|Hair||Red and Yellow|
An image posted online in mid-March 2013 depicts human Sunset Shimmer with pony ears and longer hair, similarly to the six main characters of Equestria Girls in part of the film and in some other material. On March 19, 2013, Meghan McCarthy was asked "Is Sunset Shimmer going to be a Season 4 storyline? The fact that her back story seems like a show plot" and responded "Nope." On April 1, 2013, McCarthy wrote as part of an April Fools' Day joke that My Little Pony Friendship is Magic season four episode five would be titled "The Student Becomes the Teacher: The Return of Sunset Shimmer"
Sunset Shimmer appears in the film My Little Pony Equestria Girls as the main antagonist. She is a Unicorn pony who steals Twilight Sparkle's element of magic crown, and in a tussle with Twilight, the crown is thrown into a mirror that acts as a portal to another world, which Sunset goes through to get the crown. In this other world, she is depicted as a human who acts very disrespectful and mean to Twilight when they first encounter each other. Later, she puts on the crown and transforms into a demonic-looking winged humanoid. Once she is defeated by the main characters, she returns to her human form and apologizes for her actions. Afterward, Vice-Principal Luna hands her a masonry trowel as an indication to her new assignment with Snips and Snails to repair the damage to the school.
In the sequel, Rainbow Rocks, Sunset has reformed for the better, but except for the Rainbooms, the rest of the school still harbors a grudge against her for the events at the Fall Formal. Sunset is then tasked with showing three new students, The Dazzlings, around the school. When she notices the ruby pendants they are wearing and tries reaching for Adagio Dazzle's, Adagio grabs her wrist in sudden defense of her pendant, before quickly apologizing. This leaves Sunset suspicious of the Dazzlings' true intentions. After she and the Rainbooms witness the Dazzlings spread hostility among their classmates in the cafeteria, they go to warn Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna, only to see the Dazzlings got to the principals first and ensnared them in their spell. Deciding they need Princess Twilight again, Sunset reveals she still has the journal she used to communicate with Princess Celestia back in Equestria. Using it, she is able to summon Twilight and Spike back to Canterlot High, and together the Rainbooms attempt to defeat the Dazzlings during the Battle of the Bands. During the slumber party at Pinkie Pie's house, Sunset has a private conversation with Twilight in the kitchen as Twilight struggles with the counter-spell to stop the Dazzlings, and is startled when Pinkie's sister, Maud Pie, comes down to get a snack for her pet rock, Boulder.
Sunset supports the Rainbooms during the Battle of the Bands, but when Rainbow Dash nearly exposes her Anthro-pony transformation to the Dazzlings, Sunset dives at her to prevent it, only for the crowd to believe that Sunset has gone back to her old, bullying self, further increasing their distrust of her. When the Rainbooms break out into arguing after being trapped under the stage by Trixie Lulamoon and the Illusions, Sunset is able to stop the arguing and chastise them for how they let minor things that they could not agree upon drive a wedge into their friendships, warping the magic of friendship within them into something the Dazzlings could feed on. The Rainbooms make up and attempt to stop the Dazzlings, but are overpowered. When Sunset joins them, putting her worries about her past behind her and not letting them get to her anymore, she gives the Rainbooms the strength they need to overpower the Dazzlings and destroy their ruby pendants, leaving the now tone deaf girls to be chased off in disgrace by the furious students and faculty. During that moment, Sunset gets an Anthro-pony form of her own.
Afterwards, with Twilight and Spike returning to Equestria, Sunset joins the Rainbooms as both a singer and guitarist, and uses her old journal to write friendship reports to Twilight.
A Playful Ponies toy of Sunset Shimmer was displayed wearing a masquerade mask at the 2013 New York Toy Fair, and was released with the mask and a comb as part of the Crystal Princess Celebration line. The back of the release's packaging bears the general statement "The ponies wear beautiful masks to dress up for a special celebration!" and the specific statement "Sunset Shimmer knows a magical path to faraway adventures! Years ago, she was also a student of Princess Celestia."
