|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (May 2013)|
|Masters of the Universe character|
|Nickname(s)||The Most Powerful Man in the Universe|
|Family||King Miro (grandfather)
King Randor (father)
Queen Marlena (mother)
Princess Adora/She-Ra (twin sister)
He-Man is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Masters of the Universe franchise. In most variations, he is the alter ego of Prince Adam. He-Man and his friends defend the realm of Eternia and the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor.
In 1976, Mattel's CEO Ray Wagner declined the deal to produce a toyline of action figures based on the characters from the George Lucas film Star Wars, due to the $750,000 license required upfront.[note 1] Following the commercial success of the film trilogy and its related merchandise during the next few years, Mattel launched several unsuccessful toylines; none captured the public's imagination, or impacted the toy market.[note 2]
In the race to design the next hit action figure, Roger Sweet (a lead designer working for Mattel's Preliminary Design Department during much of the 1970s and 1980s) realized that simplicity was the key to success. According to his 2005 book Mastering the Universe: He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion-Dollar Idea, Sweet knew that if he gave marketing something it could sell, he had won 90 percent of the battle.[note 3]
The only way I was going to have a chance to sell this [to Wagner] was to make three 3D models - big ones. I glued a Big Jim figure [from another Mattel toy line] into a battle action pose and I added a lot of clay to his body. I then had plaster casts made. These three prototypes, which I presented in late 1980, brought He-Man into existence. I simply explained that this was a powerful figure that could be taken anywhere and dropped into any context because he had a generic name: He-Man!"[note 4]——Roger Sweet
During the 1980s, rumors claimed that Conan the Barbarian was a source of inspiration for the He-Man character. According to this rumor, Mattel had a licensing agreement to make the Conan action figures associated with the 1982 film of the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, such an idea had to be modified in order to avoid objections from parents concerned that a toyline for children was promoting a film containing nudity and violence. In addition, brown-haired prototype versions of the He-Man action figure (bearing a strong resemblance to the Conan character created by Robert E. Howard) were produced and given away by Wonder Bread as a promotion through a mail-in offer. Later he became to be known by collectors as Won-Dar - a rare MOTU collectors' item to this day.
Sweet refuted the rumor, saying that he conceptualized and developed the He-Man/Masters of the Universe franchise in late 1980 (two years before the release of the Universal Pictures film). The toyline existed prior to the movie, beginning production in 1981 and marketing in 1982. At that time Mattel did not have a license with Universal to make toys for the film, which resulted in Conan Properties suing Mattel over copyright infringement, due to He-Man's similarities to Conan.
Further, Sweet was influenced by the superbly beautiful art of the Frazetta illustrations and by the descriptive power of the Conan books. But, concerning the content of those illustrations and the Conan books, Sweet only was influenced by the Barbarian Fantasy theme as one of several possible themes ultimately that could be applied in combination to his highly generic He-Man concept. This is highly visually apparent in Sweet’s He-Man Trio, which consists of three He-Man characters, each in a very different theme outfit – one low technology, ancient Barbarian; one high technology, futuristic military ala Star Wars enhanced; and one current technology, military ala G. I. Joe enhanced. However, Sweet was definitely not influenced by the Frazetta Barbarian characters’ physiques, by the Conan books, or by the Conan comics, all of which were of characters of relatively average athletic mass and musculature. In his He-Man origination, Sweet sought a character that was infinitely much more physically massive and muscular - also highly apparent in Sweet’s He-Man Trio. In addition, Sweet certainly was not influenced by the Conan name. This name is weak as a male action figure or heroic figure name because it describes nothing strong. In fact, it describes nothing. And in actuality, it is the name of a Scottish author, Arthur Conan Doyle, who was the creator of the relatively comparatively physically wimpy and frumpy Sherlock Holmes character. In contrast, when the “He-Man” name is heard, it instantly and stunningly describes a greatly physically powerful, heroic man. And that name is a big reason why the He-Man / Masters franchise was such a huge success in competition with literally hundreds of other male action figures and heroic characters through history.
From the lawsuit of CPI vs. Mattel:
In 1980, CPI, through its agent, Conan Licensing Company ("CLC"), began negotiations with Mattel regarding the possible licensing to Mattel of certain toy rights in CONAN. During this time, Mattel received a substantial quantity of material on the CONAN character. On July 31, 1981, CPI and Mattel executed a License Agreement whereby Mattel was granted "the right to make and sell certain plastic action figures of CONAN and ancillary characters as depicted in the CONAN movie." Amended Complaint, para. 12. The Agreement provided, however, "that nothing in the License should be construed as an assignment or grant to Mattel of any right, title or interest in or to CONAN, and that all rights relating thereto were reserved by CPI (except only for the licensee to use the property as specifically agreed to)." Amended Complaint, para. 14. It was also agreed that, after the termination of the License Agreement, Mattel would not make or sell any CONAN toys.
In January 1982, Mattel requested that the License Agreement be terminated. On April 14, 1982, CPI and Mattel entered into a termination agreement which provided that "all materials created and or developed by Mattel for use in connection with products under the CONAN License" would be delivered to CPI's agent, CPC, which would have "the exclusive right to use such material." Amended Complaint, para. 17.In February 1982, Mattel introduced a fantasy character, "He-Man," as part of its new "Masters of the Universe" toy line of action figures. Since that time, Mattel has also featured He-Man and the other Masters of the Universe characters in, inter alia, a television series, comic books, and video tapes. Thereafter, CPI commenced this action asserting that these figures are copies of CONAN, were created under the License, and are CPI's property. Amended Complaint, paras. 20, 21.
