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Western Animation / Steven Universe: Future

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As the Sequel Series and Grand Finale to Steven Universe, all spoilers pertaining to it, including the movie are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

Here we are in the future and it's bright!
I can't believe we've come so far!
Steven Universe Future, here we are!
Steven Universe Future~

Steven Universe: Future is a 20-episode Cartoon Network action/adventure Miniseries created by Rebecca Sugar. Serving as an extended epilogue to the original series and television movie, Future premiered on December 7th, 2019 and ended on March 27th, 2020, with a four-part finale.

It has been a few months since the events of the film; the universe has finally been freed from the tyrannical rule of the Gem Empire and the Earth is now officially considered an independent planet. With new endeavors in place to acclimate Gems to the brand new status quo, including a small community just outside Beach City known as Little Homeworld, a now 16-year-old Steven Universe aims to continue helping everyone as best he can in the new age of Era 3.

However, Steven has overlooked one thing: with all the major, world-threatening issues having been laid to rest, and many of his friends now comfortably moving forward in their own lives, no one actually needs our hero to help them anymore. As Steven enters adulthood and runs out of other people's problems to solve, he finds himself realizing that the only ones left are his own. From lingering mother issues, the surprise development of new Diamond abilities, and his general uncertainty about what the future holds, Steven discovers that even the savior of the universe has some challenges to overcome and lessons to learn in the midst of "happily ever after".

Steven Universe Future has examples of:

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  • Advertised Extra: While Peridot, Lapis and Bismuth are prominently shown in the opening credits, even joining the rest of the Crystal Gems on the beach, their role in the series is fairly minimal and, aside from a couple of Day in the Limelight episodes, are mostly background characters.
  • An Aesop: The message of this whole series is that if you have ever been traumatized or think you're suffering from mental illness, seek medical treatment, even if you don't see yourself showing any symptoms (at first), or think it's not a big deal to worry your loved ones over. And if you're friends or family with someone you see slowly breaking down, listen to them, be there for them, and get them the help they need.
  • And the Adventure Continues: "The Future", the Grand Finale of the series, has Steven leave Beach City to travel across the country.
  • Audience Surrogate: In the first episode, Steven explains to a newly-restored Cherry Quartz about the new status of the Gem Empire and what his friends have been doing lately.
    Cherry Quartz: I have no idea who you're talking about.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: After Connie politely declines Steven's proposal with a "not now", when her alarm goes off, she's willing to put her studying on hold and spend time with Steven, telling him that his friendship is important to her.
    Connie: We've got plenty of time. Don't worry.
    Steven: I'm not worried, I'm just happy to be with you, that's all.
    Connie: I'm happy to be with you too. It's just that- [phone alarm rings] Oh no! My alarm! [turns it off] Forget studying right now, it doesn't matter.
    Steven: Yes, it does. It's important to you.
    Connie: You're important to me!
    • In "Growing Pains", when Steven starts swelling up, Connie arranges for Steven to see Dr. Maheswaran at the hospital, and she also makes a phone call to Greg, allowing him to get to Delmarva to check in on Steven.
    • In "I Am My Monster", Connie encourages Greg, the Gems and Diamonds to provide emotional support so Steven can be healed.
  • Back for the Finale:
    • While she appears in the background of Future's Title Sequence, Spinel returns to help Steven in Part One of the Grand Finale.
    • The Cluster, having been absent with barely a mention through the movie and most of Future, helps restrain the Kaiju corrupted Steven.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The theme song starts with Garnet singing the word "We" exactly the same way as in "We Are The Crystal Gems". But instead of Pearl and Amethyst continuing with "are", they sing another "we", followed by Steven, Bismuth, Peridot and Lapis joining in before transitioning into a new rendition of "Happily Ever After".
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: One of the opening lyrics of the opening theme is "Here we are in the future and it's bright!" While things are certainly going well for the rest of the cast, the main arc of the season concerns Steven's worsening mental state due to no longer having the purpose that defined most of his childhood.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Steven ends up leaving Beach City to go Walking the Earth, with no guarantees on when he'll return, or even if he'll return. But it also counts as Earn Your Happy Ending since he's in a much better place mentally, still together with Connie, with plans to meet up during her school tour, and Garnet reassures him before he leaves that, no matter what path he takes, she, Pearl, and Amethyst will always be a part of his life.
