For those of you who do not know, we were recently gifted with some footage of animatics, unfinished animation, of some of the episodes we can hope to see in the upcoming fourth season of MLP. As expected, I'm very excited about this as it gave us a taste of what's to come. But it also got me thinking a great deal about what we were shown. As such I'm here to give you my thoughts and predictions about what I saw and what I think this means for the show.
As you can probably guess, this will contain spoilers. You have been warned.
The first clip we were given was for an episode seemingly centred around the Equestria Games, referenced during one of the last episodes of the previous season. The clip shows the CMC being harassed by Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon as usual, but what got to me in this one was that they were picking on Scootaloo specifically because of her apparent inability to fly, and that this may harm her chances of being involved in the games. This strikes me as astounding because it's the first real confirmation we have that Scootaloo cannot fly.
We fans have often suspected this about her and have used it as part of our usual speculations, but the fact that it's something the show is going to directly address appeals to me a great deal. Like with "Sleepless in Ponyville" it could give great development to a character who has been in desperate need of it. There's also the issue that this could, in fact, be interpreted as a physical disability of some sort. The fact that the two bullies made fun of her for it seems to suggest that it's unusual for a pegasus of Scootaloo's age to not be flying. If that's the case, then I'm really excited to see how they handle this. Physical disabilities aren't something the show has really looked into before, but it could be a great lesson for kids about how you can make it in life despite the shortcomings of their own bodies.
Plus, it paints every previous episode Scootaloo has been in a brand new light. If every other pony has been aware of this failing of hers and just hasn't been bothered by it, then that's a great attitude to be teaching, that people in her position shouldn't be looked down upon like that. However, it also gives a somewhat tragic note to her character, mostly in terms of her admiration of Rainbow Dash, Remember, Rainbow is supposedly a great athlete and flier, and for Scootaloo to admire her and want to be like her despite knowing that she possibly can't ever do that, could make for some fantastic drama. Assuming they go that road of course.
The second clip involved Spike waking up in a large city, with the main six in the guise of various superheroes, complete with cliché villain to fight. I don't really have much to say about this one other than it appears that it's going to be a superhero parody of some sort. Which is fine by me as parodies can be great if done well. However, superhero parodies or mockeries have been done many times and I've seen most of them, so I can't really see anything that MLP can do to add to that which I haven't already seen.
Plus, it strikes me as odd that they'd do something like that as we already had a superhero episode once, "Mysterious Mare-do-well". Though to be fair, I didn't really like that episode all to much, so if they decide they want to try and make a better MLP-superhero episode than that one, then they have my blessing. However, my working theory on this one is that the events shown in the clip won't actually be happening, but will instead simply be a dream sequence that Spike is going through. If so then I'm also fine with that, though the "it was just a dream" clause does tend to get rather annoying at times.
Third clip was yet another great MLP song, this time sun by Applejack, Pinkie Pie and the rest of AJ's family. I really liked this song. It was cheerful, upbeat and had a great energy to it, as most MLP songs do. Having it be a song for the Apple family is also good for me because, as I said last season, AJ has really had the short end of the stick when it comes to both episodes and song, so having her be the focus, or at least partial focus, of another big song is something to get hyped over. Plus, it's really nice to see another episode featuring the whole Apple family doing something, as episodes focusing on family relationships tend to be winners in my book.
One thing I will comment on in that clip however was that Granny Smith referred to Pinkie Pie, who was helping the family out, as "Apple kin". This could potentially mean that she's simply seen as a close friend of the family, or perhaps because of her attempting to help the Apple's farm in the last season finale. However, and this is merely speculation on my part, there is also the possibility that it was meant to imply that Pinkie is actually related to them, that she's a distant relative of Applejack perhaps. I don't know if this will happen, but if it does, then it would be one hell of a revelation, and one I'd be interested to see as it would be fascinating to see how the show handles the possibility that two of the main six are actually family.
The final clip is, as many who know me will imagine, the one that has me the most hyped. It involves Twilight in a strange castle of some sort being confronted by Princess Luna, who is acting very aggressive towards her. The scene ends with a transformation of Luna, possibly into Nightmare Moon, the show's first villain. If this is what's happening, then I am hugely excited. There are two possible ways this scene could be interpreted. Firstly, it could be that Luna has had some sort of emotional lapse, and that has led her to return to the form of Nightmare. Secondly, this could be a prequel episode of some sort and Twilight is witnessing the events of the past, specifically the split between Luna and Celestia, and the former's change into Nightmare Moon.
Having it be the former theory is interesting, as Luna's words in the clip involve her wanting to be the sole princess of Equestria. In recent seasons, the number of princesses in Equestria has gone from two to four, with Twilight being the most recent. That, coupled with the fact that ponies seemed to be paying attention to the two more recent ponies, may have resulted in Luna once more feeling unloved in the eyes of her people, leading to her feeling the resentment and jealousy that led to her first transformation.
However, it's more likely to be my second theory, that we are merely watching the events of the past. This theory is supported by Luna saying lines like "bathe in your light", which implies that she was actually speaking to Celestia, princess of the sun, and not Twilight. A prequel episode is a very different turn for the show to take, but one that many fans, including myself, would welcome, especially if it involves Luna's change. Fans like myself have been speculating on the details of Luna and Celestia's split ever since the show began, so needless to say, the prospect of seeing that division, plus Luna's change, first-hand is a tempting prospect. It would, as with Scootaloo, provide much-needed development for a character who has often been shoved to the side-lines over the course of the show.
One other thing I noticed whilst watching this particular clip is that, during Luna's transformation, the expression on her face was fear rather than anger. This seems to suggest that while her feelings of jealousy towards Celestia might have been her own, the transformation itself was not her doing, but rather a result of some external corrupting influence. If so, then this would, in part, give some weight to the fan-theory that Luna was not entirely to blame for her actions a thousand years ago, although again that's just speculation on my part.
So, as you'd expect, this is the episode I'm most excited for, mostly because it will give me something I've been wanting to see since the show began, a look into the real history of the two princesses, and the establishment of the story and events that led into the events of the show's first episode, Nightmare Moon.
Well, that's all I have to say on the matter. I don't know if my predictions will be correct, but whether they are or not, I think it's safe to say that Hasbro has some big plans for this upcoming season.