time); She-Ra has sworn to secrecy its location, thus earning the title of "Defender of the Crystal Castle."
Powers and abilities
She-Ra is known for her incredible strength. She has been shown multiple times to be able to lift not only full-grown men and robots, but also mountain-like rocks and buildings. She is depicted as being extremely fast and acrobatic. Her speed allows her to easily deflect multiple incoming energy blasts with her sword. She-Ra demonstrated a series of other abilities which appear to be more nurturing in nature such as empathic understanding, mental communication with animals, and healing. Whether there is a limit to the length of time she can remain in her heroic form before she reverts to her original form of Adora is unknown. There have been occasions where she is forcibly transformed back into Adora, implying that her powers do have limits to them.
She-Ra's primary weapon is her Sword of Protection. It appears almost indestructible and able to deflect bolts of energy, both magical and technological, as well as project beams of energy from the stone in its center. The stone is also used to turn Spirit into Swift Wind, as the power beam needed to perform the transformation comes from it (as opposed to the Sword of Power, where the energy beam that is used to transform Cringer into Battle Cat is shot from the tip of the sword and requires He-Man to point it directly at Cringer in order for it to work).
In one episode, the stone in She-Ra's sword becomes damaged, causing her to be unable to transform into She-Ra. The sword also had transmutation abilities – upon command it would change shape into whatever She-Ra required at the time, for example a shield, parachute, helmet, rope with grappling hook, and a boomerang.
She-Ra is largely non-violent and engages in combat only as a last resort. She relies on her intelligence and wits, preferring to outsmart her adversaries; her most violent actions typically consist of body throws. Due to broadcast standards of the period, in the Filmation series neither He-Man nor She-Ra ever used their swords offensively; nor did they ever directly punch or kick anyone. He-Man and She-Ra were only allowed to destroy robotic enemies, their primary foes.
In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018–2020)
On December 12, 2017, DreamWorks Animation and Netflix announced a reboot series based on She-Ra. The series was executively produced by author Noelle Stevenson (creator of Nimona and Lumberjanes). The cast was revealed on May 18, 2018 alongside a poster and the official series title: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. It premiered on November 13, 2018 on Netflix. Unlike the original series, He-Man has no presence in the reboot storyline and is not portrayed to be related or connected in any way, last appearing in a 2002 series. The reboot is a reimagining of the 1980s version and is not part of the Masters of the Universe storyline.
Fictional character biography
In this series, Adora is a 16-19-year-old girl in season 1, portrayed as a willing member of the Horde. She was brought up in the rigorous military environment since she was found as an orphan years prior. As a result of this, she was trained to believe all princesses are evil and oppressing the people of Etheria. Adora is a protege in her squadron and is promoted to Force Captain during the series' premiere episode with a pending active duty assignment ahead of her colleagues. Her world view greatly changed when she finds the Sword of Protection one day after sneaking out of the Horde base. She is soon captured by two rebels, Princess Glimmer, and her best friend Bow. While captured, she learns that the Horde are really the oppressors, not the princesses. After learning the truth, Adora joined the Rebellion as the second She-Ra in recorded Etherian history. She joins the rebellion and struggles in both mastering her powers as She-Ra and gradually winning the friendship of those in the Princess Rebellion who were slow to trust her at first. Changing sides and leaving her whole life behind proved hard for Adora as now she's fighting former friends who feel personally betrayed, such as her former best friend, Catra. Adora, Glimmer, Bow, and friends form the Princess Alliance go on adventures and try to thwart the Horde's plans of taking over Etheria.
Powers, abilities and appearance
Compared to the original version of the character, Adora has a much younger appearance, only becoming considerably taller as She-Ra (8-Feet instead of her usual 5 ft 6). In addition, She-Ra's costume is much more practical in this incarnation; she wears a full tunic that covers her upper torso with metallic epaulets while wearing bike-short type leggings under her skirt. She now wears practical armored boots with flat soles. In the season 1 finale, She-Ra wears a golden battle armor very similar to when her 2002 twin brother He-Man wears a snake armor in his Season 2.
In the second season She-Ra uses a new power discovered in her sword, which can transform it into any kind of weapon or piece of equipment. But her control over the transformations is not perfect.
After destroying the Sword of Protection in the season 4 finale, Adora couldn't transform until halfway through season 5, after which she gained a new unnamed appearance for She-Ra (dubbed by fans as She-Ra 2.0): she wore her long golden hair in a regular ponytail that reached down to her back, wore a different diadem/headpiece with smaller wings, white pants with golden bracelets for her thighs and longer golden arm bands while the sword became a mystic projection that turns into a slimmed-down battle blade.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season of the show received the approval rating of 100% based on 24 reviews. In 2019, the show was nominated to three TV-Show awards. In 2020, the animated series was nominated to five TV-Show awards. It won an Emmy in the category Outstanding Daytime Promotional Announcement - Network or Program.