  • Body Horror: "Growing Pains" reveals that Steven's status as a Kid Hero who constantly sustains physical trauma has led to his body taking several fractures, including a very noticeable one in his skull. The only reason he's still up and walking is that his Healing Factor stitches up any wounds the instant they occur. And then his transformation into a Kaiju begins with a giant mass of spikes bursting out of his back.
  • Book Ends:
    • "I Am My Monster" has the final threat be a corrupted Gem, like in the very first episode.
    • "The Future" has the final song sung by the characters be the Cookie Cat Rap, which was the first song ever sung in the series.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The theme song is a shortened version of "Happily Ever After" from Steven Universe: The Movie, with slightly different lyrics.
  • Botanical Abomination: Cactus Steven, seen in the opening and "Prickly Pair," was accidentally created by Steven with his Green Thumb powers. He starts out as a cute cactus version of Steven's head, but grows into a giant monster with massive arms and multiple heads.
  • Butt Dial: In "Growing Pains", when Connie calls Steven, he attempts to let the call go to voicemail, and then his swollen hand and arm chooses to answer the call, allowing him to talk with Connie.
  • Cactus Cushion: The episode "Prickly Pair" features a mobile, talking cactus grown into the shape of Steven by the boy himself, which eventually causes problems for the others, including repeatedly getting the Crystal Gems covered in its spines.
  • Central Theme:
    • Like The Movie it's set after, Future centers on the theme of accepting change, especially changes one is not entirely comfortable with.
    • After the episode "Growing Pains", a new potential theme of overcoming/healing from trauma may also be addressed.
    • The theme of the entire miniseries is the old adage "You Must First Help Yourself Before You Can Help Others". Steven's failure to do this is the entire conflict of the series.
  • Cerebus Callback: During the early start of the movie, Steven states that he wants things to stay exactly as they are without ever changing. As time passes with others moving on, Steven starts to develop problems as he's uncomfortable with what's transpiring.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: One scene of "Growing Pains" has Steven list various traumatic moments from his life, starting with his favorite ice cream getting discontinued and electrocuting the Centipeetle way back in "Gem Glow" and going all the way up to getting thrown in a jail cell in "Jailbreak", with various clips from the episodes in question being displayed behind him. When he is cut off, the clips continue, showing even more traumatizing events all the way up to White Diamond removing his gem in "Change Your Mind".
  • Cringe Comedy: In "Rose Buds", Steven meets with three Rose Quartzes (one of whom looks exactly like his mother) and ends up inviting them over for dinner and a slumber party. "Awkward" doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Applies to pretty much all of the uncorrupted Gems, who retain some unusual color combinations and traits like claws, horns and spikes from their corrupted forms.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series later on focuses a lot on Steven's trauma and him figuring out how to cope with it.
  • Death is Cheap: In the original series, "shattering" of gems was treated as the equivalent of a gem getting Killed Off for Real. In this series, Steven accidentally shatters Jasper, but is able to bring her back to life using healing essence from all four Diamonds.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Of Happily Ever After. While things as a whole are better for many people and Gems than they were in the previous series, personal trauma and strife won't go away just because the Big Bad or The Empire is no longer around. Several characters are still picking up the pieces of everything they had to deal with in the previous series; most notably, Steven himself.
  • Desperately Needs Orders: Holly Blue Agate in "Rose Buds". Even though all Homeworld Gems are now free to do whatever they please, she is still trying to order around the former Amethyst guards that worked under her with no success, and lamenting how she would do anything to receive an order from the Diamonds.

  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Steven, having moved on from the mental trauma with the help of his loved ones, decides to move from Beach City to explore elsewhere, sharing a heartfelt farewell with the Gems before setting off. While there's some bittersweetness since it's uncertain whether or not Steven will ever come back to Beach City, he's assured that his loved ones will always be a part of his life regardless.
  • Episode Title Card: Episodes use a title card from the point-of-view of Steven driving his car with a photo of Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl taped to the sun visor and Beach City in the rear view window. Unlike the original series' title cards, it does not change depending on weather or time of day, as it's actually portraying the time after the end of the show as Steven is moving out.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Of all people, Steven himself undergoes through this during his mental breakdown in the episode "Everything's Fine". His self-hatred, combined with his unchecked traumas, feelings of purposelessness, and his uncontrollable powers, corrupted him and turned him into a pink Kaiju-like monster. He gets better at the end of "I Am My Monster".
