Steven Universe is one of the most successful series to come out of Cartoon Network. It breaks every wall of convention in the way it deals with gender, sexuality and growing up. The show is chock full of smartly handled life lessons about maturity, trust and processing emotions. It also has quite the fanbase, and with any fandom comes theories. Check the reddit page of any hit show and there’s entire threads dedicated to theories and predictions.
Steven Universe is no different, and we decided to throw our hat in the ring with what might be the most outlandish theory ever:
Rose didn’t tell the others that she was going to disappear.
When Rose Quartz gave birth to Steven, she gave up her physical form and her gem was passed down to Steven. In turning into half of Steven, she essentially died, leaving the other Crystal Gems without a leader and Steven without a mother. It was a tragic loss for everyone, but was it made more tragic by the suddenness of it? Were the Gems prepared for the outcome of Steven’s birth? Or did Rose not tell them she was going to reform into Steven? Let’s look at the evidence.
Let’s start by casting a wide net, so to speak. Rose was prone to secrets, to the extent of it being one of her main flaws as both a leader and a person. She kept Lion a secret from Pearl, who thought herself to be her confidant, as well as the things kept in his mane, like a bubbled Bismuth. Bismuth’s disappearance was kept secret from the rest of the Gems, she was bubbled, hidden in Lion’s mane, and thought dead by Garnet and Pearl. Rose also never confirmed nor denied if she was the one who shattered Pink Diamond.
Rose Quartz kept secrets of both big and small consequence, so what’s another secret to her, especially one that she thinks might “protect” her friends? That is to say, if we’re to believe that Rose didn’t tell the Gems she was going to disappear, she might have done it to protect their feelings. Perhaps she didn’t want the Crystal Gems to believe she was abandoning them for a human, or she thought they might try to stop her. Either way, she’s no stranger to secrets, so lying about disappearing, to protect others, wouldn’t be out of character for Rose.
The way the Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl react to and deal with the absence of Rose tells us a lot about how she parted ways with them. The strongest example of their reaction as a group comes in “Three Gems and a Baby.” The Crystal Gems kidnap baby Steven, believing they know what’s best for him, since he’s a Gem. They also try to get Rose to reappear, not understanding what Steven is, since no one really does.
Amethyst shape-shifts into a baby, then back to herself, attempting to get Rose to do the same. Garnet believes Rose is part of a fusion, so she unfuses to show Rose how easy it is, but she only makes Steven cry. Pearl, the most attached to Rose, takes a more extreme approach, attempting to pull Rose’s Gem from Steven, believing her to be stuck inside the baby. “We’ll be… together… again” she says, only to stop herself, this is what Rose wanted more than anything, and she can’t go against that.
That’s an important bit of information, that Rose wanted Steven to be born so much. Sure, it might imply that Rose told them, but with the Gems’ reactions, especially Pearl’s, it can also imply the opposite. They knew there was going to be a child, and that Rose wanted it, but not that she would disappear. They knew she loved humans and how they change and grow, but not that she planned on experiencing that herself “firsthand.”
There are other episodes that show how the Gems deal with Rose’s absence. In “Maximum Capacity,” Amethyst blames Greg for taking away Rose, “I had someone who was always there for me until she started hanging out with YOU!” Greg stole her best friend by actually stealing her and by making Steven, a loss made more tragic by not knowing her best friend was going to disappear.
The events in “Mr. Greg” support this theory as well. In Pearl’s song, “Isn’t It Over,” we find Pearl still struggles to deal with the loss of Rose, almost to the point of not believing it. She has to ask herself “it’s over, isn’t it?” as if to remind herself that Rose is gone. This implies that the loss may have been sudden, unexpected. Later in the episode, Greg and Pearl laugh over Rose’s tendency to do whatever she wanted. She loved humans, and wanted to experience what they did. There was a way to do it, and she did it.
Pearl, as well as Garnet and Amethyst, didn’t know about Lion, nor did they know about the things kept in his mane, including the video discovered by Steven in “Lion 3: Straight to Video.” In the video, Rose tells Steven that she and him cannot both exist, and that she will experience human life through him because she will turn into half of him. The moment is private and seemingly out of earshot of Greg, who is also in the video. Rose also tells Steven to “take care of them,” as though she won’t be around for Greg and the Gems. Again, the moment is private, and the video is secret from the Crystal Gems.
This video is a big piece of this theory puzzle. It shows how excited Rose was to be part of a human’s life, how secretive she is, and how she was planning for her absence. There’s also the video from “Lion 4: Alternate Ending,” an alternate video addressed to “Nora,” the name Greg and Rose chose if Steven was a girl. This video gives us even more clues. It shows Greg reacting to the video as though he was seeing it for the first time, and it was in a hidden, secretive place. The mystery behind “Nora” was revealed to be trivial and not really a mystery at all, but Rose still felt the need to hide the video in a hard-to-find placePerhaps to hide it from the Gems? She put a lot of work into hiding something that small, what’s stopping her from hiding something much bigger.
GREG MIGHT HAVE KNOWN
The final piece of this theory puzzle is Greg. It’s not entirely clear if Greg knew that Rose was going to disappear. He misses Rose, but is seemingly more at peace with losing her, maybe because it wasn’t so sudden to him. However this could also be because he’s human, and humans are used to loss, used to watching others around them pass on.
Further, Greg knew, to some extent, what was in the video’s left for Steven, he was in them after all. However, the segment where Rose talks directly to Steven, she talks softer, more privately. Greg could have thought the video was just something to show Steven when he was older, not a “dying message” from Rose. Further, though Greg sort of knew about the “alternate ending” video (he explained the meaning of “Nora” to Steve), he still reacted to Rose’s speech to “Nora” as though he was hearing it for the first time. He didn’t know about Lion either, so how could he know about the whereabouts or the final cut of both videos? Greg might have known, and if he did, he also kept the secret.
So where does this evidence leave us? We know the Crystal Gems were devastated by Rose’s death. They couldn’t comprehend what Rose had turned into by becoming half of Steven, they even disregarded him as some kind of temporary form, as though Rose would soon return. Rose was prone to secrets and deception, so lying about her desire to become half of a human child — to grow and learn and change like the humans she loved — isn’t that far fetched. She always did what she wanted, and she wanted to experience what humans experience so badly. Lying to the Gems was perhaps her way to doing what she wanted without being stopped. Who’s to say if Rose told Greg or the Crystal Gems that she was going to disappear and become half of Steve, but signs say she didn’t.
Do you agree or dissagree with this theory? Tell us in the comments, or tell us your favorite Steven Universe theory!