He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 TV series)
|He-Man and the Masters of the Universe|
Sword and sorcery
|Created by||Donald F. Glut|
|Developed by||Roger Sweet|
|Voices of||Cam Clarke
Lisa Ann Beley
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||39 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Bill Schultz|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||Cartoon Network|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||August 16, 2002– January 10, 2004|
|Related shows||He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
She-Ra: Princess of Power
The New Adventures of He-Man
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an American animated television series. Developed for television by Michael Halperin, who created the original series, it was animated by Mike Young Productions. It served as an update of the 1980s series of the same name, produced to coincide with Mattel's revival of the Masters of the Universe franchise eleven years after its previous attempt. The series made its premiere on Cartoon Network's Toonami on August 16, 2002.
Unlike the previous He-Man series, set on the futuristic planet of Primus, this version sought to return to the roots of the storyline and provide broader explorations never reached in the first series, including origins for each character, and some first time animated debuts of familiar toyline faces. The series also brought back several writers from the original series, such as Larry DiTillio.
The remake is noted for the many similarities it shares with the original. For example, it has an homage intro to the 1980s version's intro speech but in this version, Prince Adam is interrupted by an explosion and invasion by Skeletor and his henchmen. Prince Adam transforms into He-Man when he says "By the power of Grayskull... I have the power!" (later episodes feature a chorus singing He-Man's name during the scene change). It also features "scene change" sequences, but only the one involving the Sword of Power was taken from the Filmation series; all the others were created for this series, and the sequences occur less frequently than on the previous series.
Eternia has seen the end of tyranny and evil. Its community lives in peace, safe in the knowledge that its greatest threats are trapped behind the great barrier in the badlands near Snake Mountain. But little do they suspect of the danger to awaken, for Skeletor has broken through the barrier at last, and hopes to spread his bane once more, beginning with the capture of King Randor. Their liberation is detected within Castle Grayskull The Sorceress, who informs Man-At-Arms, captain of the guards within Randor's kingdom and a trustworthy ally, that the time has come for destiny to be fulfilled. Prince Adam, a spoiled, almost carefree future heir to the throne of his father, Randor, is trained daily by the unrelenting Teela, his best friend. Adam is approached by Teela's father, Man-At-Arms, who takes Adam to Castle Grayskull. There, Adam learns from the Sorceress of an approaching evil and his role in defending the kingdom as the warrior He-Man. Adam, of course, instantly rebuffs the responsibility and returns to the palace, where he finds that Skeletor's forces have captured his father. Adam, Man-At-Arms, and Teela pursue Randor's kidnappers into the forests, where they are ambushed. Adam is covered by Man-At-Arms as he returns to Grayskull, followed by his pet tiger Cringer, and the court magician Orko. His flight through the forest infuriates Teela, who only sees a coward leaving the scene of battle. Adam accepts his destiny, and is granted the Sword of Power, which he uses to become He-Man. With Cringer transforming into Battle Cat, a strong and brave method of transport and assistance, He-Man returns to the scene of battle and rescues his father from Skeletor. Over the course of the first season, Randor's armies of defense expand, some convinced to fight through encounters with He-Man. The Sorceress stands revealed as the mother of Teela. Teela's ultimate destiny as the successor to the mantle of The Sorceress manifests in small doses physically and mentally, often causing her pain or general befuddlement at what these abilities are and what they mean for the future. Skeletor becomes aware of Grayskull's power when he attacks it, prompting him to spend much of the season attempting to enter it. Hints are made as to the fate of Skeletor's mentor, Hordak, and the future main adversaries of the second season, The Snake Men. Much like the original series, selling toys was a key goal of this series, and He-Man and Skeletor would don variations of their costumes or different ones entirely whenever they were briefly "empowered" with an ancient relic or new technology. The first season ends on a cliffhanger in which Skeletor unites several of the other adversaries fought by the Masters into a grand council of evil. He captures most of the Masters, forcing He-Man and Teela to enter Snake Mountain. Adam becomes separated from his sword, and is soon forced to protect Castle Grayskull from Skeletor without it.
After the events of the season one cliffhanger such as Orko returning the sword to Adam and the Masters rescued, the Snake Men took center stage as the main adversaries, having been hinted at in the first season as being trapped beneath Snake Mountain (the place being their former stronghold, hence the name and reason for its existence) inside a void. They are finally being liberated by allies existing outside of the void, as well as a treacherous Evil-Lyn. Adam is informed of their rising by The Sorceress, and finds his He-Man armor completely different upon transformation, designed to fight the Snake Men, led by King Hiss. Skeletor would still appear from time to time, but would be gradually phased out, although had the series continued, he would have returned to his status as a major player. This season was shorter than the first, and as a result, more serialized, with certain episodes following one from another. Characters were strongly developed, and old characters reintroduced, including Fisto, who was Man-At-Arms' brother and a disgraced soldier of the court who went AWOL during the last great war. The third episode of this season "Out of the Past", also told the tale of how the Sorceress, on a granted leave from her duties, nursed an amnesia-stricken soldier back to health and fell in love with him. The soldier left mysteriously before she gave birth, and therefore his identity remains a mystery, and it is debated whether or not Man-At-Arms or Fisto were the ones involved, or somebody else entirely. The secret origins of Evil Lyn, Skeletor, Snake Mountain, and the power of Castle Grayskull itself, were also revealed.
