• Editorial: How Should the Cutie Mark Crusaders Grow In Season 7 and Beyond?


    We are in a relatively strange place when it comes to the Cutie Mark Crusaders right now. Their Primary reason for being in the show has finally been reached, but they still don't seem to really grasp what their a actual destinies are. The question is, what exactly should they be doing going forward? Is this cutie mark assistance business really what they were meant to do? Or are they once again chasing something in the wrong direction?

    People that were kids when the show first started are now adults! Should they evolve with them?

    Lets dive on in to each of these three, and see if we can't figure out something fun for the future! Head on down below for a more than opiniony editorial on the destiny of the Cutie Mark Crusaders!

    What are they here for?

    To decide on their futures, we need to think about what they are even in the show for to begin with. A few reasons would make the most sense:

    To relate better to the actual target demographic of kids. The mane 6 are pretty much adults, with jobs and post-school responsibilities. While a little girl my look up to Rainbow Dash, she would probably be able to draw a lot more comparisons to her life and say, Apple Bloom or Sweetie Belle. Even better if she has an older sister.

    To sell toys. It's not one we usually like to focus on, but Hasbro's #1 goal as a toy company is to sell sell sell as many plastic horses as possible, and having more with different models is a good way to go about doing that. It just so happens that making them engaging characters for us to be entertained by means we are more likely to throw money at merchandise of them.

    To explain Cutie Marks. Their main driving plot force has always been based around this. It's a concept that the show heavily plays off of, and having a trio of fillies exploring it helps build the world for the viewer. Almost their entire catalogue of episodes that weren't based on supporting the mane 6 in some way were 100% geared toward the concept of butt tattoos and how to earn them.

    So, what now?

    I honestly feel like these three are just as lost as Trouble Shoes was.  They "think" their destiny is to help others find their purposes in life, but is that truly what they are good at? . It's also a seemingly rare problem in ponyland. How many cartoon horses have we seen that don't seem content with what they are doing?

    This is the direction I believe the show should head for with the "new" Cutie Mark Crusaders. In the context of their butt tattoos, shelf the shields and focus on the internal images. Is Sweetie Belle meant to be a rock star? Will Apple Bloom spend the rest of her adult life working the farm with Applejack? And why does a Pegasus that can't fly have a wing?

    "On Your Marks" got the ball rolling, but I don't think this is something possible to explore with all three at once. Each character really needs a dedicated episode, maybe one a season, that explores what exactly her personal goal in life will be.

    Making Music with Sweetie Belle

    The inner 8th note on her flank heavily hints that her talent is in some form of music. The challenge with Sweetie Belle is how little they have really explored this aspect of her. I guess the biggest issue in a cartoon where seemingly anyone can burst out in song with a perfect singing voice means they are struggling to find a way to show it, or more specifically show her being better at it. It was briefly hinted at in season one, but outside of that the idea isn't touched on much at all.

    Maybe an episode about her singing in the shower and caught by a passing pony who signs her on for a record deal? Or maybe it's something entirely different in the musical field, leading an orchestra or joining up with Vinyl for some electronic production. Sweetie's music note can't go too far outside the boundaries and still make sense, but in a general musical setting there are still plenty of interesting opportunities.

    She's also sisters to a famous fashionista and best buddies with the princess of friendship. In an industry where talent is less useful than who you know, she has every door on the planet open to her. 

    Alchemy with Apple Bloom

    I really don't think Apple Bloom is meant to work a farm for the rest of her life. When you compare her directly to her sister, the love of apples doesn't seem nearly as strong between the generations. There is obviously a big expectation in the Apple family that this is the path she will take, but is that really fair for her? The pressure is overwhelming. We even got an entire episode dedicated to her freaking out about not getting some form of apple cutie mark. If a pony was 100% sure she'd be apple farming for life, I doubt there would be this much insecurity.

    I love the idea of her getting into alchemy with Zecora as a mentor. We've had three instances now where the idea seemed to fit her personality perfectly. Adventuring is in Bloom's blood, and living right next to the Everfree Forest and all of it's mysterious ingredients seems like the perfect storm for an interesting destiny.

    Maybe she could cross the streams a bit to better represent her symbol? Discover new ways to grow bigger, fatter, faster growing apples to assist the family business, while perusing a career in full on alchemy?

    Be... Extreme(?) with Scootaloo

    I'll be honest here. Scootaloo is a complete mystery to me. Of the three, she doesn't seem to have any majorly explorable talent other than scootering and fangirling over Rainbow Dash. Her Cutie Mark seems to be based in the same league as Rainbow's, even going as far as adding a wing to the lightning bolt, but as far as we know she doesn't have the ability to actually fly.

    Could this be a rare case of a pony that is incapable of what her original destiny was planned for due to a genetic defect?  Was she meant to be another best young flyer, but her stunted wings are keeping her grounded searching for something else with "extreme speed" to chase? I'm guessing most of the crusading that went on involving crazy sports was her idea. She even went bungee jumping when the three of them split up in "On Your Marks". But what will this lead to?

    Obviously exploring genetic defects and their ability to limit someone is most likely outside of the scope of what the show will do, but some kind of earth-pony based sport might be what she ends up joining up with in the long run. Either that or stunt devil. I wonder how an audience would react at a motorcycle jump with a pegasus? Is that technically cheating?

    What would be best for the show?

    I'm not going to lie. I really hope they ditch the whole "destiny assistance" business and get to their individual goals going forward. Introducing new characters like Gabby and Trouble is great, but that episode has been done twice now. It's time for something new! We have two seasons already confirmed coming up, and if trends continue, around six episodes between them will involve these three as the focus.

    DHX and Hasbro don't seem afraid to let characters grow far beyond what other cartoons tend to do. Most other shows would have locked the timeline up ages ago, but this one evolves constantly. We might even see them physically taller as time goes on.

    I really do think it would be interesting, and even useful for the people that are literally growing up and becoming young adults watching this show, to have the Cutie Mark Crusaders deal with problems relating to that transitionary phase between the end of high school and young-adulthood. It's the time in life where pressure is at an all-time high on deciding what you want to do in the future, and considering someone who was 12 in 2010 would be at that exact point now here in 2017, it wouldn't be too far fetched.

    (Thanks to Bill Ames for the Patreon request again)