Liev Schreiber accepted the role of the film's main antagonist, the Storm King, because he was eager to appear in a film he would be able to take his children to see, noting his repertoire of violent, adult-oriented films.
Michael Peña ad-libbed much of the character's dialogue, with Meghan McCarthy saying, "You get Michael Peña in a recording booth, and you just are like, 'Please just go and say funny things.' He will be there for hours, just giving you all kinds of really great material that was not something that we had originally scripted!"
Most reviews that the film received from critics were particularly based off of it being made from a toy line rather than actually reviewing the story and screenplay, direction, animation, characters, performances of the cast, and music. This has been criticized by audiences as being an example of critics not going deep enough in their reviews, being too prejudiced and stereotypical of certain franchises, and once again not being in the same league as audiences. Another example from 2017 is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, in which the surveys that many critics made were not criticizing only the film, but were making vague retrospects on the series as a whole instead.
On the development of the character, screenwriter Meghan McCarthy said, "We just arrived at this idea of a character who had come from Equestria, and had not had the positive experience that Twilight [Sparkle] and her friends had. It felt like a good counterpart to our heroes was to have a villain who didn't just not get friendship, but had a reason that she didn't understand it."
While the initial returns were considered poor from some sites, Cartoon Brew's Amidi stated that since Lionsgate is not directly in the business of releasing family-friendly films, the opening take readily exceeded the distributor's other attempts at this genre; likewise, Amidi estimated that the film had a budget between $5 to $8 million, based on budgets for films with similar styles as well as accounting for the work being done primarily in-house at Hasbro to reduce costs.
Kristin Chenoweth and Uzo Aduba, the voice actresses to Princess Skystar and Queen Novo, have both played Glinda the Good Witch in productions of The Wizard of Oz. Kristin originated the role of Glinda in the original Broadway Cast of the long running show "Wicked". Uzo played Glinda in The Wiz Live!.