Blackstar (TV series)
Blackstar promotional poster
|Voices of||George DiCenzo
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Original release||September 12 – December 5, 1981|
Blackstar is an American animated television series, a science fantasy story sometimes reported as being inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian. It was produced in 1981 by Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott for Filmation. The series was Filmation's second fantasy epic, the first being The Freedom Force, a segment of Tarzan and the Super 7. Blackstar has many notable similarities to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which was produced shortly afterwards.
John Blackstar, astronaut, is swept through a black hole, into an ancient alien universe. Trapped on the planet Sagar, Blackstar is rescued by the tiny Trobbit people. In turn, he joins their fight for freedom against the cruel Overlord, who rules by the might of the PowerStar. The PowerStar is split into the Power Sword and the Star Sword. And so, with Star Sword in hand, Blackstar, together with his allies, sets out to save the planet Sagar. This is his destiny. "I am John Blackstar."
Protagonist John Blackstar is an astronaut stranded on the planet Sagar where, with the help of the native Trobbits (an obvious portmanteau of trolls and hobbits), the shape-changing Klone, the dragon Warlock, and Mara the Enchantress, Blackstar opposes the Overlord, a Ming-like oppressor.
Very little is known about Blackstar's Earth. The technology is far advanced, as evidenced by Blackstar's "photon-based" ship and Katana's "fusion-drive" timeship capable of multidimensional travel. Neither Blackstar nor Katana bear any insignia related to any agencies in the real world. Blackstar's insignia appears on his golden collar.
Sagar is a planet that John Blackstar ends up stranded on. It is under the attacks of the evil Overlord who seeks to conquer the planet.
John Blackstar's race is not specified in the series, though it is often speculated that he could have Native American heritage and ancestry, anticipating Bravestarr, a later Filmation series, by roughly six years.
As an astronaut, Blackstar might have been extensively trained in many fields. He is intelligent, and he often prefers to outsmart his opponent rather than rely on physical talent, even though his constant contact with the Star Sword grants him super-human athletic abilities and near invulnerability.
The PowerStar and its two halves
Blackstar's weapon, the Star Sword, is able to absorb, store, and reflect any external form of energy, and is virtually indestructible. It can also produce blasts of pure energy capable of destroying a target. The weapon generates an invisible "aura" which imbues Blackstar with superhuman senses, strength, endurance, reflexes, speed, agility, and a limited invulnerability to harm and extreme temperatures. Presumably the Overlord's Power Sword confers similar abilities. For a brief time, in the episode "Spacewrecked," the Star Sword and the Power Sword are re-united into the PowerStar.
In the sixth episode, "Spacewrecked", Blackstar was briefly reached by his former Earth girlfriend, Lieutenant Katana, who spent some time on Sagar before a misadventure with the Overlord forced her to leave. Katana did not appear in any other episodes, although the story ended with her asking a superior for permission to organize an armed rescue mission.
- John Blackstar (voiced by George DiCenzo) – The main protagonist of the series. John Blackstar is an astronaut who ends up stranded on the planet Sagar where he takes part in the battles against Overlord.
- Warlock – A winged, vaguely equine dragon mount ridden by Blackstar who called a "dragon-horse".
- Klone (voiced by Patrick Pinney) – An elf-like shapeshifter who assists Blackstar against the Overlord.
- Mara (voiced by Linda Gary) – An enchantress who is Blackstar's ally. She is capable of telekinesis, telepathy, levitation, forcefield projection, illusions, magic blasts, and teleportation. In "City of the Ancient Ones", it is revealed that she is at least a few centuries old.
- Trobbits – Short for "Tree Hobbits", they are the inhabitants of the Sagar Tree. They rescue Blackstar upon his arrival on Sagar. They aremost likely an inspiration of the Seven Dwarves. Some of the known Trobbits are:
- Balkar (voiced by Patrick Pinney) – The King of the Trobbits and the mentor of John Blackstar. He controls elemental magic and is also a great alchemist.
- Rif (voiced by Frank Welker – The grumpy, flame-capped cook.