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Even after the mass uncorruption of corrupted Gems that were held in the Temple at the end of the original series, there are still some that need to be healed and brought up to speed on what they've missed over the past few millennia.
  • Flanderization: Steven is deliberately flanderized. As the season progresses, Steven becomes more and more unscrewed and prone to major meltdowns and lashing out. To the point it becomes his whole character and all his optimistic and happy traits Steven was known for in the original show are lost. This is done to show Steven's descent into madness and to show what can happen if mental health issues go unchecked. His unchecked trauma and mental health crisis literally consumes his character and becomes him, until he is able to finally get the help he needs.
  • Foreshadowing: The silhouetted monster in the opening sequence? That's Steven's corrupted form.
    • There are several hints that Jasper is going to be the one who causes Steven's downfall. During their first fight, Jasper has horns similar to the silhouetted monster in the intro. During "Growing Pains", when Steven starts expanding in size, he's hunched over in a way similar to Jasper during her own corruption. During "Fragments", Steven takes on a form similar to Jasper, with his pompadour resembling her helmet. When Steven finally corrupts, Jasper herself is completely absent.
  • Friendship-Hating Antagonist: Jasper is seen living alone in a cave while everyone has moved on from the Great Diamond Authority's tyranny over the galaxy. After being bested by Steven during their first fight, she plays the role of Evil Mentor when Steven visits her again. During Steven's training, Jasper tries to get Steven to embrace his Diamond powers and leave the Crystal Gems whom she believes are holding him back. After she gets shattered during her rematch with Steven, she ends up being resurrected and insists on devoting herself to him for being stronger, much like she did with Lapis in the original series.
  • Gainax Ending: The ending of "A Very Special Episode". After overworking himself by switching between being Rainbow Quartz and Sunstone for different people multiple times, Steven collapses in front of Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet, the latter of which gives out a somewhat flat Big "NO!". Then the scene pauses, and it's revealed that the episode's event's were just a big Sunstone PSA playing on a TV. Sunstone themself then delivers, in a Totally Radical style, the episode's Aesop of not exhausting yourself by giving your time to too many people at once. Roll credits.
  • Genius Loci: The Reef is an AI programmed with the ability to converse with visitors, opinions of its own, and the power to try enforcing those opinions on anyone inside its walls besides a diamond.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Steven spent years of his life trying to help everybody around him with their problems...and he succeeded. In fact, he succeeded so well that the only one who doesn't even want to admit he has any issues is Steven himself.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: You are not the center of the universe. Everybody else's lives don't revolve around you and just because you're satisfied with your life doesn't mean everybody else is. Everybody has their own lives to live and will sometimes make choices for their own benefit. Now that everything has settled down, Steven starts to notice everybody else moving on with their lives to bigger and better things; meanwhile, he is forced to confront the idea that he has no idea what to do now that he's peaked before even becoming an adult.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: While this has been an aspect of Steven's characterization since the original show Future hammers home this point since, unlike the parent series, there are no external threats to contend with. While there are a couple of Villain of the Weeks the main conflict of the series is Steven trying to figure out his place in the universe now that no one needs his help anymore, and the trauma he has suffered from his constant near death experiences. This all culminates in the final episodes as Steven ends up corrupting himself and becomes a giant Gem monster and Main Character Final Boss of the series.
  • Horns of Villainy:
    • The intro and "The Future Is Here" teaser show that Jasper still has horns on her head from her time corrupted. While not a villain, per se, she's still antagonistic towards Steven, unwilling or unable to accept the changes that have happened. Her helmet also has two large, horn-like spikes on either side of the hammer now.
    • The giant, menacing Godzilla-like creature that towers over the other antagonists in the intro (revealed to be a corrupted Steven) has two big horns on the sides of its head, and a smaller one on top.
  • Internal Deconstruction: This season basically flips the entire series' premise on its head; most of the threats Steven faced before were external, and he was able to help his friends sort through their own personal problems. In this series, all of the external threats have taken their toll on Steven's mental and physical state, and since everyone else is moving forward with their lives, Steven finds himself having to deal with his own personal issues and with nobody able to help him to sort through them.
