As I write this, it’s just after 4 AM in my dinky little apartment. My living room is dimly lit with the glow of the scrolling credits of my most highly-anticipated show of 2021, scratch that, of the last ten years, no, scratch that too. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is quite possibly my most highly-anticipated show ever. In the twenty-some-odd years I’ve been on this planet I don’t think there’s ever been this much build-up to any entertainment property that I’m a fan of.
Sure, as a Star Wars fan, the road to The Force Awakens was magical. Regardless of your opinion of the film itself, or the sequels as a whole, that moment in the first trailer where the Millennium Falcon‘s theme plays as it rises into the frame was pure hype. The year leading up to that film’s release was unlike anything I’d experienced. I grew up on Star Wars, so seeing Han and Chewie come home in that second trailer was beyond cool. And then the film came out, and I remember the feeling that washed over me as I sat in that theater on opening night as John Williams’ theme began to play, and those familiar golden lines began to crawl: pure, unadulterated bliss.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself in a strikingly similar position. In the same way that I grew up with He-Man, I grew up with Spider-Man and, on occasion, some of his amazing friends. While I never saw the first Avengers in theaters, I found myself engrossed in the story that Kevin Feige and his team decided to tell, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. From the next release, Iron Man 3, onwards I found myself in those uncomfortable theater chairs opening week for every film Marvel Studios put out. Through the ups and downs of phases two and three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was enthralled by the interconnected story and converging plotlines that ultimately led to Endgame, the culmination of what would later be called the Infinity Saga. It was both a love letter to the characters who originated the universe and carried the central throughline, as well as a genuine love letter to the fans who had supported the franchise for the first 10 years.
After those two monumental experiences, I thought I’d probably had my fill. Nothing could top the excitement and joy I experienced for those two franchises I grew up on reaching the pinnacle of Hollywood magic. And I was almost right. There are very few things in the world of entertainment that I love more than Star Wars and Superheroes. In fact, there’s only one: Masters of the Universe. The brief descriptions above of how excited I was for The Force Awakens and Endgame cannot begin to describe how I felt when I first heard about Masters of the Universe: Revelation during Power-Con. I’m not gifted with the ability to string words together in any meaningful way to properly convey my love for this franchise. From the very first poster revealed at Power-Con, to the stellar voice cast announced later on, and finally to the teaser dropped about a month ago and the full trailer that aired in early July, the anticipation only grew. And now that the series, Part 1 at least, is finally here… does it live up to the hype?
If you’re looking for a one-word answer: no. And it pains me to say that, it really does. I so wanted this series to be everything that it was marketed as, everything that I dreamed of seeing Masters of the Universe become since I was old enough to say “By the Power of Grayskull” myself. But there’s so much more to that “no” than just my initial disappointment. Don’t take this paragraph to mean that the show isn’t enjoyable, or worth a watch. It is, in fact, both of those things. If you’re reading this to find out whether or not you should watch this show, the answer is YES you should. If you grew up on Filmation, the 1987 Theatrical movie, or the 2002 series, then Revelation is worth a watch. While I would love to outline what ultimately didn’t live up to expectations in my eyes, I can’t do that without spoiling some of the magic.
So here’s my plan: I’m going to recommend you watch the series at some point this week. If you love it, great! If you hate it, great! If you’re somewhere in-between, great! No matter where you stand, don’t judge the show based on this, or any, review. Don’t assume you know what it’s about because of all the rumors and allegations that have been flying around since the first trailer dropped. Just watch the show. Part 1 is five easily digestible 25-minute episodes, so over the next week, sit down and watch them. If you want to binge them as I did, go for it. If you want to come home from work Monday through Friday and watch one episode at a time, Filmation-style, that’s cool too. But whatever you do, don’t skip the show because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Watch it for yourself and form your own opinions. Next weekend, after you’ve seen the series for yourself, check back here for my spoiler-heavy deep dive into what I did and didn’t like about the series.
My name is Josh, a fan for eternity and forever a Knight of Grayskull. Until next time…
- Dean Cain writing Lois & Clark ‘idea’ exploring Superman’s parenting skills [SyFy Wire]
- Henry Cavill to Play Sherlock Holmes Opposite Millie Bobby Brown in ‘Enola Holmes’ [Variety]
- The Black Keys and Raconteurs Take Rock Back to the Future [Rolling Stone]
- Victoria Pedretti To Headline ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Netflix Series [Deadline]
- Sir Elton [Phantom Cardboard]
- The True Story of How Toy Story 4’s Forky Was Conceived, Written, Voiced, and Animated [Vulture]
- He-Man and She-Ra Little Golden Book interior preview images are here! [He-Man.org]
- A Junior for All Seasons Part 1: the Kid on the Topps Designs of the 50’s [The Junior Junkie] (JT sez: This is an old post, but Topps’ recent use of Griffey in The Living Set brought it back to my mind.)
