Steven Universe Future: Rebecca Sugar Talks "Mr. Universe" and "Fragments"

It's almost over. Steven Universe Future aired its penultimate episodes tonight, "Mr. Universe" and "Fragments." The four-part series finale is still set to air next week, March 27th, beginning at 7PM ET. Ahead of this week's episode, we had the chance to interview Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, and while the vast majority of that interview won't appear until after the finale, we did ask a couple questions about tonight's episodes. Buckle up, folks.

Spoilers for Steven Universe Future episodes "Mr. Universe" and "Fragments" follow! You've been warned.

In "Mr. Universe," Steven's dad, Greg, takes the two of them on a road trip, ending up at his own parents' house for the first time in the history of the series. Steven eventually discovers this, and laments the fact that he didn't have a more typical childhood, as Greg tells him all about how he discovered music and struggled under his parents' roof -- which influenced his own style of parenting. In the process, Greg shares a very special song with Steven, which is how Steven learns that his family's name comes from a song his dad liked back when.

In "Fragments," Steven leaves the comfort of his home and the Crystal Gems to hide out, and train with, Jasper. After all, it's the last place anyone would look for him, right? Unfortunately, Jasper's self-destructive tendencies and anger bring out the worst in Steven, and he eventually leans into his power as, essentially, a Diamond to ultimately shatter her in a one-on-one fight.

Ahead of both episodes, had a chance to speak with Sugar, as mentioned above, and while we didn't address every individual detail of what went on in each, Sugar did speak to extremely important moments in both. The interview follows below!

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(Photo: Cartoon Network) ...Is that Jemaine Clement singing that "Mr. Universe" song?

Rebecca Sugar: Yes! [laughs] It is.

How did that come about?

I've been a really big fan for a very long time, and, well, Tom Scharpling, the voice of Greg, worked with Jemaine on the What We Do in the Shadows series, which is fantastic. So, they knew each other, and I saw him at the Emmys, and I told myself, "Oh, don't go up and ask him about this part, just go up and say you're a fan." Then, I went up to him and immediately said, "I really want you to do this part, can you please?" Then we were in touch. I'm very excited to have had a chance to work with him on the show. He's brilliant. I'm always really honored when singer-songwriters sing songs for the show, because I know that means that they feel that it's up to a certain standard. I'd also like to mention that that song was written by Jack Pendarvis, our writer who also wrote on Adventure Time. I loved working with Jack.

How involved was Jemaine actually in that process, or was it like you all sent him the song and then he just did it?

Yeah, we sent him -- we had the demo. Jack Pendarvis made a demo on accordion. He wrote the song on accordion, and then I translated it into guitar, and then the guitar version is what we sent to Jemaine.

Now speaking of these episodes, "Fragments" -- after "Together Forever", I thought that there might not be as emotional an episode, but then of course Steven shatters Jasper. What was the process going into deciding that that was going to happen there? This is the kickoff to the finale, really.

Right. Well, we really sat down to map out where Steven would be emotionally throughout the season, and we needed to figure out all of the peaks and valleys and how that would spur him forward. We needed something to bring him to a very extreme low, and a huge fear of himself.

For years and years, we'd wanted an episode where Steven and Jasper would train together, and I was really interested in the ways that she would influence him. She's always, as a character, been really hard on herself, and really struggled with her sense of self, and is self-destructive in a lot of dangerous ways. So to have her be a mentor for him while he's in this state is a really dangerous combination, and I wanted to showcase that.


Here's how Cartoon Network describes the upcoming conclusion of the franchise:

"Steven Universe Future concludes as Steven is beginning to question his purpose as he runs out of Gems to help. Who is he if he's not saving the world? And what is this strange new power that's making him glow pink? Without other peoples' problems to solve, he'll have to finally face his own."


Steven Universe Future is set to air a four-part series finale ("Homeworld Bound", "Everything's Fine", "I Am My Monster", "The Future") on March 27th at 7PM ET. More of our interview with Sugar will be published at that time. You can check out all of our previous coverage of Steven Universe right here.

This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.