  • It's All About Me: A non-selfish example. For the bulk of the main series, everything that happened really did revolve around Steven (as noted by Ronaldo). Now that his quest to make things right is over, he has no idea what to do now that he sees everybody else's lives are moving on without him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the first episode, Jasper gives Steven a lecture about how he's defined entirely by his need to help people and how when nobody needs him, he's nothing. She's exactly right, as far as him realizing that he personally defines himself like this.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: After Steven defeats and shatters Jasper, he resurrects her in a bathtub filled with healing potions. After Jasper has been resurrected, she bows before Steven, praising his newfound abilities and calling him "my Diamond", acknowledging him as a Worthy Opponent.

  • Line-of-Sight Name: Steven realizes that calling both Crystal Gem Pearl and Pink Pearl "Pearl" will get confusing, so he decides to give Pink Pearl a nickname. He settles on "Volleyball" after taking a look at the volleyball game going on nearby.
  • Lyric Swap: The opening song takes the refrain of "Happily Ever After" and replaces the Title Drop for the song with the name of series itself.
  • Main Character Final Boss: The combination of everyone no longer needing him, Steven's own crisis about what he's supposed to do now that everyone no longer needs him, and his bottled up trauma from the entire franchise causes him to spiral into a complete mental breakdown where he sees himself as a monster — and because his powers are so entwined with his emotional and mental state, this causes him to turn into an actual monster, blinded by rage and completely unable to be reasoned with. It takes his family restraining him in a hug and reaffirming to him that he's not a monster for Steven to return to normal.
  • Maybe Ever After: In "Together Forever", when Steven proposes marriage to Connie so they can be together as Stevonnie, while Connie is emotionally touched by Steven's proposal, she objects to being in a relationship just so they can be Stevonnie, yet she politely replies "Not now", preferring to cherish her friendship years with Steven. When Steven asks what her response will be:
    Steven: Is it a 'no'?
    Connie: It's a 'not now', Steven.
    Steven: But if we're sure that we're gonna spend our lives together, why not say it now?
    Connie: We've got plenty of time. Don't worry.
    Steven: I'm not worried, I'm just happy to be with you, that's all.
    Connie: I'm happy to be with you too. It's just that- [phone alarm rings] Oh no! My alarm! [turns it off] Forget studying right now, it doesn't matter.
    Steven: Yes, it does. It's important to you.
    Connie: You're important to me!
  • Mental Health Recovery Arc: Future is this for Steven as a whole, as he comes to terms with the trauma he'd been through during the previous series and his loss of purpose now that there's no evil to fight.
  • Never My Fault: When Connie points out that the rest of the group is right that they hurt him, she fails to remember that she also contributed to Steven's meltdown.
  • No Antagonist: While individual episodes occasionally have a villain, the true overreaching source of conflict is Steven's own PTSD.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently, the Zoomans' impromptu visit in "Rose Buds" is not the first time a bunch of Greg's ex-lovers have shown up at once.
    • How the Gems Steven heals in "Volleyball" got hurt.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Kerry Moonbeam, whose song inspired Greg's stage persona, is clearly based on David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust persona.
  • No Ending: A few episodes, such as "Mr. Universe" and "Little Graduation" have this problem where an event happens and is then solved, but not in a conclusive way. In "Prickly Pair" specifically after Steven and the Crystal Gems destroy Cactus Steven, the episode ends abruptly and cuts to the credits before anyone is really able to react or comment on it.
  • Not in Front of the Parrot!: In "Prickly Pair", Cactus Steven learns to repeat everything Steven says, which comes back to bite the latter hard when he vents his bottled-up thoughts right in front of the plant.
  • Not Me This Time: When Steven finds poorly drawn pictures of himself in his bag of chips, he assumes that Bluebird, who's been pranking him all episode, drew them to make fun of him. When he shows them to Amethyst, however, she says that it was actually her that drew them, and feels hurt over Steven calling her drawings bad.
  • Obviously Not Fine: Played for Drama throughout the cartoon. Steven is frustrated, tired, and generally traumatized from all his time dealing with the Gems' world-threatening conflicts, but constantly tells his family that he's okay and not to worry about him. However, bottling up his anger doesn't work, resulting in strange power surges when his adrenaline builds up. He denies he needs help even when his body begins growing in hideous malformed ways. Eventually he explains the horrors he's experienced to his family while still constantly trying to downplay them, and turns into a monster because of all the resentment and guilt built up inside him.
