|Masters of the Universe character|
Skeletor, as depicted in the Filmation series.
|Portrayed by||Alan Oppenheimer - Filmation (1983 - 1987)
Frank Langella - live-action film (1987)
Campbell Lane (1990)
Brian Dobson (2002)
|Title||Lord of the Night
Lord of Destruction
Overlord of Evil
|Family||King Randor (half-brother)|
|Relatives||Prince Adam/He-Man (nephew)|
Skeletor (pron.: //) is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of the Masters of the Universe franchise created by Mattel. He is the archenemy of He-Man. Depicted as a muscular blue humanoid with a purple hood over his yellowing bare-bone skull, Skeletor seeks to conquer Castle Grayskull so he can learn its ancient secrets, which would make him unstoppable and enable him to conquer and rule all of Eternia. In the 2002 series, Skeletor was once a man named Keldor whose face accidentally got splashed with acid. He sacrificed his face to survive.
Pre-Filmation mini-comics 
The first minicomics that accompanied the 1981–1983 line of Masters of the Universe toys presented the earliest version of continuity, and showed many differences from the more widely known continuity of the later cartoon made by Filmation, and the later minicomics which complemented it. He-Man was depicted as the scarcely superhuman champion of a tribe of stone-age jungle-dwellers. There was no royal court of Eternia, King Randor, Queen Marlena, or Prince Adam yet.
These very first minicomics, which were actually more like storybooks, with a single image per page footed by prose, stated that Skeletor was originally an inhabitant of another dimension, populated with others of "his kind." During "The Great Wars," an ambiguous concept which is largely ignored in later continuities, a hole was opened in the dimensional wall and Skeletor was thrown from his world into Eternia. Significantly different from the lonelier and entirely self-serving Skeletor of later depictions, the villain's key motivation in this first story is to reopen the rift between his world and Eternia, thus allowing Skeletor's race to invade and conquer Eternia alongside him. This was the initially stated reason behind Skeletor's desire to obtain the powers of Castle Grayskull, not merely seeking power for its own sake as is generally the case in later depictions. However, as this first incarnation of the franchise's continuity was particularly short-lived, many questions about this version of Skeletor's origin are left unanswered.
Filmation He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) 
In the 1980s cartoon series, Skeletor is a former pupil of Hordak, leader of the Evil Horde. When Hordak and his Horde invaded Eternia and stormed the palace, Hordak broke in and kidnapped one of the King and Queen's twin babies. Man-At-Arms and the Royal Guard captured Hordak's apprentice, Skeletor, and forced him to divulge the whereabouts of his master, who had retreated to his base of operations, Snake Mountain. When cornered, Hordak opened up a random dimensional portal (later revealed to have led to Etheria) and leaped through with the baby Princess Adora in his possession. Skeletor remained on Eternia, raised an army of powerful minions of his own and took over as ruler of Snake Mountain. Skeletor's main goal is to conquer the mysterious fortress of Castle Grayskull, from which He-Man draws his powers. If he succeeds, Skeletor would be able to conquer not only Eternia, but the whole universe.
Skeletor appears in 71 of the 130 episodes of the 1980s He-Man cartoon.
Post-Filmation series minicomics 
In the minicomics that followed the cancellation of the Filmation animated series, which can be seen as following on from the same continuity as the Filmation series, although there are still various contradictions, it is hinted that Skeletor is in fact Keldor, King Randor's long lost brother.
This implication occurs specifically in the 1986 minicomic entitled "The Search for Keldor", a story that involves Prince Adam and Randor searching for Randor's lost brother Keldor. When Skeletor learns of their quest, he muses that "they must never discover the secret of Keldor", as the truth will lead to his destruction.
In this story King Randor announces that Keldor disappeared years ago. "He thought to master magic; when his experiments went wrong and he was lost in a dimension beyond time!" One of the few elements of Skeletor's back story that remains consistent throughout the various continuities is that he had come to Eternia from another dimension.
It is likely that Randor's statement about Keldor disappearing to another dimension is an attempt to reconcile Skeletor being He-Man's uncle with his Extra-Eternian origins. To find out what happened to Keldor, Randor and the Sorceress attempt to peer through the dimensional veil.
