What we hope for the new
Masters of the Universe film
By the power of Grayskull, I have the power. If you’re a child of the 1980s, you’ll know that phrase by heart. He-Man and his Masters of the Universe were found in all children’s living rooms from 1982 onwards either as action figures, comic books, audio cassettes or the animated series.
After the mighty warrior from Eternia leapt onto the big screen for the first time in 1987, and mercilessly flopped, finally, a new movie version will appear on 18 December 2019, as Sony recently announced.
And before the next film studio botches the heroes of our youth, we have some suggestions for what the new blockbuster could look like.
For He-Man’s world of Eternia, we want the locations and equipment to go the direction of Game of Thrones - though for reasons of protecting younger people, perhaps not so violent and morally questionable. A scenic, barbarian world peppered with some fantasy elements is certainly better than the atmospheric tone of the Star Wars universe. That’s how it worked in the film of 1987 - although the story was mostly played out on Earth.
In the comics, He-Man and his comrades could occasionally call on laser firearms or cutting-edge aircraft but the combat skills in the new film should be decided by swords and sorcery. And the atmosphere should be bleaker and not too colourful.
It worked for Guardians of The Galaxy so why not Masters of the Universe - plenty of action with a pinch of humour? Even in the animated series, demonic sorcerer Skeletor’s henchmen and He-Man’s magician friend Orko were good for a laugh or two. Just don’t make it too silly.
In the 1980s, the animated series also had an educational undertone. At the end of each episode, the viewer was always given a piece of advice appropriate to the story. We wouldn’t want the film to be so obvious but it should be built around a well-packaged message. After all, it’s the ancient story of the struggle between good and evil.
Luckily, the choice of eligible actors is now slightly larger than in the 1980s. Back then, Dolph Lundgren appeared to be the only one fitting the keywords “blonde, muscular and not completely talentless”.
Two of today’s most likely candidates are probably ruled out with Chris Hemsworth playing Avengers god Thor, and Charlie Hunnam swinging his sword as King Arthur. Our choice for He-Man would be Swedish export, Alexander Skarsgård. Did you see his physique in Legend of Tarzan?
Important: his secret identity
In the famous storyline, He-Man is the secret identity of Prince Adam. But in the animated series, his disguise was about as subtle as Superman wearing glasses to become Clark Kent. One possibility would be to cast another actor for the role of the Prince of Eternia or to install a special effect like in Captain America. With computer trickery, Steve Rogers was reduced to a skinny whippet instead of a muscle-bound superhero.
Unfortunately, CGI (computer-generated imagery) was not much of an option in 1987 so Skeletor’s head, which the make-up artists glued onto actor Frank Langella, looked more like a bad Halloween mask. Today, this would clearly be a case for the special-effects department. How about CGI specialist Andy Serkis who lent his body and voice for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings saga?
Important: his origin
The question arises, which storyline should the film follow? The first idea is that Skeletor is a demon from another dimension. The other is that he is Keldor, He-Man’s uncle and the King of Eternia’s brother. Both are interesting approaches, but the fraternal tale would certainly provide more character depth.
The rest of the cast
There are also two prominent female roles to be filled with He-Man’s comrade Teela and Skeletor’s handmaiden Evil-Lyn. Whether the producers use familiar faces or fresh Hollywood talent here - we’ll let them decide. But please don’t let there be any surprises when it comes to Battle Cat. This is not a Disney movie, and the animals don’t have to talk.