‘He-Man: Masters of the Universe’ Reboot Script Update

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 7th, 2012 at 9:40 pm,

masters of the universe art He Man: Masters of the Universe Reboot Script Update

New information regarding the on-again/off-again He-Man movie reboot, Masters of the Universe, hasn’t exactly been flying at a whirlwind pace. In fact, the project has been in a serious state of flux over the past three years, as two directors were rumored to be attached – John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) and Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) – and the entire project moved from Warner Bros studios to Sony Entertainment.

Last year a Masters of the Universe script written by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li) was scrapped and writers Alex Livtak and Michael Finch (Predators) were brought on board by Sony to pen a new script. Writing a script for a massive project like this must take a really long time, because 15 months later, the pair still haven’t turned anything in for review.

However, in a recent interview with online magazine Crosswalk, Sony Vice President DeVon Franklin gave a quick update on the status of the He-Man script:

“One of other things I’m really excited about is we’re doing a reboot of the 1980s franchise Masters of the Universe. The He-Man franchise. Very excited about that. Should have that script very soon. I’m praying that we can start figuring out how we’re going to make it.”

Very soon” really isn’t a lot to go on, but producer Todd Black (Seven Pounds) told us to check back in one to six months and they should have an update by then. If it does indeed take Litvak and Finch close to 20 months to write a script, then fans of the He-Man franchise will expect nothing short of a Citizen Kane-type story.  Even though the film is based on a toy line, that doesn’t mean it can’t have a great story – and as we found out a couple of weeks ago with Green Lantern, a cohesive story is essential to any film, regardless of how pretty it looks onscreen.

With 130 episodes of He-Man cartoons, plus an additional 93 episodes of She-Ra cartoons to draw inspiration from, Litvak and Finch should have no trouble putting together a great story filled with lots of intriguing characters. To help them and Sony out a bit, here are a few things to include and not include in a Masters of the Universe reboot:

  • Don’t rely heavily on CGI for every single costume (ex: Green Lantern).
  • Don’t try to tell the entire history of every character in one sitting – stretch it out over multiple films so audiences can get to know and love each character.
  • Do include fan-favorite characters such as Man-At-Arms, Battle Cat, Mer-Man and Orko.
  • Do keep the entire movie set in Eternia – Audiences have seen the “fish out of water” story of bringing cartoon characters into the modern world too much (ex: the original Masters of the Universe movie, Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks)

Other than the writers, no one else is officially attached to the Masters of the Universe project (or Grayskull as it is tentatively called), but as we get closer to seeing a finished script we expect that to change.

What other tips would you give Sony regarding the making of Masters of the Universe?

Follow me on Twitter – @Walwus – and tell me who is your favorite He-Man character.

Source: Crosswalk, Image by Earl Norem

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  1. I agree, keep it in Eternia. Too many movies that roll out that old fish-out-of-water cliche resort to silliness.
    My favorite male character is probably Man-at-Arms, and they should include at least one female character… perhaps Teela.

    • Gerard Butler for Man-At-Arms.

      • I could see Butler in the role. They do need to get the casting right, or it will be really painful to watch. I think, as silly as Masters of the Universe is, they should do some serious casting. A knowing wink won’t hurt it, but I hope they don’t be too immature about it.

        • @(Poster Fromerly Known as) Michael, Yeah, It can be great, as long as they keep it in the mind of LOTR. Thor was a good example of how He-Man can be also. There’s an incredible similarity to Marvel’s Thor and He-Man. They both have an epic fantasy arc but they also have otherworldy technology BUT the HIGH TECH aspect of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is even deeper than Thor’s world. Masters of the Universe is a perfect FANTASY world of MAGIC, MYSTICISM and STRANGE TECHNOLOGY that would be awesome to depict on the big screen if done right.

  2. Yep, keep it in Eternia. I think it should almost have a lord of the rings feel.

  3. Well Ive always disliked the “silly sidekick” and the vegetable so I say no to Okra.

    • Orko, can be done right if he’s just a mysterious character that does magic. No silly one-liners or jokes from Orko. Maybe just one funny scene with Orko were he does a trick that back fires looking like it didn’t work but does in a funny way.

      • You are so underestimating the ability of producers or directors to understand the meaning of subtle.

