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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 TV series)

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Promotional art for season one
Sword and planet
Created byMike Young Productions
Based onMasters of the Universe
by Mattel
Developed byMichael Halperin
Directed byGary Hartle
Voices ofCam Clarke
Kathleen Barr
Lisa Ann Beley
Garry Chalk
Brian Dobson
Paul Dobson
Michael Donovan
Scott McNeil
Nicole Oliver
Gabe Khouth
Richard Newman
ComposerJoseph LoDuca
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes39 (list of episodes)
Executive producerBill Schultz
ProducerIan Richter
Running time21–22 minutes approx.
Production companyMike Young Productions
Original release
NetworkCartoon Network[1][2]
ReleaseAugust 16, 2002 (2002-08-16) –
January 10, 2004 (2004-01-10)

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe[a] is an animated television series. Developed for television by Michael Halperin, who created the original series, it was animated by Mike Young Productions.[3] It served as an update of the 1980s Filmation series, produced to coincide with Mattel's revival of the Masters of the Universe franchise eleven years after its previous attempt.[4] The series ran on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block between August 16, 2002, and January 10, 2004.

Unlike the previous He-Man series, set on the futuristic planet of Primus, this version sought to return to the roots of the storyline and provide broader explorations never reached in the first series, including origins for each character, and some first-time animated debuts of familiar toyline faces. The series also brought back several writers from the original series, such as Larry DiTillio[5] and Michael Reaves. Also, it is the second and final He-Man series to feature a Canadian voice cast with the exception of Cam Clarke.

The series has been noted for similarities it shares with the original series. For example, it has an homage intro to the Filmation series' intro speech, but in this version, teenager Prince Adam is interrupted by an explosion and invasion by Skeletor and his henchmen. Prince Adam transforms into He-Man when he says "By the power of Grayskull... I have the power!" (later episodes feature a chorus singing He-Man's name during the scene change). It also features "scene change" sequences, but only the one involving the Sword of Power was taken from the Filmation series; all the others were created for this series, and the sequences occur less frequently than on the previous series.[6]

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
126August 16, 2002 (2002-08-16)October 11, 2003 (2003-10-11)
213October 18, 2003 (2003-10-18)January 10, 2004 (2004-01-10)

Season 1


The series begins with an attack on the Council of Wisdom, but it is thwarted by Captain Randor and his men. Captain Randor engages in a swordfight with Keldor, who attempts to kill Randor with a vial of acid. Randor deflects the acid back into Keldor's face, causing him to sound the retreat. Zoar informs Captain Randor that the Council has vanished and declared Eternia to become a monarchy, with Captain Randor as king. Zoar also tells Captain Randor he will be responsible for a great hero, but immediately vanishes afterwards. Randor, perplexed by the lack of information, shouts, "How will I know this hero?!"

Years later, Eternia has seen the end of tyranny and evil, and King Randor has married and ruled over a peaceful, prosperous people. Eternians are safe in the knowledge that their greatest threats are trapped behind the great barrier in the badlands near Snake Mountain. However, Skeletor finally breaks through the barrier and seeks to cause havoc once more, beginning with the capture of King Randor. Detecting the breach from within Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress informs Man-At-Arms, Randor's captain of the guards and a trustworthy ally, that the time has come for destiny to be fulfilled. Prince Adam, a spoiled, almost carefree heir-apparent to the throne of his father, Randor, is trained daily by the unrelenting Teela, his best friend. Adam is approached by Teela's father, Man-At-Arms, who takes Adam to Castle Grayskull. There, Adam learns from the Sorceress of an approaching evil which can only be defeated by someone destined to become the warrior He-Man, and is shocked to discover that he is the chosen one. Refusing to accept the responsibility, Adam returns home to find the palace in ruins, and that Skeletor's forces have captured his father. Adam, Man-At-Arms, and Teela pursue Randor's kidnappers into the forests, where they are ambushed. Adam is covered by Man-At-Arms as he returns to Grayskull, followed by his pet tiger Cringer, and the court magician Orko. His flight through the forest infuriates Teela, who only sees a coward leaving the scene of battle. Adam accepts his destiny, and is granted the Sword of Power, which he uses to become He-Man. With Cringer transforming into Battle Cat, a much larger beast strong enough to serve as a steed, He-Man returns to the scene of battle and rescues his father from Skeletor. Over the course of the first season, Randor's defenses expand, with many other fighters joining He-Man's cause. The Sorceress is revealed as the mother of Teela, whose ultimate destiny as the successor to the Sorceress manifests in small doses physically and mentally, often causing her pain or general befuddlement as she struggles to understand them. Skeletor becomes aware of Grayskull's power when he attacks it, prompting him to spend much of the season attempting to enter it. Hints are made as to the fate of Skeletor's mentor, Hordak, and the future main adversaries of the second season, the Snake Men. Much like the original series, selling toys was a key goal of this series, and He-Man and Skeletor would don variations of their costumes or different ones entirely whenever they were briefly "empowered" with an ancient relic or new technology. The first season ends on a cliffhanger in which Skeletor unites several of the other adversaries fought by the Heroic Masters into a grand council of evil. He captures most of the Masters, forcing He-Man and Teela to enter Snake Mountain. Adam becomes separated from his sword, and is soon forced to protect Castle Grayskull from Skeletor without it.

