You can save the world we love.
— Mara to Adora
Mara was a First One and the previous known She-Ra before Adora. She was chosen by Etheria to be She-Ra. She makes her first appearance as a holographic projection made by Light Hope to explain the succession of the She-Ra line in the episode "Light Hope".
Mara makes an official, full-color appearance in Season Three episode 6, "The Portal". Before her appearance in this episode, she was only shown as a hologram. Mara has a thin build with slim and toned muscles, wide shoulders, tan skin, gray eyes, thick eyebrows, and full lips, donning pink lipstick on her top lip. She is one of the few characters to be shown wearing makeup, alongside Scorpia and Castaspella. Her hair is a deep brunette color tied back into a waist-length braid with side-swept bangs. At the base of her braid, Mara sports a golden, cylindrical hair clip with a purple band. At the end of her braid, she wears a diamond-shaped clip beneath what appears to be a purple hairband. Along with her hair accessories, Mara wears a gold headpiece that wraps around the nape of her head and comes out to a point above her ears. Her headpiece strongly resembles one worn by Scorpia. It is unknown if any of Mara's jewelry serves a combat, or She-Ra related purpose, or if it is purely decorative.
Mara wears a light blue leotard with a sweetheart neckline and a pointed, purple belt. Beneath her leotard, she wears deep blue pants. Her leotard has white, butterfly sleeves that match a partial skirt hanging from her belt, atop her hips.
As She-Ra, she has long platinum blonde hair and glowing blue eyes. Her outfit is similar to Adora's, except it has pants instead of shorts, bigger shoulder pads, and high-heeled boots.
By Razz's admission, Mara was brave and loyal but also fearful and afraid. According to Light Hope, Mara didn't have the strength to let go of the emotions that mingled with her primordial duty of protecting Etheria to keep its balance. Thus, she believed, failing to a worthy She-Ra. Mara felt she was discontinuing the existing legacy of the Etherian Defender that every She-Ra is expected to be. She ultimately decided that stranding Etheria in the dark dimension of Despondos was the only right thing to do. Light Hope also said that Mara was brought down by fear and faulty reasoning. While it may be true that at some point Mara had made poor decisions, she transported Etheria to Despondos in order to protect Etheria and it's inhabitants from certain destruction. This is later revealed to be a ruse by Light Hope, as Mara hadn't gone insane, but rather acted in her sacrifice to save Etheria.
In a hologram, Mara states that she didn't want to be a hero and that she never was to be remembered as such, giving more light on why she might have opted to strand Etheria in Despondos. She said that she intended to end the She-Ra line by trapping Etheria far away from any First One who could claim the Sword of Protection. She believed that by ending the She-Ra line, there would be no access to the portal and Etheria would remain safe.
In the past, Mara was revealed to be cheerful, fun-loving, and friendly, but also fierce, strong and protective. She became good friends with Light Hope (whom she treated as a person and a friend instead of a hologram) and Madame Razz (even though she had trouble understanding what she meant sometimes). Mara loved Etheria and began to love it even more when Razz showed her the true meaning of magic. She was kept in the dark about the Heart of Etheria Project and genuinely believed that what she and her people were doing was equitable, although she had her suspicions about it for a while. After figuring out what the Heart of Etheria Project was and what the First Ones intended for her, Mara turned against the First Ones and set off to deactivate the Project. Before doing so, she sadly bid farewell to Madame Razz, although not before promising to help Madame Razz bake a pie one day, even though she knew it wouldn't happen. Mara stranded Etheria and its moons into the empty dimension of Despondos. After deactivating the Project, she attempted to discontinue the She-Ra line so no one could ever use She-Ra again for the Project. In the process, she died on her ship, sacrificing herself for Etheria, as she truly believed that stranding them in Despondos would keep them safe. She was since Razz often mistook her for Adora, it was revealed that Mara had knowledge of her existence. In her hologram, Mara expressed her belief that Adora could save Etheria.
Powers and abilities
(Assuming Mara has the same powers as the current She-Ra, Adora)
- Powers via the Sword of Protection:
- Transformation: Using the Sword of Protection, Mara could transform into the legendary warrior She-Ra.