- Terra (voiced by Patrick Pinney) – The gardener who talks to plants.
- Burble (voiced by Frank Welker) – The babbler who swims very well and freezes during the winter.
- Carpo (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – The carpenter who gnaws wood with his teeth to construct things.
- Poulo – The mute whistler.
- Gossamear (voiced by Frank Welker) – The huge-eared flying one who is the scout and lookout.
- Overlord (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – The primary antagonist of the series. He plots to rule all of the planet Sagar and wields one half of the PowerStar, called the Power Sword, and constantly seeks the other half, the Star Sword, which John Blackstar now wields.
- Vizier (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Overlord's right-hand man and companion. He is an expert at mind-control and conjuring.
- Lava Locs – They appear in "Search for the Star Sword" and "Spacewrecked." The Lava Locs they are semi-intelligent creatures that can harden into volcanic stone and emerge from volcanic stone. They worship the Overlord and present him offerings at their temple.
- Alien Demons – They appear in two episodes. In "Spacewrecked," they appear as minions of the Overlord & Vizier. In "The Crown of the Sorceress," they are summoned by Taleena. The Alien Demons look a bit like evil gremlins and their toy figures came with each villain character.
- Palace Guard – Only appearing in "The Quest," they are the Overlord's beak-faced minions who guard the Ice Palace.
- Taleena (voiced by Linda Gary) – Only appearing in "Crown of the Sorceress," Taleena is a high priestess of the Demonlands and one of the minions of the Overlord. She was last seen consumed by the demonfire of her own making.
- Shaldemar (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Only appearing in "The Zombie Master," Shaldemar is an ally of the Overlord and the ruler of Marakand. Shaldemar was last seen turning to smoke after a blast from the Starsword shattered the Sphere of Souls, releasing the captured spirits.
- Isogul – Only appearing in "The Air Whales of Ancar," he is the king of the Vampire Men who blasts the Star Sword with evil magic, making it unstable. The evil can only be purged by the song of the Air Whales of Ancar.
- Nihilis (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Only appearing in "The Air Whales of Ancar," Nihilis is the captain of a flying whaling ship when he tries to capture the Air Whales and turn them into servants of the Overlord. Last we see of Nihilis, his daughter Lyla is trying to get him to see the error of his ways.
- Kadray (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Only appearing in "Lord of Time," Kadray is a time lord who rides a flying bull named Triton. He uses a time scepter to control time. But in the end, his powers backfire and he is turned into a baby. He was last seen in the care of the desert sprites.
- Neptul (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Only appearing in "Kingdom of Neptul," Neptul is the ruler of Aquaria and a servant of the Overlord. He attempted to steal the Starsword from Blackstar.
- Typhot (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Only appearing in "The Mermaid of Serpent Sea," Typhot is the captain of a group of undead pirates and enemies of the Mermanites. He is an ancestor of the Overlord. Typhot was last seen as a flying manta ray flying to Overlord's icy castle.
- Sirk – Only appearing in "The Mermaid of the Serpent Sea," Sirk is Typhot's first mate.
- Breelorand – Only appearing in "Overlord's Big Spell," it is a giant magic consuming demon that Overlord foolishly summoned to destroy the rebellion that went out of control and forced the Overlord to team up with Blackstar to defeat it as it began destroying the planet Sagar.
- Crios (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – Only appearing in "Lightning City in the Clouds," Crios is an Ice King whom the Overlord sends to capture Lelanna and use the special key she has to open the Box of Seasons and obtain the Weatherseed for the Overlord's purpose. In exchange, Overlord would have him rule winter on Overlord's behalf. When the key was destroyed and the Box of Seasons opened, Crios vanished in the dawning spring.
- Amber (voiced by Linda Gary) – Only appearing in "City of the Ancient Ones," Amber is a sorceress who is hundreds of years old and is worshiped by the Cave Apes. With the help of Vizier, the Overlord awakens her from her crystalized sleep and forces her to lead him to Tamboriyon. At the Overlord's command, Amber imprisons Klone and the Trobbits. She is redeemed by Blackstar and Mara.
