While the strict standards and practices of early-1980s kids television always kept him from being a truly menacing presence, He Man & The Masters of The Universe villain Skeletor remains one of the most iconic cartoon bad guys ever – that tends to happen when one is a nearly-naked blue and purple wizard with an inexplicable yellow skeleton face. Now, the arch-nemesis of He-Man and friends has sprung back to live-action life in a new ad campaign for the UK-based MoneySuperMarket financial services company.
The ad, which does not presently air in the U.S., features a live-action incarnation of Skeletor (looking closer to his animated and action-figure form than any previous official live-action rendering) seeming to brood around what appears at first to be Snake Mountain, only for voiceover to reveal that he’s actually thinking about having recently saved money using the service in question. This inspires him to step outside into what is revealed to actually be a small suburban neighborhood and begin dancing to the theme from Fame around the city, alternately confusing and delighting the locals. The spot also features cameos from his old enemy He-Man (who is shopping for groceries) and a kitten-sized version of Skeletor’s pet Panthor.
Originally created for Mattel’s Masters of The Universe toy line by either (to varying degrees and via conflicting accounts) Mark Taylor and Roger Sweet, Skeletor is an interdimensional alien sorcerer who is in some versions of the mythos also He-Man/Prince Adam’s long lost uncle. From his base of operations in Snake Mountain, he commands a crew of monster henchman and attempts to gain the power of Castle Grayskull and the Sword of Power – both of which are the source of the magical energies which empower his nemesis He-Man to become “the most powerful man in the universe.” He was previously portrayed by voice actor Alan Oppenheimer in the original series and by actor Frank Langella in the Masters of The Universe live-action movie in 1987. It is not immediately clear who portrays Skeletor in this ad campaign.
A new live-action version of the franchise, presumably set to also feature Skeletor in a prominent role, has been in development at Sony for several years, with multiple directors including Brett Ratner and John M. Chu having circled the project at various points and production having stalled out multiple times. Terminator Salvation director McG was most recently attached, having promised “full-bodied entertainment that respects the fan base” with nods to Game of Thrones and Guardians of The Galaxy.