Netflix has transformed the larger He-Man universe into a lively place in just three years. When She-Ra and the Princesses of Power debuted in 2018, it shed new light on the realm of Etheria, which was followed earlier this year by Kevin Smith’s trip to Eternia in Masters of the Universe: Revelation.
Now, the streamer is returning to the He-Man universe with the premiere this week of a new, kid-focused CGI series with a familiar Filmation-vintage name — even as it adds a potentially complex new dimension to He-Man lore. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe reportedly tackles a major family link between the hallowed series’ biggest hero and biggest villain by tugging at a rarely-seen thread from a late-1980s mini-comic.
Showrunners Rob David and Jeff Matsuda recently told Comicbook.com that they intentionally teased out the idea that He-alter-ego, Man’s Prince Adam (voiced in the new series by Yuri Lowenthal), and Skeletor (Ben Diskin), are more than mortal enemies.
They claimed that Adam is Skeletor’s nephew due to a canonical comic book connection from the past.Uncle Skeletor, what’s your name? Yes, indeed. “There was a mini-comic in 1987 [probably the mini-series launched in 1986 by Mattel’s The Search for Keldor] where they hinted that Skeletor might be Randor’s brother [aka Adam’s father, the good king of Eternia], but they never directly said it,”
David explained. When the next He-Man show aired in 2002, they noted that Skeletor was Keldor, but the connection between him and Adam was not fully established. They never had the opportunity to explore that familial relationship.”According to the showrunners, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’s new storyline will mine those family connections for all the tension that a Grayskull-sized family squabble implies.
They explained that the goal is to “really dive into that relationship and make the drama personal with stakes.” We had the perfect opportunity to tie everything together and show the similarities and differences between these two characters. They’re both Grayskull’s heirs, but Adam’s lack of desire for power makes him the best choice to wield it.”This isn’t the first time an attempt at a He-Man revival has dared to address family feuds that Filmation’s original 1980s animated series left unaddressed.
The script for David S. Goyer’s unfinished He-Man film at Sony has long been rumoured to change things up even more, making Adam and Skeletor actual siblings — a complicated brotherly bond if ever there was one.In any case, as the new series begins, keep an eye out for a newly-updated wrinkle that adds a tonne of weight to Adam’s royal responsibilities. You now know, thanks to David and Matsuda, and knowing is half the battle.
(Oops, that’s from a different 1980s animated series.)
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, produced by Mattel Television, will be available on Netflix on September 16th.
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