Bingo Bongo! Steven Universe is getting its own full-length movie, and parents everywhere should be psyched. After an inordinate amount of Paw Patrol, it may be hard to believe that you and your child will ever have the same taste in television again, but Steven Universe is one of the rare cartoons meant for adults and kids to enjoy together that actually sticks the landing. Why is the movie so exciting? For fans, the answer is simple: More Steven. For non-fans, the answer is only slightly more complex. The movie will likely make Steven Universe unavoidable for parents, which is a good thing because it’s a terrific show.
The announcement came in the form of a short teaser trailer screened for fans at San Diego Comic-Con. The trailer didn’t give away anything about the plot or even hint at a release date, but displayed the reflections of each of the shows main characters inside of a spinning, heart-shaped gemstone. Executives noted that the film would debut on Cartoon Network. Whether it might make it to theaters after that was unclear. (Netflix is probably the more likely option.)
For those struggling to get excited due to ignorance of the extending Steven Universe, here’s the quick download: Steven is the offspring of a human dad and an alien mother from a race called the gems, and the gems are basically sentient minerals that can form human bodies. Steven ends up under the care of three gems who were friends with his late mother. From there, all hell breaks loose. It’s an anarchic show, but also deeply felt and consistently well written. The visuals are there for the children. The emotions are there for the adults.
Unlike so many other kids shows, Steven Universe has a serialized story arc, so every episode relies on the last, and the show actually builds toward more mature themes — notably gender, which is tackles in refreshing and unexpected ways. All of the gems present as women though it’s emphasized that they’re actually sexless. Steven looks up to all of the gems, one of which had romantic feelings for his mother and another of which is made of two gems fused into one and is, in essence, non-binary. The impressive thing is that the show’s politics are deployed in service of the narrative rather than moralistically. The plot just goes.
Thematically, Steven Universe remains approachable while still having so much to offer. For parents smart enough to get their kid into Steven Universe, the movie is sure to be a treat.