Mattel won the lawsuit against Conan Properties, retaining the rights over He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Originally, He-Man was presented to Mattel executives not as drawings and wax models but in the form of the He-Man Trio: three three-dimensional prototype models depicting He-Man as a barbarian, a soldier and a spaceman. Out of the three concepts, the barbarian version was chosen to be the basis of the toyline. Considering that the Conan character was created almost 50 years before the development of the He-Man franchise, it is possible that the Masters of the Universe borrowed many aspects from Conan; however, it was not intended to be a toyline for the film after legal agreements were dissolved. Additionally, Roger Sweet has claimed also to have been "real impressed" by the paintings of fantasy artist Frank Frazetta when creating He-Man. Expanding further on the barbarian theme, Mattel hired comic-book writers and artists such as Donald F. Glut and Earl Norem to create additional characters (and their back stories), posters, package inlays, box art and mini-comics for distribution with the action figures.
Of the three original He-Man Trio prototype models, the barbarian themed He-Man was black haired with a deeply tanned eastern European or Middle Eastern appearance. His helmet had no horns. Later, at the direction of Tom Kalinske, then in Mattel's upper management, He-Man was made more clean-cut and changed to a blond... Plus, He-Man's skin was lightened, though definitely still tanned.
The concept of He-Man originated by Roger Sweet in the form of the He-Man Trio was first presented by Sweet to Mattel upper management at a Product Conference in mid-December, 1980. The He-Man Trio consisted of three prototype plaster models, which had some painted formed sheet wax outfit parts. There was no He-Man male action concept in any form before Sweet originated the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio. The He-Man Trio originated / brought into existence the following attributes:
1. The super powerful "He-Man" name as a male action figure that instantly communicates exceptionally great physical strength, size, and power.
2. The highly generic / open-ended "He-Man" name as a male action figure that enables the He-Man male action line to accept practically any theme, time period, degree of technology, situation, etc., and combine them all into one highly generic and versatile line.
3. The immensely physically powerful and massive He-Man physique with the 2 - to - 1 body proportion. This means that the He-Man figure is 2 times as tall as he is wide across the shoulders.
4. The battle action stance. This is unlike the relaxed, static poses, or distorted positions found in other competitive action figures of the time. Further, in a production He-Man type male action figure, it would have pose-able legs. And the battle action stance would also allow the legs to be posed in a running position, or a sitting position.
5. The battle action waist. This spring-loaded feature enables He-Man to power punch and throw weapons and other objects - such as small, puny Star Wars and G. I. Joe figures. When Sweet was originating the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio, he reached a point where he had conceived a tremendously physically powerful male action figure in a dynamic and powerful Battle Action Stance. But based on his past Mattel toy experience, Sweet knew that a figure’s strong action appearance was not enough to sell the He-Man concept to Mattel upper management. The figure also needed a strong, direct, yet simple, action feature. So Sweet originated the idea that a spring-loaded, swivel-waist power punch and weapon swing would be the terrific addition needed. And this single feature could be added to an entire line of male action figures. This swivel-waist action feature is described in two Mattel documents that Sweet originated before Sweet originated the He-Man Trio: (1.) Mattel Project Budget No. R333, Title: Space / Monster Fantasy Figures, Date: 9 / 21 / 80, Idea by: Roger H Sweet. It has the quote: “Each figure will utilize a swivel waist – rear end actuated - to swing weapons & the arms”. (2.) Mattel Project / Toy Number Request Form, Working Name: Megaton Man, Date: 11 - 3 - 80, Project No.: CA 06, Originator: Roger Sweet. It has a quote: “Megaton Man is a male action figure with a swivel waist torso”. Further, the He-Man Trio He-Man figures each had a swivel action waist. And the Barbarian theme He-Man Trio He-Man is shown in a photograph with a turned upper torso. This dynamite feature later became known as the “Battle Action Waist”, “Battle Action Punch”, or "Power Punch".
6. Much ripped, bare muscular flesh showing.
7. The figure's ability to have attached and hold outfit parts, weapons, and other accessories.
8. The battle action open-mouthed facial grimace expression.
9. The He-Man Trio figures showed that the He-Man / Masters of the Universe line's figure configurations could be basically simple to design and manufacture - yet still be highly appealing.
10. The three He-Man Trio figures had another feature that had not been done in other pale-skinned lead heroic male action figures, and established a new precedent: The He-Man figures had deeply tanned skin. This gave those He-Man figures an exceptionally ultra-healthy looking appearance which accentuated the incredibly massively muscular physique. And, that He-Man tanned skin also was passed directly to the 1982 first year production He-Man and other Original Series He-Man figures.
11. The three He-Man Trio He-Man prototype figures were dressed in three different costumes. Each of those costumes represented the three different themes that had tested most strongly in the mid-1980 Mattel market research male action theme focus group study, shown to children and mothers. This was the first of what was to be three market research studies on male action line themes that were done for what later turned out to be the He-Man / Masters of the Universe male action line. Those three male action themes were: (1.) Ancient Barbarian Fantasy. (2.) Futuristic Space Military ala Stars Wars enhanced. (3.) Current Military ala G. I. Joe enhanced. The Ancient Barbarian Fantasy theme ultimately was selected as the dominant theme for the new He-Man / Masters of the Universe male action line by Mattel Boys Toys Marketing and upper management. The reason was that theme was totally fresh - it had not been done in any toy company’s male action line. And it had not been done in a movie. But, the He-Man Trio figures were also shown in the two other themes, Futuristic Space Military ala Star Wars enhanced and Current Military ala G. I. Joe enhanced. For that reason, the new He-Man / Masters line was also made highly generic – so that the line could go in many other directions relative to theme, time period, degree of technology, or other element.
The He-Man Trio figures were 9 1/2 inches tall. The 1982 and Original Series Masters figures were 5 1/2 inches tall. But the above He-Man Trio physical attributes, scaled down, were transferred directly into all seven of the 1982 Masters of the Universe line male figures. And, in total, those He-Man Trio physical attributes also went into fifty-six of the He-Man-shaped figures in the Original Series Masters line from 1982 through 1987.