- 2019 Chachi #45 Jay Bruce [The Phillies Room]
- 1989 All-Star Ballot [From a 1980s Baseball Card Collector]
- He-wok and skel-wok figures [fortheloveofoldtoys on etsy]
- The Patents Behind Toy Story’s Beloved Characters [Smithsonian.com]
- Optimus Prime Gets a Cool Transformers/Ghostbusters Mashup Action Figure For SDCC [GeekTyrant] (JT sez: Cool? Definitely. $150 cool? Not so much.)
- 5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block [A Writer’s Path]
- These Should Exist: The Karate Kid Edition [Branded in the 80s]
- Kentucky Is Home to the World’s Only Ventriloquism Museum [Mental Floss]
- Joe Schlabotnik: My Favorite Player [Infinite Baseball Card Set]
- The Art of the Trim: Practice of Cutting Baseball Cards Began Earlier Than You Think [Pre-War Cards]
- What if? A look at Eric Davis, Nomar Garciaparra and Grady Sizemore, three Cooperstown careers cut short [Sporting News]
- In Classic Children’s Books, a Window to Childhood in Past Centuries [The New York Times]
- Sony Pictures sets a March 2021 release date for Masters of the Universe! [He-Man.org]
What I’m Reading Right Now: Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of by J. David Herman.
- Vincent Price’s Supper Casserole! [Dinosaur Dracula]
- A Babe Ruth Rookie Card Found in an Old Piano Just Sold for More Than $130,000 [Mental Floss]
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What I’m Reading Right Now: Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Freddie Williams III.
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What I’m Reading Right Now: Firefight: The Reckoners, Book Two by Brandon Sanderson. (Yes, still working on it.)
By the Power of Grayskull! He-Man has one of the strongest fan bases of any 1980s cartoon series, and the merchandise available to choose from is insane. Here are just a handful of suggestions for the He-Fan or She-Raver in your life.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season 1
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season 2
- He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special
- Masters of the Universe motion picture starring Dolph Lundgren
- She-Ra, Princess of Power: Season One, Vol. 1
- She-Ra, Princess of Power: Season One, Vol. 2
- She-Ra, Princess of Power: Season Two
- The New Adventures of He-Man, Vol. 1
- The New Adventures of He-Man, Vol. 2
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete 200X Series
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium
- He-Man and She-Ra: A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures
- Art of He Man and the Masters of the Universe
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Newspaper Comic Strips
- How He-Man Mastered the Universe: Toy to Television to the Big Screen
- The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Limited Edition
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Vol. 1
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Vol. 2: Origins of Eternia
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Vol. 3
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Vol. 4: What Lies Within
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Vol. 5: The Blood of Grayskull
- He-Man: The Eternity War Vol. 2
- He-Man: The Eternity War Vol. 2
- DC Universe Vs. Masters of the Universe
Toys and Collectibles
- Funko POP: Battle Armor He-Man, Battle Armor Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Merman, Trap Jaw, Evil Lyn, Stratos, Orko, Hordak, Beast Man, Moss Man, or if you want to spend a ton of money, He-Man or She-Ra
- Funko VYNL: He-Man + Trap Jaw, Prince Adam + Cringer, Beast Man + Sorceress
- Super 7 ReAction Figures: Battle Armor He-Man, Battle Armor Skeletor, Trap Jaw, Teela, Zodac, Tri-Klops, Kobra Khan, Stratos, She-Ra & Hordak (SDCC Exclusive)
- Mega Construx Heroes: He-Man, Teela, Beast Man, Faker
- Mattel Minis: He-Man & Skeletor (2013 SDCC Exclusive), Battle Armor He-Man & Mer-Man, Zodac & Beast Man, Scareglow & Stratos, Faker & Man-At-Arms, King He-Man & Clawful
- The Loyal Subjects Masters The Universe Blindbox
- Or just browse everything that is available at the moment on Amazon, but let me warn you, some of the prices get a little crazy!
- Vintage MOTU
- “I Have The Power!”
- “How You Doin’?”
