If there is a through-line to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power's final season, it is perhaps one of redemption. But not at all costs or cheaply; earned redemption. While I won't spoil anything particular here, folks that have already watched likely know what I'm talking about. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with creator and showrunner Noelle Stevenson all about the final season after it dropped on Netflix, and while we absolutely asked about the show's biggest moment ever, we also spoke with her specifically about Shadow Weaver and the season's other big moment.
Spoilers for the final season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power follow. You've been warned.
Near the end of the show's final season, Catra, Adora, and Shadow Weaver are somewhere inside Etheria looking to release the magical energy stored within in order to return it to the planet as well as stop Horde Prime's attempt to take it for himself. In what appears to be a fatal encounter, Catra at first attempts to prevent a monster from taking out Adora only to have Shadow Weaver step in to instead sacrifice herself. It is an incredibly emotional moment, but perhaps not a redemptive one, according to the showrunner.
ComicBook.com: Now, I have to say, how dare you for making me care about Shadow Weaver, and crying at that scene. How far in advance did you know that this sort of redemption arc was going to play out for Shadow Weaver? Or at the very least, a sacrificial one?
Noelle Stevenson: I think that Shadow Weaver’s sacrifice is a little bit less about her character getting redeemed, because I think that's another message of this season, especially, is that redemption is not just one good act and dying. And forgiveness is not a given. It is something that you have to work for. I mean, we see Catra learned that lesson as she makes the grand sacrifice, and then she's rescued, and she has to actually face the people that she hurt and actually work to fix the relationship that she ruined. And then we see Shadow Weaver make that decision as well, but she does choose sort of a selfish way out, of being like, "I will do this one good act and then you'll have to forgive me."
But I think it's even less about her and more about the effects that it has on Catra and Adora, because she is someone who's loomed so large in their lives for so long and has harmed them in so many ways. And the question is, how could they possibly get closure? How could they possibly move past the effect that she's had on both of them? And so I think that giving them this moment... I think Catra, I don't know if she forgives Shadow Weaver, but the moment where Shadow Weaver tells her that she's proud of her is, I think, something she's really needed to hear.
So it is very affirming to her, even though it's, I think, a very conflicted moment for her where she's angry and she's not fully feeling like... I don't know that she's feeling forgiveness for Shadow Weaver. But I wanted to get into the complexity of... I think everyone has a relationship to an authority figure like this.
And the thing is that even once we move on and even once we're grown, they don't stop mattering to us as much as we wish they would. There are people who will always have power over us. And so it's just a very uncomfortable fact for a lot of people, a kind of growing past abuse. And so I think, honestly, at the end of the day, that scene ends up giving Catra and Adora that peace that they need to move past her and become their own people free of this shadow that she's cast across them for so many years.
And I think it's maybe one of the first not-wholly-selfish acts that she's ever done. Even though I think that she thinks she's a good person, all of her actions are selfish. And I think that she actually does confront the fact that she has been so harmful for so many people. And whether it's enough to undo all of the bad things that she's done in her life? I don't think so. It's much more complicated than that, but I do think that it is something that needed to happen for Catra and Adora to be able to heal.
All five seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power are now available to stream on Netflix. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the popular animated title right here.
What did you think of the show's fifth and final season? Anything particular that you liked? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things animation!