New He-Man Series Coming to Netflix!

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Kevin Smith, Netflix Team Up for Anime Sequel to ’80s He-Man Cartoon

If Eternia, Prince Adam, Cringer, Castle Grayskull, or Man-At-Arms mean anything to you, I feel safe in assuming a couple of things about you. First, you’re probably a Gen-Xer like me. Second, some of your favorite toys as a child were He-Man, Skeletor, and Battle-Cat. The toys, cartoon series, and 1987 movie were all a huge part of my childhood. Now Netflix and Kevin Smith are developing a new He-Man series, Masters of the Universe: Revelation. There aren’t a whole lot of details yet. After all, they just announced Sunday. However, Smith gave us plenty of good reasons to hope that this fresh take will kick much ass.

A Sequel, You Say?

According to Variety, Smith surprised fans with the announcement at Power-Con, a convention for fans of the Masters of the Universe franchise, on Sunday. On the occasion, he acclaimed geek/director said this of the series:

In ‘Revelation,’ we pick up right where the classic era left off to tell an epic tale of what may be the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor! Brought to life with the most metal character designs Powerhouse Animation can contain in the frame, this is the Masters of the Universe story you always wanted to see as a kid!

That’s good news for anyone my age who wants to chow down on some good old ‘member berries.

All tomfoolery aside, Smith’s words are encouraging for fans of the franchise. After all, he said we might get a final battle between He-Man and Skeletor! That’s ambivalently amazing! Yeah, I just used a contradictory phrase. That’s probably one of the many reasons you shouldn’t take my word for it, though. First of all, even though I loved He-Man as a kid, I haven’t watched an episode, seen the movie, or picked up one of the toys in decades. Second, while I could do some independent research…

…I Happen to Know a He-Man Expert

My friend, Brian C. Baer, wrote the book on Masters of the Universe. Well, maybe not the book, but Brian wrote an unofficial look at the franchise and its significance called, How He-Man Mastered the Universe: Toy to Television to the Big Screen, published by McFarland Books. He also covers the happenings in the realm of Eternia on his website. And while both Brian and I grew up with He-Man, he’s much more of an authority on Eternia than I am.

I got in touch with Brian to ask him his thoughts on Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Here’s what he had to say:

SP: What, if anything, excites you about most about the new Netflix series?

BCB: “The new Netflix series, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, is impressive for many reasons. Kevin Smith producing it lends a lot of big-name legitimacy, both in the world of pop culture fandom and Hollywood bigwigs in general. It being released on Netflix is similarly huge, as that’s a high profile company with a very wide reach. It’s being made by the folks behind Netflix’s Castlevania series, which means it’ll have very, very cool fight scenes and a great sense of design.

While this looks like a great way to keep the MOTU franchise in the public eye—especially in advance of the 2021 reboot film—it’ll also be an introduction to a lot of people to these characters and what makes the world of Eternia so special and unique. But while the movie will likely reframe these characters and reintroduce concepts familiar to the fanbase, this series is promised to be a direct sequel to the ’80s Filmation cartoon. So while it’ll likely look and feel a bit different, Smith and company are going out of their way to appeal to the traditional fans and people who remember the classic continuity.”

SP: What, if any, are your reservations about the new Netflix series?

BCB: “Online, some people have some reservations about Masters of the Universe: Revelation, and that’s understandable. It being advertised as anime may put off people who don’t care for that style of cartoon. It being advertised as a sequel to the old cartoon may exasperate a potential new audience hoping for a jumping-off point. It being made at all has apparently upset those who hated the progressive, inclusive approach to Netflix’s other—and unrelated—reboot of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and fear this series will also feature women doing heroic things. Smith promised the tone won’t be too dark, but some people worry that won’t be the case.

Personally, I don’t have any reservations. If I’m a student of anything when it comes to MOTU, it’s how mutable the franchise is. The characters and concepts have been rebooted in one form or another every couple of years since their inception in 1981. Plus, it’s important to remember just how little we know about this new series. We’ve been given a title, a teaser image, and a text blurb that is purposefully vague. It may be good, or bad, or not your cup of tea, or just made for a different target audience. There’s really no way to know right now, so it’s not worth making your mind up.”

SP: Finally, if it’s not too big a question, what do you find most amazing about He-Man et. al.?

BCB: I’ve always loved the imagination inherent in these characters. He-Man and Skeletor live on a world full of cyborg dinosaurs, cowboy gunmen who are literally made out of guns, barbarians and space aliens and interdimensional monsters and hundreds of other bizarre and awesome concepts. Additionally, Masters of the Universe was the first toy to be turned into both an ongoing animated series and a live-action movie. The modern media landscape wouldn’t be what it is today, without He-Man.”

Final Thoughts

Obviously, Brian knows a lot more about MOTU than me and a lot of other people do. His book goes into much more depth on the unique development of the Masters of the Universe franchise. In a more specific, he discusses how the franchise transformed pop-culture and media as we know it. If you’re a fan of the hit documentary series The Toys That Made Us, or pop-culture history, it’s worth the read. Brian also suggests reading the following official books: One from James Eatock and one with a bunch of cool art.

I loved Masters of the Universe as a child. However, I haven’t revisited the franchise since then. Despite that, A few friends of mine (other than Brian) told me a while back that I should. Now that Smith dropped the dime on the production, I plan to do so. 

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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