Star vs. the Forces of Evil
|Star vs. the Forces of Evil|
|Created by||Daron Nefcy|
|Creative director(s)||Dominic Bisignano|
|Theme music composer||
|Opening theme||"I'm from Another Dimension" performed by Brad Breeck|
|Ending theme||"Star vs. the Forces of Evil End Theme" performed by Eden Sher (seasons 1-2)
"Shining Star" (Battle for Mewni)
|Composer(s)||Brian H. Kim|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes
(usually two 11-minute segments)
|Production company(s)||Disney Television Animation|
|Distributor||Disney–ABC Domestic Television|
|Original network||Disney XD|
|Original release||January 18, 2015– present|
Star vs. the Forces of Evil is an American animated television series produced by Disney Television Animation. The first episode was shown on January 18, 2015, on Disney Channel as a special preview, and the series officially premiered on March 30, 2015, on Disney XD. The show was created by Daron Nefcy, who had worked on storyboards for Wander Over Yonder and Robot and Monster. Nefcy became the second woman to create an animated series for Disney Television Animation (the first being Sue Rose, who created Pepper Ann), and the first woman to create a Disney XD series. On February 12, 2015, Disney renewed the series for a second season prior to its premiere on Disney XD. The second season premiered on July 11, 2016. On March 4, 2016, it was renewed for a third season, with a two-hour TV movie called "The Battle for Mewni", which aired on July 15, 2017. On February 28, 2017, it was officially renewed for a fourth season.
Star Butterfly is a magical princess from the dimension of Mewni. On her 14th birthday, she receives the family heirloom wand. After she accidentally sets fire to her castle, her parents decide that a safer option is to send her to Earth as a foreign exchange student. She befriends Marco Diaz and lives with his family while attending Echo Creek Academy. Star and Marco must deal with everyday school life while protecting Star's wand from falling into the hands of Ludo, a villain from Mewni who commands an army of monsters. Star and the folks from Mewni are able to travel across dimensions using "dimensional scissors" that can open portals.
- Star Butterfly (voiced by Eden Sher) – The titular character is a magical princess from the dimension Mewni. On her 14th birthday, she is given the family heirloom, but after she causes a big accident, she is sent to the Earth dimension as a foreign exchange student. She then lives with the Diaz family. She enjoys exploring and being away from her parents and their pressure to make her into a perfect princess. Nefcy had originally designed Star as a fourth-grader obsessed with Sailor Moon and wanting to become a magical girl despite not having any powers. The design was initially just her with heart cheeks and the devil horns came later. By the time she pitched the idea to Disney she had made the character older, and an executive suggested she would have actual magical powers, leading to the current foreign exchange student concept. Nefcy says Star is very much like her, and that she has a lot of flaws and aspects of being a real girl. Star is Eden Sher's first voice acting role. Sher describes Star as Disney's first-ever kick-butt princess and identifies with her a lot: "She's always wrong. She's always messing up. But at the same time, this character has such a good heart. Star is fiercely loyal when it comes to her friends and never backs down from a fight. There's so much going on there. And that's what makes this character so much fun to voice."
- Marco Diaz (voiced by Adam McArthur) – Marco is a 14-year-old boy who becomes Star's best friend and partner in their inter-dimensional adventures. Prior to meeting Star, he was known as a safe kid. He helps Star during their fights against the villains. Nefcy originally conceived of Marco to be a kid obsessed with Dragon Ball Z and karate. After Star's character was changed to be a foreign exchange student, she felt Marco's character needed to balance out Star's, so he became more of a straight man yet is still quirky. Some of Marco's character was based on Nefcy's husband (filmmaker Bobby Miller). She likes that McArthur portrays him away from being nerdy or unlikeable and that Marco is smart and thoughtful. His middle name is Ubaldo, as shown on his test paper in the episode "Matchmaker".
- Ludo (voiced by Alan Tudyk) – Ludo is Star's nemesis from Mewni. He plans to snatch Star's wand and use its powers to take over the universe. He is a short, dark grayish-green monster with a round head and a beak and wears a cap made out of the upper part of a creature's skull. Ludo commands an army of monsters. In Season 2, he acquires a new wand made partly from the fragments of Star's original wand. His new minions in season 2 are primarily a giant spider and a giant eagle, whom he refers to as girls, as well as a group of rats and some monsters. In the season 2 episode "The Hard Way", he is possessed by Toffee.
- Mr. and Mrs. Diaz (voiced by Artt Butler and Nia Vardalos) – Marco's parents who host Star while she is on Earth. Their given names are Rafael and Angie.
- Pony Head (voiced by Jenny Slate) – Star's best friend from Mewni and a floating unicorn head. She is described as sassy, sarcastic, and mischievous. She does not get along with Marco and is sometimes jealous of him when he interacts with Star. Nefcy said that Pony Head originated from an early story of Star where the latter was a fourth-grader and was discouraged during her attempts to recover a stolen bike; an image of Pony Head appeared and told Star not to give up.