- Storm (voiced by Linda Gary) – Only appearing in "The Lord of Time," she is Queen of the Amazons and ally of Blackstar.
- Tholen – Only appearing in "The Lord of Time," he is king of the Desert Sprites, a race of pacifists who guard the Fountain of Fire from evil.
- Queen Brindell – Only appearing in "The Mermaid of Serpent Sea," she is the Queen of the Mermanites and ally of the Trobbits.
- Puffin – Only appearing in "The Mermaid of the Serpent Sea," she is an extremely chatty Mermanite child who befriends Poulo.
- Tyson – Only appearing in "The Quest," he is the Elder of the Desert Dwellers who guard the Healing Stone.
- Emerald Knight – Only appearing in "The Quest," she started out as a servant of the Overlord who gave her armour that restored her youth. Realizing the error of her ways, Emerald Knight decided to stay with the Desert Dwellers and help guard the Healing Stone.
- Leilanna (voiced by Linda Gary) – Only appearing in "Lightning City in the Clouds," she is keeper of the key to the Box of Seasons and possibly a demigoddess. Her opposite counterpart is King Crios.
- Flame People – Only appearing in "Kingdom of Neptul," they are fire elementals who help Blackstar & the Trobbits fight Neptul and his Amphimen.
- Delia – Only appearing in "Tree of Evil," she is a Wood Sprite (called a dryad), whose forest is tainted by evil when the Overlord creates an evil copy of the Sagar Tree as a trap for Blackstar and Klone. Thereafter their ally.
- Lyla – Only appears in "The Air Whales of Ancar," she is the daughter of Nihilus who falls in love with Blackstar and helps him defeat her father. She vows to make her father change his ways.
- Grogon – Only appears in "The Air Whales of Ancar," he is an Ape Man who speaks in the third person. Grogon helps Blackstar rebel against Nihilus.
- Warhoun – Only appears in "The Air Whales of Ancar," he's an ancient and powerful Air Whale who befriends Gossamear.
- Thorg – Only appearing in "Crown of the Sorceress," he is the leader of a people imprisoned by the evil magic of Taleena. He becomes an ally of Blackstar.
- Prince Dal and Princess Loweena – Only appear in "The Zombie Masters," they are the co-rulers of the city of Gondar. It is destroyed by Shaldemar, but Blackstar defeats him with Prince Dal's help. Dal and Loweena claim the floating city of Marakand as the new home for their people, becoming powerful allies to Blackstar and friends.
Among the identified locations on Sagar are:
- Anchar: A region that is home to the Air Whales and scattered vampire men tribes.
- Aquaria: An undersea kingdom ruled by Nepthul.
- Demonlands: A barren landscape in the west where the demons live.
- Flame Mountain: A volcanic mountain chain near Tamboriyon.
- Gondar: A city ruled by Prince Dal and Princess Lowena. It was destroyed by Shaldemar.
- Gorge of the Winds: A deep canyon with winds that make it hard to fly through. Anyone wanting to go through it would use a rope and pulley system.
- Highlands: Home of the Druids.
- Ice Castle: Overlord's base.
- Kaymus: The kingdom that Taleena took over.
- Magnetic Sea: The city of Aquaria is located here. All compasses will have their readings thrown off.
- Marakand: The floating city of zombies.
- Red Crown Reef: A crown-shaped reef located in the Sea of Tranquility.
- Sagar Tree: A giant tree that is a source of the powerful white magic of Sagar. The Trobbits live here.
- Sea of Tranquility: The Mermanites live here.
- Tamboriyon: The ruined city of the Ancient Ones that is filled with ancient secrets.
- Tree of Evil: An evil clone of the Sagar Tree created by Overlord.