  • One-Winged Angel: After everything Steven was put through finally takes its toll on him, he becomes a gargantuan reptile-like beast that towers even over the temple.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Steven in the original series was an All-Loving Hero who used non-violent solutions even when dealing with villains. Here, however, whenever he gets too stressed, he starts glowing pink and becomes more angry and violent. Reaches a head in "Fragments" as training with Jasper to control his power leads to Steven accidentally shattering her, much to his own horror. He's able to bring her back to life using the Diamond's potions, plus his own tears however
  • Overly Long Hug: When Lars is getting ready to go back to space, Cuddle Bug Steven gives him a Man Hug that stretches out far longer than Lars expected, and that keeps going as the scene changes.
    Lars: ...Are you gonna let me go anytime soon?
    Steven: Just a couple more minutes.
  • Parents as People: It was certainly an element of the main show that Greg and Rose, and Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, were distinctly flawed people who despite loving Steven brought him a lot of pain and struggle, but it's pointed out more clearly here. Even though his living parents have overcome many of their problems with Steven's help, in doing so they burdened him and are unable to fully relate to him now, especially as he's very reluctant to just tell them what's wrong.
    • This becomes the entire theme of the episode "Mr. Universe", in which the viewer gets a full understanding of Greg's history - because he had fantasy-forbidding parents, he raised Steven free range. This leads to an argument towards the end of the episode where Greg defends his decisions, only for Steven to counter that he doesn't believe that Greg's experience was that bad. Greg tries to explain that he felt underappreciated, packaged, and trapped. Steven argues that he has never had a proper human experience thanks to the decisions Greg made. They talk past each other, each unable to grasp the other's main issue past their own trauma - notably, it looks like Greg tried to reach out to his parents about his son, but they didn't open his letters, so he didn't have the kind of support that giving Steven a truly stable upbringing would have needed.
    Steven: My problem isn't that I'm a Gem, my problem is I'm a Universe!
  • Personal Horror: The entire epilogue is this for Steven. Since there’s no war to be stopped, he has no purpose in his life other than being "the savior of the universe", and he can only watch as his friends and loved ones move on to other things without him. Furthermore, his powers go haywire because of his untreated trauma from the original series. His attempts to put an end to it lead him to put himself and everyone around him in danger, such as Jasper’s accidental shattering and the attempted shattering of White Diamond. Things go from bad to worse when, because of said actions, he has a spectacular mental breakdown, which leads him to denounce himself as a fraud and a monster, resulting in his own corruption into an actual, building-sized monster.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Many conflicts of the epilogue could have been avoided if Steven opened up himself about his own issues and fears to his loved ones, instead of bottling them up, right after everything started to get worse for him, especially his deteriorating mental health. Unfortunately his Fatal Flaw is that he puts others before himself to a very detrimental degree.
  • Power Glows: A new power of Steven's; whenever he gets too stressed, Steven gains a distinct power boost heralded by a pink glow that covers his entire body, making him resemble his Gem half from "Change Your Mind".
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: A tragic example, since Steven never wanted to do this in the first place. Steven, now without a purpose or problem to fix, starts to become more unhinged as his powers go haywire due to untreated trauma and PTSD from the original series and movie. His attempts to end it on his own, not only fail miserably, but also put himself and everyone around him in danger (like the accidental shattering of Jasper, and the attempted shattering of White Diamond). Of course, he deeply regrets his action, but at the end of “Everything’s Fine”, his Sanity Slippage finally reaches a breaking point, as he has a spectacular meltdown that corrupts him and transforms him into a giant, rampaging monster. He gets better.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles:
    • Peridot, Lapis, and Bismuth are now shown prominently along the main Crystal Gems as they ride through town and hang out on the beach.
    • The opening shot includes basically every Gem that lives on Earth (including the Off Colors and uncorrupted gems), the Diamonds, and Spinel. The shot of Beach City now includes several other cured gems, several Rubies acting as Nanefua's bodyguards, Vidalia, Yellowtail, and Lars' parents.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The entire premise of the show is that everything Steven had set out to do — undoing the Gem Empire's reign of terror, help his friends and family through their various psychological hang-ups, cure the corrupted gems — had long-since been achieved and Steven should be content. Unfortunately, because he had built his identity on helping others, the fact that they no longer need his help has led to him Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life, as well as being forced to confront his own personal hang-ups now that he doesn't have everyone else's problems to distract himself. He realizes that he can no longer relate to other humans, has developed a fear of changes in the new status quo, secretly resents his friends and family for their Character Development and has a lot of repressed anger and fears towards his former foes like Jasper and White Diamond. Not only that, but Dr. Maheswharan diagnoses him with Post traumatic stress disorder when his long history of physical and psychological stress he was put through in the original series has led to him developing Power Incontinence.
