Steven Universe has always been a show of hidden depths: starting out light and fun, the nature of the Crystal Gems was slowly revealed after many episodes of foreshadowing and Easter eggs. Eventually, we discovered what the Gems' mission was, and just why these alien space rocks live on Earth in the first place. But there's still far far more of the story to tell.
The last few episodes of Steven Universe have been full of plot reveals, with Peridot allying with the Crystal Gems as they plan how to deal with the ominous Cluster. Season 2 is definitely building towards several dramatic events, with Malachite tentatively trapped under the sea and Yellow Diamond soon to make an appearance. Just to make sure fans can keep up, Rebecca Sugar has released new book The Guide To The Crystal Gems, and there's plenty of backstory hints to keep us guessing!
The Important Stuff
Obviously, I won't spoil the whole book for you! But there are some important tidbits that inform the show, so let's take a look over some of them now. Firstly, the Gem War officially occurred 5,500 years ago. The Rebellion is obviously a huge part of the Steven Universe backstory, and the more information we get about it, the better we can understand the plot as it happens.
Just to catch you up, here's the main points of the Crystal Gems' revolt against Homeworld...
- The Gems considered Earth an excellent breeding ground for new Gems, and intended to use it as such.
- When Rose Quartz visited Earth she was astounded by the human race and realised that Homeworld's plan for Earth was wrong.
- This plan, as Peridot later revealed, also included building an immense weapon from the forced fusion of gem shards - The Cluster.
- As this would destroy the planet (and all life on it), the Crystal Gems, lead by Rose, fought against Homeworld to protect the Earth.
This war lasted about 1000 years, according to Pearl.
- Greg implied that humans were also involved in the conflict, but whether they fought by the Crystal Gems' side or were just victims is still a mystery.
- Amethyst was born/created after the war ended.
We've had all this information out of order, but with recent revelations it's great to be able to finally see the bigger picture!
The Guide To The Crystal Gems also includes some fun facts about fusion. On Homeworld, only gems of the same type tend to fuse together, making a bigger and stronger version of that gem (imagine a giant, muscly Pearl...). Garnet's fusion was therefore "unusual", which was why Ruby and Sapphire's decision to live together permanently was met with disdain on Homeworld.
There's also some lovely discussion about fusion and relationships in the Guide, especially when it comes to Garnet's passage.
"Some relationships are healthy and stable…Some relationships are unsustainable, even if they seem promising at first. Some are furiously short, some are dangerously long. Some are toxic mistakes that are best avoided. Some are wonderful surprises that open you up to new ways of thinking and being. A truly great fusion is like a truly great relationship: its power is amplified by trust, respect, absolute honesty and constant communication."
What a fantastic message! Here's the page in its entirety...
And there's also a little bit more information about Rose's plans...
Rose Quartz's Mission
In the Guide, Pearl gives the inspirational message that anyone can be a Crystal Gem if they "believe in the radical doctrine of Rose Quartz!" This doctrine is expanded on a bit more, with Rebecca Sugar revealing Rose's manifesto...
"Fight for life on the planet Earth. Defend all human beings, even the ones that you don’t understand. Believe in love that is out of anyone’s control, and then risk everything for it!"
We don't hear what Rose has to say a lot on the show, though her role has immense importance to the plot. The glimpses we get of her are always tinged with sadness, and this passage is no less poignant than usual! We also got a huge reveal in regards to Rose's death and Steven's birth...
As you all know, the gems' bodies are matter projections while their true form are the stones themselves. The Guide adds that any internal organs have to be shapeshifted, and Rose chose to shapeshift a womb for Steven so she could experience carrying a child.
But crucially, SHE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THIS!
The Guide implies that Rose could have survived Steven's creation, but as this would have rendered him biologically human she chose to sacrifice herself. This way, Steven would be the first gem/human hybrid, and Rose hoped he would bridge the gap between their races.
This is a pretty huge revelation, and gives more weight to Steven's words in the extended opening sequence...
"I will fight to be who everyone wants me to be when I'm grown!"
I don't know about you, but this piece of information had me reeling. I wonder if they'll ever reveal it in the show?
For now, this is all the most important stuff that we learnt from Guide To The Crystal Gems, but there are certainly more plot developments coming soon in Steven Universe season 2, so stay tuned!
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