UPDATE: MOTU Revelation is out, you can read our review of part 1 here.
Netflix and Mattel are teaming up for He-Man, “Masters of the Universe: Revelation “, and it is starting to look very promising!
The new animated series based on the classic He-Man and the Masters of the Universe franchise coming to Netflix has a confirmed cast. The project, led by the legendary director Kevin Smith, will feature the voice-over talent of none other than Luke Skywalker, Queen Cersei, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
That’s right, Mark Hamill, Lena Heady, and Sarah Michelle Gellar will voice three of the main characters.
Hamill, who is recognized all over the world for his role as Joker from Batman: The Animated Series, will play the evil Skeletor, while Lena Heady, of Game of Thrones fame, will play the villainous Evil-Lyn.
Sarah Michelle Gellar will play Teela. Chris Wood will play the eponymous role of He-Man, and Liam Cunningham, also of Game of Thrones fame will round out the cast as Man-at-Arms.
A nice little surprise is the inclusion of Alan Oppenheimer, who voiced Skeletor in the original series, as Moss Man, one of the most powerful deities in the world of Eternia.
Originally announced in August of 2019, Masters of the Universe: Revelation which promises to continue the story started in the 1980s animated series, will be helmed by Kevin Smith and have industry favorites Eric Carrasco, Tim Sherida, Diya Mishra, and Marc Bernardin, as the principal writers.
Netflix’s He-Man Is Off To A Great Start
Kevin Smith should need no introduction. The acclaimed director/author/actor has been the mastermind behind a slew of classic franchises such as Jay and Silent Bob, and Clerks.
Smith considers himself a huge fan of the original He-Man series, so he has promised to honor the legacy of Eternia and the varied cast of characters, while at the same time provide new elements that aim to elevate the new series from the source material.
As an avid fan of the original animated series myself, I can’t help but think that with the talent involved, the show is poised to become a worthy addition to the franchise. However, I’m also feeling a bit of trepidation because there are a million ways that things could go wrong. So here are
5 Things Netflix Better Get Right In The New He-Man Reboot (Masters of the Universe: Revelation)
Keep He-Man’s Identity Intact
One of the most common mistakes made by modern reboots of classical franchises from decades past is to try and introduce darker and edgier elements for modern and often-jaded audiences. However, this does not always pan out; just ask Zack Snyder what fans thought of his version of Superman and Batman’s disregard for human life.
Both The Last Son of Krypton and The Caped Crusader have been decidedly opposed to killing from their inception. Therefore, having them kill or disregard the potential for collateral damage, as Snyder so gleefully did, was considered entirely gratuitous.
He-Man is a largely non-violent character, who uses force as a last resort. He-Man prefers to use his intellect and prefers to be more inventive than his adversaries instead of relying on his superhuman speed, agility, and strength.
In fact, Skeletor once convinced He-Man that he had inadvertently killed an innocent bystander and the Prince of Eternia almost went mad with guilt.
If Netflix’s new take on the Masters of the Universe is to be successful, they must make sure to tread carefully when it comes time to change He-Man’s identity.
Adding mature elements and writing complex stories that allow for character development does not necessarily have to come in the form of mindless violence or edginess for edginess’ sake.
We want He-Man as he has always been, noble, pure-hearted, justice-bound, and wise.
Give Us the Characters We Love
True to its origins as a tool to help sell toys, the Masters of the Universe franchise has an expansive and varied roster of characters.
It is crucial for the success of the new show that Kevin Smith and the folks at Netflix understand that we want to see as many of these characters as possible while keeping to a cohesive story.
Of course, we want to see Prince Adam turn into He-Man to battle Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and Beast-Man, alongside fan-favorites Man-at-Arms, and Sorceress. However, there is a trove of characters that are not instantly recognizable but who can provide the new show with depth and variety.
For example, I would love to see King Hiss, the ruthless and stalwart leader of the Snake-Men, whose outward human appearance is but a disguise for the writhing mass of snakes that make up his true form.
I would love to see Shokoti, the horned and wicked sorceress make an appearance. After all, the last time we saw her, she simply vanished in a flash of light.
I would love to see a fully realized, modern version of Man-E-Faces with his variable pool of powers based on which of his three faces he sports.
And for the love of all that is holy, please Netflix, we need our beloved green tiger. Do not dare to leave Cringer/Battle Cat out like the live-action film so senselessly did.
Speaking of the failed 1987 live-action film.
Stick To Eternia
The 1987 Masters of the Universe film starring Dolph Laundgreen has its loyal fan base; however, most people can agree that the movie was a mediocre non-adaptation of our beloved material.
The movie made many mistakes, for example:
There is no mention of Prince Adam and his transition to possessing the immense power of Greyskull. Just imagine a movie about Superman that makes no mention of Clark Kent.
By ignoring the entire plotline of Adam and his royal family, the movie robbed the character of He-Man of substantial depth.
There’s no sighting of the meek Cringer or of his fierce and imposing transformation, Battle Cat.
Castle Greyskull looked more like a gothic eastern European discotheque than the ancient seat of power that the original castle represented.
However, the worst mistake made by the movie was the fact that the entirety of the film took place on planet Earth.
I have nothing against He-Man visiting other realms, Earth included, but Eternia is too vast a canvas to be completely ignored.
The land of Eternia, in reality, a planet, is home to widely varying biomes that include arid deserts, humid swamplands, frosty peaks, and everything in between.
Moreover, Eternia is home to many races, such as the ape-like Kulataks, the bat-like Speleans, the bird-people known as the Avionians, the lizard-like Caligars, and Snake-Men, the feline Qadians, and the crab-like crustacean race known as the Karikoni.
Any new version of the Masters of the Universe franchise that abandons the richness of flora, fauna, and vast tapestry of civilizations that make up Eternia would be making a terrible mistake.
Please, Netflix, stick to Eternia!
Balance Growth And Adventure
One of the biggest criticisms levied against the latest Star Wars film was the inclusion of a hackneyed romance between two characters that had no business being romantically involved. While my opinion of such inclusion was not as harsh as most other people, I can honestly say that it was poorly executed.
Developing bonds and relationships between various characters is necessary for modern storytelling, and romance can be an easy way to achieve this.
Moreover, static characters were fine and dandy for an 80s cartoon, but times have changed and audiences have become more demanding.
So Netflix and the folks behind the show need to be very careful not to introduce cloying elements such as unnecessary romances between characters who have no right to be together.
Netflix needs to keep the action brisk and the adventure always at the forefront. Character development is needed, but not at the expense of what made the original storylines so enthralling.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have always been a story about a camp of heroes going on grand adventures and fighting hard against the forces of evil. Social commentary and character development will always be welcome in my book, but Netflix needs to make sure not to overdo it.
Thankfully, they have demonstrated already that they can strike this balance with the recent seasons of the She-Ra revival.
Give Us An Ending Worth The Wait
Let’s be real, most kids these days aren’t even aware that He-Man is a thing. The fans that are eagerly awaiting this new show have been waiting for over 30 years!
Kevin Smith has repeatedly said in interviews and press releases that his new show will pick up right where the original cartoon left off and promises a final confrontation between He-Man and the evil Skeletor.
This means that we need a worthy conclusion to this conflict.
We need a finale that feels earned.
We need a finale that can be said to have been worth waiting 30 plus years.