Before we start I’ve to comment on the headline for this one that Entertainment Weekly went with:
Masters of the Universe: Revelation unleashes the powah! with first look at Kevin Smith’s series
Yes, Kevin Smith is from New Jersey. Yes, EW seems more interested in who’s making the show than the show itself. I’ve STILL seen more clever headline writing from fan blogs writing for fun. You have to be Fansided to have worse headlines. “Will The Show That Airs The Same Time Every Night Be On Tonight And When Will You See It Streaming?” Clickbait headlines these are not.
And yet this is the site boasting an exclusive first look at Masters Of The Universe: Revelation, the adult-targeted MOTU series scheduled for Netflix. I’ve discussed my concerns in the past. The short version includes not being for kids, which I guess is solved by the computer-generated other He-Man cartoon they’re working on, the heavier focus on Teela in the original announcement, and that they’re going for a grimdark remake of the Filmation series when the plot summary talking about “dangling plot threads” is a better description of the 2003 series than the Filmation series. Frankly, the images and new information doesn’t do a lot to change those perspectives.
Here’s what I mean. The character model is closer to the classic design, though there are elements closer to the toy than the Filmation model. That includes the Power Sword. And yet the art style reminds me more of…
Keep that in mind because I’ll be referencing the 2003 series quite often. I even thought this shot of Prince Adam had the Power Sword a different shape, like in the 2000s series, but it was just the angle messing me up.
Still, it looks more like 2000s Adam than 80s Adam. Apparently we aren’t buying the “magic” explanation as to why Adam and He-Man look the same to us but not the planet…and not only from the same clueless types who don’t get how “Clark Kent” works. However, he looks younger than He-Man but not as old as Prince Adam in the Filmation series. If you look at the Mike Young series however, he does look slightly older than Adam 2000. Again, this still feels so much more like a sequel to the second MOTU cartoon than the first. Finally you have Skeletor.
Again, 1980s outfit but this time a dead ringer for 2000s Skeletor! Heck, Beast Man is probably the best example.
Watch the original show, compare it to the 2000s version and convince me I’m wrong.
Meanwhile I don’t know what’s going on with Teela. Her solo image looks like the original toy.
However, in this group shot that somehow included Evil-Lyn we see her wearing additional clothes. (And a more normal but still muscular body type, so maybe it’s just that one animation frame.)
And don’t tell me it’s because she’s in the arctic. None of the ladies are dressed for the occasion and even Orko has his sleeves rolled up. Not sure why Roboto is wearing clothes. Among the other images in the article is the Sorceress dressed in her old “I skinned Zoar so I could turn into a falcon and destroy that character while making this suit” outfit and an extreme close-up of Moss Man so I don’t know what he ultimately looks like. So let’s focus on the story updates.
Split into two parts with the five episodes of Part 1 premiering on Netflix this July 23, the show features an all-star voice cast ensemble. That includes Star Wars veteran Mark Hamill as Skeletor, Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey as Evil-Lyn, Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar as Teela, Clueless star Alicia Silverstone as Queen Marlena, iconic Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy as Mer-Man, and the original voice of Skeletor, Alan Oppenheimer, now in the role of Moss Man.
Also Chris Ross as He-Man/Adam is mentioned in an earlier paragraph. Look, I love Mark Hamill, and I’m sure he could play a good Skeletor, but YOU HAVE ALAN OPPENHEIMER RIGHT THERE AND YOU AREN’T USING HIM AS SKELETOR? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? It doesn’t even work as an homage, like Adam West playing an actor whose show was one of Batman’s inspirations in his approach to crime fighting. Who’s playing Orko, Brian Dobson? (checks article where they buried the other characters) No, Griffin Newman. Nope, he doesn’t have a lot of voice acting either. Mark Hamill has done a number of voice roles as both hero and villain, though the article states he was trying to get out of animation until they offered him one of the animations best villains yet to be ruined by Disney’s live-action obsession (thank heaven Dreamworks hates Disney too much to give them the opening), Alicia Silverstone was in only one cartoon I know of and Braceface isn’t exactly animation royalty but there isn’t a lot of focus on actual voice actors besides Hamill–and he’s credited for Luke Skywalker, not The Joker. I think Gellar has done some voice work, but I don’t know about Headey. Notice that this paragraph features all big names, while probably forced to use Kevin “best Batman to some fans” Conroy and original Skeletor Alan Oppenheimer.
Liam Cunningham as Man-At-Arms, Griffin Newman as Orco, Stephen Root as Cringer, Diedrich Bader as King Randor and Trap Jaw, Tiffany Smith as Andra, Henry Rollins as Tri-Klops, Susan Eisenberg as Sorceress, Jason Mewes as Stinkor, Phil LaMarr as He-Ro, Tony Todd as Scare Glow, Cree Summer as Priestess, and Kevin Michael Richardson as Beast Man round out the main parts.