- “Ripped and Equipped”
- “Casual Friday”
- “Blink If You Want Me”
- “Call the Vet, These Puppies are Sick”
- “Eternia Gym”
- Skeletor (Misfits parody)
- He-Man and She-Ra Faux Christmas Sweater
- Filmation She-Ra and Swiftwind
- Filmation “She-Ra, Princess of Power”
- Dreamworks “She-Ra Rules”
- DreamWorks She-Ra/Adora Character Split
P.S. — If anyone wants to get me something for Christmas (because I’m not spending this type of money on a CD), I would love the Filmation Original Soundtrack. $45 just seems a little steep to me.
Both ComingSoon.net and EW reported yesterday that Sony has set an official release date for a new live-action He-Man and the Masters of the Universe film: DECEMBER 18, 2019. The movie has been in development for quite some time, and is currently without a director since McG exited stage left (despite ComingSoon.net’s outdated information). The screenplay is in the hands of David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel) and “many actors, including A-list talent, are vying for key roles,” according to EW.
What would really make a new He-Man movie phenomenal? Here are some thoughts:
- Build a universe for the Masters. There are so many awesome characters that if the studio and screenwriters handle them correctly, Masters of the Universe could become a franchise as big as Marvel and DC.
- No new characters. To me, one of the biggest flubs of the 1987 film was the addition of Gwildor, Julie, and Kevin. Where was Orko? Randor? They had so much to work with, but using these new characters just caused unnecessary confusion.
- Keep the action on Eternia. There is no need to visit earth, unless in a brief flashback sequence with Queen Marlena. Eternia is a perfect setting; don’t waste it.
- Cameos are great. Who doesn’t love Stan Lee‘s cameos in all the Marvel movies? I think it would be wonderful to see Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella again, perhaps not in major roles, but cameos would be fantastic. In fact, Lundgren mentioned several years ago that he might be interested in portraying He-Man’s dad.
My oldest son Josh also came up with some great points:
- Avoid the dark Batman-esque atmosphere that everyone tries to replicate.
- If the origin is addressed, it needs to be consice, clear and to the point.
- He-Man should be someone kids look up to. Kids should wish they could be He-Man when they grow up…like I did.
- The villain needs to be Skeletor, and he needs to be scary and well written. One of Marvel fans’ biggest complaints is that the villains are weak or underdeveloped.
- Don’t kill Skeletor or any of the Masters without a compelling reason.
- Set up a universe, but don’t make world-building the point of the movie. Calling out Batman v. Superman here, look at how unsuccessful they were at cramming all of the setup for their universe into one movie, as opposed to Marvel’s much more successful slow build.
- Make sure the story is strong, and faithful to the source material. There is so much rich background and engaging stories to pull from. It should be something longtime fans are happy with. Satisfy the people who will see the movie because they love the character, not the people who watch it for the studio or the actor or the director.
- Make people like us, the fans, happy. That’s more important than anything else. That’s what will keep the movie alive and open up the possibility of everything that could come after.
The story of He-Man is well-known to children of the eighties, but author Brian C. Baer is able to dig even deeper into the beloved franchise in his recent book, How He-Man Mastered the Universe. Baer examines every aspect of the Masters of the Universe, from the toys to the cartoon to the movie to the reboots and more recent collectible action figure releases. The author looks at the groundwork laid for the success of He-Man by the marketing behind Star Wars, and the influence He-Man had on many subsequent pop culture franchises such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, and the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What impressed me most about Baer’s book is the attention paid to the big screen adaption of the Eternian hero in 1987. The toys and original cartoon have been widely covered over the years, with little more than a passing mention to the live-action film. A good bulk of Baer’s book, however, is devoted to how He-Man was brought to life by Dolph Lundgren. He breaks down the movie with an in-depth review, discusses the financial woes that hamstrung the ending, and even includes conceptual drawings for He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Skeletor, and She-Ra, who unfortunately was written out of the script.
Baer also discusses the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon that aired in the early 1990s, the 21st century reboot by Mike Young Productions, and the new line of toys that came with that. Baer wraps up How He-Man Mastered the Universe with a look at what many of the film’s actors are doing today, as well as others who were involved with He-Man through the years.
How He-Man Mastered the Universe is a highly enjoyable book; children of the eighties and He-Fans in particular will love it.
Purchase How He-Man Mastered the Universe by Brian C. Baer on Amazon or directly from the publisher at www.mcfarlandpub.com or via the order line at 800-253-2187.