• The Possible End of MLP Generation 4 and Why You Should Keep Calm and Pony On!

    This is a post I've wanted to write up for a while, and with the initial freakout earlier this week I think it has become more relevant. While nothing is finalized yet, it's still causing an obvious panic in many a pony-loving individual. The fourth generation of My Little Pony has been a huge part of many of our lives these last eight years. Almost everyone got something positive out of it, from awesome new friendships that have lead to all sorts of crazy adventures, to simple enjoyment from a cast of characters we've all come to love. I don't need to tell you that this has been a big deal.

    Where do we go from here? Time to editorialize! Stop freaking out and go read below!

    At eight seasons, Friendship is Magic is already hitting some of the highest episode counts for modern day cartoons. Especially for one airing primarily on a channel that is much smaller than it's fellow family oriented TV. When it launched, it came with a bunch of other Hasbro properties that didn't even make it out of their second season (Pound puppies, LPS, etc). Again, Discovery Family is tiny in comparison to the Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network juggernauts. If advertising was pony's only revenue, the show itself probably wouldn't have lasted this long. A reboot, expansion, or major change was kind of inevitable. Especially for a show thriving largely on toy sales.You can only re-make the same characters so many times before you start seeing a decline as more people already own a piece of them.

    Even outside of a toy sales perspective though, it's hard to keep a cast of characters interesting for this long. The re-leaning of lessons that Rainbow Dash and Applejack go through each season is sort of a testament to how hard it is to keep expanding them. When the mane cast started reaching the goals that they set out on back during season one, I kinda figured they were planning on doing something else with ponyland. The addition of Starlight Glimmer and the usage of side characters like Thorax, Trixie, Ember, and Discord seemed to be more of a need to shake things up than anything.

    With 26 episodes of that type of expansion behind us, and people seemingly to liking it. We still have quite a bit of already confirmed content to go. The 9th season was well known before the storm of information dropped, meaning 52 more adventures plus specials with our top tier cast are guaranteed. After that, we still don't have complete confirmation that any of these current ideas will happen, but if they do and we do get a reboot, is it really that bad?

    It may be optimistic, but I think Hasbro and the teams working on this are pretty well versed on what makes Friendship is Magic so popular. An interestingly complex world, adorably cute ponies, fun storylines, and higher budget are all things that have been shown to work. They make some mistakes, and might drop a script that isn't very engaging, but I don't think we will ever see anything as terrifying as generation 3 again and we definitely won't see ugly ponies like the older generations. They have seen the light of what a quality show with excellent animation, voicework, attractive characters, and worldbuilding can really do.

    We might need to be re-introduced to different versions of our current favorites, or even welcome in brand new ones with a rocky period before we are used to them (like Starlight Glimmer for many), but I don't see this as the huge negative many people are making it out to be. Having talked to a few of the show staff at conventions, it sound like leading names like Meghan McCarthy are creation first, executive second. Even the more business focused big wigs at Hasbro  want to create quality stuff that everyone loves just based on how ridiculously well it worked with G4! They want that virality back, and in an era where movies and TV based on popular IP's are all aiming for top quality for maximum spreading and discussion, pony is never going to be an exception.

    Could it flop? There is always a chance. Even in that case though, look at everything we have built as a fandom. Massive homegrown worlds have become just as popular as canon stuff. Giant animation projects, millions of words worth of fanfiction, enough art to consistently post 40+ awesome piece every day for months. If they sold Little Pip merchandise at Walmart I bet she'd be selling almost as well as the mane cast at this point.

    The Star Trek fandom is still hosting conventions and meetups around the world this many years later, and they don't have anywhere near the creative backing we do. Just because a show ends doesn't mean all these friends you've made and things you have built will disappear. As long as we keep celebrating pony we can keep this going long into the future. We've gone through plenty of ridiculous hiatus periods where fan content was our only fuel. Lots of projects are still in the works, and I doubt they will end just because a new season isn't as engaging. EQD might slow down, but pony will always be here.

    With out awesome community and a motivation on Hasbro's side to keep this pony ball rolling LONG into the future, we should be optimistic more than pessimistic. And remember: everything that was released is still only at the beginning of the conceptualization stage. They are debating and battling just as much as we are. My Little Pony isn't ending, and you can be damn sure they want the fifth generation to be just as appealing as this one.