||This article possibly contains original research. (August 2009)|
Notable Former Members:
Force Captain Adora; later became She-Ra and turned against the Horde
The Evil Horde, more frequently referred to as the Horde, is a group of fictional characters featured in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoons, comics and toys. The Horde was introduced to the Masters of the Universe toyline in 1985, but since Filmation was moving on to She-Ra's series, it was decided to make the Horde the lead villains in the new series.
Unlike the cartoon's portrayal of a galactic empire in which Hordak is subordinate to the mysterious Horde Prime, the Evil Horde was initially presented as a seemingly small group of formidable creatures of whom Hordak was clearly implied to be the supreme leader. Far less explicitly technological, the initial toys and minicomics depicting the Horde indicated a more mystical background, similar to Skeletor and his Evil Warriors. Indeed, the later cartoon's version of Hordak as Skeletor's former mentor in spite of an apparently inferior command of magic (generally delegating mystical tasks to Shadow Weaver, although it should be said that Hordak's own "technological" abilities were quite likely magical in origin) makes much more sense in this original minicomic's equivalent of the same mentorship. Here, Hordak is shown to be a sorcerer of equal or greater power than Skeletor, who is just as interested in plundering the mystical treasures of Castle Grayskull as his former pupil.
As originally depicted (and manufactured as a playset), the Horde's base of operations the Fright Zone was an ancient cave-like fort rather than a sprawling tecnolopolis. Technological elements only began to appear in later waves of Horde toys, and their accompanying minicomics depicted further discontinuities with the animated series, such as showing the legions of Horde Trooper robots as a new invention (manufactured on Eternia, no less, unlike the cartoon versions which invaded Eternia two decades ago), as well as the introduction of later cybernetic characters such as Dragstor, Mosquitor and Mantisaur. Nevertheless, Hordak's primary interest remained in magic and his place as supreme leader of the Horde remained unaltered even in the last minicomics which involved the return of the ancient structure known as The Three Towers of Eternia, something he indicated having helped to build, suggesting either time travel or near immortality on Hordak's part.
1980s cartoon Horde
In the cartoons, the Evil Horde is a vast, interstellar empire bent on the domination of various worlds across the universe. The centre of the empire is called Hordeworld. The Horde was summoned to Eternia by Morgoth, a giant wizard once imprisoned by the Ancients. The Horde sent a scout ship to Eternia and its crew aided Morgoth in taking control of a few towns and villages. One of these was the home of Teela'Na. To defeat the Horde, Teela'Na was told by an old man about Castle Grayskull. Teela'Na sought Castle Grayskull and became the new Sorceress in order to defeat Morgoth and the Horde. She managed to do so, but was trapped in her position for the rest of her life (At this point, the members of the Horde are unnamed, but their distinctive bat insignia clearly designates them as such).
The Horde scout ship apparently managed to send a message to the Evil Horde's ultimate leader, Horde Prime, because soon, the vile Hordak and his Horde Troopers arrived in full force. While Hordak waged his war against Eternia and the city of Eternos, he took Skeletor under his wing, teaching him what he knew of dark magic. In time, the Royal Soldiers of Eternos and the magic of Castle Grayskull defeated Hordak. However, learning that King Randor and Queen Marlena's twin children both have a special destiny, Hordak and Skeletor kidnapped them. A young Man-At-Arms and Queen Marlena were able to halt the kidnapping of Prince Adam, but Princess Adora was captured. Skeletor, however, was captured by the guards. He then revealed the secret location of the Horde's lair: Snake Mountain.
Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress went to Snake Mountain, but were too late. Hordak had escaped with Princess Adora. Both were then seen on the planet of Etheria. Hordak and his minions captured many kingdoms, the last of which to fall was the kingdom of Bright Moon.
The She-Ra series is largely dedicated to the struggle of the Etherian rebels against the occupying force of the Horde. In each episode, Hordak has a new dastardly scheme to either destroy The Great Rebellion or make life worse for Etherians.
Each scheme meets its demise at She-Ra's hand. The comics largely follow this overall story as well, though where the cartoon Hordak has abandoned plans to invade Eternia, save for a few occasions, in the comics he still tries. Sometimes he works with, and sometimes against, Skeletor.