- King Butterfly (voiced by Alan Tudyk) – Star's father and the king of Mewni. His given name is River.
- Queen Butterfly (voiced by Grey Griffin) – Star's mother and the queen of Mewni. Her given name is Moon.
- Ludo's minions – They are monsters that are mostly anthropomorphic mixes of animals and/or human appendages. Some of them are occasionally spotlighted in an episode. They include Beard Deer, Bearicorn, Big Chicken, Boo Fly, Buff Frog, Lobster Claws, Man Arm, Spike Balls, and Three-Eyed Potato Baby. They serve Ludo in the first season, but go their own ways in the second. Buff Frog has made multiple appearances in the second and third season as a Russian-accented father of some tadpoles who allies with Star and Queen Butterfly.
- Ferguson and Alfonso (voiced by Nate Torrence and Matt Chapman) – Marco's two friends at Echo Creek. Ferguson has orange hair and enjoys making belly faces. Alfonso has curly hair and wears glasses. They appear mostly in early episodes of season 1, and only appear in one season 2 episode as off-screen voices.
- Miss Skullnick (voiced by Dee Dee Rescher) – Star and Marco's homeroom and math teacher at Echo Creek Academy. She is accidentally turned into a troll by Star in the episode "Match Maker" and then retains her form for the remainder of the series. Her given name is Margaret.
- Jackie Lynn Thomas (voiced by Grey Griffin) – A skateboarding classmate who has been Marco's crush since kindergarten. She and Marco start dating in the season 2 episode "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown."
- Dojo Sensei (voiced by Nick Swardson) – The unnamed sensei at the dojo that Marco attends.
- Oskar Greason (voiced by Jon Heder) – An Echo Creek student who is Star Butterfly's crush. He is usually seen playing on a keytar or in his car where he also resides. Principal Skeeves distrusts him as he has a "record" when Star asked about him.
- Tom (voiced by Rider Strong) – A hot-headed three-eyed demon from the Underworld who is Star's ex-boyfriend.
- Glossaryck (voiced by Jeffrey Tambor) – A gnomish sprite with blue skin and a white beard. He lives inside Star's magic instruction book and sometimes speaks in riddles.
- Toffee (voiced by Michael C. Hall) – A reptilian humanoid villain. First appearing in "Fortune Cookies," he joins Ludo's gang as an evil efficiency expert—though Toffee has his own agenda. Nefcy said that she and her staff "wanted Star to fight against somebody who is a greater evil", as Ludo was "super fun" but "not a scary villain". In the season 2 episode "The Hard Way", he possesses Ludo's body and takes over Mewni in the TV movie "The Battle for Mewni".
- Janna (voiced by Abby Elliott) – A mischievous student who hangs out with Star and Marco, having a larger supporting role in season 2. She breaks into Marco's locker and knows all sorts of his personal information.
Background and production
Nefcy said she originally created Star as a girl who wanted to be a magical girl like Sailor Moon, and Marco as a boy who was obsessed with Dragon Ball Z and karate; they would be enemies instead of friends. In this earlier version, Star did not have any actual magical powers; she instead would approach and solve problems primarily through the force of her determination alone. Nefcy began pitching the show when she was in her third year of college, when Cartoon Network was actively soliciting the creation of pilots for prospective new shows. Nefcy originally placed Star in the fourth grade, reflecting on a time in her own childhood when she held a self-described obsession with the animated series Sailor Moon. However, Nefcy later adjusted the character's age to fourteen during the time she made her series proposition to Disney. An executive at that time made the suggestion for Star to have actual magical powers. Nefcy worked this concept into the show's current iteration, along with the idea of different dimensions as show locations, the framing device of Star being a foreign exchange student, and the plot aspects relating to Star being a princess and the subsequent consequences of her royal birthright. Nefcy said that the overall concept has evolved over about six years.
In addition to Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, Nefcy has said that she had heavy influence in her youth from the animated Japanese shows Magic Knight Rayearth, Revolutionary Girl Utena and Unico, the last of which featured a pink unicorn. She also cited shows unrelated to Japanese animation such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was influenced by independent comic series such as Scott Pilgrim and The Dungeon. With regards to the development of more strong female characters, Nefcy said that she "looked at TV over the years and I have had to go to Japan when I was younger to find the cartoons that had the characters that I wanted to see. It was always a question of 'Well, why isn't that on TV in the U.S.?' " 
One of the concepts she likes about the show is that it doesn't make high school the most important experience for teenagers. She also likes that Star does her own thing instead of being concerned about fitting in. Nefcy did not want the gimmick about keeping the magic powers a secret from others as typical of magical girl shows, so she had the students already know about it and Marco's parents as well. She also portrays Star as not really a superhero as she does not specifically go after super-villains except when they attack her, and that she doesn't really save people. Nefcy said that the episodes balance comedy and drama: "we really want our characters to feel like teenagers and have them going through the normal emotions that teenagers go through, but in this magical setting."