PersonalitySunset Shimmer is the polar opposite of Twilight; cruel, dishonest, arrogant, mean-spirited, cold-hearted, tyrannous, evil, selfish, power-hungry, and a bully.
She uses her severe nature to intimidate others, which causes her to become Princess of the Fall Formal. She has a tendency to cruelly demoralize those who get in her way, such as when she posted humiliating videos of her online and framing Twilight for vandalizing the decorations to Princess of the Fall Formal.
When she puts on the crown and becomes a demon, she becomes far more sadistic and malevolent, as she hypnotizes the students and student body to become her slaves and almost kills Twilight. When she reverts back to normal, Sunset Shimmer had a total change of heart, as she has became regretful of her actions, and horrified of what she had become. Twilight asks her friends to become friends with Sunset Shimmer, as she never had a friend before. She also accepted her punishment near the end of the film to repair the school from all of the damage she made.
In Rainbow Rocks, Sunset Shimmer is heavily ostricised by her schoolmates for what she did at the Fall Formal. However she has also become humble and loyal. In the kitchen scene, she provides support for Twilight when she is feeling discouraged. Also, when the Rainbooms are overpowered by the Dazzlings, Sunset steps up to sing on their behalf, giving herself her own Anthro-pony form, and the Rainbooms their second wind, along with the strength needed to defeat the Dazzlings for good.
"Sorry it had to be this way... princess!!"
"You must be new here."
"Where is this Twilight Sparkle?"
"Can't believe I didn't recognize you earlier. Shoulda known Princess Celestia would send her prized pupil here after my crown, and her little dog, too."
"Take those off! I have something I need you to do."
"I wouldn't dream of it. I'm no monster Twilight."
"Equestria! Your friends! Lost to you forever! Don't you see what I'm about to do to the portal?"
"Yes, she's so very special!"
"I'LL take that!"
"At last... More power than I could ever imagine."
"But let's let by-gones be by-gones. I am your princess now, and you will be loyal to me!"
"Gee, the gang really are all back together!"
"She has to be done with!"
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't know there was another way."
"But. All I've ever done since being here is drive everyone apart. I didn't know the first thing about friendship."
"A demon. I turned into a raging she-demon." - Sunset talking about what happened to her in the first movie
Sunset: "Ugh! The old me really was just awful, wasn't she?"
Rainbooms: "(Various agreement sayings, Pinkie ends with 'Yep!')"
"Thought it'd be good for them to get to know the new me before they heard all the stuff about the old me."
"That's just it. I can't put my finger on it. They just acted sort of... strange around me."
"When I was Princess Celestia's student back in Equestria, she gave me this. Even after I abandoned my studies, I held onto it. Deep down, I guess I knew I was making a big mistake, and I wanted to still have a way to reach out to her. Maybe it still works."
"[sighs] Been a long time since I've written these words. 'Dear Princess Celestia...'"
"Wow, that's really impressive. Guess you really were Princess Celestia's prized pupil." - Talking to Twilight about what's happened to her back in Equestria since her last visit
"Stop! You have to stop! This is what they've been after all along! They're feeding off of the magic inside you!"
"I don't think anyone is supposed to have all the answers. But you can count on your friends to help you find them."
"You're never gonna bring me down, you're never gonna break this part of me, my friends are here to bring me 'round, not singing just for popularity." - Sunset singing the start of the song that leads to the Rainbooms defeating the Dazzlings
"I also play guitar."
"Dear Princess Twilight,'
Missing you already, and I hope you'll be back soon. Things are definitely looking up for me here at Canterlot High. But I know I still have a lot to learn about friendship. Hope you don't mind if I write to you for advice when I need it.
Your friend, Sunset Shimmer." - Sunset's journal entry to Twilight
- Sunset Shimmer's human form bears some resemblance to the female gang members, The Jezebels in the infamous gang film, Switchblade Sisters.