Randor announces "I think I see Keldor... Or is it..." Before he can see anything else, Skeletor appears, determined to stop them from finding out any more. Although Skeletor is defeated, he is able to prevent Randor from discovering Keldor's fate.
Skeletor's frantic effort to cover up what happened to Keldor, combined with the fact that Keldor vanished to another dimension when attempting to become a master sorcerer, is taken as a heavy implication that the two characters are indeed one and the same. Unfortunately, because the original MOTU toyline came to an end before the story could be resolved, it was never fully disclosed if this was officially intended to be the case.
Steven Grant, the writer-for-hire of the minicomic in question, stated in a he-man.org interview that "As far as I remember, Keldor was Skeletor... But, I don't think that was ever going to be revealed... I seem to remember it as one of those things Mattel came up with out of the blue... Slur Keldor and you end up with Skeletor... His back-story wasn't really worked out. Some sort of evil cosmic energies altered him. I think they were going for a Darth Vader thing, but it was a tack-on... The main idea was that if they found out Skeletor was Keldor, they'd be able to find out what had changed him and might find some way to reverse it."
In the new continuity of the 2002 animated series, Skeletor's original name was definitely Keldor; his appearance as such is shown and his exploits partially depicted. However, it seems unlikely that he is related to Randor in this continuity, as he has Skeletor's blue skin and some other slightly nonhuman features while he was still Keldor. In a he-man.org interview with one of producers of the 2002 series, it is revealed that Keldor is the half-brother of Randor; they have different mothers.
In the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line, further character development was introduced. This line has offered more in depth origins to the Masters of the Universe characters and a collaboration of all origins in attempt to create a new coherent continuity. According to their revised back story, Keldor is Randor's half-brother. Keldor's mother was a member of the Gar race and he was ousted from the royal castle due to his Gar heritage. He roamed Eternia for knowledge, eventually learning the Dark Arts from Hordak. He then sought to unite Eternia by ruling it himself and battle his own half-brother with his army of fellow misfits. After losing the battle and desperate to survive, he turned to his mentor Hordak who merged Keldor with an entity known as the Demo-Man. Together they formed Skeletor.
Masters of the Universe (1987 film) 
Skeletor was the primary villain in the 1987 live-action film portrayed by Frank Langella. As this was a motion picture, Skeletor was allowed to be far more menacing and less comical. To prepare for the role, Langella had asked his kids questions about the character and watched the series. During the course of the movie, Skeletor captures Castle Grayskull and imprisons the Sorceress. Later, he absorbs the power of the Great Eye and transforms into a golden-armored warrior god, but is ultimately defeated by He-Man.
The New Adventures of He-Man (1990) 
The New Adventures series sees Skeletor with a new outfit, chest armour, cybernetic implants and a pink cape. Skeletor fools the Galactic Guardians, Hydron and Flipshot, into thinking he is the force of good they need to save their home planet, Primus, when in fact they came looking for He-Man. Unable to decide who is good and who is evil, Skeletor and He-Man are both transported to the futuristic planet Primus, where Skeletor reveals his true evil nature to the Primans as the Mutants attack. Skeletor and the Mutant leader, Flogg, come to an agreement: Skeletor will help Flogg conquer Primus in return for Flogg's help in destroying He-Man. One of Flogg's terms is that he will remain in charge of the Mutants. Skeletor agrees, and is able to manipulate and control Flogg from behind the scenes, while making himself a force to be reckoned with among Primans and Mutants alike.
In the episode "Sword and Staff", Skeletor finds a powerful crystal on Moon Nordor and absorbs its power, making him more powerful and evil than ever before, and changing his appearance drastically, including a yellow face with red eyes, and different armour and helmet, based on the "Disks of Doom Skeletor" toy. Throughout the series, Skeletor concocts various schemes to destroy He-Man and conquer Primus.