Based on valid and factual observation and analysis, all of the above information is readily proven to be true.
The above combination of He-Man attributes that Roger Sweet originated at the beginning of the concept composed Sweet's masters plan that was absolutely essential for Sweet to initially sell the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio to Mattel upper management at the mid-December, 1980 Product Conference. And those He-Man attributes were extremely essential for the He-Man / Masters of the Universe line to become the phenomenal success that it was.
- Roger Sweet
Roger Sweet's comments refer only to his He-Man Trio toy prototypes. But after Roger Sweet originated and first presented the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio at the Mattel mid-December, 1980 Product Conference, then concept artists such as Mark Taylor penciled up and showed black and white drawings of a black haired Conan-like barbarian sporting a horned helmet  as it can be seen on the Masters of the Universe official site. The black-haired He-Man Trio He-Man concept and Taylor's black-haired barbarian character concept were later dropped when He-Man was effectively redesigned as the blond He-Man when put into toy prototype form. Taylor’s Conan-like barbarian character was created and shown by Taylor after Sweet originated and presented the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio. Also, Taylor’s Conan-like character was originally unnamed. Further, Taylor’s Conan-like character definitely originally was not He-Man. In spite of these facts, the following events subsequently occurred:
In 2011, Mark Taylor's Conan closely inspired concept finally has been made into a toy named "Vikor". Quoting the section "prototypes and concept art" of "Masters of the Universe original series" on He-Man.org:
He-Man... The most Powerful man in the UNIVERSE. As you can see in this first sketch, by Mark Taylor, the main designer on the early figures, he was originally envisioned as a far more barbaric character, with almost something of a viking-inspired look to him. He's not even sporting his trademark blonde hair, but is instead raven-haired.
Again on the Masters of the Universe official site, Vikor was announced for 2011, quoting a line from the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian "what is best in life?" :
Vikor, He-Man of the North
"What is best in life?" New MOTUC characters! Vikor is based on the original concept art of He-Man! This rugged looking barbarian comes with axe, sword and shield, all new! And he comes with a half of the Sword .
--- www.he-man.org news "The Characters Revealed!" 
The unnamed, average physique and muscled Conan-like barbarian characters in Taylor’s illustrations originally were not named “He-Man”, and were definitely not He-Man. Further, those Taylor barbarian characters were unknown to Mattel upper management, Marketing, and Preliminary Design - including Roger Sweet - before, during, and directly after Sweet originated the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio. Sweet then presented that He-Man concept at the mid-December, 1980 Mattel Product Conference. Therefore, those Taylor unnamed Conan-like barbarian characters had absolutely no influence on Sweet’s origination of the He-Man concept. In addition, those Taylor unnamed Conan-like barbarian characters had absolutely no influence on the Mattel Original Series He-Man / Masters of the Universe male action line which spanned from 1982 through 1987.
In Taylor’s illustrations, all of the characteristics of Taylor’s Conan - like barbarian characters are proven to be near copies of characteristics taken by Taylor from earlier Frank Frazetta barbarian character illustrations.
Taylor’s Conan-like barbarian character in Taylor’s illustrations, that later became the Mattel Classics Vikor figure, was of very average athletic physique. The character was even far less massive and muscular than Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Olympia in the 1970s. Therefore, that Taylor character was extremely physically puny in comparison with Sweet’s He-Man Trio He-Man characters, which were far more physically massive and muscular. But when Mattel designed the Vikor figure, to make the figure feasible and acceptable as a Masters Classics lead heroic figure, the company greatly enhanced the figure by “He-Man-izing” it, immensely increasing its physical mass and musculature over the puny Taylor Conan-like barbarian character in Taylor’s illustrations. Also, Mattel greatly enhanced the design of the parts and accessories that went with the Vikor figure. Not only that, but Mattel added to the name “Vikor”, “He-Man of the North”. Vikor had never been named He-Man until Mattel named him that.
Conversely, when Mattel designed another Masters Classic figure, the Vykron figure, which is a take-off of Sweet’s He-Man Trio He-Man figures, the company went in the opposite direction as had been done for Vikor. When Vykron is compared to the He-Man Trio, with Vykron, Mattel greatly reduced the number of figures from three to one, the height size of the figures from 9 1/2 inches tall to about 5 inches tall, the physical massiveness and musculature of the figures, as well as the size and detail of the outfit parts and accessories. And in addition, overall, Mattel poorly designed what parts the company did offer with the Vykron.
