Star vs. the Forces of Evil
|Star vs. the Forces of Evil|
|Created by||Daron Nefcy|
|Creative director(s)||Dominic Bisignano (season 1)|
|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 (uncredited - seasons 1-2)|
"Shining Star" performed by Agnes Shin (seasons 3-4)
|Composer(s)||Brian H. Kim|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||77 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
11 minutes per segment
|Production company(s)||Disney Television Animation|
|Original network||Disney XD |
Disney Channel (2019)
|Original release||January 18, 2015 –|
May 19, 2019
Star vs. the Forces of Evil is an American animated television series created by Daron Nefcy and developed by Jordana Arkin and Dave Wasson, which aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD. It is the first Disney XD series created by a woman, and the third overall for Disney Television Animation (following Pepper Ann from 1997 and Doc McStuffins from 2012).
The series follows the adventures of Star Butterfly (voiced by Eden Sher), the young turbulent heir to the royal throne in the dimension of Mewni, who is sent to Earth to mellow her reckless behavior. There she befriends and becomes roommates with human Marco Diaz (Adam McArthur) and begins a semi-normal life in Echo Creek, attending school and meeting new friends. Throughout the first season, the two travel to exotic dimensions using dimensional scissors while preventing the Mewman monster Ludo (Alan Tudyk) from stealing Star's magic wand. As the series progresses, Star and Marco meet new friends, take on new enemies, and travel to even more weird and wild dimensions. 
Star vs. the Forces of Evil typically follows a format of two 11 minute-long independent "segments" per episode for the first three seasons. The fourth season has a few more half-hour episodes than prior seasons. Greenlit for Disney Channel in 2013, the first episode aired there on January 18, 2015, as a preview, then the series moved over to Disney XD on March 30, 2015, where its premiere on Disney XD became the most-watched animated series debut in the network's history. The fourth and final season premiered on March 10, 2019, in its return to Disney Channel, with two new episodes airing every Sunday. The series concluded on May 19, 2019.
Star Butterfly is a magical princess from the dimension of Mewni and the heiress to the royal throne of the Butterfly Kingdom. As per tradition, she is given the family heirloom wand on her 14th birthday. After she accidentally sets fire to the family castle, her parents King River and Queen Moon Butterfly decide that a safer option is to send her to Earth as a foreign exchange student, so she can continue her magic training there. She befriends Marco Diaz and lives with his family while attending Echo Creek Academy. Going in a series of misadventures using "dimensional scissors" that can open portals, Star and Marco must deal with everyday school life while protecting Star's wand from falling into the hands of Ludo, a half-bird half-man creature from Mewni who commands a group of monsters.
As the series progresses, new, more threatening antagonists appear in the show, including the mysterious monster Toffee, and the plot shifts from the defence of the wand from Ludo to a bigger and more complex narrative focusing on the various conflicts revolving around the rulership of Mewni. Several mysteries about the past of the Butterly royal family are also unveiled, mostly revolving around Eclipsa Butterfly, the "Queen of Darkness" and the most infamous member in the Butterflys' family history. Several secondary protagonists also appear more prominently or join the series in subsequent seasons, including Star's Mewman best friend Pony Head (who is a floating unicorn head), half-demon ex-boyfriend Tom, the mischievous Janna, and Magic High Commission member Hekapoo; Queen Moon also takes on a bigger role, especially with Toffee
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 to Cartoon Network during the time when she was in her third year of college, when the 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 rather than Cartoon Network orignally. 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.
The show was initially scheduled to premiere on Disney Channel after being greenlit in March 2013, for a premiere in the Fall of 2014, before being switched over to Disney XD. However, on February 23, 2018, it was announced that the show would be moving to Disney Channel for its fourth season. On February 7, 2019, it was announced that the fourth season would be its last.
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 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, The show's third season was ordered ahead in March 2016. It premiered on July 15, 2017, with a two-hour long television movie entitled "The Battle for Mewni" and consisted of the first four episodes. A live chat featuring Star and Marco was aired on Disney XD on July 17. The remaining third-season episodes started airing on November 6, 2017. A fourth season was also ordered ahead of the third season premiere. That fourth season, announced to be its last in February 2019, premiered on March 10, 2019, with two episodes.
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.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||24||13||January 18, 2015||September 21, 2015||Disney XD[a]|
|2||41||22||July 11, 2016||February 27, 2017|
|3||38||21||July 15, 2017||April 7, 2018|
|4||37||21||March 10, 2019||May 19, 2019||Disney Channel|
Star vs. the Forces of Evil has received positive reviews by critics.
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||Episode: "Party with a Pony"||Nominated|||
|5th Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards||Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role||Dee Dee Rescher as Miss Skullnick||Nominated|||
|2016||43rd Annie Awards||Best Animated Television / Broadcast Production for Children||Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Episode: "Blood Moon Ball"||Nominated|||
|Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Alan Tudyk as Ludo, Episode: Compilation from Series||Nominated|||
|Editorial in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Ted Supa, Episode: "Storm the Castle"||Nominated|||
|6th Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards||Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series||Adam McArthur as Marco Diaz||Won|||
|Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series||Eden Sher as Star Butterfly||Won|||
|Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role||Jenny Slate as Pony Head||Nominated|||
|Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role||Yvette Nicole Brown as Brigid||Nominated|||
|Best Vocal Ensemble in a Television Series||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Won|||
|2017||7th Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards||Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series||Eden Sher as Star Butterfly||Nominated|||
|2018||45th Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||Michelle Park, Color Designer||Won|
|2019||46th Daytime Emmy Awards||Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Episode: "Booth Buddies"||Nominated|
|Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Sabrina Cotugno, Episode: "Conquer"||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 based on the show's first episode, "Star Comes to Earth", was also developed, and was released on May 31, 2016, with a second Cinestory comic, based on the season 2 episode "Starcrushed", was scheduled for a July 30, 2019, release, but it was cancelled.
The book Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension, authored by Amber Benson and supervising producer Dominic Bisignano, was released on March 7, 2017. Another book for the series, titled The Book of Spells, authored by the show's creator, Daron Nefcy, alongside Benson and Bisignano, was published on September 11, 2018.
- The first episode of the series premiered on Disney Channel prior to Disney XD. The first episode premiered on Disney XD on March 30, 2015.
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