Twilight Sparkle

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Twilight Sparkle
My Little Pony character
PrincessTwilightSparkle.png
Twilight Sparkle as she appears in "Twilight's Kingdom"
First appearance"Friendship is Magic – Part 1" (2010)
Last appearance"The Last Problem" (2019)
Created byLauren Faust
Based onG1 Twilight
by Bonnie Zacherle[1]
Voiced by
In-universe information
Species
  • Unicorn (seasons 1–3)
  • Alicorn (season 4–9)
  • Human (Equestria Girls)
Title
  • Princess of Friendship (seasons 4–9)
  • Princess of Equestria ("The Last Problem")
Occupation
  • Princess Celestia's student (seasons 1–3)
  • Golden Oak Library librarian (seasons 1–4)
  • Starlight Glimmer's teacher (seasons 6–7)
  • Founder/Principal of the School of Friendship (seasons 8–9)
AffiliationMane 6
Family
Relatives

Princess Twilight Sparkle, commonly known as Twilight Sparkle, is a fictional character who appears in the fourth incarnation (also referred to as the fourth generation or "G4") of Hasbro's My Little Pony toyline and media franchise, beginning with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (2010–2019). Her voice is provided by Canadian-American actress Tara Strong while her singing voice is provided by Canadian actress and singer Rebecca Shoichet.

Based on the first generation or "G1" unicorn toy Twilight and created by Lauren Faust, in Friendship Is Magic, she is depicted as a studious anthropomorphic unicorn (later an alicorn). Her mentor, Princess Celestia, guides her to learn about friendship in the town of Ponyville. Twilight and her dragon assistant Spike become close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. Each of the ponies represent a different facet of friendship, and Twilight discovers herself to be a key part of the magical artifacts known as the "Elements of Harmony". The ponies travel on adventures and help others around Equestria while working out problems that arise in their own friendships.

Faust originally envisioned the characters to be relatable and unique with different personalities and flaws, unlike previous girls' shows. The creative team also interpreted each of the characters' personalities into various things, such as Twilight's purple color signifying her royalty and mystical awareness. Twilight garnered praise for her relatability and maturity.

Appearances[edit]

Television[edit]

Friendship is Magic[edit]

At the start of the series, Twilight is a bookworm and Princess Celestia's protégé; she has a talent for magic and is a unicorn. She travels to the town of Ponyville with her dragon assistant Spike due to Celestia's request for her to make friends. There, she becomes close friends with five other ponies: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie. The six defeat a villain known as "Nightmare Moon", who is Celestia's sister Luna, and discover they represent artifacts known as the "Elements of Harmony", with Twilight representing the element of magic. Twilight decides to stay in Ponyville with her friends and send letters about friendship to Celestia. After to helping defeat villains such as Discord, the spirit of chaos, Queen Chrysalis, the leader of the changelings, creatures which can shapeshift, and King Sombra, a dark unicorn seeking to take over the Crystal Empire, and fixing a spell by famed wizard Star Swirl the Bearded, Twilight graduates from her studies with Celestia and becomes an alicorn and a princess. She later becomes the "Princess of Friendship", with the responsibility to spread friendship across Equestria.

After stopping her cult and convincing her to make friends, Twilight becomes Starlight Glimmer's teacher on friendship. After the events of My Little Pony: The Movie, Twilight opens a school of friendship that accepts all creatures, including hippogriffs, changelings, griffins, yaks, and dragons. In the season nine premiere, Celestia and Luna decide to step down from the throne, letting Twilight take over. Though initially panicked at first, Twilight gains more confidence over the season, especially after defeating her past enemies: Sombra, Chrysalis, Lord Tirek, and Cozy Glow. After her coronation, she starts the Council of Friendship, which consists of her and her friends, who meet once a moon.

