The words "By the power of Grayskull" are some of the most iconic and recognizable pop culture references you'll find, but it is surprising that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have languished without an animated series for so long.
Unlike its contemporaries, G.I. Joe and Transformers, the 2000s did not have a big screen live-action production dedicated to the Masters of the Universe. However, that draught will soon be ending with an upcoming Netflix mini-series that will explore Eternia and its key characters as never before.
Read on and discover everything we know so far about Masters of the Universe Revelation!
Power from the beginning
Masters of the Universe is one of the most prominent and influential pop culture franchises in history. Starting as a sword and sorcery inspiration for a 1982 toy line (which was originally intended as a Conan the Barbarian tie-in), the property evolved further thanks to an immensely popular Filmation animated series the following year, running for two seasons of 65 episodes each.
The stories themselves were fairly simplistic, with clear lines between good and evil (separated by the protectors of Eternia and Castle Grayskull, against the forces of Skeletor based in Snake Mountain). The animated series became so popular on a global scale that it spawned a spin-off, She-Ra: Princess of Power.
Although the animated series and toyline would steadily decline in popularity, it continued to be recognized as a highly influential brand with universal appeal. There would be a sequel, the not-so-successful The New Adventures of He-Man, which radically changed the design and story and a reboot in 2002.
Additionally, there is, of course, the 1987 Cannon Pictures live-action film that starred Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor. Although the film was a critical and commercial failure, it has since gained a cult following.
While no new productions came after the 2002 animated series, the toyline has been constantly revisited. Mattel consistently releases action figures that pay homage the original toyline, banking on the nostalgia factor that the children who owned the toys and watched the cartoons back in the day possess - children who are now adults with disposable income.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation gets Kevin Smith and picked up by Netflix
One of these kids-turned-adults that have strong feelings toward the Masters of the Universe franchise just happens to be unabashed fanboy and influential filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob). Smith is a long-time comic book creator and writer/director, and is an admitted big fan of the property.
According to Smith, Masters of the Universe: Revelation will be based on the original animated series. In essence, the Netflix series will follow immediately after the last episode of the Filmation version, attempting to resolve the character threads and story holes that were left hanging.
Another major difference will be that this is a more adult-oriented production, similar to another recent successful Netflix animated series, Castlevania.
Trailer release and plot details
The synopsis of the Masters of the Universe: Revelation’s plot reads as follows:
A radical return to Eternia, Revelation is a direct sequel series to the classic era of Masters of the Universe. Featuring fan favorites He-Man, Orko, Cringer, and Man-At-Arms, the story pits our heroic warriors, and guardians of Castle Grayskull against Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and the vile legions of Snake Mountain. But after a ferocious final battle forever fractures Eternia, it's up to Teela to solve the mystery of the missing Sword of Power in a race against time to prevent the end of the Universe!
This description confirms that the series will center on Teela as the focal point, with Prince Adam/He-Man playing more of a supporting role than prior series from the franchise. The scenes included in the most recent trailer also allude at Teela’s role as the narrative point of the central conflict and plotline.
One interesting nugget from the trailer is that the Sword of Power, the source of He-Man’s might, is going to be divided into two separate swords. This is actually a callback to the original toys and included mini-comics, where it was revealed that He-Man and Skeletor both have swords that draw magical power from Castle Grayskull.
Another interesting point about the trailer is that Beast-Man is among the group Teela is assembling. The character had previously been depicted as one of the bitterest enemies of He-Man and the other guardians of Castle Grayskull. Beast-Man shifting to the side of angels is certainly a different twist.
The power is in the toys
But what Masters of the Universe animated series would be truly complete without an action figure toy line to be released with it? So of course, Mattel has a fresh line of these toys, headlined by some of the key characters from the upcoming Netflix animated production.
— Masters of the Universe (@MastersOfficial) July 6, 2021
The initial release of the Masters of the Universe Revelation toys, under the Masterverse line, will include:
- 7 inch action figures of He-Man, Skeletor, Moss Man, and Evil-Lyn (with accessories and weapons). These are priced at $19.99.
- 9 inch Skelegod action figure which has an extra pair of hands, a weapon and flame accessory. It will be priced at $29.99.
- Ultimate Battle Cat – 14 inch action figure, complete with armor, harness, and helmet. Removing the armor reveals Cringer underneath. This action figure will sell for $39.99.
According to the details, provided by Mattel’s PJ Lewis, Vice President and Global Head of the Action Figures division, these figures will have a minimum of 30 points of articulation. That is certainly a step-up from the original Masters of the Universe sets from back in the 1980s, which started with only 6 points of articulation (head, both shoulders, waist, and both legs).
Lewis also stated that the Masterverse line would be further expanded with additional characters later in the fall of 2021. Anticipation is high for the animated series, but fans will have to wait before Mattel commits to completing the Masterverse line with the rest of the characters that will appear on the show.
Directed by Kevin Smith, Masters of the Universe: Revelation stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, Alicia Silverstone, Chris Wood, Dennis Haysbert, Jay Tavare, Kevin Conroy, Henry Rollins, Liam Cunningham, Justin Long, Jason Mewes, Kevin Michael Richardson, Alan Oppenheimer, Stephen Root, Harley Quinn Smith, Griffin Newman, and Stephen Root. The 6 episode animated series releases on Netflix on July 23, 2021.