You spelled “Orko” wrong, you hacks. Do your research! I wonder if they’re going with “He-Man’s ancestor” He-Ro or “He-Man’s son He-Ro”? Both have been attempted though the former did show up in the “Masters Of The Universe Classics” toyline so my money’s on him, via time travel shenanigans. Andra is new…possibly for “representation”, but then where’s Clamp Champ, the ACTUAL black person from the franchise?
Girls need more representation in this franchise without going to Etheria because Netflix She-Ra already did that.
Fine, not even disagreeing. The Sorceress is back and that group shot shows Evil-Lyn working with the heroes (more on that tomorrow) but if this IS a Filmation sequel there were a number of women that could have been used. I have to look up names and spellings because we’re talking one-episode characters I haven’t seen in a while but Karyn literally beat Evil Itself by a sacrifice out of love and her boyfriend/mentor (probably husband by now) is one of the most powerful wizards on Eternia. I’m sure by now she’s powerful enough to join the team. Show us Illena, a girl whose whole character arc was getting strong, having become a better warrior–which is kind of important when you live on planet Death Trap. Sibyline is a former villain turned hero and also one of the most powerful magic users on the planet. Bring her out.
The problem is that since “representation” is used so often that it doesn’t matter to the creator if the token character fits or not, or if they’re altering a beloved character for no good story-based reason. Therefore the immediate reaction is “it’s political” until proven otherwise. I hope Andra proves otherwise because I like the character model, There was an Andra in the Star Comics, a blonde woman who became a brunette in the DC Injustice crossover and turned evil or something. Yeah, I guess this one isn’t worth caring about beyond the current swapping situation. Nobody knows who she is. I didn’t. Either way, where’s Clamp Champ?
The first episode of Revelation begins “in lockstep with the old show,” (Kevin) Smith mentions. Then, about halfway through, “things take a shift which allows all the characters to go through these periods of growth.” (co-producer Rob) David mentions a “cataclysmic event that would shake it up.”
The pair keep any further specifics about what that cataclysm is under lock and key, but Smith does go on to explain that “only certain people know the secret that Prince Adam is really He-Man. We build our entire story on who was left out of the secret and the damaging trickle-down effects of that.”
So we’re going anti-secret identity here? Funny, this makes me think of a post on Twitter by Transformers toy reviewer TJOmega (the guy who cameoed in my Challenge Of The GoBots video review) made yesterday and my response.
I wonder if Smith, host of the podcast “Fatman On Batman”, also thinks Bruce Wayne should unmask? I know Mattel has tried to get rid of the secret identity before, during the actual He-Man toyline, but the attack on alter-egos is something I need to get into in the future.
Since this is a sequel series, the main mythos remains intact. Prince Adam, the son of the ruling family of the realm of Eternia, uses the Sword of Power to transform into the chiseled He-Man (you know, “I have the powah!”) [KNOCK IT OFF, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY!] to defend his kingdom from threats — mostly from Skeletor and his forces. But now, as Smith says, “the shackles are off” to build a richer lore and explore different aspects to these beloved characters.
“We get to see them engage not just in clashing swords, but in far deeper conversations than we’ve ever seen them before,” he explains. “It’s not just simply like these two dudes [He-Man and Skeletor] have been trying to beat each other up for decades. We get to tell stories of abuse. We get to kind of tell stories of isolation, grief. We use these characters as long as they’ve been around — and most people consider them toys or action figures — to tell insanely human stories set in a very inhuman world.”
So why does this have to be a “sequel” to anything. You don’t care about Filmation’s style, and while this sounds closer to the Mike Young series I’m still getting Thundercats: The Return vibes. Nobody wants that!
David, who previously developed He-Man comics at DC, was brought in by Mattel to redevelop Masters of the Universe across entertainment landscapes. (For one, he’s showrunning that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.) The creative had read Smith’s Daredevil comics, Guardian Devil, at Marvel and was struck by how he had “found new ways to tell the story” while honoring the source material.
Again, Thundercats: The Return was “respectful” to the source material in that it felt like how the show’s world would be if these events happened. It was the events themselves I objected to, especially what they did to Cheetara and Wilykit! (You decide if rape decoration is worse than concubine to an everliving corpse. Both equally make me sick.)
“He said, ‘Do me a favor. When I used to watch the shows as a kid, I legitimately thought that He-Man was always on the verge of getting killed by Skeletor. I believed in the stakes. Just make me believe that again,'” he says. “People would see some of this as goofy IP, but this is a rich tapestry, a world full of characters. [Biaselli] said, ‘Please just don’t talk down to it. Don’t make fun of it. Don’t wink. Just treat it like Shakespeare.’ Those were our marching orders.”
I need to finally get that He-Man/She-Ra review series started. Short version: I never found it goofy, though the humor was on display. I’m getting less and less impressed with this “adult” version. Make it an original series, or even a sequel to the 2000s series, which was already a darker take that honored the source material (after a few bad starts like the Diamond Ray Of Disappearance) and maybe I’d be more interested but as a sequel to the Filmation series this sounds like a terrible idea. Maybe the kids show will be better, but not having Netflix I may not find out for a very long time.