So, as the Mark Taylor Vikor character figure is considered so important as to be featured in this Masters of the Universe article, then another Masters male action character related to Roger Sweet certainly must also be considered and reviewed here:
That is the Mattel Masters Classics male action figure product, Vykron. This Vykron figure is a greatly altered version of Roger Sweet’s original He-Man Trio concept. In 2012, Mattel released Vykron as a San Diego ComicCon Exclusive, supposedly for two purposes: (1.) To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Mattel’s Masters Of The Universe male action line, which was introduced in 1982. (2.) And also to give recognition to the origination importance of the He-Man Trio to the He-Man / Masters franchise. But in actuality, the Vykron product may not have done either because of its execution, several radical design and other changes that were made to the Vykron figure as compared with Sweet’s He-Man Trio: (1.) For 32 years, all three He-Man characters of Roger Sweet’s He-Man Trio had been named “He-Man”. Yet, in 2012, Mattel attempted to change the He-Man Trio He-Man characters’ name to the new, apparently formerly non-existent, name of “Vykron”. However, that Vykron name is one letter different than the name of “Vykon”, that Sweet gave to a greatly massively muscular character that Sweet originated at Mattel in 1980 before Sweet originated the He-Man concept. Be all that as it may, all three of the He-Man Trio He-Man characters will forever truly be named only “He-Man”. (2.) Whereas the original He-Man Trio was composed of three 9 1/2 inch tall He-Man figures, the 2012 Vykron figure is composed of a single, much shorter, approximately 5 inch tall figure. (3.) And that single Vykron figure is not nearly as muscular and massive as either Sweet’s original He-Man Trio He-Man figures or the 1982 production He-Man figure. (4.) Further, that single Vykron figure, when barely clad, shows a completely bald head with the upper head being an ugly, reduced size, bare, grooved knob sticking up on top! One obvious, much better design solution for the Vykron head would have been to have a finished, refined head with styled black hair as part of it. Then, the various helmets could be placed on top of, and around the head. (5.) Not only that, but the three Vykron outfits / costumes are skimpy and badly designed. For example, the Barbarian theme He-Man of the He-Man Trio had more refined, crafted, leather-like shoes complete with a detailed sole and heel section. But with the Vykron character, Mattel reverted to the crude, caveman-like, wrapped, leather-like “swaddling boots” similar to those on the 1982 production He-Man. Mark Taylor earlier had taken the swaddling boots idea directly from characters in the Frank Frazetta barbarian illustrations and applied them to the 1982 He-Man. Therefore, the fur shorts and the crude swaddling boots of the Barbarian theme Vykron figure show through on the Current Military theme and the Futuristic Space Military theme Vykron costumes. This is because the He-Man Trio Current Military theme and Futuristic Space Military theme shin guard / boots encircle and cover the He-Man figures’ entire lower legs. But, conversely, the Vykron Current Military theme and Futuristic Space Military theme shin guard / boots are snapped on from the front, and are completely open in the back and at the bottom. This bad design crudely exposes the Vykron Barbarian theme figure’s crude swaddling boots. (6.) In addition, the tank turret helmet, and the revised Boba Fett helmet have been greatly reduced in size, with much less visual impact and quality. Further, when the Vykron package text is examined, several negative factors are given: (1.) The Vykron costumes are ridiculed as “outlandish”. But those highly imaginative and unique He-Man theme costumes on the tremendously physically powerful He-Man Trio He-Man characters are what strongly aided Sweet to sell the He-Man concept to Mattel upper management at that late 1980 Mattel Product Conference. The reason is that those revolutionary He-Man Trio costumes showed how new, imaginative, and fun costumes for the new, highly generic He-Man line could be. This particular type of revolutionary outfit design had never been done in the toy, comic, or entertainment industries. (2.) In addition, in the package text, Vykron is slaughtered by Gygor. If Vykron truly had been He-Man - watch out Gygor! (3.) Further, Roger Sweet is given no credit – let alone gratitude - for originating either the He-Man Trio or the He-Man male action line concept, later name-changed to Masters Of The Universe. But Sweet’s origination and presentation of the He-Man Trio in late 1980 initiated, launched, brought into existence, and made possible the existence of the entire He-Man / Masters phenomena! This Mattel Vykron product is an incredibly weak diminishment of Roger Sweet’s original He-Man Trio concept.
The book, Mastering the Universe: He-Man and the Rise and Fall of a Billion-Dollar Idea, was written by Roger Sweet and David Wecker, and published in 2005. This book gives the only true, factual, honest account of Sweet’s origination and development of the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio known to Sweet. The reason is that the book’s account is substantiated by actual pertinent Mattel documents and events explained truthfully and clearly, and with correct significance. At the time that the Mastering the Universe book was written and published, the book did not include either Taylor’s Unnamed Later-To-Be-Named Vikor or Taylor’s Torak Hero of Pre-history. That is because at that time both of those Taylor characters were unknown to Sweet and Wecker. Further, at that time, those Taylor characters also were unknown to anyone who had been at Mattel in upper management, Marketing, or Preliminary Design before, during, and directly after Sweet originated and developed the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio. At that time, Sweet also first presented that He-Man concept to Mattel upper management at a Product Conference in mid-December, 1980. Taylor’s Unnamed Later-To-Be-Name Vikor character did not show in public until it began appearing on the internet after Sweet’s Mastering the Universe book was published in 2005. And Taylor’s Torak character did not show in public until it first appeared in 2011 in The Power And The Honor Foundation Catalog Volume One. Therefore, Taylor’s Unnamed Later-To-Be-Named Vikor character and Taylor’s Torak Hero of Pre-history character had absolutely no influence on Sweet when he originated the He-Man concept in the form of the He-Man Trio. In addition, those two Taylor characters had absolutely no influence on the Original Series Masters Of The Universe male action line which spanned from 1982 through 1987. The third character covered above, Vykron, also, needless to say, was not mentioned in the Mastering the Universe book because Vykron per se was non-existent in 2005 when that book was published. Vykron was not to surface until 2012 in the Mattel Masters Classics line.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2012)|
Prince Adam has a strong human physique. He has passion for freedom, and a love for adventure.[dead link] He is a free spirit whose escapades are known throughout Eternia. In The New Adventures of He-Man, Adam is portrayed as an easy going young man rather than a feminine, fun loving prince. In fact, Adam is shown behaving more like his alter ego He-Man, without much concern of people linking his behavior with He-Man. This could be representative of the idea of Adam as the true persona, or simply that Adam believes that since he and He-Man do not look alike, the people of Primus probably would not suspect them of being the same person. Throughout the original comics, the 80's cartoon, the full-length feature film, or the 2002 animated remake, He-Man/Adam has no romantic interests. In the 2002 series, the earlier "happy-go-lucky" prince image is brought back; he goes so far as to show that initially Adam is a spoiled, carefree prince who does not think anything bad could possibly happen to him or his world. He carelessly scoffs at the Sorceress when she informs him of his destiny to become He-Man. When the reality of danger finally confronts him and endangers his father's life, Adam takes the necessary step to become He-Man. The act seems to have a maturing effect on him. Though he still retains some of his youthful naivety and continues to behave as a shallow fun lover so as not to be suspected of being He-Man (who behaves in a more mature and responsible manner than Adam), He-Man still displays Adam's sense of humor. It is shown early in the first episode following the initial pilot, "The Courage of Adam", that Adam resents having to maintain a weak persona as himself. He feels that it damages his relationships with his father King Randor and with his lifelong friend Teela, and wishes to prove his worth beyond He-Man. In the end, he is forced to accept that he must maintain the facade for their safety.
