It should go without saying that this will contain massive spoilers for all Seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The primary reason I decided to write this is because certain facts within the show don’t entirely make sense, yet the story gives enough leeway to heavily imply that the element of time travel introduced midway in the story is far more pernicious than the audience is left to believe. The fact the story focuses so much on these ultra-specific, piecemeal portions of information and deliberately chooses not to give a definitive answer is suspect to me. It leads me to believe that this idea, fostered from the dialogue and worldbuilding of the story itself, is more than just some bizarro idea, but rather heavily implied by the creator, N.D. Stevenson. I asked the question fairly directly on Twitter, but I do not expect an answer.
Consider the following questions: If Horde Prime wiped out the First Ones approximately one-thousand years ago, how on earth is Adora the last of the First Ones? Light Hope and Horde Prime both casually mention that Mara and Adora were “created” by the First Ones as tools to annihilate the enemies of the First Ones by using the planet of Etheria as a super-weapon. How could Adora have been “created” by the First Ones, if Horde Prime also flatly admits that he wiped out the First Ones approximately a thousand years ago? Horde Prime is not lying about it either; we, as viewers, see him scrounge his old memory banks from one-thousand years ago to revisit his memories of wiping out the First Ones. He is by himself and not trying to manipulate anyone around him in that scene. He revisited the memory because he did not recall the event clearly from so long ago and then uses that knowledge to corrupt the First One technology on Planet Etheria. This effectively confirms that Horde Prime did indeed fight the First Ones and he did wipe them out. So, how did Light Hope pull She-Ra from another part of the universe and bring her to Etheria to fulfill the mission objective of the She-Ra program set-up by the First Ones? If there were First One survivors, then why did it take approximately a thousand years for a new She-Ra to arrive on Etheria and only due to Light Hope’s actions? Why did Light Hope wait that long? More curiously, why did Light Hope never answer any of Adora’s questions about her parents or who she is, prior to causally mentioning that it was her and not the regular Hordak who brought her to Etheria during the Season 4 finale? If the purpose was to motivate her as She-Ra, why not explain her First Ones heritage with a favorable depiction of the First Ones? However, possibly the most confounding part of all this backstory, why in the world would Light Hope transport a helpless baby Adora, whom she specifically sought out knowing that Adora would become She-Ra somehow, to the regular Hordak on Etheria?
The episode that exclusively focused on Madame Razz, either seemingly misremembering or potentially time traveling between the thousand years, and interacting with both Adora and Mara essentially confirmed that time travel was both possible and did not lead to any problems concerning time paradoxes. Razz casually mentions that she’s “first spoken” to Mara many times. The fact Razz specifically says Adora’s name to Mara reveals that it isn’t a hallucination and that Razz really suffers time-displacement from reality unraveling in Season 3 due to Catra opening a reality portal using the Sword of Protection. Furthermore, the time-displacement seems to have become a coherent sequence of events that impact the decisions of the characters. Mara seemed to have discerned from Razz’s ramblings who Adora was; she provided recorded messages both when she’s dying on her ship and within the First One ruin that allows She-Ra to more effectively control the planetary magical power of Etheria. Most strikingly, Mara mentions Adora by name in the recording revealed at the Fifth Season finale. We can thus conclude a definitive time-link via Madame Razz, especially since we observe Razz name-drop Adora and Mara question who Adora even is. Additionally, in the final episode of Season 5, Adora briefly “remembers” the future. Adora sees her life with future Bow, Glimmer, and Catra; living peacefully among them. How did Adora experience the future? In an earlier Season, when facing a haunted area; Adora, Glimmer, and Bow saw a vision of Mara who promptly vanished. They assumed that it was an illusion. But, was it or could Mara have actually been there and wasn’t able to stay long enough to inform Adora of what she later learned? Note that, even in the final episode of the Fifth Season, Horde Prime interrupts and corrupted the First Ones technology before Adora could hear more from Mara’s recording. Mara knew that a new She-Ra would arrive in a thousand years and yet, she sacrificed herself to prevent the existence of a future She-Ra to protect the planet of Etheria from the First Ones. Presumably, she did this for Adora’s benefit too, despite not knowing Adora personally.
