Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
This week we're doing something pretty different. For one thing, though Masters of the Universe has been a comic, it's primarily a TV cartoon and a line of toys, and those are the sources I'm turning to in casting this movie. The other difference is that this movie is actually in development, with McG reportedly expected to direct.
Last year, Sideshow teased the first two statues in its Masters of the Universe premium format line, He-Man and Skeletor. Prince Adam's alter ego got his formal debut in the fall, but we've been waiting for Hordak's most infamous student to get his proper reveal since July's San Diego Comic-Con. Now, just in time for the ending of the age of Aquarius, the skull-headed foe is finally ready to make his grand entrance.
Skeletor's got a much more complicated and convoluted history than He-Man does, as the hero of Eternia has primarily stayed true to his roots throughout the various iterations of Masters of the Universe. As He-Man's main adversary, Skeletor's gone through numerous changes not just to his backstory, but also his look. Like the previous statue in the line, Skeletor here has been designed by Stjepan Sejic, who's done a tremendous job staying true to the character's origins while giving him a slightly more realistic fantasy bent.
You have to admit, for a character with perhaps the most unoriginal name in the history of fiction, He-Man has had some real staying power.
Invented in the early 1980s by toy manufacturer Mattel, He-Man (and his Masters of the Universe) launched as a line of toys, and an accompanying television show designed to entertain kids on Saturday mornings (and also to sell said line of toys). The...
From Wi-Fi at McDonalds to G.I. Joe action figures with more than 11 points of articulation, 2010 has a lot of things that the '80s sorely lacked. One thing that decade did better, though, was the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's been a few years since I've woken up before noon to catch it, but if YouTube is to be believed the Masters of the Universe Float from '84 and the Marvel Floats from '87 and '89 alone are proof alone that the parade's floats just ain't what they used to be. See Skeletor whack Orko in the face with his Havoc Staff and the Silver Surfer hold on for dear life in the clips below.
One of the greatest things about being into comics right now is that we're getting closer and closer to a time when there's nothing that isn't reprinted. I mean, really, as much as I love digging through back issue bins --- and as much as I doubt that particular pastime is going anywhere --- being able to snag a comic that might have otherwise been forgotten in a high-quality prestige format is pretty cool.
That's why I'm so excited about Dark Horse's upcoming He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection. Set for release next week in comic book stores, the 1200-page hardcover collects the original mini-comic stories that were packed in with the MOTU action figures --- comics that featured creators like Mark Texiera and Bruce Timm --- in a brand-new complete package.
It’s been a while since we had an update on Sony’s Masters of the Universe reboot/revival/whatever. Last we heard, Kick-Ass 2 writer/director Jeff Wadlow had completed a script, while G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu departed the project. While the film is still in development without a director, Sony has brought on Thor: Ragnarok scribe and recent New Warriors writer Christopher Yost to rewrite the screenplay.
Remember when you were a kid and you'd pit toys from different lines against each other, like, say, having the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a crossover that somehow never happened? Remember how this was something you definitely did as a kid and not, like, this weekend when you were bored and realized that you paid good money for all these toys and so you might as well get some use out of them? Well, Ubisoft, the video game publisher best known these days for the Assassin's Creed franchise, is certainly hoping you do, because that seems to be the premise of the upcoming Toy Soldiers: War Chest.
If you were into He-Man and the Masters of the Universe back in the '80s, then you might remember that the toys came with minicomics that provided some additional story about bare-chested heroes fighting equally bare-chested (and surprisingly muscular) skeletons --- and if you were really paying attention, you might recall that those comics featured some early work from legendary creators like Mark Texeira and Bruce Timm.
If that's the case, you might be tempted to dig through toy bins at conventions and try to put together a run yourself, but fortunately, Dark Horse is saving us all the trouble. This October, it's releasing the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection, a whopping 1,232-page hardcover that collects every single minicomic from the classic toy line, bumped up to 6" x 9" and presented in production order.
Considering that it's a franchise built entirely on going way over the top with sword-and-sorcery action, bizarre sci-fi, and a heaping helping of Jack Kirby-inspired action, you might think that Masters of the Universe would be exactly my jam. The thing is, it was just slightly before my time --- my mom has reminded me on several occasions that I was once really into He-Man, but I was so young that I don't really remember it, and I don't have a connection to the franchise today.
That said, I want Dark Horse's The Art of Masters of the Universe book so bad that I'm not sure if I'll be able to wait until it comes out on May 6. Compiled and edited by Steve Seeley and Tim Seeley --- the same Tim Seeley currently writing Grayson for DC --- the book doesn't just collect concept art for the TV show, toy line and comics, but it's an exhaustive look back at the franchise that even includes Mattel's internal guidelines on how to create a "generic Male Action Figure" that are absolutely fascinating. Check out a preview below!
Some of the most horrifying things I have ever seen in my life are those baby dolls that people buy and then paint to be ultra-realistic so that they can sell them on Etsy to people who, I assume, have truly horrible homes. Today, however, I have learned that crafting horrifying babies out of plastic is something best left to the professionals, because I have seen Mattel's new Baby Skeletor doll.
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