|This article is about the series. You may be looking for the character, the movie, the epilogue series, or the comic series.|
Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar that focuses on a young boy named Steven Universe, the youngest member of the Crystal Gems, a team of magical guardians who protect the Earth.
The pilot was released on May 21, 2013, on Rebecca Sugar's father's YouTube channel (but has since been removed). The show premiered on Cartoon Network on November 4, 2013, in the U.S., on January 6, 2014, in some parts of Asia, and April 7, 2014, in South America. On July 25, 2014, it was announced that Steven Universe has been renewed for a second season, and on July 7, 2015, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a third season. On March 30, 2016, it was declared that these two seasons would be subdivided to create four seasons of shorter length, giving the show five seasons total.
The show aired its series finale, "Change Your Mind", on January 21, 2019, concluding the series with 5 seasons and 160 episodes.
It was announced on October 4, 2019, that the show would be succeeded by an epilogue show, entitled Steven Universe Future. The series takes place after the events of the movie and premiered on December 7, 2019. It ended on March 27, 2020.
- Main article: Episode Guide
In Steven Universe, the world is protected from evil threats by the Crystal Gems, a movement of Gems sworn to protect the Earth from the Homeworld Gems. Their powers flow from their gemstones; magical gems embedded somewhere on the host's body. The four Crystal Gems are Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl, and Steven. Multiple gems, such as Peridot, Lapis Lazuli, Bismuth and a human, Connie Maheswaran has also joined the team. Steven is a young half-human, half-gem boy who inherited his gemstone from his mother, a Crystal Gem named Rose Quartz, who gave up her form to create Steven. As Steven tries to figure out the secrets to using his gem, he spends his days in Beach City doing activities with the other Crystal Gems, whether it's helping them save the universe or just hanging out.
- Zach Callison as Steven Universe
- Estelle as Garnet
- Michaela Dietz as Amethyst
- Deedee Magno-Hall as Pearl
Major Supporting Cast
- Tom Scharpling as Greg Universe
- Grace Rolek as Connie Maheswaran
- Matthew Moy as Lars Barriga
- Kate Micucci as Sadie Miller
- Dee Bradley Baker as Lion
- Shelby Rabara as Peridot
- Jennifer Paz as Lapis Lazuli and Malachite
- Susan Egan as Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond
- Charlyne Yi as Ruby
- Erica Luttrell as Sapphire
- Billy Merritt as Mr. Fryman
- Atticus Shaffer as Peedee Fryman
- Zachary Steel as Ronaldo Fryman and Ringo
- Joel Hodgson as Bill Dewey
- Lamar Abrams as Buck Dewey
- Brian Posehn as Sour Cream
- Zach Callison as Onion
- Tom Scharpling as Yellowtail
- Jackie Buscarino as Vidalia
- Reagan Gomez-Preston as Kiki and Jenny Pizza
- Godfrey Danchimah as Kofi Pizza
- Toks Olagundoye as Nanefua Pizza
- Sinbad and Colton Dunn as Harold Smiley
- Kate Flannery as Barbara Miller
- Crispin Freeman as Doug Maheswaran
- Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Priyanka Maheswaran
- Eugene Cordero as Jamie
- Andrew Kishino as Kevin
- Jon Wurster as Marty
- Dave Willis as Andy DeMayo
- Matthew Moy as Dante Barriga and Foxman
- Nancy Linari as Martha Barriga
- Brian George as Quentin Frowney
- Eric Bauza as Ricky and the Le Hotel butlers
- Kimberly Brooks as Jasper, Malachite, Zebra Jasper, Jasper guards, "Skinny" Jasper, and Carnelian
- Charlyne Yi as Rubies ("Eyeball", "Navy", "Leggy", "Doc", and "Army")
- Aimee Mann as Opal
- Nicki Minaj as Sugilite
- Alexia Khadime as Sardonyx
- Rita Rani Ahuja as Alexandrite
- AJ Michalka as Stevonnie
- Natasha Lyonne as Smoky Quartz
- Jennifer Paz as Malachite
- Dee Bradley Baker as Zebra Jasper
- Patti LuPone as Yellow Diamond
- Deedee Magno-Hall as Pearls (Yellow, Blue, Pink), Jane and Hopper
- Uzo Aduba as Bismuth
