The heartfelt finale of Steven Universe’s most recent season brought this part of Steven’s story to a close in such a profound way that you could easily get the impression the series as a whole was coming to an end. That might not be the case.
While discussing “Change Your Mind” on a recent episode of Cartoon Network’s official Steven Universe podcast, series creator Rebecca Sugar and former co-executive producer Ian Jones-Quartey talked about how the episode is the bookend to this chapter of Steven’s story of self-discovery and actualization. But, Sugar explained, Steven Universe as a concept is bigger than that:
The thing about Steven Universe is that it’s a coming of age story and this is something that he had to figure out in order to start making decisions for himself. Throughout the show, it’s actually been very difficult to write Steven because he puts others in front of himself and his motivations are so tied in with what he thinks other people want—what he thinks his mother would have wanted, what he thinks the Gems want, and who he’s supposed to be.
This is where we finally break that all down. He can’t be distracted by any sort of “supposed to.” It doesn’t exist for him and he doesn’t have to be what other people want or expect him to be.
With Steven learning about the true nature of his identity and relationship with the gem in his stomach, he’s come to an important realisation about who he is and how he’s neither Rose Quartz nor Pink Diamond. That realisation, Jones-Quartey continued, means that Steven Universe has to move into a new narrative space that reflects Steven’s growth as a person.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that this specific arc of Steven’s, like “Change Your Mind” definitely makes a definitive statement on Steven and who he is and what he thinks he is and how he feels about it. Moving forward, everything’s going to be different.
I really hope that if you’re the kind of person who is waiting to watch more stuff is that you don’t think of the break that comes between “Change Your Mind” and what comes next as you waiting for more of this show. Because this version of it is done. There’s going to be more, but it’s going to be something different and new. There’s a lot more to do, but, we’re not coming back here because Steven has really figured something out about himself.
Neither Sugar nor Jones-Quartey had anything to spill in the way of details about future Steven Universe episodes that might be airing on Cartoon Network or what to expect from the upcoming movie, but it’s difficult to imagine that they and the rest of the Crewniverse aren’t flush with ideas as to what’s next for the Crystal Gems.