Although The New Adventures series follows the continuity of the Filmation cartoon, Skeletor is quite a different character. He possesses a sarcastic sense of humor and often jokes and laughs, taking his own failures much better than in the previous series. He has a genuine relationship with Crita, a female mutant with purple skin. He even dances with her in one episode. He also works well with Flogg, Slush Head and the other Mutants as part of their team as well as having a pet named Gur. Though often displaying a more relaxed attitude, when enraged he simply becomes a maniac and lashes out in anger at anyone around him. He is able to instill fear into Flogg, despite being perfectly willing to take his orders when it suits his own purposes. Overall, the Skeletor in this series is portrayed as a far more competent and threatening character, despite his often comedic lines.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) 
In this new version, it is shown that Skeletor was formerly a warlord named Keldor who had trained in the dark arts. Keldor was taught the ways of black magic by summoning Hordak, who was trapped in the dark dimension, Despondos. He gathered a small band of warriors to attack the Hall of Wisdom. They encountered resistance from Captain Randor and his officers; Keldor fought Randor personally, wielding two swords with astounding proficiency, but when Randor disarmed him, Keldor threw a vial of acid at him. Randor deflected it with his shield, and the acid splashed on Keldor's face.
Kronis called the retreat, and Evil-Lyn took Keldor to Hordak's sanctuary, where Keldor summoned Hordak to save his life. Keldor agreed to pay whatever price Hordak wished for his life, and Hordak transformed him, stripping the damaged tissues from his skull and dubbing him Skeletor; Keldor's head had been completely stripped of soft tissues, leaving only a floating skull. When Keldor saw his new appearance, he laughed maniacally; the incident perhaps shattering whatever sanity he had left. Hordak can also apparently speak to Skeletor from Despondos through telepathy which also causes Skeletor great pain.
Trapped in the Dark Hemisphere by the Mystic Wall, Skeletor designed a machine that would smash it, but it needed the Corodite Crystal as a power source. When Mer-Man retrieved it, Skeletor destroyed the Mystic Wall and returned to menacing Eternia.
Unlike his previous portrayals, Skeletor is not concerned with Castle Grayskull right away, until a giant fish-monster that had swallowed the remnants of the Corodite Crystal - thus making him hunger for power - heads toward Grayskull. The Eternian warriors, led by Man-At-Arms and He-Man, stop the monster, forcing Skeletor to ponder what could be in that ancient pile of stones worth dying for. At the time, the Heroic Warriors seem ready and willing to let Grayskull fall, and would likely have done so, if not for the urgings of Man-At-Arms, who had been swallowed whole by the monster. Skeletor directly attacks it with his Council of Evil: himself, Count Marzo, Evilseed, the three evil Giants and Webstor. When King Hiss and the Snake Men are freed from the Void, Hiss imprisons Skeletor, having him devoured by a giant snake, but Skeletor escapes after the Masters defeat Hiss.
Despite owing his life to Hordak, Skeletor destroys Hordak's sanctuary to prevent him from returning. Skeletor did not want to hold up his end of the bargain and free Hordak from Despondos because he wants Eternia for himself. At the end of the Second Season, King Hiss revives Serpos, the Serpent God, who had been transformed into Snake Mountain by the Elders; Skeletor and his minions were inside the mountain at that time. Though Serpos is defeated and restored to its Snake Mountain form. If season three of the series had been produced, it would have seen Skeletor and He-Man dealing with the Horde invasion and the powerful Hordak, who it was said Skeletor would eventually have defeated. This season would have also shown Skeletor's part in the kidnapping of He-Man's twin sister, She-Ra, and sending her to Hordak to be raised.
In the show, Skeletor is again portrayed as a bully towards his minions but with an even more malicious edge, using his powerful abilities to threaten his followers or to silence them. He also constantly blames his followers for their defeats at the hands of the Masters, and rules through a policy of fear, which makes him somewhat different compared to King Hiss. Many episodes end with him either punishing or torturing his minions for their failures. Also like previous versions, he is shown to possess almost no loyalty towards his followers as demonstrated in the last episodes of the first season, where he sends his own Evil Warriors into a trap to get captured just to lull the Masters into a false sense of security. He even goes as far as replacing them with his 'Council of Evil'. Despite this, he is shown to be power mad and unwilling to share the spoils of war; as demonstrated when he tells Count Marzo when questioned if they will gain anything from Castle Grayskull, that he will give them a reward if he feels like doing so.
