• Editorial: 5 Things We Want Equestria Girls To Do

    Since a fourth Equestria Girls movie is confirmed, I think it's time to analyze some potential opportunities in the next one that could spice up the franchise and possibly bring old fans back. From having a meaningful relationship to differentiating the school, let's count down 5 things we want Equestria Girls to do after the break.

    #5: Friendship is Magic Villains in the Human World.

    One of the things I love about Equestria Girls is that it's capable of being called an alternate universe after Sci-Twi's portrayal in Friendship Games. But up until that point, the movies felt like they were trying to throw ponies into a high school setting and go from there, which is doomed to fail if no one knows where they are going. The point of alternate universes is to show "what would happen if", and I can't think of a better way than to introduce some villains from the FiM cast.

    The FiM villains are already known from the pony world, and we can explore some other possibilities in Pedestria where societal norms and technology is different. Maybe Starlight Glimmer is a corporate interest that wants to privatize schooling and make it the same for everyone (the opposite of Testing Testing 1,2,3's moral)? Or The Great and Powerful Trixie could actually be a threatening villain. With this new world, we can explore these fantasies.

    #4: A Meaningful Relationship Narrative

    No, not Flash Sentry and Twilight. Just, no. One of the things that disappointed me about the first movie is the Flash Sentry and Sunset Shimmer relationship angle, which wasn't really explored because both characters were as flat as boards. While Flash still needs a few scenes to himself to make him stand out in this world, Sunset Shimmer has had her time to shine. One of the things I notice with teenagers in high school is that they care about relationships (sometimes a little too much).

    Instead of 60 minutes about school life that quickly turns into a 10 minute monster confrontation, why don't we simplify the formula and make the next attempt the same as one of the FiM episodes in the middle of a season? If the main problem is about a relationship, you have time to build it up, grab the audience's interest, and get the correct emotional payoff. This is better than having it be shoehorned into a magical high school that is half trying to be the FiM pony world and half emulating Monster High. While imitation is the biggest form of flattery, it's the worst way to make you stand out in a crowd.

    #3: Life Outside the School

    I loved the Rainbow Rocks shorts that premiered, both with Vinyl Scratch and the other characters. If Ed, Edd, and Eddy taught us anything (despite the dream that jawbreakers of that size are 25 cents), it's that a school cannot drive all your stories. Besides Crystal Prep High and a few houses, there's a whole city with technology vastly above the pony world that isn't being explored at all. Assuming that we are still trying to go for a comedic tone, there's a lot of material within the mundane made interesting. Twilight experienced some of this in the first Equestria Girls, but now it's time to expand the scope.

    I'd love to see a short with Vinyl at the DMV, trying to renew her license with an attendant that's new or never saw her before. Or Applejack trying to decide on a new cider maker, only to be brushed up in two online reviewer snobs who quote specs of their preferred maker until Applejack rolls her eyes, grabs a random one, and leaves. What about Pinkie Pie at an arcade? Would she beat all the machines? Eat all the pizza? Get hired and become a manager in ten seconds flat? Rarity in a photo booth? If we're able to expand past the high school, then you have more material for the "in between" scenes when nothing is going on. Rather than exploring a classroom or library for the tenth time, a scene in a supermarket or arcade can help characterize the Alternate 6 and fill in some time. Everybody wins.

    #2: Make Canterlot High Interesting

    Rainbow Rocks was my favorite, probably because the school didn't contribute much to the narrative. This might sound confusing since I just said that the movie needs to be the high school setting it claims to be, so let me explain. I find the school boring and limiting, which is odd since one of the most popular children's books has a school as their main setting (Harry Potter). Give the classes some depth to them and the school events that become major plot points won't feel out of place. Expand upon the history of Canterlot High, and school pride will become understandable as something to achieve.

    It's possible that some retconning is in order, considering the school still remains boring after three releases. Despite the yearly events that maybe take up a week at Canterlot High, what else is happening during downtime? That's what I want to explore. Does Maud teach a geology class? Does Filthy Rich teach an economics class and everyone falls asleep during it? Is Cheerilee doing her best Groundhog Day impression and needs to teach high school for all eternity? These are the questions I want answered.

    #1: Explore Teenager and Older Problems

    This will probably be the hardest thing for Equestria Girls to do, but it can have the most impact. One of the other problems is that Friendship is Magic can explore adult themes and problems while still making them easy for children to understand. Which is odd, considering a magical world with magical talking horses is more apt as a life metaphor than a school full of humanoids. Maybe instead of trying to copy the Friendship is Magic formula when it comes to children morals and redemption stories, it's time to aim a little higher.

    What if Equestria Girls 4 explores love and loss, or death and debt? Can it go into the realms of dark comedy while still keeping the target demographic's eyes? Friendship is Magic will always get more sympathy with their problems. Those adorable talking horses are cheaters like that. But if this older spin-off is the first to tackle deeper problems and explain that everything is going to be alright even if they don't have the solution right now (Scare Master, Hearth Breakers), that's different and interesting. It's a hard balancing act, since these problems first have to get the green light from up above. But if they do, their struggles could be more apt for a teenager than any fallen student redemption or school pride contest. Or it could be the silly popcorn flick that we all expect it to be. As long as it knows what it's doing, and goes all the way to characterize itself. Once the movie cares about itself, we will care about it.

    Well that's all I have for this week. What do you guys think? What do you all want to see in the next installment? Maybe some new villains or a different school on the horizon? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading and I'll see you all next time.