The Crewniverse rolled up to Ballroom 20 with all the fun-loving moments and thoughtfulness fans have grown to expect from their panels. Creator and executive producer Rebecca Sugar was joined onstage by cast members Estelle, Michaela Dietz, Deedee Magno Hall, and Shelby Rabara who also moderated.
Kicking it up a notch in this panel, they dropped a surprise single from the new movie–premiering September 2nd at 6pm on Cartoon Network–with a live performance of “True Kinda Love” sung by Estelle and Rebecca Sugar. It was then made available for immediate streaming and purchase. Sugar also performed “Love Like You” for the panel.
Cast members talked about their favorite moments from the season finale “Change Your Mind” including the fans’ reactions, fusions such as Sunstone and Obsidian, and White Diamond’s shoes where Sugar stated, “she’s literally put herself on pedestals.”
Before showing the trailer, Sugar dished a secret that “our Pearl never belonged to White [Diamond], but White is involved in the creation of pearls in general, so there is a connection and that’s all I can really say at the moment.”
Sugar said that it has been a “lifelong dream to get to make a movie musical” and that she “can’t wait for people to see it.” Sugar, Estelle, Chance the Rapper, and Macie Stewart, wrote songs for the movie along with composers Aivi and Surasshu.
The song “Change Your Mind”, which premiered in the season five finale, was a personal song Sugar wrote. She wasn’t expecting it to be in the show, but after the fight to have the same sex wedding episode made, she felt the need to share it in the finale.
When asked if Pearl and Greg are going to try and find love again, Estelle said, “these are spoiler questions, fam.” At multiple points during the panel Estelle took a drink out of her coffee cup to avoid answering spoilery questions. Sugar added that “it’s really important for Pearl to be very independent for a while…she’s really finding herself at the moment.”
Dietz spoke on her own parallel journey to Amethyst in finding her origins, because at the same time Dietz was also searching for her own biological family as a Korean-American adoptee.
Sugar opened up the possibility for Stevonnie being able to fuse with other humans and gems, but said, “they don’t need anybody but themselves.”
Sugar sort of slipped in the possibility of new fusions in the upcoming movie after Estelle took another hilariously long “no spoilers” drink from her cup, handed Sugar her water bottle to do the same, and then slid Sugar’s mic away from her as the audience lost it. The only thing she would say is that “it’s a really good question” and to “please watch the movie for the answer.”
One thing that was revealed is that Steven is now 16 years old, and the movie takes place two years in the future. Sugar said that Steven also looks older “because of what he’s come to understand about himself, he’s able to grow in a way he wasn’t before.”
Sugar shared her love of animation and said that she completely understands why “adults can and do love cartoons because I’m an adult that loves cartoons so much.” She also “never got to have a show like this as a child” and having a show like this for children lets her “retrofit nostalgia for something I was never able to have.” She added, “anyone of any age that loves animation, I just think you’re right.”
Sugar also shared advice to someone aspiring to be an animator saying to “just make stuff, right away, as soon as possible. The moment you’re making art you’re no longer an aspiring artist, you’re just an artist. So do it, make it, right now.”
The challenges of making the show, especially in the beginning for Sugar included running from department to department, trying to tell an expansive story without knowing how long it would air or if it would have a fanbase. She also gave more advice saying, “you will get more work done if you get a full night’s sleep than if you work long hours but you didn’t get a lot of sleep…if you suffer the art will suffer, so please take care of yourself.”
Sugar also revealed that the title of the show was a temp title. She watched the show “Tenchi Universe” as a kid, so the title was “like my brother Steven and Tenchi Universe”. They became really attached to the name, and then Steven Universe just became his name. She added, “Although Steven is not Tenchi, Greg is Tenchi.”
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