The heart of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is the relationship between Adora and Catra, two friends on opposite sides of a devastating war. It seemed like the events of season three finally brought them past the point of no return, but stars Aimee Carrero and AJ Michalka say there’s hope for them to come back together. Only one question: Will it involve the arrival of Horde Prime?
Carrero, Michalka, and showrunner Noelle Stevenson sat down in Gizmodo's studio at New York Comic Con to discuss season four of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which they announced was getting a new 13-episode season in November.
Season three ended with Adora seemingly cutting Catra out of her life, after Catra kidnapped her and opened the portal that led to Queen Angella’s disappearance. After everything they’ve been through, it seems like there’s nowhere left for them to go. But both actresses say they’re holding out hope for one of the fandom’s favourite ships.
“I think Adora and Catra, they’re bound to become friends again at some point, I hope. Because I feel like that’s the foundation of what they’ve built for years as kids,” Carrero, who voices She-Ra/Adora, told Gizmodo. “But we’re not there yet, and certainly not this season.”
It wouldn’t be unusual for this series to have Catra change her ways and join the Princess Alliance — or at least no longer stand in their way. Shadow Weaver’s story arc last season involved her joining Adora’s side as a way to stay close to her. Plus, we saw Catra nearly abandon the Horde while travelling the Crimson Waste, so we know she wants something else out of life.
As of now, the biggest thing that could bring Catra and Adora back together would be Horde Prime, who’s tracked Hordak to Etheria and seems to be planning an invasion. I asked the actresses if Horde Prime’s arrival could unite Catra and Adora against a common enemy. The response was... curious.
“I hope so. I mean, that’s kind of what happened with Shadow Weaver,” Michalka said.
“I mean who knows, we’ll have to see,” Carrero added. “We cannot say more.”
Gizmodo: Catra and Adora’s relationship has always been really close but fraught, and now it almost seemed like it’s come to the point of no return. Is that the case going into season four, or is there still hope for them to finally find common ground again?
Aimee Carrero (Adora): There’s always hope. Never lose hope.
AJ Michalka (Catra): Yeah especially for, like, friends. I think we have such a foundation. I think Adora and Catra, they’re bound to become friends again at some point, I hope, because I feel like that’s the foundation of what they’ve built for years as kids.
Carrero: They’ve been through so much together. You almost have to have a rift in order to really kind of — when you do come back together, have it be meaningful. And having grown into adults, or whatever you’re going to grow into, it almost makes it stronger. But we’re not there yet, and certainly not this season.
Michalka: No, at the top of season four we are sworn enemies.
Gizmodo: What does Catra love about Adora, and vice versa?
Michalka: I think in a lot of ways Catra really admires Adora’s determination. In some ways, Adora has been like this — I think as a kid, this is how I pictured it at least, was an inspiration to Catra. Like, I was always at the foot of her bed. In a way, she was my older sister, even though she was my best friend. And I think that I’ve seen her determination and it’s what’s made, in some ways, Catra grow stronger with her villainy. Is that even a word?
Gizmodo: Yeah, I think so.
Carrero: We just made it!
Michalka: It is now. And I really think that it’s kind of fed Catra’s need to want to win but I also think it’s what’s made Catra be like, “Oh my gosh, I have something to fight for because she won’t let up, just as much as I won’t.” So I think I see that, like, fellow determination and that bravery, and I think it really switches something on in Catra. I think she really respects it.
Carrero: I think similarly, there’s a mutual sort of admiration. But more than that there’s like a mutual — at least on Adora’s side — like, “I see you and I actually see you. I know what’s in your heart, despite—” I think Catra’s someone you peel sort of like an onion, you know, and the fact that Adora gets to the heart of her is important.
And I think, in the same way, [Catra] sees Adora as more than a perfectionist, really good at her job. She sees her. They both see each other in a way that’s real and true, even in their worst moments. That’s why there’s so much tension and so much electricity because they aren’t fooling each other. They know who each other is — are? Anyway. And so I think that’s maybe that she can see her, for real, who she is.
Gizmodo, to Noelle Stevenson: You ended season three on such a heartbreaking note for Catra and Adora. What’s the aftermath of that been like, and how’s it been like writing two characters that you want to see come back together so bad but they just can’t?
Noelle Stevenson: Yeah. It’s so interesting because I love, you know, Adora and Catra’s relationship. A lot of my episodes explore them in particular because I find them so compelling. The thing that’s so tragic about them, I think, is that it’s two people who care about each other very deeply and yet can’t quite talk to each other.
They do know more about each other than anyone else in the world, and yet they never quite hear what the other is saying. We had that episode in season one where it’s them trying to reconcile and they just make it worse.
I think for someone like Catra, who’s like — she won’t let go of this hurt and she feels like the way to remedy that is to just rise as high as she can, take everything by force, and become so powerful that no one can break her heart again. That’s not a trajectory that you can pull someone off of very easily. She has to kind of find her actual fulfillment for herself because I think the big question is: Does she really want power or does she want something else?
And I think that Adora — even though she knows Catra and she sees her, she doesn’t really understand her. And she doesn’t know how to get through to her. And so she’s been trying to reach her over the last few seasons and I think she’s finally — I don’t know that she’s fully given up but she’s trying to give up on Catra.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power returns November 5.