Storyboarding and design are done in Los Angeles. In describing the process, Nefcy said that the show is storyboard-driven, with each episode mapped out by the storyboard artists. The storyboarders also do the writing, taking a two-page outline and turning it into a full script. A storyboard for 11 minutes would require about 2000 drawings to be done in a six-week period. After pre-production in the US, the first season animation was done at Mercury Filmworks in Ottawa, Canada. Mercury had also done Wander Over Yonder and the Mickey Mouse series. For the rest of first season, the animation was done in the Philippines. The second season was animated by Sugarcube and Rough Draft Studios, both located in South Korea.
The theme song was done by Brad Breeck, who also did Gravity Falls' opening theme; Nefcy said: "when we were listening to it we didn't know, because we just listened blind". Brian Kim was chosen among a group of about ten people as the show's composer. Kim describes the music for each dimension as having a different sound and relating it to indie rock in Los Angeles.
Promotion and release
The show's title sequence was promoted at Comic-Con 2014 six months prior to its scheduled broadcast premiere. As a result, the footage was uploaded by fans to YouTube who then started generating fan art and fan fiction. The first episode premiered on Disney Channel in January 2015. The positive reaction on social media has prompted Disney XD to order a second season of the series in February 2015, six weeks ahead of its launch of the series on Disney XD in March. Disney sitcom actors Olivia Holt and Kelli Berglund participated in promoting the series the weeks before its Disney XD premiere, with Holt dressing up as Star.
The second season premiered on July 11, 2016.
Star vs. the Forces of Evil premiered in Canada on the DHX-owned Disney XD on April 6, 2015, and was later moved to the Corus-owned Disney XD on December 1. The series premiered on Disney XD channels in the United Kingdom and Ireland on April 16, 2015,[better source needed] in Australia on August 3, and in the Middle East and Africa on October 5. It also premiered on November 8 on Disney Channel in Southeast Asia. The series premiered on March 6, 2016, as Star Butterfly in French on Disney La Chaîne in Canada. The show premiered on November 2 on Disney XD in Italy, and on Disney Channel on November 2, 2016.
On July 15, 2017, a two-hour long television movie entitled "The Battle for Mewni" was aired on Disney XD; it consisted of the first four episodes of the third season. A live chat featuring Star and Marco was aired on Disney XD on July 17.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||March 30, 2015||September 21, 2015|
|2||22||July 11, 2016||February 27, 2017|
|3||TBA||July 15, 2017||TBA|
Kevin Johnson of The A.V. Club gave the pilot episode a B+, saying that the show was something children could have a lot of fun with, noting how the show follows current trends in western animation "towards large-eyed characters and quirky visual trends". Johnson stated that Star vs. the Forces of Evil "excels on wild, silly, and clever set-pieces to bring the laughs and action", but expected that adult viewers won't get much out of it. Furthermore, the premiere of Star vs. the Forces of Evil became the most-watched animated series debut in Disney XD’s history. Following the end of the second season, Disney XD announced it had ordered a fourth season of the show, and that in 2016, Star and another animated show Milo Murphy's Law had reached over 100 million consumer views combined across its media platforms.
In reviewing episodes from the first season, Marcy Cook of The Mary Sue described the show as a blend of others such as Invader Zim and a sanitized Ren & Stimpy, with great appeal to tween and teen girls as well some laugh out loud moments for adults. She said, "[I]t's really cool to see a girl who is into cuteness and rainbows also kick-ass and enjoy it". Cook was bothered by the short episodes that made the plot seem rushed or underdeveloped. Cook was bugged by Marco's retconned personality from the pilot episode where he was a safety conscious kid to the series where he was a martial arts fight seeker. Caitlin Donovan of entertainment website Epicstream listed it among her top 10 animated series of 2015. She found the first few episodes to be "a little rough for me, like the show was trying too hard to be funny and weird", but that the show got better with character development and relationship building, with "a really dramatic, high-tension finale to the first season".
Awards and nominations
|2015||Annecy International Animated Film Festival||TV Series||For "Party with a Pony"||Nominated|||
|2016||Annie Awards||Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production for Children's Audience||For "Blood Moon Ball"||Nominated|||
A comic book series titled Deep Trouble was written by storyboarder Zach Marcus and illustrated by character designer Devin Taylor, both of whom are part of the Star crew. They have been released monthly by Joe Books starting in September 2016. A Cinestory comic was also developed and released.
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