Rebecca Sugar Connected Adventure Time and Steven Universe With Music and Memory

Marceline playing her guitar and Spinel waiting in the garden for Pink Diamond.
Image: Cartoon Network

The music of Steven Universe: The Movie tells the specific story of how Steven and the Gems are forced to confront yet another person devastated by Pink Diamond’s reckless actions. But the movie’s villain Spinel and some of her songs touch on a very real experience series creator Rebecca Sugar went through as a child—an experience she hinted at in Adventure Time, interestingly enough.


“Everything Stays,” the first song Rebecca Sugar wrote for Adventure Time after she’d already begun working on her own project, Steven Universe, is featured in an episode by the same name that looks back at important moments in Marceline’s life. In the context of Adventure Time, the song’s something Marceline’s mother sang to her to ease her fears about her strange nightmares, but the lyrics take on a much deeper and more emotional significance when you interpret them with the plot of Steven Universe: The Movie in mind.

After the movie premiered, more than a few fans theorized that Sugar might have secretly tucked a bit of Steven Universe’s story into Adventure Time right in front of everyone’s faces—and in a new video, the animator confirms that to essentially be the case. The actual story the song’s based on, Sugar explains, is about a moment in her childhood when she lost a beloved toy in her family’s garden only to find it months later, irreversibly changed from being bleached by the sun.

Even though it’s a fantastic nod to Sailor Moon’s transformation sequences, Steven realizing that Spinel’s tear-streaked, heartbroken form is a reflection of the person that she’s become is initially framed as one of the most devastating moments in the movie. But Spinel’s ultimate fate finding love with the Diamonds speaks to the optimism that’s baked into the lyrics of “Everything Stays” if you’re listening for it. Her experiences have changed her in undeniable ways, but she’s still there, and accepting herself as the person she’s become is the first step toward finding happiness again.

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Charles Pulliam-Moore is an NYC-based culture critic whose work centers on fandom, pop culture, politics, race, and sexuality. He still thinks Cyclops made a few valid points.


Tomb: R.O.A.C.H. ᶘ ᵒᴥᵒᶅ

I related a lot to that Spinel song. Due to one very specific thing from my childhood. I had been bullied for years. But it had stopped when the adults found out about it in grade 6. Instead all the other kids started to just ignore me. But in grade 8 I had at least managed to get three super nice friends. But one school lunch those friends turned around and told me what they really thought about me. It was devastating and left me with a lot of trust issues that is still with me today.

So when I heard her story and they song I cried. A lot.