The Horde has bases planet-wide though its main headquarters is Doom Tower located at the centre of the Fright Zone. The Horde possesses vast resources and has a great deal of highly sophisticated technology.
21st century cartoon Horde
The Horde portrayed in the MYP He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon has much more mysterious characters. The Horde had been a menace on Eternia long before the modern day. Hordak had been the nemesis of King Grayskull. He was also an enemy of King Hiss and defeated his army of Snake Men before putting his sight back on destroying King Grayskull. Upon its final defeat the Horde was sentenced to exile in the timeless dimension of Despondos. While imprisoned, Hordak became more demonic and his power and advice could be channeled through sorcery. By invoking Hordak, Skeletor is able to cast a spell to replace his head with the familiar floating skull. When Skeletor betrays Hordak years later by refusing to release him, Evil-Lyn and Count Marzo step up to the task. However, just as Hordak is about to emerge from Despondos, He-Man stops the spell.
Horde Prime is the ruler of the intergalactic Evil Horde. He is only seen surrounded by green smoke. His true form has never been seen. A metallic arm comes out of the cloud of smoke when he is outraged or angered. Horde Prime has a son named Prince Zed who calls Hordak his uncle. This suggests that Horde Prime may have once looked like Hordak before his transformation. He is voiced in the series by Lou Scheimer.
The relationship between Horde Prime and Hordak
In the mythology of She-Ra, Horde Prime is the only being with authority over Hordak as well as his Horde inspectors, for he is the intergalactic ruler of the Horde Empire, with control over all Horde regimes. He apparently hails from a world known as Horde World although his exact background has never been revealed. All that has ever been seen of Horde Prime is a gigantic skeletal robotic arm, which suggests he may be some sort of cyborg. He is also said to have two heads. He travels the universe in his ship, the Velvet Glove, keeping watch over the Horde's universal activities. It has been speculated, but never confirmed, that Horde Prime may be Hordak's brother.
The main reason for this comes from the episode "The Peril of Whispering Woods", the first She-Ra episode to allude to Horde Prime. In this episode we see Horde Prime's son, Prince Zed, who addresses Hordak as 'uncle'. This could suggest that Prime is Hordak's brother, but it is also possible that Zed only called him 'uncle' as a friendly term, or he is on Zed's mother's side. However a letter from this episode said "your nephew" stating that Hordak is his uncle but we don't know on which side. How Prince Zed is Horde Prime's son still remains to be seen.
Two UK She-Ra annuals in the mid-1980s state that Hordak is Prime's brother, but these operate within a canon independent of the cartoon and also got Horde Prime's name wrong, referring to him as 'Prime Horde'. The UK He-Man comics state explicitly in one issue that Horde Prime is not Hordak's brother, but again these operate within an independent canon and drew Prime with a completely different appearance from the cartoon.
It has not yet been confirmed whether or not Filmation's writers conceived Prime as Hordak's brother. However, he is referred to as such in the Character Profiles in Disc 6 of the She-Ra Season One DVD set.
Masters of the Universe Classics Hordak's bio describes Hordak as the "second heir of the Horde Empire." This may be referring to Horde Prime. In the MOTUC He-Ro bio, Horde Supreme is referenced. Upon the eventual release of the Horde Prime figure, the figure literally was packaged with two heads (as implied in the Filmation cartoon). One head resembling Hordak, (only in red, with more even more menacing, aged features). The other alternative head, as Horde Prime was depicted in the U.K. comics, (helmeted, with antennae). Perhaps this is suggesting that there has been - or still are - two Horde Primes, or introducing yet another hierarchy to Evil Horde chain-of-command, to the level of Horde Supreme.
Horde Prime's dual heads
In the episode For the Want Of A Horse, Grizzlor states that Horde Prime should get matching bowties for each head. Shadow Weaver somewhat later confirms, in that same episode, that Horde Prime indeed is dual-headed; when asked by Hordak as to what would be a suitable gift for someone who already possesses two of everything. Hordak grants further confirmation by expressing his dismay at being reminded of that fact. How both heads work as one mind still remains to be seen.
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