‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Director in Talks for ‘Masters of the Universe’

Published 3 years ago by

Jon Chu Masters of the Universe G.I. Joe: Retaliation Director in Talks for Masters of the Universe

By the power of Greyskull! It looks like there’s finally some traction on Sony’s long-awaited live action adaptation of Masters of the Universe. According to a new report, director Jon Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) is in talks to direct the live-action adaptation of the popular 1980s cartoon about the heroic warrior He-Man.

The cartoon was first brought to the big screen in the wonderfully schlocky 1987 film Masters of the Universe starring Dolph Lundgren, but a modern version of He-Man has been in some stage of development for years. The most recent draft of the script was written by Predators screenwriters Mike Finch and Alex Letvak.

Deadline reports that talks are just getting under way with Chu, who currently has his hands full with the 3D post-conversion for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, as well as extensive reshoots to work in more of Channing Tatum’s character (who was supposed to be killed off, but was miraculously brought back to life when Sony saw the box office returns for Tatum’s recent films).

If Chu ends up directing Masters of the Universe, he’ll be the undisputed king of movies based on toys and cartoons from the 1980s (a dubious title, perhaps, but one that the 32-year-old director would likely be proud of regardless). Because he was born in 1979 and likely grew up with the franchise as a child, Chu may actually be a wise choice to deliver a more mature film that is grounded in the fantasy elements of the series. Of course, the question is – is “more mature” the right approach for this movie?

 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Director in Talks for Masters of the Universe

While I’m not the world’s biggest He-Man fan, I do have a soft spot for both the cartoon and the 1987 film. That said, I’m not positive that a more serious adaptation will be successful. Technically, He-Man is a fantasy series, with its own unique and (fans would argue) complex mythology that could lend itself to a fairly serious action-adventure film.

Then again, one can argue that He-Man is a fundamentally shallow character and any attempt to elevate the original cartoon and its bizarre characters, including the particularly odd Orko, will ultimately be a failure.

What do you think? Can Jon Chu bring a level of respectability to a Masters of the Universe film or is this project best left in the rose-tinted memories of millions of ’80s kids?


Source: Deadline

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  1. And somewhere Uwe Boll is shaking his fists at the heavens and cursing the movie gods……..

    • hahahahahahah, great comment!

  2. I really hope this happens. If GI Joe 2 is as good as the trailer makes it look, then this guy would have my vote.

    Then again, I’d feel bad for the guy who made the fake trailer for a He-Man movie (the one with Skeletor right at the end), since he really wanted to make the movie and it looked like he might have had a chance.

    In any case, I think the fans deserve something better than the 80s live action film.
    If you see the making of short, you’ll be surprised it even got made at all though.

  3. If they did this in the style of Lord of the Rings…it could a steaming pile of awesome. Big fan…now please Thundercats and Turbo Teen!

    • I am all in for Thundercats. Loved the cartoons

  4. I had an idea back when Zoolander came out of making a He-Man movie a comedic spoof of the animated series. Starring Owen Wilson as He-Man and Stiller as Skeletor. I think you either need to be large scale epic action (LOTR style) with this or a comedy spoof as described above. I can’t see this working any other way??

    • Hahaha that spoof would be funny as hell with Owens and Stiller that’s a good one sir.As far as the serious verson goes i always thought Masters was a LOTR meets the Matrix and has the potential to be one of the greatest trilogies of all time right with the first Star Wars trilogy.

  5. If he was a good director they wouldn’t have pushed G.I. Joe back a year. So I guess they will let him butcher another franchise.

    • Did you not read the article above? It said the two reasons why the release was pushed back, and neither had to do with the quality of directing.

      • They moved it back a year because the early screening reviews were atrocious and it was said that the only good part of the film was Channing Tatum and the Rock’s relationship before Tatum’s character was killed. Due to that response, the studio pushed to movie back a year that Tatum’s character can be in more of the film. So, yeah. Part of it is due to the directing.

        • Perhaps part of it, but we can’t say for sure what caused the bad reactions. I’ve heard of times when early reactions made the studio change the film for the worse when they should have stuck to the director’s initial vision. The director is not always to blame, but often gets most of the blame (as well as most of the praise, which, again, may not all be rightly placed).

          Sure he doesn’t have much big budget action experience under his belt, but we can only judge after seeing how he directs an action movie. If you watch GI Joe 2 and don’t like it, THEN you may have a case for not wanting him to direct He-Man.

        • If the film is suppose to be that bad i dont see how it can all be fixed in less than a year.

  6. From the G.I. Joe Director!? Well that’s no fu***g’ good!!

    …The first one of those was such fu***g sh*t!! And part two was actually supposed to come out earlier this year, But was held back because the studio said they had to do tons of re-shoots & re-writes on account of the movie being even more INSANELY HORRIBLE!!

    …I don’t know how as*holes like this keep getting such big movie deals! ..Must be suckin’ a lot of d**k..

