Nowadays, the enduring popularity of the Transformers franchise looms large over every other 1980s toy/cartoon property. However, there was a moment where not even Optimus Prime and company could touch the cultural ubiquity of Mattel’s Masters of The Universe line. The sci-fi/sword-and-sorcery mashup was massive enough to spawn three animated series (including the spinoff TV show She-Ra: Princess of Power) and a live-action feature film (starring Dolph Lundgren), decades before that was common practice.
Sony Pictures been angling to revive the Masters of the Universe property on the big screen for years now, with filmmaker Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Now You See Me 2) being attached to direct at one point – before McG was recruited to call the shots, instead. McG has now offered an update on the production’s status; including, his overall approach to bringing He-Man back to the big screen.
Speaking to IGN on the subject of Masters of the Universe, the Charlie’s Angels and Terminator Salvation director was asked about reports that Twilight alum Kellan Lutz is up for the lead role of Prince Adam – who becomes musclebound warrior He-Man through the powers of a magic sword. According to McG:
“We haven’t cast the role yet, but I like Kellan very much. Obviously, we need a talented entertainer, but we also need a certain physicality, which he embodies. He’ll be considered very, very closely. We haven’t gotten to the casting process yet. Kellan’s a good guy, and we had a great meeting, and he’s passionate about He-Man, he’s passionate about the Adam story. He really knows a lot about it. I was charmed by his focus and intensity. He’ll be considered very, very carefully. We’re just not there yet. We’ve got to get the movie on its feet, then we’ll cast the movie.”
Originally created by Mattel as a toy brand that could bring multiple different types of characters and toy concepts under a single umbrella, Masters of The Universe utimately grew beyond its barbarian/high-fantasy original aesthetic into a franchise that included everything from aliens and robots to dinosaurs and spaceships – often making live-action adaptation seem a daunting task. However, McG has cited recent success stories like HBO’s Game of Thrones and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as influences on how to get it right:
“I think we want to honor the fan base, first and foremost. We also need to be cognizant of the incredible resonance of what Kevin Feige is doing with Marvel, and the balance of full-bodied entertainment. That it’s both credible and emotional, action-packed, and the story of a hero’s journey. It’s the genesis of He-Man, it’s the becoming of He-Man. We want it to be clicking on all cylinders in that regard. We’re not going to stop until we get it right. Listen, I love that movie with Frank [Langella] and Dolph [Lundgren]. I watch it, and it’s a tremendous pleasure for me to watch. I’m raised on the toys, and I’m down at Mattel all the time. We’re just really focused on getting it right. I want it to be full-bodied entertainment that respects the fan base, and is more emotional than you might imagine, inventive and original. Obviously, we’re all cognizant of what’s going on with Game of Thrones. It’s incredible. We’re cognizant of what’s going on in Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn’s doing a great job. We’re going to try to answer the call and take it higher. How’s that sound?”
While the project obviously still sounds awhile away from fully taking shape, skeptical fans will no doubt be pleased to hear the filmmaker name-check popular characters such as Skeletor, Evil-Lyn and Battle Cat as likely presences in the feature; along with the potential to visit worlds beyond He-Man’s home planet of Eternia and even a “mention” of Earth. Traditionally, He-Man’s mother is a human astronaut who is stranded on Eternia during a mission.
We’ll bring you more details on Masters of the Universe as they become available.