He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) is being reborn for a new generation with some big connections to the past.
This weekend, attendees of the annual Power-Con convention in Anaheim, California were treated to host of big announcements tied to a full relaunch of the franchise next year. New toy lines and brand extensions, along with clarification on third-party MOTU products and further details tied to products first revealed at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) last month were accompanied by news of a new comic book series, a Netflix limited anime series from filmmaker Kevin Smith, and more. All of this follows hints that have been dropped in recent months following Licensing Expo and Mattel’s most recent investor call, in which Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz stated that MOTU “has not been properly monetized in 35 years.” Here’s what’s on the horizon.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation (Netflix/Mattel Television)
Continuing where the original Masters of the Universe animated series ended, Revelation will focus on some unresolved storylines from the classic era, “picking up many of the characters’ journeys were they left off decades ago.” Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot) will serve as showrunner and executive producer, with Rob David, VP of Mattel Television and author of He-Man: The Eternity War serving as executive producer. Eric Carrasco (Supergirl), Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen), Diya Mishra (Magic the Gathering), and Marc Bernardin (Alphas) are on board as writers.
“I’m Eternia-ly grateful to Mattel TV and Netflix for entrusting me with not only the secrets of Grayskull, but also their entire Universe,” says Smith. “In Revelation, we pick up right where the classic era left off to tell an epic tale of what may be the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor! Brought to life with the most metal character designs Powerhouse Animation (Castlevania) can contain in the frame, this is the Masters of the Universe story you always wanted to see as a kid!”
MOTU was rebooted as an animated series twice, and in both cases, the series’ never caught on. The New Adventures of He-Man ran in syndication for one season beginning in 1990 and was, at the time, considered a continuation of the original. 12 years later, a new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe aired on Cartoon Network, re-titled as Masters of the Universe vs. The Snake Men for its second season. Following the final episode in 2004, MOTU has been dormant on-screen, aside from the long-gestating live-action film that Sony Pictures is currently working on for a 2021 release.
“Masters of the Universe has been a cultural phenomenon for generations, inspiring fans to discover their own power within,” adds David. “Fans of this franchise have been waiting for the continuation of these characters, and Kevin Smith, as a Masters superfan himself, is the perfect champion and partner to expand the canon through a dynamic animated series on Netflix.”
He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse (DC Comics)
MOTU fans won’t have to wait until next year for new stories. Hitting comic shops on Nov. 20, the first issue of the limited series He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse brings the cross-dimensional concept to Eternia. Written by Tim Seely, with art by Dan Fraga and Richard Friend, the debut issue will feature a cover by Inhyuk Lee, and a variant cover by Fraga. As “the scourge of Anti-Eternia is unleashed on the Multiverse,” multiple He-Men from across the dimensions must team up to recruit Prince Keldor for help — the very man who becomes Skeletor.
Masters of the Universe Origins
First shown during SDCC Preview Night, MOTU Origins is the most extensive relaunch of the brand as a toy line in decades. While collectors have been well-served in recent years by Super7 and the late MattyCollector before them, there has not been a new collection available that can bridge the gap between kids and collectors. After all, it will take new generations of fans to sustain MOTU into its next 30+ years.
The new figures are a throwback to the classic, 5.5-inch scale that MOTU introduced in the ’80s — a scale that’s seen a surge in popularity this year — but with modern articulation. Set to debut in fall of 2020, the collection of figures, vehicles, creatures, and play sets should serve as the anchor for the toy line for Mattel promised to be a “deep” assortment. Confirmed so far are He-Man, Skeletor, Beast Man, Man-At-Arms, Teela, Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, Prince Adam, Orko, Scareglow, Man-E-Faces, Battle Cat, and the Sky Sled.
Masters of the WWE Universe
Mashups are all the rage, and for this one the WWE Superstars are reimagined in MOTU-style heroic sculpts complete with a Castle Grayskull-inspired Eternian wrestling ring. Set to debut next spring, exclusively at Walmart, figures confirmed or in the works include Triple H, Ultimate Warrior, Finn Balor, Sting, Macho Man Randy Savage, John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Roman Reigns, John Cena (Faker), Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, The Rock, The Undertaker, and more.
Masters of the Universe Minis
Originally launched in 2014 via MattyCollector, MOTU Mini Figures were top-heavy, short-legged collectibles that were sold in two-packs, each with a piece that could be assembled to create a Castle Grayskull diorama. The short-lived line was perhaps ahead of its time, hitting the market before the small collectibles movement really caught on, and a planned wave that would’ve allowed fans to create a Snake Mountain diorama was scrapped.
Now, MOTU Minis are back, this time in the popular blind box form. More than a dozen figures plus several possible variants will hit stores next fall.
The Fate of Super7 x MOTU
As expected, Mattel bringing the core action figure line back in-house marks the end (for now) of the MOTU Classics and Ultimates from Super7 beyond what’s already in the pipeline. Super7, who took over the collector lines following the closure of MattyCollector, will still release its massive Snake Mountain Playset, and will continue offering MOTU items such as ReAction Figures and the Keshi Suprise range. Future continuations of Super7 lines including those based on the Filmation series and the 1987 live-action film may happen somewhere down the line, but they’re done for now.
The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe featuring She-Ra (Dark Horse)
Following the release of several MOTU reference guides over the past few years, Dark Horse will release a new book from author Pixel Dan Eardley that goes in-depth on the toys. Full details to be revealed.
He-Man and She-Ra Original Series Reissues (Universal)
Finally, the original series will get a fresh DVD reissue from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Set for release on Oct. 1, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power will be released in 16- and 12-DVD sets, respectively. Both will include bonus features such as He-Man & She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword and He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special, along with Robert McCallum’s documentary film, Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
He-Man Gets Social
Masters of the Universe Movie (2021, Sony)
Since Kevin Smith’s anime took the big spot at Power-Con, it’s probably a safe bet that the long-awaited live-action film will likely be the focus of next year’s Power-Con, and probably Comic-Con, too. Aside from the confirmation of Noah Centineo taking on the dual role of Prince Adam/He-Man, there hasn’t been anything new to report since a simple piece of teaser key art appeared ahead of Licensing Expo in June with a promise: “The Power Returns: March 2021.”