Fresh from ringing the Opening Bell in New York City at Times Square’s Nasdaq MarketSite, Tara Strong, otherwise known as the voice of Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, took some time out of her insane schedule to talk to me about the upcoming season. The Discovery Family series and Hasbro hit kicks off Season 7 this Saturday, April 15th at 11:30 am ET with a special, two-episode back-to-back season premiere.
Strong’s character, a unicorn pony who has transformed into an Alicorn and has become a princess over the course of the series, has grown from her place as a student under Princess Celestia’s tutelage to a teacher of other Ponies in Ponyville. Season 7 sees her taking on additional responsibilities when she finds that her students soon need to branch off and become teachers on their own, but don’t fret, there’s still plenty of fun adventures to be had in Equestria! Strong also commented on her experience on My Little Pony: The Movie, the Ben 10 reboot, and some upcoming (but super secret) projects.
Before diving into the interview, here’s a cute video from Strong voicing Twilight Sparkle while at Nasdaq:
— tara strong (@tarastrong) April 12, 2017
Ringing the Opening Bell might just be Strong’s new #1 experience in her long and storied (and continuing) career, a career that’s seen her voice some of the most iconic characters in history. From DC Comics characters, to Cartoon Network classics, to video games, cartoons, and feature films, Strong has voiced almost everything animated you can think of (except The Simpsons for some reason; fans, let’s help her out with that). But what are the first cartoons she remembers from her childhood?
The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.
While everyone knows those first two shows (and their theme songs), Strong had to educate me on that last one, an early 70s series starring Tom Bosley; she also humored me with a quick rendition of the theme song. (Fun fact for fans of My Little Pony who are wondering if Strong also does the singing voice for Twilight Sparkle: She does not, but the character does get to show off her singing skills in the Season 7 premiere.)
For those of you who haven’t climbed aboard the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic train, here’s how Strong sells it:
I would say it’s very family friendly, with wonderful lessons about being conscientious and a good friend, and it’s colorful and funny and entertaining for families. For the older kids and a lot of grown-ups who are nostalgic about their own childhoods and My Little Pony, there’s really something in it for everybody. There’s a character for everybody, every personality is in at least one or two ponies. You can relate to one or more characters on the show. It’s very light-hearted and it just has a nice, warm message.
There are also moments on the show that have directly affected Strong’s personal life. She mentioned a time when she was upset with a friend whose decisions in her personal life were not so great; Strong was still dealing with this frustration when an arc for Twilight came up that mirrored Strong’s real-life situation, helping her to see both sides of it and deal with it appropriately. This is part of the show’s ongoing theme: the Ponies will continue to fight back against bullies, because groups of friends are always stronger than bullies alone. That aspect is typified by Strong’s character:
Twilight can be bossy, but she’s very intuitive and she’s still learning.
Unfortunately, Strong couldn’t give too many details away–except for the disappearance of Twilight Sparkle’s map in an upcoming episode…–but you can expect adventures from the Mane 6 ponies (of course), comprised of Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, plus appearances from royal sisters Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, and visits from Rainbow Dash’s over-enthusiastic parents and Twilight Sparkle’s adorable niece, Flurry Heart. And over the next 26 episodes, you can also expect five brand-new original songs and tons of adventure.
As for the upcoming movie, and the new toys, which Strong says are “going to blow off the shelves,” by the way, she had this to say about her experience:
Working on the feature was similar to working on the show, just that the stakes are higher and the adventure is bigger. We leave Equestria and find out that there are other lands. There’s something that forces Twilight to have to rely on her friends to help set things right. Any time you go from a series to a feature, you have to have a big story, and they certainly accomplished that.
Strong also confirmed that there will indeed be Seaponies in the movie, which should please fans. Speaking of fans, Strong specifically thanked the fans for their support, not only for the many shows she’s worked on, but in her charitable causes. Strong’s son volunteers at an animal rescue center where they care for injured animals; the My Little Pony fans recently raised over $40,000 dollars for the center.