The premiere episode aired September 12, 1981, and the entire series original run lasted until December of that year. After its cancellation, Blackstar was re-run during the 1983–84 season, on the heels of He-Man's popularity. Despite favorable ratings from that 1983–84 reairing, plans for a second season had already been previously scrapped.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Search for the Starsword"||Gwen Wetzler||Tom Ruegger||September 12, 1981|
|This was the first episode to air, though it was the second episode produced. It was however, the first scripted episode.|
|2||"City of the Ancient Ones"||Gwen Wetzler||Michael Reaves||September 19, 1981|
|3||"The Lord of Time"||TBA||Marc Scott Zicree||September 26, 1981|
|4||"The Mermaid of Serpent Sea"||TBA||Tom Ruegger||October 3, 1981|
|5||"The Quest"||TBA||Story by : Martin Pasko
Teleplay by : Robby London
|October 10, 1981|
|6||"Spacewrecked"||TBA||Tom Ruegger||October 17, 1981|
|7||"Lightning City of the Clouds"||TBA||Tom Ruegger||October 24, 1981|
|8||"Kingdom of Neptul"||TBA||Michael Reaves||October 31, 1981|
|9||"Tree of Evil"||TBA||Michael Reaves||November 7, 1981|
|10||"The Air Whales of Anchar"||TBA||Marc Scott Zicree, Michael Reaves||November 14, 1981|
|11||"The Overlord's Big Spell"||TBA||Marc Scott Zicree||November 21, 1981|
|12||"The Crown of the Sorceress"||TBA||Marc Scott Zicree||November 28, 1981|
|13||"The Zombie Masters"||TBA||Marc Scott Zicree, Michael Reaves||December 5, 1981|
BCI Eclipse LLC (Under license from Entertainment Rights) released Blackstar: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on August 22, 2006. The 2-disc set features all the 13 episodes (restored and remastered), plus several bonus features.
As of 2009, this release has been discontinued and is out of print as BCI Eclipse ceased operations.
In 2007, 3 PAL DVDs containing 2 episodes on each were released by Boulevard Entertainment in the UK, though no subsequent DVDs have been released, leaving the remaining 7 episodes unreleased, as Boulevard Entertainment went into liquidation in 2014.
Galoob produced action figures from 1983 to 1985 after the show's cancellation, attempting to tap into the He-Man boom. The first series was re-released alongside the second and third series of figures with "laser light" stone-sparking action. Evil characters were packaged with demons while good characters were packaged with Trobbits. Trobbits were also packaged individually with Rif, Terra and Gossamer being the tougher ones to find.
Warlock the dragon and the Space Ship were each released in two color variations. Also released were Triton, Kadray's flying bull, the Trobbit Wind Machine and Battle Wagon. The Ice Castle was constructed with very thin plastic, maxking it very fragile.
In Greece, Blackstar action figures (the "laser lights" with stone-sparkling action version) were released under the name "Κυρίαρχοι του Σύμπαντος" (Masters of the Universe), until they were eventually phased-out by the introduction of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Two independent comic adaptations were made for the French market. One was a 3-episode series by artist Christian Gatignol (a.k.a. "Gaty") published by Editions Vaillant in their long-running comic magazine Pif-Gadget. The other was a 46-page one-shot published by Editions LUG (then the publishing house translating the bulk of Marvel Comics in French) by artist Jean-Yves Mitton, the creator of famed French super-hero Mikros. While Gatignol's version stays close to the original, Mitton went his own way with the Blackstar mythos, creating new enemies for Blackstar to fight (Antrax the coal giant, Telekrane the phantom witch), and stating that Blackstar and Mara had a romantic relationship. While Katana does not appear, she has a counterpart in Blackstar's original girl-friend from Earth, Leia, who appears in a flashback. It is also explained that Blackstar suffers partial amnesia from his crash on Sagar and had all but forgotten Leia when he started his relationship with Mara.
- "Blackstar DVD news: John Blackstar Gains The Star Sword This August With New Filmation DVD Release!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Site News DVD news: Navarre shutters BCI Eclipse division". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Blackstar comics by French artist Gaty". Lambiek.net. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "Blackstar comic by French artist Jean-Yves Mitton". Nightstoneunlimited.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22.