Pony Life[edit]

Twilight Sparkle appears alongside the rest of the Mane Six in the series My Little Pony: Pony Life. The show features a different animation technique and focuses more on slice of life-style stories than Friendship Is Magic.[2]

Best Gift Ever[edit]

After Twilight stresses out about Hearth's Warming presents and Princess Cadance, Shining Armour, and Flurry Heart's visit, her friends decide to do a "Hearth's Warming Helper. As part of it, Twilight needs to get a gift for Pinkie Pie. Twilight finds a recipe for a legendary magic pudding that is dangerous if prepared incorrectly. She becomes stressed trying to both prepare it and entertain Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. Unbeknownst to them, Flurry Heart, adds extra ingredients that cause the pudding to boil over. After the pudding floods Twilight's castle, Pinkie Pie uses her present to stabilize it.

Rainbow Roadtrip[edit]

Twilight and her friends travel to the town of Hope Hollow to attend their annual Rainbow Festival after Rainbow Dash had been invited as a guest of honor. When they arrived, they found out that the town's color had faded away. Twilight and her friends starts working to restore the town's color and bring the Rainbow Festival back.

Film[edit]

Equestria Girls[edit]

Twilight travels through a magic mirror to the human world with Spike when Sunset Shimmer steals her crown containing the Element of Magic. There, she poses as a new student at Canterlot High School and befriends the human counterparts of her friends, who help her win the crown back by getting voted Princess of the school's Fall Formal and defeating, and reforming Sunset when she tries to use the crown to brainwash the students into becoming her personal army to invade Equestria.

Equestria Girls — Rainbow Rocks[edit]

Twilight returns to the human world with Spike when Sunset uses her magic book to warn her of the emergence of the Dazzlings, creatures from Equestria who used their singing voices to manipulate others. She is then recruited to join her Canterlot High School friends' band, the Rainbooms, as the temporary lead singer to compete in the school's Battle of the Bands, while she works on a counter-spell to break the mind-control spell the Dazzlings have on the students. With Sunset's help, the Rainbooms defeat the Dazzlings and leave them powerless. After she returns to Equestria with Spike, Sunset keeps in touch with her using her magic book.

Equestria Girls — Friendship Games[edit]

In the pre-credits scene, Twilight returns to the human world after the events of "The Cutie Re-Mark" and meets her human counterpart.

Other Equestria Girls media[edit]

Twilight occasionally makes appearances in other Equestria Girls media, often for guidance on Equestrian magic.

My Little Pony: The Movie[edit]

While Twilight and her friends are preparing Equestria's first Friendship Festival in Canterlot, the city comes under attack by the army of an evil conqueror called the Storm King, led by his second-in-command, Tempest Shadow, a unicorn with a broken horn. Twilight and her friends journey beyond Equestria to defeat the Storm King and make new allies in the process. However, after denouncing her friends, Twilight is captured by Tempest and drained of her magic. Twilight's friends return to Equestria with the help of their new allies and they save Equestria with the help of Tempest.

My Little Pony: A New Generation[edit]

Twilight makes a cameo appearance at the start of the film, during an imaginary sequence depicting a playtime session between Sunny Starscout, Hitch Trailblazer, and Sprout Cloverleaf that goes awry when Sprout acts as if Rarity were an evil unicorn due to prejudices between the three pony races having resurfaced following Twilight's implied passing. Sunny's Twilight toy makes several appearances throught the film at her house, while her cutie mark appears in the film as the symbol in both Sunny's diary and a window in an abandoned Zephyr Heights airport. She is also indirectly mentioned when Sunny's father, Argyle Starshine, narrates her and her friends' adventures to Sunny as a bedtime story.

Friendship is Magic comic series[edit]

Equestria Girls alternate version[edit]

An alternate version of Twilight appears in the post-credits scene of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls — Rainbow Rocks. She is fully introduced in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games and appears in other subsequent Equestria Girls media.