Due to Razz's reluctance to speak of her coherently, Mara's relationship with Razz has never been fleshed out. However, clear thinks highly of Mara. Razz implies that the two had a close relationship, even endearingly referring to her as "My Mara." Mara met Razz when Razz came aboard Mara's ship looking for sugar and mistook Mara for Adora who, unbeknownst to Mara, was the future She-Ra. The two continued to see each other prior to their first encounter. At one point in time, Mara attempted to save Razz from a wild boar. Razz, however, stopped the creature and explained how magic was simply magic and that Etheria had chosen Mara as She-Ra, not the First Ones. Razz helped Mara realize how much she loved Etheria and made her question the morality of the First Ones. Unfortunately, after Mara figured out the First Ones' intentions, she ran to Razz injured. Due to her poor memory, Razz was confused about what was going on. After Mara explained the situation, a still confused Razz asked Mara when they could bake their "pie." Mara gave Razz a sad smile and promised to do so when she returned, even though she knew that that was unlikely to happen. Mara tearfully bid Razz farewell and activated the portal, dying in the process, presumably from wounds sustained from when she and Grayskull battled the First Ones.
Razz continuously confuses Adora with Mara, until she finally realizes that Mara is truly gone and what Mara had intended to warn Adora in her hologram. After finally finishing her pie, Razz places it on Mara's seat in her ship, a dedication to her memories with Mara and their friendship.
Light Hope was a complex A.I. created by the First Ones in order to help Mara activate the Heart of Etheria. As the two worked together, Mara began to see Light Hope as a friend and not as a computer program. They became close. And while Mara had to defy Light Hope and her mission she was still in love with her holographic friend.
In return Light Hope missed Mara and had fond memories of her even when her programming told her that Mara had become dangerous and unhinged. We even see Light Hope Watching some of the memories she had with Mara like a movie.
Mara's relationship to her She-Ra form, a version of herself, is speculated by her and those tied to her character. Although she is a part of her, in the episode "Once Upon a Time in the Waste", hologram Mara states that being She-Ra was fun at first, implying that it eventually became too much for her. She decides that being She-Ra shouldn't be an option for anybody and tries, but fails, to end the She-Ra line. In the recording her hologram, presumably from her ship, she is then chased off by an unseen presence.
Despite not meeting each other in person, they do have an astral interaction in the episode "Heart Part 1", where both are transformed into their She-Ra forms and here Mara commends Adora to save the world but seek a life of her own as well, so that Adora does not restrain herself into being a mere "sacrifice", as to not commit the same mistakes as she did in the past.
Mara had a positive relationship with the Etherian inhabitants, going as far as to seemingly sacrifice herself to save them. Her reputation varies from the citizens of Etheria. In Season One, in "Flowers for She-Ra", the citizens of Plumeria are elated to meet Adora's She-Ra. They pass stories of Mara's might down along their generations.
In Season Three, the holographic image of Mara said that The First Ones went to Etheria to study its magic.
Friends of Mara
Mara and her squadron "Grayskull" were a close knit group of warriors who saved Etheria from the First Ones and their corruption of magic by The Heart of Etheria Project. They tried and failed to activate the fail-safe in the Heart of Etheria, forcing Mara to use the portal to rescue Etheria. One of the members was named Serenia.
One thousand years ago, Mara was born on Eternia. When she came of age, Etheria chose her to be the next She-Ra. The First Ones forged the Sword of Protection and gave it to her, also creating Light Hope and the Heart of Etheria in the process (in order to fight Horde Prime). Mara then travelled to Etheria to study its magic, where she met Madame Razz and they became friends. During this time the First Ones trained Mara to use the Heart of Etheria with the help of Light Hope. While on Etheria, Light Hope and Mara became close friends as they discussed Razz, magic, and their mission. As Mara learned more about what the Heart of Etheria Project would do, she became fearful of its consequences. Mara then formed the rebel group Grayskull. She and Grayskull led an attack on the First Ones, in an attempt to stop the Heart of Etheria by activating the failsafe. Grayskull was defeated with the loss of most of its members. Only Mara survived, and she was mortally wounded. Mara fled to Etheria where she left a message for any future She-Ra, should there be one, and said goodbye to Razz. She then got on her ship and activated the portal, took Etheria to the empty dimension of Despondos and died of her wounds.