Early mini-comics 
In the illustrated books released with the first series of toys, He-Man was a barbarian from an Eternian tribe. The planet's inhabitants were dealing with the aftermath of the Great Wars, which devastated the civilizations which once ruled supreme. The wars left behind advanced machinery and weaponry, known only to select people. An early incarnation of the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull gave He-Man some of these weapons, and he set out to defend the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil villain Skeletor. He-Man possessed one-half of the Power Sword; Skeletor had the second half, and used it as his main weapon. When joined, the two halves of the Power Sword will provide the key to Castle Grayskull (this is why the two figures' swords could combine into one, when the action figures were initially released). In one early illustrated story, He-Man and Skeletor united their two Power Sword halves to form the true Power Sword, defeating a common enemy.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) 
By the time the animated series was developed, He-Man's origins had been revised: his true identity was Prince Adam of Eternia, son of King Randor and Queen Marlena (an earthling), who ruled the Kingdom of Eternia on the planet of the same name. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull endowed Prince Adam with the power to transform into He-Man, which Adam did by raising his Power Sword and proclaiming, "By the power of Grayskull..." Once the transformation was complete, he continued "...I have the power!" The differences from Prince Adam and He-Man were minimal; He-Man had a slightly deeper voice, and slightly darker skin and hair.
Prince Adam's pet was a cowardly green tiger named Cringer. When Adam became He-Man, he transformed Cringer into a brave armored green tiger named Battle Cat by pointing his sword at him – an ability Adam discovered accidentally the first time he turned into He-Man. Cringer, naturally, cowered in fear at seeing what Adam had become; while reassuring him that nothing had really changed Adam pointed the sword at Cringer, which sent a bolt of energy toward the tiger and transformed him. Battle Cat served as He-Man's steed and fierce fighting companion ever since.
Adam was friendly with the beautiful, strong-willed Teela, who (unbeknownst to her) was the daughter of the Sorceress. Teela was adopted by Prince Adam's mentor, Man-At-Arms (whose proper name was Duncan). Adam and Teela grew up together and now, as Captain of the Guard, she was entrusted to protect the prince. Unaware of his alternate identity as He-Man, she saw Adam as lazy and cowardly.
Man-At-Arms was He-Man's closest companion and the Eternian royal family's innovator of technology and weapons. In many episodes, Man-At-Arms unveiled new and fantastic weapons or devices which helped He-Man and his friends.
Castle Grayskull was the source of He-Man's powers. Inside the Castle lived the Sorceress, who granted Prince Adam his transformative abilities and communicates telepathically with He-Man. To protect his family He-Man kept his double identity a secret, sharing it only with Orko, Man-At-Arms, Cringer/Battle Cat and the Sorceress.
The spin-off cartoon series She-Ra: Princess of Power later revealed that Adam had a twin sister: Princess Adora, a leader in the Great Rebellion against Hordak on the planet Etheria. Adora, like Adam, was given the gift of the power of Grayskull and had her own sword which she used to transform into She-Ra, Princess of Power. He-Man made a number of appearances in the She-Ra: Princess of Power television series.
He-Man's chief adversary was Skeletor: a blue-skinned sorcerer with a yellow skull for a head, wearing a cowl. He was skilled in black magic and all forms of combat. Though his origin was mysterious, and the cartoon described him only as a "demon from another dimension", a tie-in comic implied that Skeletor's true identity was Prince Keldor (older brother of King Randor), thus making him He-Man's uncle. It was revealed in the animated motion picture He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword that Skeletor was Hordak's right-hand man until his capture (Hordak referred to Skeletor as "my old pupil" and Skeletor's throne-room in Snake Mountain as "my old throne-room" – to which Skeletor retorts, "my throne-room now") and (supposed) release. Skeletor was accompanied by a group of henchmen who aid with his evil schemes.
Masters of the Universe (1987 film) 
In 1987 Cannon Films produced a live-action film directed by Gary Goddard, Masters of the Universe, which featured Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-Man; it was a commercial failure. In this film Prince Adam was not seen at all; only He-Man was shown. This He-Man was much more aggressive than his 1980s TV-series counterpart, attacking with lasers, his sword and bare fists several times throughout the film. The film ended with a spectacular and violent clash with Skeletor, in which Skeletor was flung deep beneath Castle Grayskull into a pit filled with steaming liquid. The film ended with a post-credit scene in which Skeletor emerged from the liquid and proclaimed, "I'll be back!".
The New Adventures of He-Man (1990) 
After the end of the Masters of the Universe toy line Mattel attempted to revive interest in He-Man by producing a new toy line, entitled He-Man. The accompanying storyline in the mini-comics packaged with the figures explained that He-Man had left Eternia and pursued Skeletor into the depths of space, where Skeletor had set his sights on conquering the distant world of Primus (a planet with great technological resources). He-Man was shown to have relinquished the identity of Prince Adam altogether, basing himself on Primus where he led a team of defenders known as the Galactic Guardians. He-Man's appearance was retooled for the new toy line, with a space helmet and golden armor added to his attire to give him a more futuristic appearance; his sword was also redesigned. In the insert comics issued early in the toy line's run, He-Man begins to transform – only to be grabbed by Skeletor, who was astonished to see that Prince Adam was casting some kind of strange spell (not realizing he was about to transform into He-Man). Still holding onto Adam, Skeletor was caught in a backwash of power as the comic proclaimed "Prince Adam is no more. Long Live He-Man!" Therefore, He-Man was responsible for the cybernetic breastplate on Skeletor's figurine.