  • Redemption Rejection:
    • Downplayed with Jasper. In the last scene of "Change Your Mind", she is cured together with the other corrupted Gems, and is comforted by Amethyst, implying a Hazy-Feel Turn. However, come "Little Homeschool", she just can't accept everything that transpired in her absence; she'd rather live alone.
      Jasper: You may have Pink Diamond's gem, but you are not my Diamond!
    • When Bluebird, the fusion of Aquamarine and Eyeball Ruby, suddenly arrives at Little Homeworld, Steven and the gems are skeptical of her apparent Heel–Face Turn coupled with the odd pranks she pulls on Steven, but they do decide to give her a chance in case she's really being sincere. She's not, as proved when she's spotted holding Greg by his hair off the roof of Steven's house, threatening to attack him. Aquamarine and Eyeball unfuse before Greg uses Eyeball's knife to cut himself free, and the two find it difficult to re-fuse again due to their frustration. Eventually they re-fuse over their shared hatred of Steven, and leave the episode vowing revenge together.

  • Sanity Slippage: Steven suffers a nasty case of this trope throughout the series.
    • Beginning with "Little Homeschool", we are shown that Steven has an unhealthy amount of repressed anger, resulting in him getting a new power where he turns pink and gains violent tendencies whenever he's angry. This trend continues throughout the series. Steven also seems to have an unhealthy obsession with helping people, which comes back to bite him later.
    • In "Rose Buds" and "Volleyball", Steven is shown to be experiencing repressed trauma related to the whole Pink Diamond/Rose thing and all the horrible things she did, which seems to be the other major trigger for Pink Steven mode. As usual, Steven bottles up his feelings.
    • In "A Very Special Episode", Steven runs himself ragged trying to help multiple people at the same time, eventually collapsing from exhaustion. Unlike the other examples on this page, it's Played for Laughs, and it's ambiguous how much of this episode is even canon anyway.
    • In "Snow Day", it's revealed Steven has a constantly-busy schedule and refuses to ever take a day off.
      Amethyst: Man, you had a better work-life balance when the Diamonds were trying to destroy the planet.
    • Steven's sanity takes a nosedive in "Little Graduation". He discovers that several people are moving on without him and gets upset over this, and accidentally uses his powers to trap everyone in a dome. Ultimately, Steven projects his issues onto Lars instead of admitting that he's the one who needs help. No wonder he leaves Little Homeschool, which makes it worse as he now feels that he has no purpose anymore.
    • In the next episode, which is an even bigger Wham Episode, Steven has taken up gardening, except he named all his plants after people he knows and talks to them. This is Played for Laughs, but the rest of the episode is not. Steven's pet cactus gets used as an emotional punching bag for Steven to vent his bottled-up feelings on. This comes back to bite him when the cactus learns to talk and starts repeating the things that Steven's said about the gems... right in front of them. This causes Steven to get mad at and abuse the cactus, who does not take it well and attacks him, mutating into a botanical monstrosity. At the end of the episode, Steven learns that he shouldn't talk about his problems at all. The most heartbreaking part is that the Gems know something is wrong and keep reaching out to Steven, but he rejects their help because he feels like he can't talk to them.
      Pearl: Is there anything you need to talk about?
    • Steven gets to spend some quality time with Peridot when they watch the reboot of Camp Pining Hearts, and when they find it lacking, Peridot comes up with the idea for Steven to dream a new and better reboot. Steven goes along with the idea at first, but quickly gets tired out and stressed when his own issues start twisting the dreams in weird ways. Fortunately this one ends a little better when the last dream has Steven literally spelling out that he's uncomfortable with the situation and Peridot, recording his dreams, realises that she was pushing him too hard and he that he was willing to do anything just to have someone spend time with him so he didn't have to be alone.