Season 2

Season two title

After the events of the season one cliffhanger, which saw Orko returning the sword to Adam and the Heroic Masters rescued, the Snake Men take center stage as the main antagonists, having been hinted in the first season as being trapped beneath Snake Mountain (their own former stronghold) inside a void. They are finally liberated by allies existing outside of the void, as well as a treacherous Evil-Lyn. Adam is informed of their rising by the Sorceress and finds his He-Man armor completely different upon transformation, designed to fight the Snake Men, led by King Hiss. Skeletor would still appear from time to time, but would be gradually phased out, although had the series continued, he would have returned to his status as a major player.

This season was shorter than the first, and as a result, more serialized, with episodes following an established continuity. Characters were strongly developed, and old characters reintroduced, including Fisto, who was Man-At-Arms' brother and a disgraced soldier of the court who went AWOL during the last great war. The third episode of this season, "Out of the Past," also reveals how the Sorceress, on a granted leave from her duties, nursed an amnesia-stricken soldier back to health and fell in love with him. The soldier left mysteriously before she gave birth, and his identity remains unknown; it is debated whether or not the soldier was Man-At-Arms or Fisto, or someone else entirely, calling Teela's parentage into question. The secret origins of Skeletor, Snake Mountain, and the power of Castle Grayskull itself, were also revealed.

Voice cast


The voice director for the series is Michael Donovan.

DVD releases


BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Mattel Entertainment) released the entire series on DVD in Region 1, for the very first time, in three volume sets in 2008. Each volume contained an extensive array of special features including documentaries, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, end of episode morals, photo galleries and more. In December 2008, BCI Eclipse ceased operations, as a result all releases are now out of print.[7]

In June 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and subsequently released He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - The Complete Series, a 4-disc box set featuring all 39 episodes of the series on DVD in Region 1 on September 29, 2009.[8] They also released a 10-episode single disc best of DVD on the same day.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Masters of the Universe brand, Mill Creek Entertainment released the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD in December 2012. The 22-disc set features all 130 episodes of the 1983 series, 20 fan-favorite episodes of the 1990 series, as well as all 39 episodes of the 2002 series.[9]

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Additional Information
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series 39 September 29, 2009
  • End of Episodes Morals
  • Interviews with Toyline Artists from Mattel and The Four Horsemen
  • 12 audio commentaries
  • Scripts for episodes 1-40
  • A PDF Comic Book for unproduced episode #40

Comic book


To coincide with the release of the series, a He-Man comic was created by MV Creations. Three separate series were released between 2002–2004: two mini-series, a short-lived ongoing series and a handful of one-shots were published. Some of these were collected into trade paperback graphic novels. The tone and maturity of the comic was slightly different from the cartoon, as the writers hoped to appeal to the older demographic purchasing the comic. The comic ultimately came to a close when Mattel began to end the licensing program for the Masters of the Universe relaunch. The comics were published by Image Comics, then MV Creations themselves (through Crossgen Comics), before eventually going back to Image Comics. MV Creations also made several minicomics which were included with a few of the 200X action figures; they also created a comic of the unproduced episode 40 of the cartoon series, based on Dean Stefan's original screenplay. In the comic - "Captured" - Skeletor retakes Snake Mountain, King Hiss recovers from his injuries after his defeat at the hands of Zodak, and Man-At-Arms is transformed back into a Snake Man.[10]


  1. ^ Later referred to as Masters of the Universe vs. The Snake Men during its second season.


  1. ^ YTV"HE-MAN returns to TV on Cartoon Network". mania.com. Archived from the original on 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  2. ^ Solomon, Charles (2002-12-22). "Can't keep He-Man down; Once viewed by children's advocates as toy makers' shill, the cartoon hero is back, minus controversy". LA Times. Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  3. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe vs. The Snakemen: The Complete Series (2002) DVD Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  4. ^ Owen, Rob (2002-08-16). "On the Tube: Cartoon Network brings He-Man, the Masters back for 20th anniversary". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 2004-07-16. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
  5. ^ Mowatt, Raoul V (2002-08-16). "Improved 'He-Man' series heads to Cartoon Network". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  6. ^ "Masters of the Universe 2002": The Power Returns, in Style". Toon Zone. Archived from the original on 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  7. ^ "Site News - PRESS RELEASE: Navarre Shuts Down BCI, Makers of He-Man, Day Break, Price is Right and other DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  8. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - ReUse of BCI Box Art for Mill Creek's Releases on He-Man, Day Break & Ultraman". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  9. ^ Lambert, David (September 19, 2012). "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - 1983, 1990 and 2002 Shows Together for ' 30th Anniversary' DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  10. ^ "He-Man.org > Publishing > Comics > MVCreations - Specials (2002, 2008) > Episode 40 Captured". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-03-05.