Earlier this week, Cartoon Network released a promotional video for Drawn: The Story of Animation, a new podcast collaboration between Cartoon Network and HowStuffWorks, featuring Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar and producer Ian Jones-Quartey (who is also the creator of OK KO!). The sound bites are fascinating no matter what your interest in animation actually is, but for a brief time, the clips featured far more than a promotion.
According to fans who saw the original video, it included footage from upcoming episodes of Steven Universe’s fifth season. The next two episodes, “Can’t Go Back” and “A Single Pale Rose,” are set to air back-to-back on May 7.
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The Daily Dot has emailed Cartoon Network for comment and we’ll update if we hear back. (Cartoon Network provided the statement below.)
Steven Universe has yet to be renewed for future seasons beyond season 5, so it’s possible that fans saw footage from what may be the series finale. What fans do know is that Sugar had something major in mind for the current season years before it aired.
“I have big plans for [season five]!” Sugar told Newsarama in 2016, “Endgame or not I’m shooting for the moon, I’m going to write us into a serious corner!”
In several now-deleted tweets, Jones-Quartey vented frustration about the situation, noting that the Steven Universe crew “DID NOT clear spoiler clips to be used” before he expressed sympathy for the fans who were spoiled by accident.
“I know that being a [Steven Universe] fan is suffering, but someday you’ll get to binge the show with a friend who’s never seen it before and feel the excitement and consistent schedule we wanted,” he said.
He later told fans that Cartoon Network as a whole isn’t to blame for the clips being leaked online and promised that fans had plenty to look forward to.
And to follow up, one mistake does not mean the whole channel is at fault. We truly do work hard to do right by our fans. It's one mess-up on one video, not the company as a whole.
— ianjq (@ianjq) May 3, 2018
And yes, there are absolutely more surprises to come. Please keep watching!
— ianjq (@ianjq) May 3, 2018
Steven Universe has had a passionate following since it debuted in 2013, but for some fans, it always came with uneasiness from the network that aired it. Inconsistent airing schedules and treatment from Cartoon Network has led fans to fear for the show’s cancellation for years, and Cartoon Network placing spoiler-filled footage from the show in a promotional video for a podcast probably won’t do it any favors.
Update 3:37pm CT, April 5, 2018: Cartoon Network responded with the following statement:
“Our sincere apologies go to Rebecca Sugar and the entire Steven Universe crew for this unfortunate mistake. The last thing we want to do is ruin the experience for our fans – who should rest assured that there are still many surprises and unknown turns for Steven Universe ahead – for a long time to come!”