Literature / Star Darlings

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/star_darlings.jpg

Star Darlings is a Disney-published franchise created in 2015 by Shana and Ahmet Zappa. The franchise focuses on the inhabitants of Starland, who live on a star and grant human wishes. To them, Earth is Wishworld and we're Wishlings.

Due to a wish energy crisis, it's decided that 12 young female Starlings, called Star Darlings, will take up the difficult task of granting young Wishlings' wishes. It's hoped that doing so will provide greater amounts of energy. But finding what, or who, is behind the crisis may prove more difficult than granting wishes, and keeping Starland safe from danger afterwards may be even harder.

A series of books have come out, as have an animated web series, TV specials, supplementary books, dolls, lifestyle and storytelling apps, and music.

The official Star Darlings website is here.


This franchise contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Vega, who is the top student of Starling Academy.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Power of Twelve special adds several action sequences to the Star Darlings' battle with Rancora, getting Lady Stella involved in the action as well.
  • All There in the Manual: A Wisher's Guide to Starland has character profiles, lore, and official art of almost the entire cast, including the teachers and Vivica. Notably missing is Ophelia.
  • Alternate Continuity: The animated series is in a different continuity than the books.
  • Alpha Bitch: Vivica, who's mean to everyone in the main cast. Thankfully, she isn't a Star Darling.
  • Anti-Magic: Negatite, made by granting negative wishes, can counteract positive wish energy.
  • As You Know: One of the first things learned in the books and web series is the basics of wish-granting, which the characters know already.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Deconstructed. The various prophecies related are fated to be accurate, and while this is positive for the girls, it was negative for Lady Stella, who saw her friendship with Rancora disintegrate and her former best friend turn evil. The headmistress at the time, Lady Astrid, noted that she couldn't accept Cora back at the Academy, not only because of what she'd done, but because doing so would undermine the prophecy.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Libby's book has her successfully grant her Wisher's wish despite the mix-up, but Scarlet is told she isn't a Star Darling.
    • In Leona's book she succeeds in granting two wishes, but her Wish Pendant becomes useless, meaning none of the energy was collected. She has an argument with Scarlet as a result.
  • Body Horror: In the Power of Twelve special, Lady Cordial's skin cracks off as the Star Darlings wear her down, followed by Rancora bursting out of Lady Cordial's body and discarding the empty shell.
  • Broken Masquerade: Adora's book has her Wisher see her true appearance, stranding her on Earth until the other Star Darlings can help.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": To such an extent that every book has a glossary in the back.
  • Cassandra Truth: Cassie tries repeatedly to warn everyone about the flowers, but isn't believed until she gets Starling botanists to look at them.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Energy from granted wishes is what powers Starland, so using excessive amounts of energy granting small wishes makes Star Darlings exhausted.
  • Cast Speciation: Every Star Darling has their own unique power to help with wish-granting, such as Cassie being able to turn invisible or Gemma being able to rewind time.
  • The Chosen One: Prophecies both good and bad are seen throughout the series.
    • In Good Wish Gone Bad, Lady Stella and Lady Rancora were both subjects of a prophecy, with one saving Starland while the other would bring it to ruin.
    • An ancient book foretells of 12 young Starlings whose wish-granting will save Starland. In the web series the girls learn this immediately, but in the books they don't learn it until the very end of Tessa's book.
    • In Stealing Starlight another prophecy is revealed. A dark Starling will rise and decide the fate of Starland. Rancora believes it's Vivica, but it turns out to be Sage.
  • Clear My Name: Scarlet's book starts with her investigating her removal from the Star Darlings, convinced it was a mistake. She proves herself when she saves Ophelia and the mission.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Libby and the Class Election ends with the girls learning that Scarlet isn't actually a Star Darling. Later books have her trying to clear her name.
    • Cassie's book ends with the girls suspecting Ophelia of wrongdoing. They go to her room and find she's vanished, and for the first time in Starland's history the lights go out.
  • Compelling Voice: The Star Darlings use this power to get around on Earth and to get close to their assigned Wisher.
  • Compilation Movie: The first two TV specials were the webisodes spliced together to fit 22 minutes of runtime.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The third TV special, The Power of Twelve, is an abridged version of Gemma's book, mainly focusing on the Star Darlings' confrontation with Rancora.