    • When you see all the great stories that are in Development Hell you start to realize how hard it is to get a picture made. However once the decision to move ahead gets made things have a tendency to get locked down. A standard clause in a directors contract is to shoot the script as written, so it’s not hard to understand if something like this happens, where test screenings show the production that refinement of the product is necessary before it’s released. Granted you could be spot on that the director bears the responsibility for the problems but could just as well be wrong too. As much for his talent as a director, Chu is probably being rewarded for being an excellent team player by the studios as well and that says allot about where the trouble lies with the product…

      • Directors are going to get the majority of the blame because for the most part people don’t know who the writers are. Having to re-shoot significant amounts of a movie means that the production as a whole must have had some problems from the way it plays on screen down to the script.

  7. Do kids even know who this character IS anymore? He hasn’t been on the air in 25 years and afaik, not in syndication anywhere (at least regularly) so I don’t know if a movie is the way to go.

    I think they should do an animated series remake similar to how the new Thundercats is being done; Much less campy than the original and with more sophistication. If the series does well, THEN you agree to invest the 150 mil to make a movie.

    • @mongoose They actually had an animated series remake on Cartoon Network from August 16, 2002 – January 10, 2004.

      • WOW, now that you mentioned it and I did a bit of googling, I do now have a vague recollection of watching this show (at least a few episodes anyway), thanks.

        I found this for those interested:


        The animation is better but its sadly no less campy (in a bad way). Maybe this franchise just can’t be done in a way that it will appeal to both kids and adults.

    • “He-Man” and “She-Ra” are also on the Hub network.

    • @Mongoose.The 80′s cartoon also airs everyday at midnight on the Hub Channel and is quite popular from what i heard.

      • ok, ok, I call uncle! I fully retract my statement and there appears to be enough evidence to show the franchise is still alive and kicking in one form or another.

        And I watch the HUB occasionally for the original Batman series/Batman Beyond but have never seen He-man. I will look for it.

  8. Hell yeah, i would see it but it has to be awesome though…if it looks like piss of crap than my dreams will be uterly dashed and i would become a homeless hobo.

  9. only if it has a great script and they don’t go changing everything to modernize it. would also love to see a zelda trilogy.

  10. Well my kids certainly know who He-Man is, as I sat them through most of the episodes on DVD and, if they have been really good, let them take down my collection of toys from the loft to play with :D

    Most people, unfortunately, remember He-Man as being a camp muscleman fighting an equally camp skeleton. However, the original series had a great back story (read it here bit.ly/Qcjb4I)and could easily become a fantastic family-friendly fantasy-action franchise. The most recent cartoon series did a great job of keeping the heart of the original MotU while getting rid of all the cheesey nonsense.

    Keep it for families, keep the humour but increase the action and make it look amazing. You just have to take a look at some of the fan art to see how great it could look (bit.ly/M7HDQh)

  11. “Complex mythology?”



    • Yes. It’s deep. Real deep.

      *Grimaces while staring into the sunset whilst clenching a fist.*

  12. I really don’t think they can top the quality that we got with Lundgren’s He-Man. His character was extremely sympathetic and easily relatable.

    I also question a remake without first comparing the gravitas of both Orko and Gwildor. Each bring their own unique style as a comedic relief character. Either way, I think this is definitely an Oscar opportunity for someone.

    • +1 for using gravitas to describe Orko and Gwildor.

      One thing though, are they going to go CGI for Battlecat or just paint a tiger like they did in Beastmaster? Little known fact about that tiger, he died, probably due to them dyeing his fur black…..

  13. I loved the old film! I remember watching the show when I was a kid and then the rebooted sci fi version in the 90s. But the films was ace, no it wasn’t perfect but the fights were cool and the effects were good too.

  14. I would love to see what someone like Peter Jackson can do with a project like this. I do agree that if they do make it into a movie it has to have that LOTR sort of feel to it. Too bad Deknight/Raimi couldn’t pick this up. I think this could be awesome as a HBO/Starz TV series as well.

  15. the toys were realy cool, but the concept is too childish from the old cartoons,the newer(not the crap cartoon that was made right after the original)cartoons were more stylish and had interessting heroes and villains from eternia. i think they would make a mix between gritty and dark and lighthearted adventure,and to do it the right way,they must invest nearly over 200.000.000 dollar budget for eternia and all the creatures,different nature, medieevil and sc-fi mix a´la thor .

  16. thanks – mongoose- for the link. it looks good so far,and my favourite ram-man was there and the guy with wings(forgot his name),but ram-man was a dwarf and not 6feet high. but,he looks cooler that massive,why not .

  17. If they dropped “Ram-Man” and “Fisto” from the line up it would certainly help to make it a little less camp. As well as Adam’s purple togs and bob haircut.

    I loved He-Man as a kid and still have a soft spot for it. I have most of the episodes on DVD and they really haven’t aged well. But I think with some tweaking (Upping the violence, emitting some characters and creating a realistic Eternia etc..) it could be really good.

    The thing is they really have to make a good movie and not just rely on the franchise name to carry the film.

    I’d love a live action “Thundercats” even more….

    Snarf: Jim carrey (Voice for cgi character)
    Michael Clarke Duncan: Panthro
    Tygra: Michael Fassbender (In place of a young Peter o’tool)
    Cheetara: Olivia Thirlby
    Lion-o: (I would have had Heath Ledger as my first choice), dunno. Any suggestions?
    Mum-Ra: ?