In the beginning of the first season he demonstrates a deep rooted hatred towards King Randor for his part in destroying his face and making him what he is now; though he also attributes that to Evil-Lyn for saving him. This gradually shifts towards hatred against He-Man for standing in his way constantly. Furthermore, his maniacal laughter can perhaps indicate that he might have become insane by the loss of his face, something that is mentioned in the Icons of Evil comics when Kronis, who later becomes the villain Trap-Jaw, mentions that Skeletor is no longer the leader he once followed. Finally, despite his evil, Skeletor has been known to grovel when his life is in jeopardy, though this is usually an attempt to get the upper hand before betraying his savior, which is seen on a few occasions to trick He-Man into dropping his guard before attacking and escaping.
As with all the Mike Young Productions series' characters, Skeletor's appearance is based on his figure from the Four Horsemen-designed toyline which the cartoon was produced to promote. Skeletor is the character that received perhaps the least-extensive redesign from his original toy/cartoon version. However, when this new design was then translated into animated form, MYP's artists usually gave him a voluminous cape; something which neither the new toy, nor the original incarnation of the character ever wore. The cape is typically adorned in situations where Skeletor chose to employ powerful magical feats. Skeletor is still commonly seen without his cape in the 2002 series while at rest or in combat situations not requiring extensive use of magic. When a later convention-exclusive figure of Keldor was made using the existing Skeletor body, a removable cloth cape was included. As the figure came with three swappable heads including his Keldor face; his burning, acid-splashed visage; and his final Skeletor head, this figure could thus be configured into a "show-accurate" caped Skeletor.
Another note is that his eyes appear, glowing red, in his sockets whenever he becomes enraged or demonstrates his magic powers. When Hiss was going to turn him to stone he claims his eyes are closed but Evil-Lyn proclaims he has no eyes.
Wizard of Stone Mountain (2011 fan film) 
Skeletor appears in the 2011 fan film "The Wizard of Stone Mountain", portrayed by actor/model Andrew Brett. In the film, he is revealed to be the true power behind the film's demonic antagonist Locus. Brett is scheduled to play Skeletor in the film's two upcoming sequels.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2012) 
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. When Skeletor sends words to his allies that Adam must be prevented from learning who he really is, the first to take action is Trap-Jaw and his riders who ambush Adam in the desert.
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. When Adam and Teela are on a ship at sea, Skeletor sends word to Mer-Man to dispose of "Prince" Adam.
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.
Evil-Lyn reports the misplacement of her prisoners Adam and Teela 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.
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. 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 minion that encourages Skeletor to not accept defeat. The final frames reveal that an unknown enemy that wishes Skeletor dead, but is not yet prepared to see it happen, has been manipulating Skeletor throughout the entire saga.
Powers and abilities 
Skeletor possesses an array of mystic powers and is an extremely powerful sorcerer with control over a vast range of dark magical powers, such as the ability to teleport himself and others over vast distances, send telepathic commands to his minions, grow plants, hypnotism, illusions, reflection, freezing rays, open gateways between dimensions, etcetera. He also possesses considerable scientific skill, and is shown to have skill in creating various machines and devices in both the Filmation and New Adventures animated series. The 2002 series also shows him as a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant.
He is usually armed with a magical weapon called the Havoc Staff, a long sceptre crowned with a ram's skull—sometimes depicted with an embedded crystal ball. He can discharge bolts of mystic force from the head of the Staff, or use it as a focus for more powerful forms of magic such as the theft of dreams. Skeletor has also displayed the ability to discharge energy from his own body, as is seen in the 1987 film where he casts lightning from his hands and in the original animated series where he projects energy from his fingertips. In the 2002 series, his innate powers seem much more limited; though his abilities, when in conjunction with his Havoc Staff seem nearly unmitigated in scope and highly potent in raw power.
In the early mini-comics, Skeletor sometimes possesses one half of the power sword. From this weapon he could also project magical energies. He also performed remote viewing via crystal ball. He has also shown himself to be a gifted swordsman. As a master of the occult arts, he is also privy to much secret knowledge about the universe.
All versions portray Skeletor as being extremely cunning and intelligent.