  • Constellations:
    • Each Star Darling has traits associated with a constellation, as well as their birthday's corresponding Zodiac sign.
    • Of note is Ophelia, the Sixth Ranger mentioned below who is revealed to not actually be a Star Darling. She is associated with Ophiuchus, the 13th Zodiac constellation, which is the only one to lack a star sign.
  • The Corruption: The negative energy flowers came from the Isle of Misera, a negative energy dumping ground. Negative energy in general threatens the way of life in Starland, and in Astra's book some appears on Earth to block the girls' way.
  • Curtains Match the Window: The Star Darlings' eye colors all match their hair colors.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Lady Stella and Lady Rancora had a troubled past as teens.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The franchise's main theme "Wish Now," and other songs are performed by Alisha Wainwright, voice actress for wannabe singing sensation Leona.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Sage had this happen by mistake. Since she pursued the wrong Wisher at first, even when her mistake was corrected, she didn't collect as much Wish energy as she could have.
  • Ensemble Cast: There are 12 main girls, each with her own book, as well as several Starling adults and inhabitants of Earth.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Starlings' skin and hair have a natural sparkle to them.
  • Extreme Doormat: Libby is a people-pleaser to the extent that it's hard for her to make her own decisions and say no to people.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The second book ends with Scarlet's dismissal from the Star Darlings, which isn't fully resolved until the fifth book.
  • Five-Man Band: While there are 12 Star Darlings in total, the web series and most merchandising primarily focuses on Sage, Libby, Leona, Vega, and Scarlet, who are also the first five Star Darlings focused on in the book series.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Subverted in-universe, as around 50 percent of wish missions end in failure, usually due to misidentifying the wisher, misidentifying the wish, or running out of time to grant it.
  • Glamour: Star Darlings and Starlings in general adapt human appearances on Earth, covering up their skin's natural sparkle and unnaturally-colored hair and eyes.
  • Grumpy Bear: Scarlet is usually broody and snarky all the time.
  • Hate Plague: Starting with the second book, Libby and the Class Election, something in Starland has been causing the girls to argue amongst themselves. The cause turns out to be the flowers in the girls' rooms, though this isn't explicitly confirmed until Scarlet's book.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Stealing Starlight reveals Vivica wanted to be seen and admired like the Star Darlings, and turned to Rancora so she could get the attention she desired without any competition.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Scarlet's greatest wish is to live on Wishworld, and she loves studying about it.
  • It's All About Me: Leona is pretty self-centered and has a loud personality, making working with her difficult at times.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: The Star Darlings have a calming effect on adult humans, usually involving them smelling their favourite dessert, which makes them susceptible to what the starling tells them.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The books have an overarching story in the background, and details of what is going on in Starland are revealed a little at a time.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After granting a wish, the Star Darlings erase their Wisher's memories of them. Sage notes in a later book that goodbye is the hardest part of the mission.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The details of granting good and bad wishes are delved into frequently.
  • Magical Accessory: The Star Darlings all have their own unique wish pendant, ranging from Libby's necklace and Piper's bracelets to Adora's wristwatch and the buckles on Scarlet's boots. Not only do these accessories disguise the starlings as humans and contain wish energy, they light up to lead them to their designated wisher.
  • The Masquerade: Besides the fact that Starlings can't be seen in their true forms on Earth, the Star Darlings themselves must act normal to the other students since their mission is a secret.
  • Minimalist Cast: The webisodes mostly feature the main 12 Star Darlings and side characters appear occasionally.
  • Mistaken Identity: Sage mistook a Wishling who wanted her classmates to attend her party as the one she was supposed to help, when it was actually a person behind her.
    • Libby has this happen with the wish itself. She mistook Ava's wish as wanting to win the class election when she actually wanted to stay friends with her campaign rival, Kristie.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: The special Starland nail polish that gives everyone annoying habits is completely impervious to everything on Starland, and can only come off with nail polish remover from Earth.
