Today brings us to an exciting point in Trotting history as I am looking at G5 for the first time. And I remember when G5 was first announced, I was nervous considering how big a fan of G4 I was. Thankfully, those fears were quelled as the movie that kicked off G5, A New Generation was quite good and it even showed that it wouldn’t ignore FIM as this generation is a direct follow-up to what came before. This makes so many things about G5 so fascinating and left many G4 fans with a lot of questions as the main theme of this movie is overcoming prejudices against people or ponies that are different from you. So many fans wondered how this could have happened under Twilight’s reign as princess. Well, there are a couple of factors including that most ponies in this new generation don’t believe the Mane Six existed.
This is such a sad state of affairs considering G4 fans know how real they are, thanks to the nine seasons we spent with them but to these new ponies, the thought of pegasi, unicorn, and earth ponies being friends seems impossible. As revealed in the IDW tie-in to G5, there is a dark force that was behind the separation and hatred of the pony races but I don’t know if I am a fan of that explanation.
I think I’m of two minds on having an evil force being behind the division of the three races. On the one hand, that means the blame doesn’t entirely lay on Twilight Sparkle but at the same time, there is a part of me that believes the fracturing coming about naturally would have felt more honest. I know this is a long introduction but I have a lot of thoughts on this. Do not misunderstand as I do greatly like this movie and think it might be better than the G4 movie but considering G4 is what made me a fan, there’s some sadness that comes with this generation’s theme.
If you remember how I complained about celebrity voice actors in the G4 movie being promoted over The Mane Six’s actors, I was annoyed. I’m not as annoyed by this as Netflix was upfront that this movie was going to be filled with celebrity voice actors. And you know it’s funny, I used to think I didn’t like Ken Jeong but he’s not that bad and the good doctor has shown himself to be someone’s opinion I trust. Even more, after doing this on The Masked Singer.
Now, bringing up Old Rudy does make sense as this movie does have something of a political slant to it with the idea of keeping the pony races separate. Ken Jeong’s casting in this movie didn’t shock me much as he does so many types of movies. I was a bit shocked to see him as a villain until I saw how many villains he had played previously and this is something I’ll discuss when looking at Sprout’s personality but Jeong’s casting as Sprout seemed to serve as a way to throw the audience off when he is revealed as the villain.
Now Sprout’s first appearance ties back to the previous generation as the movie opens up with our main character, Sunny, her friend Hitch, and Sprout playing a game as the Mane Six and thinks to seem normal at first until we see what earth ponies think of unicorns considering how Sprout plays as Rarity in this scene.
Rarity goes from the fashion pony fans know her as to this scary-looking monster that says she’s going to eat the brains of the other ponies and the sad thing is, this is what earth ponies have been taught of unicorns.
Young Sprout: My mom says the Pegasi and unicorns tried to eat up all the Earth ponies by zapping ’em with lasers and frying ’em to a crisp.
Young Sunny Starscout: They wouldn’t do that!
Young Sprout: So the Earth ponies kicked their butts in an epic battle, and if they ever try to come back to Maretime Bay, we’ll kick their butts again!
Young Sunny Starscout: Those are lies! Hitch, tell him!
Young Hitch Trailblazer: Well, uh, that is kinda what our teacher said in history class. But…
The fact that this is what the ponies have been taught is absurd and rather heartbreaking but speaks to how they let fear drive them and that is such a big factor for why Sprout acts the way he does, like all the other ponies of this new Equestria, he has been fed these lies and after a time, they became the truth.
As I mentioned when looking at Jeong in the Voice Actor section, I somewhat feel as though his casting was meant to catch you off guard because when Sprout is first introduced, it seems as though he is going to be the movie’s comedic relief character but that quickly shifts once Sprout is put in power and we see him go crazy. He’s still silly and has his comedic moments, the movie beats us over the head with that we should take him seriously. It speaks to an old line that is so true of characters such as Sprout.
Yes, I pulled from Newsies but it perfectly applies to Sprout as Sprout is the type of person that shouldn’t have this much matter as it goes to his head. Just after his second day in charge, he decides to refer to himself as an emperor. There is such a shift in who Sprout is from when he first sees a unicorn in Maretime Bay to when he assumes a position of power. He hides when Izzy first comes to town.