In a Q&A session with the members of He-Man.Org, Ian Richter of Mattel, who was behind many of the storylines of the cartoon, revealed some details on what had been planned for the show. Had the series continued, the second half of season 2 was planned to have featured King Hiss being regenerated after his capture by the Masters, and a final showdown between himself and Skeletor, of which Skeletor would have emerged the victor. Skeletor was then to have used Man-At-Arm's creation, Faker, to trick the Eternians into thinking He-Man had turned against them, thus enabling him to overthrow Randor and conquer the kingdom for himself. Teela would not have believed it because she would have known He-Man was innocent. The third season would have involved the takeover of Eternia by Hordak and the Evil Horde, who would have been released from their prison by Evil-Lyn and overthrown Skeletor, thus spreading mayhem across Eternia, effectively making He-Man and the Masters wanted fugitives.. Apparently the intention was for Skeletor, who owed his very life to Hordak, to have finally gained the power to overcome his mentor by the end of the season. At some point, Man-At-Arms was to have been captured and turned temporarily into a Snake Man (how long this change would have lasted has been confirmed), King Randor and his Queen were to go on vacation for the next eight months for safety. The Council of Evil would get more villains such as Spikor, Draego-Man and Shadow Wing, according to Ian Richter, 'when the time was right' in this season. He-Man would not have needed his Snake man armor any more once the snake men had gone. 
To coincide with the release of the series, a He-Man comic was created by MV Creations. Three separate series were released between 2002–2004: two mini-series, a short-lived ongoing series and a handful of one-shots were published. Some of these were collected into trade paperback graphic novels. The tone and maturity of the comic was slightly different from the cartoon, as the writers hoped to appeal to the older demographic purchasing the comic. The comic ultimately came to a close when Mattel began to end the licensing program for the Masters of the Universe relaunch. The comics were published by Image Comics, then MV Creations themselves (through Crossgen Comics), before eventually going back to Image Comics.
- Mark Acheson - Fisto, Chadzar
- Kathleen Barr - Evil-Lyn
- Lisa Ann Beley - Teela
- Don Brown - Evilseed
- Gary Chalk - Duncan/Man-At-Arms, Whiplash
- Cam Clarke - Prince Adam/He-Man
- Brian Dobson - Skeletor/Keldor, Buzz-Off, Webstor, King Hiss, Sssqueeze, Ceratus
- Paul Dobson - Man-E-Faces, Snake Face, Trap-Jaw, Tri-Klops, Chief Carnivus
- Michael Donovan - King Randor, Count Marzo, Roboto, Hordak (1st Time), Tung Lashor
- Brian Drummond - Odiphus/Stinkor, Tuvar (Two of Two-Bad), Belzar
- Mark Gibbon - Baddhra (Bad of Two-Bad)
- Christopher Judge - Zodak
- Gabe Khouth - Mekaneck, Orko
- Scott McNeil - Beast Man, Clawful, Mer-Man, Ram-Man, Stratos, Kobra Khan, Galix
- Colin Murdock - Hordak (2nd Time)
- Richard Newman - General Rattlor, Lord Dactys, The Faceless One, Azdar
- Nicole Oliver - Queen Marlena, The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull
- John Payne - Sy-Klone, Moss Man
- Jay Brazeau - Vormus
- David A. Kaye - Young Prince Adam
- Campbell Lane - Kulatuk Priest
- Blu Mankuma - Dekker
- French Tickner - Sortech
- Michael Donovan - Voice Director
BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Entertainment Rights) released the entire series on DVD in Region 1, for the very first time, in three volume sets in 2008. Each volume contained an extensive array of special features including Documentaries, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, end of episode morals, photo galleries and more. In December 2008, BCI Eclipse ceased operations, as a result all releases are now out of print.
In June 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and subsequently released He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - The Complete Series, a 4-disc box set featuring all 39 episodes of the series on DVD in Region 1 on September 29, 2009. They also released a 10-episode single disc best of DVD on the same day.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary He-Man and the Masters of the Universe brand, Mill Creek Entertainment will release the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD in December 2012. The 22-disc will feature the all 130 episodes of the 1983 series, 20 fan-favorite episodes of the 1990 series, as well as all 39 episodes of the 2002 series.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Region 1||Additional Information|
|He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series||39||September 29, 2009||
- "HE-MAN returns to TV on Cartoon Network". mania.com. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- Solomon, Charles (2002-12-22). "Can't keep He-Man down; Once viewed by children's advocates as toy makers' shill, the cartoon hero is back, minus controversy". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series (2002) DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- Owen, Rob (2002-08-16). "On the Tube: Cartoon Network brings He-Man, the Masters back for 20th anniversary". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
- Mowatt, Raoul V (2002-08-16). "Improved `He-Man' series heads to Cartoon Network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
- "Masters of the Universe 2002": The Power Returns, In Style". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- "MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Comic Book". mania.com. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Site News - PRESS RELEASE: Navarre Shuts Down BCI, Makers of He-Man, Day Break, Price is Right and other DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - ReUse of BCI Box Art for Mill Creek's Releases on He-Man, Day Break & Ultraman". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Lambert, David (September 19, 2012). "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - 1983, 1990 and 2002 Shows Together for ' 30th Anniversary' DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at the Internet Movie Database
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at TV.com