Development[edit]

Hasbro, Inc. produced several incarnations of the My Little Pony franchise, often labeled by collectors as "generations".[3][4] Just as Michael Bay's film had helped boost the new Transformers toy line, Hasbro wanted to retool the My Little Pony franchise to better suit the current demographic of young girls.[5] According to Margaret Loesch, CEO of Hub Network, revisiting properties that had worked in the past was an important programming decision, which was somewhat influenced by the opinions of the network's programming executives, several of whom were once fans of such shows.[6] Hasbro's senior vice president, Linda Steiner, stated the company "intended to have the show appeal to a larger demographic", with the concept of parents "co-viewing" with their children being a central theme of the Hub Network's programming.[7] Central themes that Hasbro sought for the show included friendship and working together, factors they determined from market research in how girls played with their toys.[8] Outside help was sought to make the characters and stories.[9]

Lauren Faust smiling towards her right at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con.
Lauren Faust, developer and initial showrunner of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

Animator and writer Lauren Faust approached Hasbro to develop her girls' toys property "Galaxy Girls" into an animated series.[10] Faust, who had previously worked on Cartoon Network's The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, had been unsuccessfully pitching animation aimed at girls for years, as cartoons for girls were considered unsuccessful.[11] When she pitched to Lisa Licht of Hasbro Studios, the latter was not very interested, but she showed Faust one of the company's recent My Little Pony animated works, Princess Promenade, "completely on the fly". Licht thought Faust's style was well suited to that line, and asked her to consider "some ideas [on] where to take a new version of the franchise".[5][10][12]

Faust agreed to take the job as long as she was able to move away from the "silliness of [My Little Pony's] predecessors and their patronizing attitudes towards young girls."[13] She regarded girls' entertainment as too sweet, plain, and obvious which did not fit their intelligence and "talk[ed] down to [them]".[13] Unlike most girls' shows, in which, according to Faust, the characters have "one archetype" and "the only difference between any of them is this one likes pink and this one likes blue", she insisted on characters with dimension who were different from one another and had their own flaws.[14] Faust aimed for the characters to be "relatable" characters, using "icons of girliness" (such as the bookworm) to broaden the appeal of the characters for the young female audience.[15] She based many characters of the principal cast on how she had envisioned the original ponies, including Twilight on the namesake first generation character.[16][17]

Each of the main characters had expressions and mannerisms distinctive to them as well as general expressions they shared. According the DHX Media team, they "avoid[ed] certain expressions if it [went] outside [the ponies'] personality".[18] The creative team interpreted each character's personality into mannerisms, facial expressions, props, and home environment.[18] For example, Twilight's purple color signifies royalty and mystical awareness, and her hard, angular edges personify her as a tidy pony.[19] Like other ponies, Twilight's body does not feature shading and her mane and tail lacks depth. They are generally fixed shapes, animated by bending and stretching them in curves in three dimensions and giving them a sense of movement without the cost of individual hairs.[10]

Voice[edit]

Tara Strong and Rebecca Shoichet voice Twilight while speaking and singing.

Tara Strong and Faust first met on The Powerpuff Girls. After developing Friendship Is Magic's pitch bible, Faust asked Strong to help her complete it by voicing Twilight, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack or Rainbow Dash. Faust had expected Strong to book the role of Pinkie Pie as she was similar to Bubbles Utonium, who the actress had voiced in The Powerpuff Girls. However, following hearing Strong voicing Twilight, Faust offered her the role. The actress viewed the character as "authentic and conscientious and sweet but strong and a little bit nerdy".[20] To voice Twilight, Strong made her voice higher.[20]

Rebecca Shoichet initially became involved with the series through frequent collaborator Daniel Ingram, who composed the songs for the show. She performed a number of song demos for him, including for the PBS animated series Martha Speaks.[21] During the show's casting phase, Shoichet was cast as Twilight's singing voice after recording a demo for the series' theme song and because she sounded similar to Strong.[22]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The A.V. Club said the Mane Six seemed "super cool".[23] The Mary Sue called Twilight "mature", calling the characters "enjoyable, relatable, and believable".[24] Den of Geek praised the feminism of the characters: "These ponies are complicated, they break stereotypes and never rely on men to come in and save the day. They do not fit into feminine stereotypes nor are they all masculine. They celebrate traditional femininity, traditional masculinity and androgyny. And none of the ponies seem to have an issue with this."[25]

