Netflix has shown (through an exclusive of ‘Entertainment Weekly’) the first images of its series based on ‘Masters of the Universe’, the mythical toy franchise of the eighties that has survived until today thanks to the inexhaustible nostalgia for that decade. Although more limp than its neighbors on the shelves, the Ninja Turtles (also with a future movie distributed by Netflix in the pipeline), and although far from the times of mainstream glory, its halo of popularity has not been completely extinguished.
Perhaps it is the iconic nature of their characters and how absolutely massified they were in the eighties thanks to the dozens of action figures that made up their catalog and the omnipresence of the Filmation TV series. Perhaps it is because the Cannon film, after years of ignonimy, is experiencing a fair revaluation as a cult film. Perhaps it is because the re-release of the classic dolls in packaging that imitates the classic cartons and affordable prices has rescued them from oblivion.
One way or another, the Netflix animated series written by Kevin Smith that will arrive next July 23 is arousing considerable expectation, and not for less after the success, also on Netflix, of the great ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’. But unlike that one (and another He-Man series in the pipeline, computer-animated and aimed at the younger set), this new ‘Masters of the Universe: Revelation’ from Kevin Smith is designed with fans of the 1980s series in mind.
The images and Kevin Smith’s statements make Netflix’s position clear: nostalgia is a very delicate thing (the reactions of the most fundamentalist fans to the riskiness of the design of the wonderful new ‘Thundercats’ series is good proof of this), but also very profitable. Powerhouse Animation (‘Castlevania’) have been in charge of reformulating designs and plots, looking for a balance between memories and novelty.
The series will be divided into two parts of five episodes each and Smith is not the only big name that has participated in the series: Mark Hamill voices Skeletor, Lena Headey (‘Game of Thrones’) is Evil-Lyn, Sarah-Michelle Gellar is Teela, Alicia Silverstone is Queen Marlena, and Kevin Conroy, the usual voice of Batman, is Merman. A veritable star-studded catalog that largely respects classic designs and storyline (Prince Adam becomes the heroic He-Man when he carries the Sword of Power and bellows that “I have the power”).
The series will pick up where the original ended (technically it’s a sequel to that one), and it knows what keys to play. For example, virtually every creature from the original toy line’s catalog of hyper-muscled enemies will have their place: Man-At-Arms, Orko, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops (voiced by Henry Rollins!), the Sorceress, Stinkor, Scare Glow, Beast Man and many others. Some of them have been adapted to the new times, but in general the respect to the original designs is considerable, with an air more than close to a previous reboot: the modernization that the characters experienced in 2002.