- Lisa Hannigan as Blue Diamond
- Christine Pedi as Holly Blue Agate
- Michaela Dietz as Amethyst guards, "Famethyst" Amethyst members, and Hoppy
- Della Saba as Aquamarine
- Martha Higareda as Topaz
- Amy Sedaris as Zircons (defending and prosecuting)
- Ashly Burch as Rutile Twins
- Enuka Okuma as Rhodonite
- Kathleen Fisher as Fluorite
- Erica Luttrell as Padparadscha
- Christine Ebersole as White Diamond and White Pearl
"Say Uncle" Cast
- Pete Browngardt as Uncle Grandpa
- Eric Bauza as Belly Bag
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Mr. Gus
- Adam Devine as Pizza Steve
Concept and Creation
The titular character, Steven, is roughly based on Sugar's younger brother Steven Sugar, who is now a background artist for the online web series, Bravest Warriors, created by Pendleton Ward of Adventure Time fame (he is a background artist for Steven Universe as well). Growing up, Sugar would create miscellaneous comics between herself and Steven, as well as with other friends. In an interview with The New York Times, she commented on the development of the titular character's background, expressing her desire to base the character from the viewpoint of her brother growing up "where you're so comfortable in your life because you get all the attention, but you also want to rise up and not be the little brother." The show is set in the fictional Beach City, which is loosely based on Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, and Dewey Beach, Delaware, all places that Sugar visited as a child.
According to Sugar, production began on the show concurrently while working on Adventure Time. Her last episode for the series was "Simon & Marcy", in which working on both simultaneously "became impossible to do". Similarly, she would encounter difficulty around the production of the episode "Fionna and Cake".
The series features songs and musical numbers produced by Sugar along with her story writers, who collaborate on the lyrics for each song. According to Sugar, not every episode will feature a song, instead opting to feature one every couple episodes "where it always feels right". The series premiere, "Gem Glow", features a rap song written by storyboard artist Jeff Liu, who programmed the beat into his Game Boy using Little Sound DJ. The soundtrack for all of the episodes is composed by Aivi & Surasshu with some demos by Jeff Liu.
The pilot episode for Steven Universe, along with a few other pilots, was released on Cartoon Network's video platform on May 21, 2013. They were taken down and redirected to a 404 page shortly after.
On July 20, 2013, Cartoon Network uploaded an edited version of the pilot to both their official website and Facebook page. The pilots were also exhibited at the San Diego Comic-Con, and from July 27 to July 28, 2013, Cartoon Network aired a sneak peek of the pilot as part of Big Fan Weekend, along with the pilots for Clarence and Uncle Grandpa. A 30-minute panel dedicated to the series was hosted at the New York Comic Con on October 13, 2013, with Rebecca Sugar hosting.
The series premiered on November 4, 2013, on Cartoon Network, with two episodes. Season 1B's last episode aired on March 12, 2015, during the first StevenBomb, with Season 2 beginning on March 13, 2015 (however, Season 1B did not officially end until April 16, 2015). Season 2 ended on January 8, 2016, during the fourth StevenBomb. Season 3 premiered with two episodes on May 12, 2016, and ended during the Summer of Steven on August 10, 2016. Season 4 premiered during the Summer of Steven on August 11, 2016, and ended with two episodes on May 11, 2017, during the sixth StevenBomb. The fifth season began on May 29, 2017, with Wanted, an hour-long special consisting of four episodes. The fifth season concluded on January 21, 2019, with the hour-long special, "Battle of Heart and Mind ", during the Diamond Days event (making it the longest-running season of the series). A film based on the series premiered on September 2, 2019.
