Mattel Television is apparently double-dipping on the Masters of the Universe franchise. With only a month after the controversial and polarizing Masters of the Universe: Revelation series debuted on Netflix, another show titled He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will be arriving soon.
What do we know about this new show and how is it different from the earlier Kevin Smith-directed series? Check out the details below.
Unlike Masters of the Universe: Revelation, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is going to be a true reboot. Whereas Masters of the Universe: Revelation is considered as an actual sequel to the 1980s Filmation animated series, the new series will follow a completely different continuity.
This is not the first time that a reboot series has been developed for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. In 2002, Cartoon Network’s Toonami block aired two seasons of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe produced by Mike Young Productions.
This series took a more action-packed approach to the story, as the regulations for animation and children’s programming were more liberal compared to a decade prior. The series also further explored the origins of the conflict in Eternia, expanding on the backstory of Grayskull, the connections of King Randor and Skeletor, and many of the familiar elements and characters from the franchise.
Another fresh feature with this new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series is that it, for the first time, will be exclusively using CGI animation. The show’s computer generated animation will be handled by studios House of Cool (Trollhunters) and CGCG (Star Wars: The Clone Wars). The past series based on the Masters of the Universe IP, and even the recent Masters of the Universe: Revelation, used more traditional 2D animation cels, with minimal computer enhancements and techniques. Going fully 3D is brand new territory for the franchise.
The production will be handled by Mattel Television, with executive producers Adam Bonnett, Christopher Keenan, and Rob David. Rob David is also serving as the series showrunner. Industry veterans such as Jeff Matsuda (The Batman, TMNT) and Bryan Q Miller (Arrow, Smallville) will also be involved as co-executive producer and story editor, respectively.
Aimed at a new generation of kids
One aspect of the new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Netflix series that gives a nod to the past is that it will be geared more to targeting the younger audience. Based on the description and what is shown in the revealed trailer, there is a more lighthearted approach, similar to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018).
The character designs of He-Man/Prince Adam, Skeletor, and the rest of the Masters of the Universe are hyper-deformed, with very stylized body proportions. Overall, the show’s aesthetic has similarities to characters that can be found in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft or Riot Games’ League of Legends. Other comparisons can be made to the look and feel of Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004) and Marvel Studios’ Big Hero 6 (2014).
There are also notable changes to the mythology. For instance, Prince Adam is not the only one who possesses an enchanted weapon charged by the power of Grayskull. Instead, the rest of his entourage are also masters of certain aspects (hence, playing on the Masters of the Universe name), such as Cringer/Battle Cat being the Master of the Wild, Man-At-Arms being the Master of Technology, and so on.
Even the tagline being used is "We have the power", suggesting a more team-based approach to the plot and storytelling. By extension, this also means the "secret identity" plot device of Prince Adam and He-Man from prior versions will not be prevalent.
Some characters are also radically different. The version of Orko in this continuity appears to be at least partially robotic and is not unique (called RK units). Also, Ram-Man is instead Ram Ma’am. There may be other character changes that will be revealed when the series begins and progresses.
These changes and redesigns are in-line with Mattel’s intention to introduce He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line to a new generation of kids. According to Fred Soulie, Senior Vice President of Content Distribution and Business Development at Mattel:
Masters of the Universe is one of the most iconic global franchises of all time, with a 30-year history and a passionate fan base. The entire team at Mattel is excited to introduce the world of He-Man to a new generation and, together with the talented team at Netflix, to reimagine the classic characters in a way that appeals to kids and families today, while also resonating with the fans who grew up with them.
— MATTEL (@Mattel) August 19, 2021
Toys, of course
As expected, with a new He-Man and The Masters of the Universe series comes a new toyline. Mattel provided a glimpse at what the action figures will look and they reflect the design aesthetic of the CGI animated series.
There will be action figures of all the main characters from the Netflix series. No word yet on vehicles and playsets, but these will likely follow, depending on how successful the new animated show will be.
Shadow of Revelation
Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation received mixed reactions, mostly from the fans of the franchise who felt they were tricked into believing the series would center on He-Man/Prince Adam. Would that same demographic have a similar reaction to this upcoming He-Man and The Masters of the Universe Netflix series? The look and feel are quite different, but it certainly takes a bold and separate vision as the previous series.
Per the official Netflix synopsis of the upcoming He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series:
In Eternia, the first planet of creation, a demonic tyrant rises: Skeletor! With dark armies at his command, Skeletor is on the march, hell-bent on capturing Eternia’s kingdoms, and its ultimate prize – Castle Grayskull, the ancient fortress of mystery said to contain the greatest power in the universe. It’s up to He-Man, voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, and his brave squad of rookie heroes to stop Skeletor and restore the peace. Both sides come armed with enchanted Power Weapons – transforming them into Masters of the Primal Powers of the Universe. It’s Master vs. Dark Master, He-Man vs. Skeletor – fighting for control of Eternia, Castle Grayskull, and the fate of us all. In the end, who will become Master of the Universe?
Aside from Yuri Lowenthal (He-Man/Prince Adam), the voice cast includes Ben Diskin (Skeletor), David Kaye (Cringer/Battle Cat), Kimberly Brooks (Teela/Sorceress), Grey Griffin (Evil-Lyn), Antony Del Rio (Duncan/Man-at-Arms), Trevor Devall (R'Qazz/Beast Man), Judy Alice Lee (Krass/Ram Ma'am), Roger Craig Smith (Kronis/Trap-Jaw/General Dolos), and Fred Tatasciore (King Randor/Baddrah).
Produced by Mattel Television, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe unleashes the power on Netflix on September 16, 2021.