A cartoon series was produced by Jetlag Productions to accompany the toy line, entitled The New Adventures of He-Man. Although generally following the story line from the mini-comics (with certain deviations, such as Skeletor's already having the cybernetic breastplate and never discovering that Prince Adam and He-Man were the same person), this series maintained the double identity of Prince Adam and He-Man. On the planet Primus, Prince Adam posed as a traveling merchant and the nephew of Master Sebrian to disguise his secret identity. His transformation oath was altered slightly, to become "By the power of Eternia...".
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) 
To tie in with a new line of action figures based upon the original toy line, a new He-Man cartoon series was produced in 2002-03 by Mike Young Productions again entitled He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This series retold the Masters of the Universe story from the beginning. He-Man's origin was told in a 90-minute series premiere, in which the 16-year-old Prince Adam was summoned to Castle Grayskull by the Sorceress to assume the identity of He-Man and his role as Eternia's defender. The portrayal of his character in this series was consistent with Filmation's portrayal, although the character of Prince Adam was brasher and more youthfully energetic than his 1980s counterpart (conveying the image of a teenage boy saddled with the responsibility of defending a planet from evil). The Adam/He-Man character was redesigned, to make the character's secret identity more credible. The Third-season episode "The Power of Grayskull" revealed Adam/He-Man as a descendant of King Grayskull (a powerful barbarian hero from Eternia's ancient past), who sacrificed his life to save Eternia from the Evil Horde and originally wielded the Sword of Power. He was the original owner of Castle Grayskull; his sword was concealed in the castle for centuries before being given to Prince Adam, who inherited his ancestor's own power channeled through the sword (thus giving added meaning to the phrase "By the power of Grayskull...").
Masters of the Universe Classics (2009) 
This action-figure line combined elements from the He-Man universe into a cohesive storyline with biographies on the figures' packaging. These biographies suggested that several "He-Men" have come into existence – such as Vikor (based on an early concept design for a vintage He-Man figure) and Wun-Dar (based on the "Wonder Bread" He-Man figure) – but Prince Adam was the only one who actually wielded the Power Sword and transformed into the true He-Man.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2012) 
The series starts out with Adam as a woodcutter who has been having strange dreams lately that involved a powerful warrior fight evil across the land. Adam spends his days cutting wood and caring for his ailing father Fedor. Fedor seems to believe that he once lived in a castle, and when Adam tries to recall what their lives were really like, he can't. He shrugs the troubling feeling off, and returns to his work. For the last few days, Adam has had encounters with a colorful falcon which he names Zoar and would often share some of his meat with it. Following his latest dream, Adam has a kind woman look over Fedor while he heads out to find the answers to his dreams. Not long after his journey, he encounters a hairy monster named Beast Man who somehow knows his name. Adam manages to find a way to fend off Beast Man. After defeating Beast Man, Adam encounters Zoar again and then continues on with his journey still wondering how Beast Man knows his name. Beast Man reports back to Skeletor who has Beast Man spread the word that Adam must be prevented from learning who he really is at all costs.
Beast Man meets with Skeletor at Castle Grayskull where Skeletor is disappointed that Beast Man failed yet discovered that Adam is not without skill. Their attempt to wipe his memory completely failed to erase his instinctive understanding of battle. Skeletor shows Beast Man mercy, but warns that his troublesome nephew must die....if he doesn't stay within the boundaries. Meanwhile, Adam has traveled into the desert with Zoar as his guide. While crossing the desert, Adam is attacked by a gang of riders and is brought before their leader Trap Jaw who had been ordered to capture Adam on Skeletor's orders. Trap Jaw has Adam jailed with the promise that he will have a chance to petition his life on the next day. Later that night, a woman comes to Adam's cell to give water to him on Trap Jaw's orders. Adam quickly deduces that she doesn't work for Trap Jaw and asks for her name. The woman introduces herself as Teela and is hauled away by the suspicious guards before she can say anything else. When morning comes, Trap Jaw tells Adam that he must choose a person whom he will petition for his freedom. If he fails, he must fight to the death. If he survives, he can petition again until either the petition is granted, he dies in battle, or all the petitioned people are dead. None of Trap Jaw's men would accept the petition and Adam is thrusted into a one-against-many battle for his life. Grabbing a sword, Adam fights his way through the combatants in order to get away. Trap Jaw enters the battle planning to finish off Adam himself. During the battle, the ground shakes upon the approach of stampeding creatures. At the head of the charge is Teela, who apparently caused the distraction in order to save Adam's life. Trap Jaw and his men are trampled as the pair escape. When Adam is surprised that Teela knows his name, she doesn't know where she heard his name from. During their talk, Teela mentions that Zoar is not actually a real bird.