Panthor is Skeletor's evil feline companion, a giant purple panther who serves as an evil counterpart to Battle Cat. Panthor is portrayed as Skeletor's pet, being at the right of his throne. However, unlike He-Man's Battle Cat, Panthor only appears in a handful of stories in the original series. While his role is similarly limited in the 2002 series, he is more prominent in the episodes in which he appears compared to his appearances in the earlier series.
Other media 
- A reference to Skeletor appears in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade; the Horde's Arathi Basin battle master in Shattrah City has the name Keldor the Lost, is undead with blue skin and wears an outfit similar to the one of Skeletor. The Season Two Gladiator Arena set for Rogues also has a very similar helm to Skeletor's original outfit with a Skull emanating from a Hood while his enemy is also spoofed as the Alliance Battle Master, with his pet, Battle Cat.
- In the 2002 British film Ali G Indahouse, when rallying his friends to help him defeat the film's antagonist, Ali describes him as "even more eviler than Skeletor", a comparison that elicits some pronounced horror from Martin Freeman's character.
- Skeletor appears in one strip of the popular webcomic, Penny Arcade, where he is actually vandalizing the entry for He-Man on Wikipedia.
- Skeletor appears in the first issue of the French comic book of Maliki in a cameo.
- In his 2009 Stand-up show If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One, Stewart Lee expresses the depth of his hatred for Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond by explaining that not only does he hate him more than any person who has ever lived, but also more than fictional characters such as Skeletor.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time, Part 1," the Doctor compares the Master to Skeletor.
- Skeletor is often parodied in Robot Chicken voiced by Dan Milano.
- In the 2011 Neal Stephenson novel Reamde, Skeletor is the nickname of hack fantasy author Devin Skraelin, who had been notably obese, but later became obsessive about walking on a treadmill while writing.
- From 2006 to 2010, YouTube contributor Daniel Geduld produced The Skeletor Show, a comic parody consisting of revoiced clips from the He-Man show.
- In the Downfall parodies, Joseph Goebbels is often referred to as "Skeletor".
- In the short-lived web series "Skeletor Weekly" and its subsequent spin-offs, Skeletor starred as the show's hyper-real and befuddled host.
- In the game Dawn of the Dragons, the staff Keldor is described to being owned by a demon fitting his description.
- German rockband the Grailknights's main antagonist on stage during their theatrics, "Dr. Skull", is a reference to Skeletor, sporting a similar outfit and power staff. He is the leader of the evil stage characters.
- In the 2011 film 50/50, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character's dog is named Skeletor.
- In the 2012 video game Double Dragon Neon, the voice and mannerisms of main antagonist Skullmageddon are heavily derived from the Filmation incarnation of Skeletor.
- In 2012 third party Transformer company Headrobots released upgrade set for the BotCon exclusive Gigatron called Skel-E-Tron, which converted the toy to look like a robotic version of Skeletor. The story on the package depicted Skeletor being turned into a robot by another Headrobots character, Snake, using the Key to Vector Sigma.
- Skeletor has make a couple of appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as a part of Lt. Worf's holodeck calisthenics program. Although he is never called Skeletor in the show, the actual mask worn by the actor actually came from The Masters of the Universe film.
See also 
- Szkieletor, an incomplete structure in Kraków, Poland, nicknamed after Skeletor
- "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season One, Volume One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- "Skeletor gets a dark and powerful origin story". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-11-31.
- Hart, Hugh (2002-08-11). "Who da man? 'He-Man'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - Season One, Volume One". IGN. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- "Ian Richter's answers to fan question revealed! Please discuss in this thread...". He-man.org. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- "Phil Villarreal's Review: Still a surefire hit with 6-year-olds". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
- "> Resources > Archives > Opening the Vault > Steven Grant - writer". He-Man.org. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Online Store - Keldor Figure". Mattycollector.com. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- Goodman, Walter (1987-08-08). "Film: He-Man Seeks Key". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- "The New Adventures of He-Man Volume 1": Fighting Mutant Slime in a Future Time". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- "Masters Cast - Episode 25". Masters Cast. Retrieved 2009-10-17.[dead link]
- "Masters of the Universe 2002": The Power Returns, In Style". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series (2002) DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #2
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #3
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #4
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #5
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #6
- "I Have The Power". Penny Arcade. Retrieved 2007-07-07.
- "Skeletor Weekly". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-09-15.