    • Later, after getting to spend some quality time with Connie and reaffirming that he can still be her friend even with her new friends around in "Bismuth Casual", Steven begins to worry that Connie moving away for college will leave him without her. Talking to both Ruby and Sapphire individually, they convince him to propose which does not go well. This sets up for "Growing Pains" in which Connie's mother gives Steven a check-up when his gem powers start going mad and causing him to swell randomly. She eventually discovers that Steven has dangerously high blood pressure from stress and his skeleton is cracked, and that all the events of the last five seasons might not have healed mentally and left Steven's body reacting to all stresses as if he was in danger of dying.
    • In "Growing Pains", Priyanka diagnoses that Steven has been through so many high stress situations (both physically and psychologically) at such a young age, that his body chemistry reacts in a manner disproportionate to the stimulant. Simply put, the relatively minor Era 3 problems that he has been facing (his friends leaving to bigger and better things, Connie turning down his proposal, etc.) feel like the life-or-death scenarios of Era 2 to him, giving him anxiety attacks that manifest as Power Incontinence.
    • It eventually hits a point where he begins to put others in danger starting with "Mr. Universe", crashing Greg's van after giving him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for never giving him a proper childhood.
    • In "Fragments", Steven seeks out Jasper and trains with her to control his powers in order to prevent them from causing any harm, but Jasper proves to be a bad influence on him, with him getting progressively more and more ruthless to the point where his All-Loving Hero traits completely disappear. His rematch with Jasper then ends with him shattering her, though he's able to revive her later on.
    • In "Homeworld Bound", after the events of the previous episode, Steven goes to Homeworld to seek help from the Diamonds but White's attempt to help him by letting him pilot her body just brings up his buried resentment towards her, and he ends up trying to smash her head into a pillar.
    • It hits its head in "Everything's Fine", where he's already lost it. He spends the whole episode in a state of mania, cheerily brushing off his problems and denying that anything is wrong, before his buried emotions finally reach their breaking point and Steven corrupts himself into a Kaiju monster!
  • Sequel Series: Future is officially a separate series set after the events of Steven Universe: The Movie, though many fans also treat it as a sixth season of the original show due to it explicitly being a miniseries that serves as an epilogue rather than a traditional Time Skip continuation.
  • Series Continuity Error: Steven was sixteen in the movie, which a poster for Sadie Killer and the Suspects' concert says took place on May 21st, and his birthday is in summer. However, after winter passes, Steven is still said to be sixteen instead of seventeen. According to one of the crew, the date on the poster was arbitrarily set as the day it was drawn.
  • Ship Sinking: "Little Graduation" shows that Sadie and Lars are not a couple. Sadie found someone else and Lars is actually completely okay with it. This is also an In-Universe example: Steven has been shipping the two at least since "Island Adventure" and has an especially hard time finding out Sadie and Lars are overdue to his emotional investment in their relationship.
  • Sick Episode: In the episode, “Snow Day”, Steven catches a cold by the end of the episode from being outside in a winter storm without a coat. We also see Steven sneezing from being out in the cold.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Future focuses on Steven and how the trauma he experienced from the previous series have severely hurt his mental and physical being. This series may not seem as positive as the previous one but after his friends save him in the episode I Am My Monster, Steven does get a lot better. Overall, the series still leans towards the idealistic end.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Now that there's nothing to fight for and his family and friends are moving on, Steven is Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. While the show doesn't end with him having one, he's no longer desperately searching for one, and is using a cross-country road trip to calmly figure himself out.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't bury your mental issues or try to hide them from your friends and family, or those issues will boil over and you'll turn into a giant kaiju capable of curb stomping everyone in your path.
  • These Hands Have Killed: In "Fragments", after Steven shatters Jasper, he panics as he rushes home, taking her shards and reassembles them in the tub, giving her a healing bath. Steven's face shows a shocked expression now that he has shown himself capable of shattering a Gem:
    Jasper: Huh, what? You shattered me.
    Steven: Jasper! I-I'm so sorry! I should have stopped. I-I just wasn't thinking!
    Jasper: (kneels on one knee before Steven) I bow to your strength, my Diamond.
    Steven: No...
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In "Together Forever", Steven decides that his new purpose in life is to be Stevonnie with Connie, like Ruby and Sapphire are Garnet. The episode sets up an entire confession for him as he prepares to propose to Connie so that they can be married like Ruby and Sapphire...and Connie's response is, of course, to politely decline with a "not now" as they're too young to get married, and Connie feels a bit uncomfortable at being married just for the purpose of them being Stevonnie, wanting to maintain her individuality while they remain friends; Steven's unstable gem condition doesn't exactly sell the proposal. She still chooses to cherish their friendship, helping to arrange a doctor's appointment for Steven, and gets in touch with Greg to provide emotional support.