  • Not Himself: After a party for all 12 Star Darlings in Cassie's book, every Star Darling acts oddly. The cause turns out to be the nail polish, though this isn't explicitly confirmed until Astra's book.
  • One-Gender School: The Star Darlings go to an all-girls' school. The glossary states that a male equivalent also exists.
  • Out of Focus: Besides Lady Stella and Lady Cordial, the other teachers at Starling Academy get very little focus. In the web series, Cassie, Tessa, Clover, Gemma, Piper, Adora, and Astra get very little screentime as well, with some never getting speaking roles until the Power of Twelve special.
  • Painting the Medium: Vega's book opens with a crossword puzzle, which she's revealed to have made one page later.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Astra, who has mastered every sport in the academy.
  • The Perfectionist: Vega's main description.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Scarlet is fascinated by Earth and wants to live there, despite her life on Starland.
  • Real Is Brown: When traveling to Wishworld their hair changes to more realistic colors to blend in.
  • Recap Episode: Libby's book has a recap of Sage's adventure a fourth of the way through. It's justified in-universe as a teaching example, pointing out what Sage did wrong as well as what she did right.
  • Robot Maid: MO-J4, who attends the Star Darlings' daily needs.
  • Scenery Porn: The web series has beautifully-animated backgrounds and magic effects, and the music videos take them to an even greater level.
  • Superior Species: Starlanders use magic to destroy their trash, have magic robot servants, can download basic knowledge into their brains, and on the whole are far more technically advanced than humans. Most of them are confused and amused by Wishworld's primitive ways.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Ophelia, a Star Darling brought in to replace Scarlet.
  • Skunk Stripe: While disguised on Earth, Star Darlings retain a streak of their natural hair color.
  • Smurfing: Several Starland terms and expressions have the word 'star' in them.
  • SpaceX: Star is often used this way. To name a few: starmin/starsec, starcar, starkin, and star salutations.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The web series and most merchandising primarily focuses on Sage, Libby, Leona, Vega, and Scarlet.
  • Survival Mantra: Each Star Darling has a Mirror Mantra, which helps them focus and feel better about themselves in tough situations.
  • The Symbiote: Starland and Wishworld have the mutualism variant of this, as Starlanders grant Wishworlder's wishes to keep their planet alive. Without positive wish energy Starland would die out, and without granted wishes Earth would be a depressing place to live.
  • Timed Mission: Every wish-granting mission is timed by a Countdown Clock.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Tessa, Astra, Adora, Gemma and Clover don't have dolls, and Piper only has a Wishworld outfit, not a Starland doll. Cassie has only a Wishworld outfit in the US, but a Starland doll with her pet Itty in the UK only.
  • Uncoffee: Starland has Zing, which is brewed from leaves like tea according to the official guide, but serves all the purposes of coffee.
  • Unfortunate Names: When trying to think of a fake name, Libby gives herself the last name Liverwurst.
  • Utility Magic: Magic in Starland is used to grant wishes, but also to change clothes, create magic cafeterias that give you any food you want, recreate a person's room from home in their school dorm, and telekinetically move objects and people, among other uses.
  • Veganopia: No one on Starland, including animals, eats meat. When Libby sees an Earth zoo exhibit about sea lions eating fish, she's unsure how to feel, having never seen carnivores before.
  • Wham Line: The last sentence of Clover's book throws everything the Star Darlings thought about the energy crisis into question, as Sage realizes the scientist working with Lady Stella is her mother.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Good Wish Gone Bad details Lady Stella and Rancora's history, showing how they met, how they had a falling out, and Rancora's plans for the future, as seen in her journal.
  • Wizarding School: The girls reside in Starling Academy where they learn to grant wishes to Earth.
  • World Building: Each book has a detailed glossary to explain terms, and goes into detail about Starland's world, culture, seasons, food, and life cycle. Tessa's book explains how contact between Starland and Wishworld began, and Good Wish Gone Bad explains a lot of Rancora's negative energy powers.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Each Star Darling has a different, usually impossible hair color.
  • You Mean X Mas: Starland has "Wish Giving," which, same as Thanksgiving, is an Autumn holiday celebrating the harvest. Other celebrations are closer to a Fictional Holiday, but "Light Giving Day" could be compared to the Vernal Equinox, and the Festival of Illumination to pre-Christianized Winter holidays like Yule and the Winter Solstice.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/StarDarlings