        • I agree, and if Orko is included, he’ll be all those things that Blastaar doesn’t want him to be: a goofball sidekick that spouts one-liners and provides “comic relief.” He’ll be what Jar Jar Binks and C-3PO are to the Star Wars prequels.

          I know Hollywood just can’t resist that either.

      • I hope they don’t cast Orko like Lucas did to Jar Jar! LMAO

  4. Ok who wants to place bets that they find a way to include earth in the movie or manage to get an earthling into the storyline. Hollywood can’t help it, they seem to think they have to include some sort of anchor in the movie, as if people can’t understand that a story may not take place on earth.

    • Word. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adam himself wasn’t from Earth. I can see it now:
      Sorceress: We need a new hero. Someone brave and pure of heart.
      Man-At-Arms: But where would we find such a person?(nevermind the fact that Man-At-Arms could be that guy)
      Cut to:
      Adam,loner and outcast,is playing X-box while listening to his Ipod.

      • I thought that was weird of the first no adam and NO BATTLE CAT. I couldnt figure out it would of been awesome with BATTLE CAT.

      • Ren, actually you´re kinda right. Adam´s parents were from Earth, as well as a woman and a man. They were astronauts who originally stranded on Eternis. Adam´s parents were killed in the crash, while the woman and the man were transformed into Evil-Lyn and Beast Man. Adam was rescued by Man-At-Arms and was raised as a prince by the king and queen of Eternia. At least that´s what the original idea of Masters Of The Universe was.

        • I thought his mom was the one that crash landed? Just hope SHE-RA doesnt show up.

          • Prince Adam’s mother was an Earth astronaut that crashed on Eternia and married King Randor.

        • Which line of the He-Man are you talking about? The original or the newer one?

          • The original one.

            • Ah the cooler version of Battle Cat never understood why the redesigned him for the new show.

            • That may have been the original idea, but the ’80s show definitely had Marlena as the only member of the family from Earth.

              • they didnt include earth in Conan. i think they could do it easily.

                • Sorry Tank but you are kind of wrong, Conan takes place on Earth, R E Howard set the timeline for his events over 10 thousand years before the known civilizations of Earth rose. He theorized that Earth has had multiple epochs of civilization, with the First being Atlantis and it fell thousands of years before Conan was born.

        • Marlena was Earth-born. Randor was Eternian, born-and-bred.

    • If I were a betting man, I’d go all in on that.

      Whether it’s Thor, Transformers or Green Lantern, or countless other fantasy/sci-fi pictures over the decades, Hollywood executives HAVE TO HAVE Earth scenes and human characters… especially when the movie is catering to young moviegoers.

      If they do that with this He-Man movie, there’s no way in the world I’d ever watch it. I wouldn’t even rent it.

      • The reason they love to put these things in a modern day Earth is pretty clear, you can’t have product placement when something is based on another world/dimension. Well, you could but a Coke machine in the Shire is too big a leap even for Hollywood.

        • @Slayer, LOL!

        • Actually, for the three particular examples Michael used, there is a simple (and much more logical) reason for including Earth in the respective films:

          “Thor”…based on Norse mythology–a human concept (including how the gods interact with humanity on Midgard)

          “Transformers”…In the original show and comic series, the Autobots and Decepticons come to Earth, where they continue their millenia-long war. Humanity (or, at least SOME aspect of Earth) has to be included.

          “Green Lantern”…first, Alan Scott; later, Hal Jordan (and others after him)…While the Corps may be an alien organization, the stories that first came to readers about it (and, before that, the magic green ring from a meteorite) were DISTINCTLY told about humans and from a human/Earth perspective.

          “Masters of the Universe” does NOT have to be Earth-centric or even make any more than the merest mention of the planet or its solar system (and that ONLY if Queen Marlena’s past comes up). It takes place on Eternia, where ALL of the characters end up, at one point or another in one form or another (that and/or Etheria, if She-Ra and the Horde come into play).

          • So why did the first movie take place mostly on Earth and the ENTIRE story revolve around Courtney Coxs character?

            • …because the people who made the movie screwed up horribly. That was THAT PARTICULAR MOVIE. It, by no means, implies that the people making a new film NOW couldn’t fix the problems of that initial attempt. The two movies are completely different entities…hence, this one being a reboot.