We know that from the Finale of Season 4 that when all the crystals are activated and She-Ra is placed in the proper location, Light Hope can then activate Etheria’s magic and has the power to teleport Etheria by utilizing the Sword of Protection as a conduit to control She-Ra. We know from the finale of Season 3, when Catra used the Sword of Protection to activate a reality-bending portal; the sword has the insane power to warp reality itself, it can destroy any causal sense of time, and it can obliterate anything from existence when unrestrained in power without She-Ra utilizing it. Now, consider this possibility: Did Light Hope pull a baby Adora from across Space-Time, utilizing the Sword of Protection as a conduit when reality spiraled out of control in Season 3, and then teleported her into regular Hordak’s hands with the knowledge she’d become the future She-Ra? Could a future-Light Hope, with fragmented memory banks, have done this when we know that it was the Sword of Protection that warped reality? Mara had hidden Etheria in Despondos and promptly died from injuries; could it have actually been from injuries due to a previous fight or did Light Hope bend reality itself to murder Mara when she wasn’t supposed to die, thus creating a very slight time-displacement for her? Could the reason Razz is so impacted by time-displacement be due to living in close proximity to Light Hope’s She-Ra ruins? Could the reason Adora found herself briefly in the future be due to being time-displaced? And, even more curiously, if she was “created” by the First Ones, then did a fragmented Light Hope, utilizing the Sword of Protection, accidentally assist Horde Prime in genociding the home planet of the First Ones by pulling Adora out of the time period in which she was born into? This last one seems disturbingly possible for a plethora of reasons: Light Hope immediately used She-Ra’s power to return Etheria to the galaxy that it had been teleported out of a thousand years ago by Mara. Light Hope’s immediate reaction upon returning was to use the magic of Eternia to kill every neighboring planet around them. Adora comments on how nonsensical that directive by the First Ones is, because the First Ones are gone and whatever hardships that they faced no longer apply to the neighboring alien worlds in the present moment. But why did the First Ones give Light Hope that directive in the first place? What could be the reason or purpose for such orders from a thousand years ago? Because Horde Prime had been invading and wiping them out a thousand years ago. The directive to transfer the planet of Etheria back to its original location and kill every last living thing in the immediate vicinity of their original dimension was meant to be used to kill every last Horde Prime spaceship surrounding and attacking the First Ones. When Adora was either “created” or “born” in the First Ones homeworld, the First Ones may have intended to sacrifice her as a tool to use the Heart of Etheria to completely eradicate Horde Prime. A fragmented Light Hope using the reality-bending powers of the Sword of Protection may have unknowingly saved Adora’s life, but at the cost of millions or billions of lives lost against Horde Prime in the complete opposition to her objectives due to unlimited power and weak knowledge to function in the service of the directives properly. Catra opening the portal may have always been destiny. Since Light Hope could observe or gain knowledge of Adora growing up to become She-Ra by being raised by the Horde, she teleported a baby Adora through space-time using the weak teleport portal that Hordak initially created. Hordak’s intent was to contact Horde Prime, but Light Hope – who wholly confesses to being the one to have transported Adora – effectively admits that she used Hordak’s technology for her own purposes. How did she gain access to his technology in the past, when she was weakened from Mara’s destruction of her computer technology until Adora restored the Beacon tower to fix her protocols? Light Hope, in a fragmented state, most likely did it when the Sword of Protection unraveled reality in Season 3. Light Hope following the directive to protect the First Ones is ironically what unintentionally facilitated Horde Prime’s genocide of the First Ones.
This opens up possibilities regarding Adora’s background too; could she have had the same exact background as her 1980s version, with the difference being that her family was wiped out by Horde Prime while she was transported 1000 years into the future? Could she and Mara have merely been biologically programmed and created by the First Ones? Could Mara and Adora be relatives somehow? Perhaps the most curious, and what I find to be the most likely due to the show’s themes involving strong figures of motherhood, could Mara have been Adora’s biological mother with the intention to contrast her relationship with Shadow Weaver? Or, to compare with Glimmer and Angelique’s familial relationship? The possibilities seem endless and it does seem to me that some intended, stronger relationship between Adora and Mara was cut for time. Notwithstanding these other possibilities, at the very least, I do believe that a fragmented Light Hope pulling a baby Adora across space-time to create a possible time loop was heavily implied by the narrative and worldbuilding unless clearly stated otherwise by the original creator, N.D. Stevenson. Thus, Catra pulling the lever to undo reality, may have been destiny all along.