At a port town near Sand's End, Adam and Teela are forced to sell their Cyber-Camels and pledged themselves to working off the rest of their fares in exchange for passage on a ship. Teela tells Adam that she is certain that they are under some sort of curse that causes them to forget their past lives. Her evidence is that Zoar is not a real bird but a magical construct created by some sorcerer in order to guide both of them to their destiny. Meanwhile at Castle Grayskull, Skeletor mused at how he had previously worked so hard to capture Adam's sword thinking that it was the source of He-Man's power. Skeletor now knows that the sword is merely a conduit to the powers of Castle Grayskull. His dinner guest is a catatonic Sorceress of Castle Grayskull as he tries to get her to give him the knowledge of accessing the powers of Castle Grayskull. While on a ship, Adam and Teela do some sparring with Teela recurringly besting him and doesn't know where her abilities come from. The captain of the ship sees Teela's prowess and suggests to Teela that she use her abilities to help fight the sea monsters that have been following them. The captain tells Adam and Teela that the sea monsters belong to Mer-Man who believes that he owns the ocean. Just then, a tentacle emerges from the waters and hits the deck as Mer-Man is seen riding the sea monster. Mer-Man refers to Adam as "Prince" Adam which surprises both Adam and Teela. Mer-Man claims to have met them both many times, but introduces himself nonetheless. He has been tasked by Skeletor with killing Prince Adam and he intends to do so. Teela is grabbed by one of the tentacles of the sea monster as Adam saves her by chopping through it. In response, the sea monster throws Teela into the ocean leaving Adam to fight Mer-Man to no avail. When Mer-Man prepares to crush Adam with a rock, Teela reboards the ship and stabs Mer-Man. This doesn't kill Mer-Man as he escapes while the ship sinks. When Adam and Teela are swallowed by the waves, Mer-Man believes that his work is done. It turns out that Adam and Teela survived and are clinging onto some of the ship's debris.
While marooned at sea, Teela and Adam have an argument where while Adam doesn't know that he was a prince, Teela doesn't even know her past. After Zoar brings them a coconut, Adam and Teela realize that there is an island nearby and fashion some oars to take them there. Upon arrival on the island, they are attacked by a group of warriors led by Man-At-Arms. After Adam and Teela are knocked out, Man-At-Arms finds Teela looking familiar to him and defends her from the other warriors' comments. Upon being brought to the queen of the warriors, some of Adam's memories surface as he somehow knows that the queen is named Evil-Lyn and that Teela swears that Man-At-Arms is her father. Evil-Lyn plans to sacrifice Adam and Teela to the Cauldron of Doom tomorrow morning. At Castle Grayskull, Skeletor is getting annoyed at the fact that none of his allies have successfully killed Adam. He can't leave Castle Grayskull to do the job himself or else he won't get back in. Even with all the torture he has caused the Sorceress of the castle, he worries that she is the key to unlocking the castle's power. Later that night, Man-At-Arms has some trouble sleeping and decides to visit the prisoners. He visits Teela's cell and wants to know why her appearance has been in his dreams. All she can think to do is to ask him whether he is her father. Man-At-Arms then looks at Teela, says nothing, and then returns to his home. The fact that Man-At-Arms also appears to have suffered some kind of memory loss in connection with them suggests that someone manipulated them into coming there. The next day, Adam and Teela are brought upon a long glass bridge extending over the Cauldron of Doom as Evil-Lyn explains that they must fight and that the one who doesn't fall into the Cauldron of Doom will go free. Adam and Teela are forced into battle yet they don't know how to bring an end to it. Adam admits he would gladly leap into the cauldron to save Teela, but she is sure that Evil-Lyn would have the survivor killed despite what she claimed. As they fight though, Zoar flies down and distracts them causing Adam to fall into the Cauldron of Doom.
Although Adam falls into the Cauldron of Doom and Teela is horrified at this, Evil-Lyn mocks Teela's pain revealing that the flames are merely an illusion. Though the flames are hot, they could not kill instantly. It seems that Evil-Lyn intends them to fall over and over roasting them to death slowly. Upon resuming the fight, Adam comes up with a dangerous plan that involves Adam figuring out that the Cauldron of Doom isn't set right with the cone and hopes that they can fall off without falling into the Cauldron of Doom. With little warning, he shoves Teela off of their narrow walkway and soon leaps after her. Despite Teela's annoyance at being pushed into the unknown, they find themselves in a mysterious series of passages and tunnels scrawled with an unreadable language. Evil-Lyn reports the misplacement of her prisoners to Skeletor. When she points out that the bird Zoar caused Adam to fall and discover the means of escape, Skeletor realizes that the Sorceress of Grayskull has been undermining him. Angrily, he bursts into her cell and demands to know where in his mind she was hiding. She reveals that she hid in plain sight within a pleasant memory....moments he rarely revisits. Grabbing her by the neck, he explains that he does not need her to get at Grayskull's power and snaps it dropping her limp body to the floor. With the sound of Evil-Lyn's pursuers approaching, Adam and Teela come to a strange door which they are unsure on how to open. When Adam places his hand on it though, it begins to emit a blindingly white light and they hope that this is a good sign. The door opens to reveal a cavern and in the middle of it is a pedestal of stone into which a sword has been set. When Adam approaches it knowing that it holds the answers to their problems, he is attacked by a massive green tiger. While he struggles to survive, Teela is surprised by Man-At-Arms and his men when they have finally caught up to them. Seeing that Adam will likely die here, the captain of Evil-Lyn's guard settles on bringing the girl back alone. Adam desperately scrabbles across the cavern floor to the sword's hilt and pulls it from the stone. In a flash of light, Adam is transformed into He-Man. Across Eternia, He-Man's friends regain their lost memories and his enemies prepare for his wrath.
