The "Steven Universe" episode "The Answer" is a gift that keeps on giving. Series creator Rebecca Sugar has announced that a children's book based on the episode will be released this year.
One of the Cartoon Network show's biggest revelations was when Garnet, the leader of the Crystal Gems, was shown to be a being that exists as the physical manifestation of two other Gems' love (these two other Gems being Ruby and Sapphire). In "The Answer," Garnet shared with Steven the story of how Ruby and Sapphire met, fell in love and decided to exist together as someone completely new.
Garnet's story is significant because it's a love story between two characters that are coded female. The relationship is just one of the examples of how "Steven Universe" pushes the boundaries when it comes to the exploration of gender fluidity and rejection of established gender norms in all-ages animated shows.
While fans of the show will be familiar with the plot, Sugar is using the new medium to tell the story in a new way.
"I'm really excited about it because we're able to use the book format to tell the story in a very different way," Sugar said of the upcoming book. "It's something we could only do with it in the form of a book.
"Part of the way that the children's book is formatted is that the characters of Ruby and Sapphire are kind of guiding you though the story," she continued. "And Sapphire is sure that she knows exactly how it's going to start and end, but at the point where the book should end, it doesn't end, so she's sort of confused that she's wrong."
For Sugar, exploring and expanding the world of "Steven Universe" beyond the TV screen is an exciting prospect because it gives her the opportunity to explain ideas she may have been unable to fully express in any given episode.
"There are a lot of aspects to that episode that I wanted to describe more, particularly about the way that [Sapphire] saw this track of fate and how startling it is to have it suddenly change, and the way that being impulsive and being fatalistic could combine into surprise — things that I showed but couldn't say that I now get to say because it's in the format of a book," Sugar explained.
Fans who were delighted by the unique visual style of the episode are also in for a treat if the cover image Sugar shared in her announcement is any indication.
"The art is stunning. I'm working on [the book] with Elle Michalka and Tiffany Ford, my art director and colorist," Sugar said. "I just want this to exist."
The book is scheduled to be released Sept. 6.