In other media
He-Man and She-Ra:The Secret of the Sword (1985 animated film)
In 1985, Filmation, the studio which produced the He-Man cartoon series, released a full length 91 minute feature film titled The Secret of the Sword also known as He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword. The movie transitioned from a focus on He-Man, to an introduction of Adam's/He-Man's twin sister Adora, whom the film reveals to have been abducted, as an infant, by Hordak and Skeletor. Hordak raised Adora to be a warrior and captain for his Evil Horde, and hid her true heritage from her. The film reveals that He-Man's power sword also has a twin, the Sword of Protection, which, when wielded by Adora to summon the power of Grayskull, transforms her into She-Ra, the female counterpart to He-Man. The movie grossed over three times its two-million dollar production budget. It was later divided into several shorter segments, and aired on television as the first several episodes of the He-Man & MOTU spinoff series She-Ra: Princess of Power.
He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985 made for television Christmas movie)
At the height of the conjoined popularity of the "He-Man and The Masters of The Universe" and She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoons, Filmation produced this made for television Christmas movie, and aired it in syndication during the 1985 Christmas Holiday season. The original He-Man and The Masters of The Universe cartoon series had aired its final new episode the prior month, and continued to air in re-run episodes for some time after. Its sister show, She-Ra: Princess of Power was still in its first season. The Christmas special reunited twins He-Man and She-Ra in their biggest joint adventure since the Secret of The Sword. It commences with Queen Marlena reflecting nostalgically about Christmases on Earth, and, after a series of misadventures set in motion by Orko, climaxes with a confrontation that pits He-Man, She-Ra and Skeletor (whose bone-hard heart has been briefly softened by a pair of Earthling children, a peculiar pup, and Christmas Spirit) against Hordak and Horde-Prime.
Masters of the Universe film (1987)
She-Ra was originally intended to appear in Masters of the Universe and concept art by production designer William Stout was even commissioned, but director Gary Goddard felt it would be best to concentrate on He-Man for the first film. (It would be the only film.)  She-Ra was planned to appear in the sequel; the sequel film was cancelled and rewritten into Cyborg, with She-Ra's equivalent character, Nady Simmons, portrayed by Deborah Richter.
Masters of the Universe Classics (2008–2015)
She-Ra appears in the Mattel Masters of the Universe toyline launched in 2008, which attempts to create a new canon by merging selected portions of existing media together with new story elements. The story is told via a combination of mini-comics packaged with the action figures and the biographies printed on the toy packaging.
In this version of events, Hordak arrived on Etheria after being trapped in the dimension of Despondos by King Grayskull. His apprentice Skeletor kidnaps Adora and sends her to Etheria. After being raised by the Horde and becoming She-Ra (as in the cartoon series), she eventually returns to Eternia with several of her friends and allies, to help He-Man defeat Hordak, who has overthrown King Randor and conquered the planet. She-Ra follows her brother into space on their New Adventures to the planet Primus, and together they battle the Horde Empire's ruler Horde Prime. At some point in the future, she would end up returning in the new, villainous persona of Despara.
DC Comics (2012–present)
In December 2012, She-Ra appeared in her own DC Comics series as a lead-in to her introduction into the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comic series. Adora's introduction is an updated retelling of her classic origin story. Although she was still kidnapped as a baby and raised by the Horde, Adora's personality and life are made much more violent and tragic when compared to her animated counterpart.
Rather than being a kind woman who has been under the mind control of Shadow Weaver, Despara (Adora's Horde name) is a brutal force captain who is fully aware of the Horde's cruel and evil nature and, although she has some reservations, serves them willingly. Rather than having already taken over the planet of Etheria, instead, Despara leads the Horde in taking over Eternia and driving He-Man, King Randor and the Masters into hiding so as to rebel against the Horde. Due to a connection between herself and Teela, Adora begins to break free of the Horde's will, and begins her journey into becoming She-Ra.
He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe (2012)
She-Ra live action television series
On September 13, 2021, Amazon announced that a live action She-Ra series is in development with DreamWorks Animation serving as an executive producer as the series will be a new, standalone story and will not be connected to the animated show.
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- J. Michael Straczynski [@straczynski] (July 16, 2018). ""Larry and I created the character and her world (after Filmation/Mattel named her She-Ra)..."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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