It’s reigning Twilight Sparkle!
EW can exclusively reveal that the third season finale of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will see everyone’s favorite unicorn being named a princess — and gaining a new pair of regal wings in the process. “She was set up from the very beginning to be on an important journey,” explains MLP head writer Meghan McCarthy. “It’s really about her earning this new status by combining all the things that we’ve seen her learn over the course of the series.”
But don’t worry, Pony fans — though Twilight will undergo a physical transformation, her personality will remain the same. “What we didn’t want to do was change who she is as a character, because she’s certainly someone that everyone’s proud to know and love,” McCarthy says. “I don’t think becoming a princess really changes her; I think it’s going to introduce some new challenges for her.”
Those challenges will include living up to that lofty new title. In MLP‘s Equestria, “princess” is a designation that’s earned, not freely given — and though princesses have specific leadership roles in pony society, being one really means “being a good pony who shares the gifts that they have been given with others,” according to McCarthy. “We’re building a very unique mythology around being a princess,” she continues. “Every little girl wants to be a princess, and not everybody can get to be a princess — but you can live up to the ideals that should come along with being a princess.”
The Hub will celebrate the mane event with a nine-episode MLP marathon on Feb. 16 beginning at 6 a.m. ET, followed by the coronation episode itself at 10:30 a.m. The network is also throwing a Coronation Concert in Los Angeles on Feb. 9, hosted (appropriately enough) by newly crowned Miss America Malory Hagan. Olympic gold medalist Carmelita Jeter will be on hand as well.
Additionally, this fall, Hasbro will release a new line of toys tied to Twilight’s ascension — which EW can exclusively preview on the following pages. Giddyup!
NEXT: Princess Twilight in the flesh… er, plastic
This extra-large Twilight Sparkle figurine boasts all sorts of interactive features: “Her head moves, her eye blinks, her wings flap, they light up, when you roll her across the ground the wings move,” explains MLP brand marketing director Donna Tobin. Twilight also talks, spouting phrases like “I’m a princess now!” or “I love when you comb my hair!” when her mane is brushed. All that interaction will cost parents a pretty penny — at $49.99, this is the most expensive toy in the collection.
NEXT: Every princess needs a palace
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic‘s third season opened with the Mane 6 discovering the Crystal Empire — and come fall, fans can snag a Crystal Palace to call their own. “It also attaches to our Canterlot Wedding Castle,” says Tobin, which “really extends that magical experience for the girl.” The palace comes with a telescope and a treasure chest stuffed with accessories that fit a smaller Twilight Sparkle figurine, also included; “it’s the only place that a little girl can get that size [of Twilight],” Tobin notes. ($24.99)
NEXT: Royal wheels
Every princess needs a special set of wheels — and all the better if it’s driven by a dragon. This “fabulously ornate” aqua convertible comes with its very own magical chauffeur — a.k.a. Spike, Twilight’s confidante — as well as Rarity, a pony who enjoys the finer things in life. “Our major objective [is] to completely sync entertainment and our toy line,” says Tobin, noting that Hasbro and My Little Pony‘s overseers regularly discuss “story arching, how that works from an entertainment perspective, and also how it works for our core line and our brand development.” ($22.99)
NEXT: Pony party!
Finally, Hasbro will release a set of Princess Packs, which come complete with two ponies — Princess Twilight and Rainbow Dash or Princess Cadance and Applejack — as well as an assortment of colorful barrettes. “We’ve really become a phenomenon that transcends age and gender, appealing to girls 2-12, preteens, men, and women across the globe, and that allows us to commercialize across a broader consumer base,” Tobin notes. “We’re staying true to being a wholesome brand that’s rooted in friendship, and delivering lessons in friendship that fans of all ages really relate to — when you bond together in friendship, you can resolve any kind of conflict.” ($12.99)