Initial announcements of the series have attained positive press for Sugar being the first female creator for any show produced by Cartoon Network Studios. When asked about her role as a solo female creator, she responded with gratitude towards the feedback, ultimately voicing her passion to be a role model "just in the sense that I get to make what the ultimate cartoon should be. I tried to be a role model [by showing that] anyone who wanted to could take really traditional ideas of animation and bring them into the present but keep all the trappings of what [was] used [to make cartoons great] in the past."
Steven Universe has received critical acclaim for its music and voice performances, storytelling, its characterization, and the "breathtaking beauty", "intriguing, immersive environments" and "lovably goofy aesthetic" of its art.
- According to Matt Burnett and Joe Johnston, each episode takes approximately 9 to 12 months to make and release.
- After being pitched, approved and storyboarded, the phases of production are voice recording, animatics, design, overseas animation, editing, music, and sound design.
- As a "board-driven" show, Steven Universe does not rely on traditional scripts. Instead, the writers write up episode outlines that cover the story framework, and then the outlines are given to teams of storyboard artists who do the storyboarding and write the dialogue.
- After the storyboards have been completed, a member of the production staff writes out the actual script for the recording session. Instead of scene headings or action descriptions like a traditional live-action script, there are numbers corresponding to the numbered storyboard panels. During the recording sessions, showrunner Rebecca Sugar and voice director Kent Osborne pitch the scene to the actors using the storyboards as references.
- Storyboards are made with ToonBoom's Storyboard Pro software.
- According to various Crewniverse members, Steven Universe isn't supposed to be about heroes or villains.
- During NYCC 2016, Rebecca revealed that she does have plans for how the series will end.
- During a Q&A at a Toonami Panel at Momo Con 2015, someone asked "Because of the dark hints in Steven Universe...it may get dark later on and you might take it over?" and it was confirmed Toonami would appreciate the idea of having Steven Universe on their network, but they cannot because too many kids are watching.
- The Steven Universe franchise officially ended on March 27, 2020, with the premiere of the last episode of its epilogue series, "The Future".
- According to Rebecca Sugar, she was notified in 2016 that the series would be cancelled at the end of the fifth season. She prevailed upon Cartoon Network to extend the fifth season to 32 episodes, in order to have room to complete the story, as well as a follow-up television film, Steven Universe: The Movie. Along with the film, Cartoon Network also greenlighted an additional season of 20 episodes, which would become the sequel series Steven Universe Future, taking place after the events of the film. Despite the show's end, Sugar has indicated that more stories could exist, but has stated that she needs a long break before deciding how to approach such a continuation.
- Official Crewniverse Tumblr
- Official Steven Universe YouTube channel
- Official Crewniverse YouTube channel
- Official SoundCloud
- Keep Beach City Weird
- Newsarama – Rebecca Sugar brings STEVEN UNIVERSE to Life (November 4th, 2013)
- Video – Hot Topic – Interview: Steven Universe Creator Rebecca Sugar (YouTube; July 6, 2014)
- Newsarama – Cartoon Network's STEVEN UNIVERSE Goes Kaboom! in New Comic (August 2014)
- Newsarama – STEVEN UNIVERSE: The Interview (January 7th, 2015)
- io9 – Steven Universe Guidebook Spills The Secrets Of The Crystal Gems (May 14th, 2015)
- Newsarama – New STEVEN UNIVERSE Episodes Beginning Of New Era For Show Says REBECCA SUGAR (June 12th, 2015)
- Amidi, Amid (2013-05-21). Sneak Peek: Cartoon Network's Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar. Cartoon Brew. Retrieved on 2013 August 11.
- Wikipedia:Steven Universe#Reception
"After storyboard, voice record->animatic->design->animated overseas->editing->music->sound design all have to happen."
"As some of you know, Steven Universe is a storyboard-driven show, meaning a team of storyboard artists are given an outline off of which they write all of the dialogue and storyboard the episode. The job of the outline, and my job, is to give them the basic framework for the episode – the story."
- "SU doesn't deal in antagonists or protagonists. Characters much more complicated than that." https://twitter.com/mcburnett/status/706654478309597184
- "The Official Toonami Panel 2015: Extended Edition" – Geek E Inc. Productions on YouTube