    • Well, there should be ONE person from Earth: Queen Marlena…She was originally an astronaut who got swept into Eternian space while on an exploration mission. Otherwise, NO, they should not have any Earthers.

      I’m also hoping they not only use the mythos shown in the ’80s series but employ the deeper origin material appearing in the 2002 reboot, as well. the two series (plus “She-Ra”) would make for a much richer, much more epic story.

      Oh, and PLEEEEASE, no pink tunic/jacket on Prince Adam!!!

      • As long as they have SUPER BLUE villain Faker, I would put up with Adam’s pink tunic.

  5. And no Gweldore or however you spell it.

    • Gwylidor (sp?) was specifically created for the Dolph Lundgren movie, so we should fairly safe in that regard. :D

      • I always thought he was a dwildo.

  6. keep it in Eternia! Draw inspiration of Eternia from the recent Thor movie and base the fights on Lord of the rings/300 movies. if they draw from these 3 movies, this movie will be sick. do not follow the 80′s cartoon or Dolph lundren movie. stick to the original mythology as it will melange well with the ideals set in 300/tHOR/lORD OF THE rINGS. This movie can be done right and do not make it only appealing to kids so that the toyline can sell. my genration who grew up on He-man in elementary school who lovewd it then want to see Masters of the Universe done with Justice! although Frank Langella’s Skeletor and Evil-Lynn were the only perfect casting and characters from the 80′s movie!

    • LOL You can not imagine how long i waited on that sequal.

      • As long as they include a character that’s a giant sausage in a hat, I’m happy.

    • @LefraQ, You got it perfectly right. Those three movies 300,Thor and LOTR are the greatest templates for this movie to be done right. One example of a character that can be funny but equally badass is Gimli of LOTR. Orko is such an iconic part of Masters Of the Universe that it’d be wrong to leave him out again. As long as Orko is a badass that happens to be funny at times(almost unintentionally), he’d work.

    • Agreed. Langella’s Skeletor was the best thing about the original. I wouldn’t mind casting him again, although he is in his late 70′s. But I guess if they can make Ian McDiarmid hop around like a monkey on crack, they could do just about anything.

  7. this movie can be done right with all the 3d technology out now

  8. While I liked the first Masters of the Universe movie, I do agree, keep it in Eternia this time.

  9. What would be awesome is an EPIC looking Castle Grayskull!

  10. Courtney Cox for ‘that one girl’ LOL

  11. Prince Admam aka He-Man will probably have to be portrayed by an unknown surrounded by “some” well known supporting actors. Thor showed a good example of how that can work very well.

  12. I think the problem with the first movie is He-Man didnt look like he did on tv and no Battle Cat.

    • True, but the film won 5,000 points with me when they went with a mullet for He-Man…not that there’s anything wrong with the cartoon’s Prince Valiant hair. They’re both equally stupid and entertaining haircuts.

  13. I would like for them 2 go further back into the history of king grayskull,& the power sword,both sides. How the powers of king grayskull are passed down 2 his future descendants like Wun-dar when he saved a girl who turned out 2 be the goddess of eternia/the sorceress,& she bestowed upon him powers & technology. How more than 200 years later Randor how he becomes king of eternia,how he meets marlena who becomes queen marlena aka prince adam’s parents. How the sorceress reveals 2 prince adam that he is a blood descendant of king grayskull,& at the same time introduce the supporting characters,then how keldor becomes skeletor,etc. There is so much back story 2 go on that with the right personnel,director,writers,& studio they could really do some justice. then there’s the casting process. I would think gerard Butler to portray king randor. Just thinking about the possibilities of what they could do like they’ve done with captain america,how steve rogers transforms,imagine how they could handle the transformation when prince adam beholds the sword & says “I HAVE THE POWER!!!” with the techniques,vision,& creativity it could turn out 2 be dope as hell…