    What would be everyone else’s line-up for a “Thundercats” movie?

    • I think Michael Jai White would make a good Panthro.

      • Yup.

  18. I grew up watching the 80′s cartoon & loved it as much as Thundercats. But didn’t see the film till last year & WOW! What a awful film it was. Good actors but bad film. From what i read it suffered for the same reason Superman 4: The Quest For Peace did as money was stretched out too thin on too many films at once. This is one reboot i feel needs Nolan’s touch if Nolan was into that kind of film-making. I hope they can make it work this time. Im on a budget when it comes to buying dvd boxsets & still haven’t got all the seasons of G.I Joe from the 80′s. I plan to buy He-Man & Thundercats eventually. I remember having the toys lol. Can’t believe how many toys i had my mother talked me into giving away. Oh well.

  19. As long as they do Biker Mice from Mars and Captain Planet next.

    • You say that jokingly but I can see them on someone’s “to make into a movie” list.

  20. @Motoko – here would be my 1st rough initial casting choices 4 a thundercats movie

    Snarf: Warwick Davis or Tyrion Lannister
    Lion-o: Sean Faris (Never back down)
    Panthro: Ving Rhames,Michael clarke Duncan,or Vin Diesel.
    Cheetara: Alice Eve
    Jaga: Bill Nighy
    Wylie Kit: Jaden Smith
    Wylie Kat: Chloe Moretz
    Lynx-O: Ben kingsley
    Bengali: Channing Tatum
    Pumyra: Kate Beckinsale
    Slithe: Danny McBride
    Monkeyian: Seth Rogen
    Jackalman: Idris Elba
    Vulture: Rob Corddry
    Mum-Ra: Tom Hardy

    On the note about MOTU, I really hope they do the property justice.

    • Vin Diesel and Bill Nighy = genius. That’s some great casting there.

  21. Believe it or not, the he-man universe could give marvel a run for their money! Think of several solo character films before an almighty showdown with all the Masters of the Universe. Then for the next trilogy,introduce She-Ra vs the Horde.
    Definitely keep it in Eternia, they don’t need to add anything new.
    My only worry is that it gets too epic too quickly like John Carter. Keep it focused and I’ll be a very happy 30 year old fan boy

  22. *Tygra: I could see michael fassbender

  23. One thing at a time. Let’s see him get GI Joe 2 off the ground, in theaters, and making money, before he either promotes or destroys another great 80′s cartoon/toy icon.

  24. Rob, I grew up when this character was real hip. But I agree with you totally on your analysis. I didn’t like the Dolph Lundgren version and it only made me realize as I grew older that Masters of the Universe is a catch-22 situation: damned if you do a movie leaving it in its cartoonish style(unless kids are the only target audience-then it’s fine) and damned if you try to make it ‘more mature’ because the characters will then be way off mark -like Lundgren’s He-man proved.

    I say let it go IMO. Not every cartoon was meant to be adapted.

    • As much as we might not have ever wanted to admit it, most of those cartoons were just long commercials for toy lines. The previous attempts to cash in on them just showed how thin the ideas were at a point, and Hollywood’s current attempts are probably even more ill conceived.

  25. I rather see someone attempt 2 bring thundarr the barbarian 2 the silver screen than he-man.thundarr has more potential (IMO) 2 be a pretty good franchise if its done correctly. There’s kind of a mad Max/lords of the ring feel 2 the series,and I find it hard 2 believe that no one has attempted 2 try and bring this great character 2 the,box office.

    • Thundarr, now there’s a show I haven’t seen in ages. It was fairly primitive but entertaining and at the very least deserving of an updated animated series.

      I would also like to see the ’60′s “Herculoids” redone. Now THAT was a unique team. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NdcNw4gOFU

  26. I want a sequel. bring back Dolph and langella. i picture skeletor powerless and desperate atop snake mountain. maybe he uses the cosmic key to enter the land of dragons and steal granamyrs fire to burn down greyskull! Was Lubic made king at the end of the first one? That’s the impression I got. Maybe his years on eternia have been beneficial – he’s grown back his hair (and bear to look like randor)… If they gave him a son named Adam (who could take over as heman eventually) and a new baby girl adora that gets kidnapped at the end by hordak…they could tie in the cartoon universe with the live action if they wrote it right…or just reboot it lol I dunno…

  27. For any MOTU fans, you can pick up HE-MAN production animation cels on ebay dirt cheap. I’ve got a few. It’s just kinda cool to own a piece of real formative children’s TV history (If you are of the right generation).

    They are great if you like to collect stuff like that as modern animation no longer uses hand painted cels. They colour it all in a computer now, so the only physical part now is a pencil sketch.

  28. If they go full-fledged fantasy like the Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Willow, LOTR, the Narnia movies, Harry Potter franchise, etc. then this could become a very lucrative franchise. But if they follow the formula for 80′s Masters of the Universe or last year’s Smurf’s movie and bring the characters to our reality…it will fail once again.

  29. if they give masters of the universe a “lord of the rings” approach it could have the potetial to be very successful.