Evil-Lyn is preparing to abandon her palace, as she knows tha He-Man is on the way. As she opens the door to her quarters, she finds He-Man and Teela waiting for her and demanding information. While Evil-Lyn points out that He-Man has never hit a woman, Teela makes it clear that she has no such problem. At Castle Grayskull, Skeletor has been informed by Beast-Man that He-Man will be coming for him now that he has regained his memories, and wants to prepare Castle Grayskull for a siege. Skeletor tells Beast-Man to do so if it brings him comfort. He then engages in a conversation with a head that has been advising him throughout the series, and eventually throws it through the window in a fit of rage. In a pub elsewhere, the Masters of the Universe have gathered, all of them having remembered who they are. They begin planning how to confront Skeletor. Absent is Orko, who He-Man comments cannot betray them as he is not there. He-Man also refuses the idea of a full-scale assault against Skeletor, electing to go and fight Skeletor alone. However, Teela is insistent that she will accompany him. At Castle Grayskull, the preparations for the expected attack are complete. Skeletor, Beast-Man. and Evil-Lyn overlook the battlefield in front of the castle, and await He-Man's arrival. Skeletor magically removes Evil-Lyn's mouth when she continues to speak even after he has ordered her to be silent. He-Man and Teela make their arrival with He-Man riding Battle-Cat and Teela riding a unicorn. They defeat Skeletor's forces and He-Man goes to engage Skeletor one-on-one. Skeletor finally comes face-to-face with He-Man and they acknowledge their relationship as uncle and nephew, and agree that this is to be their final conflict. Skeletor creates a canyon around them filled with flames, and the battle begins, with Skeletor using the Havoc Staff and his magic, and He-Man relying on the Sword of Power and his physical abilities. As they fight, Skeletor confronts He-Man with the severed head of the Sorceress, causing He-Man to fight even harder to defeat Skeletor. He-Man also informs Skeletor that he has never understood the truth - He-Man's sword is not a conduit for the Power of Grayskull to enter him, but rather it allows the Power of Grayskull to manifest from within him as He-Man does not have the Power, but is the Power. He-Man then delivers a crushing blow to Skeletor, knocking him into the flames and throwing his Havoc Staff after him. He-Man tells Teela that he believes Skeletor is dead, then is seen calling himself a liar under his breath. Skeletor is revealed to have survived the fall into the chasm, but his skull is now cracked and broken, with his lower jaw appearing to be absent. Skeletor finds himself faced with the head that he threw out of the castle earlier, and it is revealed that this is some sort of mystical projection that encourages Skeletor to not accept defeat. The final frames reveal that it is a mysterious villain that wishes Skeletor dead, but he is not yet prepared to see it happen, as he has been manipulating Skeletor throughout the entire saga.
Actors playing He-Man 
In the 1980s series, He-Man and Prince Adam were voiced by John Erwin.
In the 2002 series, both characters were voiced by Cam Clarke.
Powers and abilities 
He-Man was characterized as possessing superhuman strength. The extent of his strength was unknown, but on one occasion he was able to hoist Castle Grayskull and throw it through a dimensional doorway. He-Man also demonstrated his strength by lifting mountains and icebergs, and hurling them towards a desired target. In the episode "She-Demon of Phantos", he was shown to be the only person to break Photanium (claimed by Man-At-Arms to be the strongest metal in the universe). In the comics, he was shown as able to go one-on-one with pre-crisis Superman. On the original action figure's packaging and in the introductory sequence of the 1980s cartoon series, He-Man is claimed to be "the most powerful man in the universe". His strength was derived from magical powers within Castle Grayskull.
It was unknown if there is a limit to how long Prince Adam could remain He-Man before he reverted to Adam; in the 2002 series, He-Man was shown enduring the brunt of the Ram Stone of Zalasia (a gem whose mystic force could pierce any barrier or topple any obstruction). He survived, but reverted to Adam in the process. In combat against the snake-god Serpos, He-Man was struck by the giant snake's tail and sent crashing into a mountain. When he fell to the ground, he was again in Adam's form; this suggested there was a limit to He-Man's strength and stamina. He-Man's prowess is not limited to strength; he is also depicted as being quick and acrobatic. There were also several instances in the original TV series where He-Man was able to communicate and sense the presence of the Sorceress by telepathy.
He-Man as a character was largely non-violent, only resorting to combat as a last resort. He used his genius-level intellect more often, preferring to outsmart his adversaries; most violent actions typically consisted of body-throws. In accordance with broadcast standards of the period, in the Filmation cartoon, He-Man could not use his sword as an offensive weapon or punch or kick anyone. He was only allowed to destroy robotic enemies. The 1987 film and 2002 series, however, showed him fighting more aggressively. He-Man was depicted as a leader – most noticeably in the movie adaptation, where he is referred to as the "leader" of the resistance. Skeletor intended to force him into submission, rather than killing him – fearing that doing the latter would turn He-Man into a martyr who would inspire others to fight.
He-Man's primary weapon was his sword, but he also used other weapons (such as a laser-gun in the film and mini-comics, and a shield and other equipment while battling his foes). His sword, apparently indestructible, could deflect bolts of energy. His sister Adora's sword of protection was not indestructible; the stone in the hilt was once damaged, preventing her from transforming. In addition, the sword gave him the ability to transform him from Prince Adam into He-Man (and back) by utilizing the powers of Castle Grayskull. He also used the sword to transform Cringer into Battle Cat. Originally, He-Man's primary weapon was an axe. The breastplate on his battle harness was made of an Eternian mineral (corodite) which helped add to his physical strength. The origin of the battle harness was explained in the episode "Evil-Lyn's Plot" (written by Paul Dini).
In Popular Culture 
He-Man is the star of a popular video by animation company Slackcircus called Fabulous Secret Powers. In this video, He-Man and other characters from the 1983 cartoon sing the song "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes.
- The rights to manufacture the Star Wars toyline were later taken over by Hasbro.
- These included: Kid Gallant, a medieval knight; Robin and the Space Hoods, a sci-fi figure; and the daredevil Kenny Dewitt, pronounced "Can He Do It?"
- Authorship of the He-Man character has been subject to debate, as two other designers, Mark Taylor and Jill Barad, have also taken credit for creation of the superhero.
- Other names considered by the design team were Mighty Man, Megaton Man, Strong Man and Big Man.
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- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at the Internet Movie Database (1983–1985 series)
- Masters of the Universe at the Internet Movie Database (1987 live action film)
- The New Adventures of He-Man at the Internet Movie Database (1990–1991 series)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at the Internet Movie Database (2002 series)
- Masters Cast - He-Man and She-Ra Podcast
- He-Man Sings "What's Up" song By: 4 Non Blondes