    • The episode "Growing Pains" shows that Steven's experiences throughout the series have traumatized him to the point where it has affected his body's ability to properly handle stress. He essentially has PTSD, and his pink mode is a flight or fight response that gets activated when something stresses him out. Also it turns out all that fighting and murder attempts he's endured over the years has been breaking his bones the whole time, and the only reason he's still alive is because his gem healed him as soon as the injuries occurred. Cartoon physics wasn't what kept Steven alive this whole time.
    • Steven's unconventional upbringing really comes back to haunt him in this series. While it might seem idyllic to grow up without schooling, it's shown repeatedly how it's hobbled his ability to relate to normal humans. He also doesn't have a social security number, and has never been to the doctor, which makes his upbringing seem less idyllic at first and a lot more tragic in a way.
    • "Homeworld Bound" shows that, even after their change for the better, some Gems still distrust the Diamonds for the former tyrannical ways, with a Jasper distrusting Yellow Zircon for supposedly being a "Diamond stooge". Even Steven turns out to have a buried resentment towards White that manifests when she lets him control her body.
    • ''The Future", Steven mentions that he has a therapist now who he has scheduled to regularly meet with. Severe mental trauma doesn't just disappear.
    • Lars and Sadie do not end up as a couple. People grow apart, even if they care about each other.
  • Trivial Tragedy:
    • Greg slices off most of his hair with Eyeball Ruby's knife to free himself from Aquamarine's grasp in "Bluebird". Humorously, he actually mourns the loss of it to the point of tears, and gives the hair a sendoff by letting it drift off to sea, not unlike a Viking funeral.
    • In "Growing Pains", Dr. Maheswaran asks Steven if he had something in his childhood that "stuck with him" — that is, traumas. Before mentioning all his near-death experiences or the moments he saw people close to him nearly die (or, in Lars' case, actually die), Steven remembers not taking it well when his favorite ice cream was discontinued.
  • Wanderlust Song: The Ending Theme "Being Human" is about how being able to move to a new place may be necessary to grow as a person. It ties into Steven's ultimate decision to move out of Beach City and start Walking the Earth.
  • Wham Episode: There are quite a bit of them.
    • Little Homeschool is when Steven's Pink Powers are shown for the first time.
    • Fragments is where Steven kills Jasper and then she calls him her diamond, haunting Steven.
    • Everything's Fine, where Steven becomes corrupted.
  • Wham Line: Quite a bit of them, actually.
    • At the end of Prickly Pair, this line follows Steven coming to the conclusion that he has to hide his emotions.
    Steven: I think I've said enough.
    • At the end of Fragments, Jasper says this after getting shattered by Steven.:
    Jasper: I bow to your strength, my Diamond.
  • Wham Shot: In Little Homeschool, Steven's Pink Powers being shown for the first time.
    • In Fragments, Steven with Diamond eyes in front of a big pink wall with spikes on it before hurling it at Jasper.
      • In that same episode, Jasper's shattered gem.
    • At the end of "Everything's Fine"
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech: In "Little Graduation", it is ultimately the non-binary Shep, who only appears in this episode, that saves the day by summing up Steven's abandonment issues and telling him that he can't force his friends to stay by his side forever.
  • Wrong Line of Work: In "Guidance", Amethyst manages to assign jobs to all the gems living on Earth where their former professions allow them to excel at them. Steven however, feels that their jobs are too similar to what they used to do back on Homeworld and switches up their jobs despite Amethyst's protests that this is not the case and that those jobs are what the Gems wanted to do. Unsurprisingly, things quickly turn to chaos when the gems prove to be horrible at the jobs Steven assigns them to, requiring him and Amethyst to fix things before someone gets hurt.
    • Also ultimately doubles as An Aesop for the episode, where Steven just chose what he wanted everyone to do (which was mix up their talens on new jobs) whereas Amethyst asked everybody beforehand and wanted to give them a chance to redefine their history with their former positions by using their talents at fun little jobs.


Mr. Universe

"I just wish I knew what to do with myself."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife

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