Popularity and merchandise[edit]

Comic Book Resources ranked Twilight the second best character Strong had voiced.[26]

References[edit]

General
  • Snider, Brandon T. (2013). The Elements of Harmony: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The Official Guidebook. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-24754-2.
  • Begin, Mary Jane (2015). My Little Pony: The Art of Equestria. New York: Abrams. ISBN 978-1-4197-1577-8.
Specific
  1. ^ Lauren Faust [@Fyre_flye] (November 29, 2013). "Twilight became Twilight" (Tweet). Retrieved December 7, 2018 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "'My Little Pony' to launch new animated series and toy line — see exclusive first look". EW.com. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Tyrrel, Rebecca (December 24, 2004). "Pony tale". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on March 16, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  4. ^ McGuire, Seanan (November 23, 2020). "My Little Pony broke all of the 'girl toy' rules". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Faust, Lauren (September 15, 2011). "Exclusive Season 1 Retrospective Interview with Lauren Faust". Equestria Daily (Interview). Interviewed by Tekaramity. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  6. ^ Anderson, Monika (August 12, 2011). "Never Too Old For 'ThunderCats'?". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on November 5, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  7. ^ Steiner, Linda (September 27, 2011). "Friendship is Massive – Ponies, Internet phenomena and crossover audiences". Daniel Nye Griffiths (Interview). Interviewed by Daniel Nye Griffiths. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  8. ^ Townshend, Matt (February 27, 2014). "At Hasbro, Girls Toys Become a Big Market". BusinessWeek. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  9. ^ "My Little Pony". The Toys That Made Us. Season 3. Episode 3. November 15, 2019. Event occurs at 33:13. Netflix.
  10. ^ a b c Strike, Joe (July 5, 2011). "Of Ponies and Bronies". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Faust, Lauren (December 24, 2010). "My Little NON-Homophobic, NON-Racist, NON-Smart-Shaming Pony: A Rebuttal". Ms. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  12. ^ "My Little Pony". The Toys That Made Us. Season 3. Episode 3. November 15, 2019. Event occurs at 33:52. Netflix.
  13. ^ a b Campbell, Colin (April 23, 2013). "Bronies fighting Ponies: the Magic of Friendship". Polygon. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  14. ^ Miller, Lisa (November 6, 2014). "How My Little Pony Became a Cult for Grown Men and Preteen Girls Alike". The Cut. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  15. ^ Wilson, Melody (July 3, 2012). "Why do These Grown Men Love 'My Little Pony?'". Slate. Archived from the original on September 29, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
  16. ^ "My Little Pony". The Toys That Made Us. Season 3. Episode 3. November 15, 2019. Event occurs at 35:58. Netflix.
  17. ^ Davis, Lauren (December 2, 2013). "Lauren Faust shares her childhood My Little Pony collection on Twitter". io9. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Begin 2015, p. 47.
  19. ^ Begin 2015, p. 48.
  20. ^ a b Strong, Tara (August 21, 2020). "Tara Strong (Timmy Turner) Breaks Down Her Most Famous Character Voices". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  21. ^ Ponyville Live! (April 9, 2015). "BABSCon 2015 - Rebecca Shoichet Interview". YouTube. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  22. ^ Ponyville Live! (April 9, 2015). "BABSCon 2015 - Rebecca Shoichet Interview". YouTube. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  23. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily Todd (March 29, 2011). "My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  24. ^ Pucci, Nicole (May 10, 2011). "For the Herd: Why The Internet Loves My Little Pony". The Mary Sue. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  25. ^ Ethan, Lewis (December 8, 2012). "10 Reasons You Should Be Watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  26. ^ Mulley, Rosie (June 13, 2020). "Top 10 Tara Strong Roles, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved March 5, 2021.