  14. Here are my Do and Don’t lists of what I’d like to see for a new “Masters of the Universe” movie:

    - Use characters we’ve never seen in a He-Man movie before. We need to see regular supporting characters like Man-at-Arms, Teela, Beast Man and Evil-Lyn for certain. But we also need to see other characters like Stratos, Ram Man, Sy-Klone, Trap-Jaw, Tri-Klops and Mer-Man make their feature film debut too.
    - Have the characters act like their counterparts and try to keep the characters’ looks as close to the original designs as possible. You can change a few things here and there, sure, but don’t go overboard and make the characters basically look unrecognizable from their counterparts.
    - Have a final battle that lasts longer than five minutes. Make it exciting, expensive and show us how tough He-Man and Skeletor can be in battle. Too many movies have the final battles be two-minutes or less and poorly handled.
    - Use Castle Grayskull AND Snake Mountain. Who WOULDN’T want to see Snake Mountain on film in live action for the first time?
    - Use practical special effects in addition to computer effects. Don’t tell me you can’t do puppetry for some scenes with Orko and Battle Cat in addition to C.G.I. Plus, too much C.G.I. in movies look so fake.
    - Make big, impressive real-world sets. Look at the throne room in “Thor”, now imagine what actual sets, NOT always blue screen/C.G.I. sets, can do for Eternia. The actors should be in as much awe of their surroundings as the audience.
    - Give us a stronger He-Man. He’s the most powerful man in the universe, for crying out loud. Have him show off feats of strength, show how smart and brave he can be against Skeletor’s forces, and do a “Batman Begins” approach by having He-Man as the central character rather than be upstaged by his equally interesting supporting cast and villains.
    - Give us a creepy Skeletor. Show us why the ruler of Snake Mountain is evil, though he should still retain some of the charm and characteristics of his animated counterpart. And keep Skeletor’s classic laugh. I love that.

    - Deviate from the source material too much. Change some things where necessary, but if you change it too much, the fans will freak out and your box office will suffer for it.
    - Have the characters go to Earth. We need to see them on ETERNIA. If I want to see He-Man on Earth, I’ll watch the 1987 movie.
    - Go the “X-Men” route and have mute, wasted henchmen with no personality and character development. See Sabretooth, Toad, Deathstryke and Juggernaut as perfect examples.
    - Make Beast-Man like he was in the 1987 movie. He looked horrible and he didn’t even speak!
    - Include too many characters. Whichever characters you use, give them good character development and don’t let them get lost in the shuffle. This should apply to its sequels, too.
    - Camp it up. This should appeal to both kids and adults and it should keep a good balance, but don’t try too make the tone too light, have a mediocre story, and make it an excuse to sell toys, a la “Batman & Robin”.
    - Lose the balance between drama and humor. If you make it too serious and make the movie too dark, you’ll lose some of the fun. Then again, don’t go overboard with the humor and turn it into a comedy.

    • @Stuart Green, I agree 100%

    • Um they did that not overly big but did show the throne room in Grayskull.

    • “and make it an excuse to sell toys” He-Man is a toy! :) I agree with every thing else though.

  15. I would love it if they included She-Ra…or if they gave her her own spin-off film. She’s actually a pretty strong character, and it would be neat to see her in live-action.

    • @Ubermensch, Well Guillermo Del Toro would be great for Marsters of The Universe and he’s the type of guy that I think that would be excited to be on board to do that even though his plate so full. Man At Arms is the weapons Master/General/Inventor, Gerard Butler is perfect.

      • Mel Gibson for King Randor.

    • Prefer guy that plays thor.

      • @pawn65, Yeah, the first person I thought of was Hemnsworth but that’s sort of lazy casting; the similarity between Thor and He-Man is too close even though He-Man is closer to Conan than Thor. Hemsorth as Thor AND He-Man, nah maybe Alexander Skarsgaard could be He-Man(if he bulked up,A LOT).

  16. I would be really excited to see the costume designs for this –

    He-Man: doubt we’d get the fur loin cloth & leather fetish gear
    Skeletor: Do we get the Skull? I mean a real, have to bluescreen out parts of a guys face, skull?
    Sorceress: Will she turn into a huge bird?
    Man-At-Arms: It’s all about the armor.
    Beast-Man: This one would be hard to mess up, but will he be Orange?

    Who else will be included? I want to see the art.

  17. Actually I think they should include some of the She-ra story line in a sequel. Besides we need to have more female “superheros.” Seriously
    Imagine Hordak and Skeletor as villains. Skeletor should be done creepy(ALA The Joker from the Dark Night). Battle cat was cool and should be in the movie but the thought of He-man riding on a cat doesn’t seem to feasible, nonetheless battle cat should be in. I think with the right script, direction, vision, and cast it could actually make a good movie.