"I opened a portal to a completely empty dimension and pulled Etheria in. I hid us from the rest of the universe to keep everyone safe. This is the one place they'll never find us. I saw what they would do. The deaths that would follow. I couldn't stop them before, but I can now. Hiding is our only option. Maybe it's been a week, maybe it's been thousands of years. I never wanted to be a hero. I won't be remembered as one."-Hologram in Once Upon a Time in the Waste
"You're worth more than what you can give to other people. You deserve love too."-Heart Part 1
"I never wanted to be a hero; I won't be remembered as one."
"I don't know what they told you, but it wasn't all bad at first. We were the first ones to settle Etheria, to really study this planet's magic. How could it go so wrong?"
"[chuckles sadly] Tomorrow, Razz. We'll make a pie tomorrow, I promise."
"Go now. Be at peace."-Hero, to a giant warthog.
"The sword is gone. There's not going to be a She-Ra anymore. [she walks through Light Hope to get to another part of the console; magic flairs outside the ship, and Mara continues to click buttons] [...] She-Ra's destiny was to be a part of your machine. [determined] But I won't ever let you use her again. [The ship flies and dodges spikes of magical energy in the sky][slams her hands down on the console, tearing up; angrily] How will destroying worlds bring peace? [tears spill over, angrily] You're not Light Hope. And you don't get to tell me what my destiny is."
"[happily] Thanks, Hope. [nudges Light Hope with an elbow, making her distort a bit] Couldn't ask for a better friend. [Mara runs off toward Razz]"-Hero
"I love Etheria. I love how old, and weird, and beautiful it is. I'm sworn to protect it as She-Ra, just as I'm sworn to serve my people, but... I know we're doing something to the planet. [she walks to look at the sword wedged in the ground] The Heart of Etheria Project... I don't know all the details, but I know it's big. They say we're the heroes, but... I don't know if it's right."
- The meaning of Mara is "bitter", which carries the implication "strength." It also means "Lady" in Aramaic, because Mar means "Lord", and is a title of bishops in the Syriac Christian church, as well as the name of a bitter lake in the Bible, and a title of the Kabbalistic sephira Binah. Mara means joy in Arabic and can be a unisex name. In ancient Egypt it meant "The truth of God Ra" Ma for Truth ('Ma-at') and Ra the God of the Sun, possibly also linked to Ado-RA as they are both She-RAs.
- In Comic-Con San Diego 2019, Noelle Stevenson revealed that Mara is a character from "A different version of He-Man", referencing the 1990s animated series, The New Adventures of He-Man. While Mara was not an incarnation of She-Ra in that series, the two characters do share many similarities, and Mara's outfit strongly resembles her original armour from the New Adventures.
- While she is based on a character from He-Man, Mara is also named after the character of Mara Jade from the Star Wars Legebds comics and novels. Mara Jade is also one of Noelle Stevenson’s favourite Star Wars characters.
- Her She-Ra form, with her hair dyed blonde and eyes turning blue, might be a reference to the Super Saiyan transformation from Dragon Ball Z.
- In "Once Upon a Time in the Waste", it is revealed that Mara's Ship is in the Crimson Waste and had everything stolen from it. Mara appears as a hologram, saying "I am Mara, She-Ra of Etheria, and I am gone." It's also revealed that people thought that Mara's ship was haunted.
- At the New York Comic-Con 2019, footage from Season Four revealed that, from Season 4, she starts replacing Queen Angella's spot in the title screen at the end of the intro.
- It is implied that Mara is the first She-Ra to use the Sword of Protection, and Adora is the second. Mara's species, the First Ones, created the sword.
- In a tweet from May 16th, 2020, Stevenson revealed that Mara's rebellion squad, which she formed to fight the First Ones, was called Grayskull. So Adora has been fighting in Mara's name the whole time.
- A dragon was shown on murals and artifacts depicting Mara as She-Ra, possibly hinting that the creature was Mara's steed. A creature similar to a dragon can be seen in Perfuma's tapestry in Flowers For She-Ra showing Mara engaging the dragon, and on Beast Island.