I want to return to something I mentioned about how the movie reinforces that for as goofy as Sprout may seem, we must take him seriously. It’s rather poignant after the Trump presidency and how that all turned out. I do apologize for bringing up Trump but it does make sense as while I do not think Spout was a direct parallel for Trump, the warning is the same. I recall during the early days of the 2016 campaign seeing a newspaper headline saying “We Will no longer cover Trump’s campaign run Under the Entertainment Section”.
That is such a key point, when Trump first announced he was running for president, the media at large treated it as a joke. That whole point undercut the serious threat Trump would and did present once he entered The Oval Office. This movie is saying the same of Sprout, people who shouldn’t have power are the worst ones with it. It’s an obvious message for many but alas for so many, they still need to be reminded of it.
His Relationship with His Mother
This is an offshoot of the personality section but I do believe it deserves its own section as the relationship he has with his mother is rather unhealthy and it shows Sprout is truly nothing more than a mama’s boy. I mean even as a young adult he still refers to his mother as mommy. That is but one example and there is also the idea of how his mother, Phyllis is one the biggest pushers of the lies of the pony races hating one another.
Phyllis Cloverleaf: How many times have I told you? You cannot just go trotting off without my permission. Especially not here.
Argyle Starshine: And why is that again, Phyllis?
Phyllis Cloverleaf: Because you are brainwashing their minds with all of your… uh, nonsense.
Argyle Starshine: It’s called research, Phyllis. And by the way, I leave all the brainwashing in Maretime Bay to you. Unicorn cupcake?
That brainwashing comment is such an important aspect as it again speaks to what Sprout has been taught to believe and how those beliefs shape his worldview. Before the movie dropped, so many people believed that his mother was going to be the main villain and while that may not have been the case directly, she is still responsible for making Sprout the man he ended up becoming. And in many regards, she never learned to see her son as an adult. When he is talking to our main characters in a giant robot of his likeness, she calls it a toy.
Sprout! Let’s put the toy away!
Perhaps if she has taken the time to see her son as an adult instead of a manchild, he wouldn’t have turned out so bad.
In many regards, I mark this song as the turning point for Sprout. In that regard, this song is when Sprout went from being a comedic relief character to becoming the villain of the movie. Once he spreads his message of hatred, he can get the ponies of Maretime Bay to follow his word without question. This is no doubt a fun song but it also strips away the veneer of Sprout being someone to laugh at.
Going by the Villains Wiki, there is a multitude of things one could look at but perhaps the biggest one is how power-obsessed he is. He claims he is doing this to protect the earth ponies from an attack from the pegasi and unicorns and while there is some truth to this, as time goes on, it seems to be more about the power.
Most Evil Deed
Again, this is a bit hard to pin down but part of me has to go with when he attacks Sunny and Izzy with his giant robot and almost hurts them without showing care because at this point, how he cares about is power.
(Note: This was written before Chapter 2 of Make Your Mark dropped on Netflix in which it is revealed Sprout is performing community service)
In the movie, Sprout doesn’t receive much punishment for his actions. However in the follow-up series Tell Your Tale, while he hasn’t been seen, Sprout has been stripped of his status as Maretime Bay’s deputy and there is a wanted poster hanging on the sheriff’s noticeboard for Sprout’s arrest.
While I haven’t seen much of Tell Your Tale, this is good to see as it speaks to how Sprout’s actions will not be forgotten and will haunt him for quite some time as they should considering how heinous his misdeeds were. I am curious though if he hasn’t been caught yet if he is on the lam. Now he does appear in the G5 video game but I don’t know if the game is canon to this generation. As there is some confusion on this but if it is, I do think that might be sweet as it looks as though Sunny forgives Sprout in the end.
Again, I am not sure if that is canonical to the events of G5 but forgiveness is a big element of MLP as it speaks to being able to look past one’s mistakes and giving them another chance. Now do not misunderstand me as I do think what Sprout did should never be forgotten but if he is willing to show genuine remorse for his actions, redemption shouldn’t be out of the question.
Is Sprout A Good Villain?
I truly do believe Sprout is a good villain as he speaks to the idea of how power corrupts and how damaging that is. Sprout may not be a giant tyrant or rely on magic, unlike past MLP villains I’ve looked at. The closest MLP villain one could compare him to Starlight Glimmer but there is one difference between the two and it is vast.
Starlight knew the lies she was selling to the ponies in Our Town were just that whereas Sprout grew up believing the lies he had been sold and that makes him a more dangerous villain than Starlight in that regard. It also shows how a character under any circumstance could become a dangerous threat.