    Speaking of cats how about doing a Thundercats movie too? And while we are at it Silverhawks as well.

  18. Yes, keep it in Eternia. Do get rid of all campy stuff frot he cartoon. DO make it a serious dark role and please for the love of god… get rid of Orko!!! lol

  19. Alex Pettyfer = Price Adam (make him slim)

    Chris Hemsworth (Or his Brother Liam) = He-Man

    …But you know Channing Tatum is coming.

    • @Kofi, Good call! I’d give it to Liam, Chris already has Thor.

    • You can’t cast a stripper as He-Man – do we need to start a “Channing Tatum should go back to the pole and leave our childhood movies alone” website?

    • Pettyfer is good, but Hemsworth is already Thor. I’d go with Armie Hammer.

  20. Orko? seriously? Friggin’ Orko?! C’mon, Paul… whatcha doin’ to me? There’s got to be some other way to provide the comic relief. And full disclosure I laughed a lot with Orko when I was a kid.

    Well wait, I take that back. It depends on what kind of movie this will be. If it’s a gritty, LOTR-meets-Avatar kind of deal, no, Orko does not fit. But if it’s a more kid-friendly deal, kinda like PERCY JACKSON…

    NO! Orko BAD! NO!

    • I think a darker Orko would be pretty cool. More of a mysterious trickster than a comic relief jester. Kind of like the Cheshire Cat. Popping up ever so often and throwing a wrench in things. Not the Orko we are used to but more like a Shade type character where you don’t really know quite where his allegiance lies.

      • @16bit, That’s what I’m saying, Orko is a must but people can’t get the comic relief aspect of him out of their heads. Think the sand “DJINN” from “Clash Of the Titans” or the those little thief creatures with the glowing eyes from “Star Wars” from Tatooine who actually looked like Orko a bit. He can be totally made to seem dark and actually be percieved that way at first until he turns out to be a good character. Think about it, ORKO ALREADY LOOKS LIKE A SPOOKY GHOST. All they have to do is play that aspect up but show the contrast of him actually being good. Imagination people, that’s all it takes.

        • I’d give Orko a strange sounding voice,make him originally speak a weird language but can also speak in Eternian(English)with an almost whispy voice but I’d keep him quiet for most of the movie only to say words here and there. He most deffinately can be made to work. Again think Gimli of LOTR; a total badass but still funny at times, same thing with Orko. The only thing is Orko would unintentionally make spells that back fire but some how work anyway.

    • Orko is actually supposed to be an extremely powerful, respected sorcerer from Trolla, sent to watch over Adam and help him. On Eternia, his magic often screws up because of interference from Eternia’s own inherent magical energies.

      It would be a very simple matter to lessen that backfire effect to make Orko a viable companion to to Adam and the other Masters…

    • I would rather see Orko than some made up pancake faced dwarf.

      “It tasted good…”

      Stupid Gwildor

      • LOL

  21. I’m watching She-Ra on Netflix for no discernible reason.

    • Hmmm, She-Ra, as a boy I purposely ignored She-Ra as clearly an inferior character to He-Man, however, her villains were purchased for me when they were confused for He-Man villains.

      I had Mantenna, Grizzlor, Hordak, & Leech (Who totally did NOT suction cup to anything – well at least not for long).

      I think her villains were neat, Grizzlor was a bit too Beast Man & Hordak too Skeletor but Mantenna & Leech were good designs.

  22. If Star Wars can be successful without “Earth” then I don’t see why basing it completely on Eternia is such a hard thing for Hollywood to accept.

  23. How can you reboot something that originally had no substance? Would this not be ‘He-Man finally gets an honest to god plot after 30 years’?

    • In all honesty pretty much all of the cartoon’s from the 80′s they are “re-booting” nowadays were nothing more then extended commercials for whatever toy line they were connected to. G.I. Joe and Transformers had a bit more depth behind them due to having popular comic book runs but, Masters of the Universe while recognizable never had a back-story that was widely known even when it was popular.

  24. @Ren…That kinda sounds like old school Captain N LOL

  25. Stop hating on the original movie. It is great.

  26. we need a voltron movie……