Masters of the Universe vs. The Snake Men

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Masters of the Universe
vs. The Snakemen
Masters of the Universe title screen
Sword and planet
Created byMike Young Productions
Based onHe-Man
by Mattel
Developed byMichael Halperin
Voices ofCam Clarke
Kathleen Barr
Lisa Ann Beley
Garry Chalk
Brian Dobson
Paul Dobson
Michael Donovan
Scott McNeil
Nicole Oliver
Gabe Khouth
Richard Newman
Composer(s)Joseph LoDuca
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes39 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Bill Schultz
Producer(s)Ian Richter
Running time21-22 minutes approx.
Production company(s)Mike Young Productions
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution (on behalf of DreamWorks Classics)
Mattel Creations
Original networkCartoon Network[1][2]
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseAugust 16, 2002 (2002-08-16) –
January 10, 2004 (2004-01-10)
Related showsHe-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983–1985, 2016)

Masters of the Universe vs. The Snakemen[a] is an American-Canadian 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 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, 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]

The series has been noted for similarities it shares with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Filmation 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[edit]

Season 1[edit]

The series begin with an attack on the Council of Wisdom, but it is thwarted by Captain Randor and his men. Captain Randor gets in a swordfight with Keldor, whose attempt to kill Randor will a vial of acid backfires and is deflected onto his own head, causing Keldor 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. Skeletor after many decades finally breaks through the barrier at last, and hopes to spread his bane once more, beginning with the capture of King Randor. Their liberation is detected within Castle Grayskull by the Sorceress, who informs Man-At-Arms, captain of the guards within Randor's kingdom and a trustworthy ally, that the time has come for destiny to be fulfilled. Prince Adam, a spoiled, almost carefree 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 and that one must become the warrior He-Man. Adam, of course, first believes Man-at-Arms to be the chosen warrior destined to become He-Man, but is aghast when he is the one. Adam refuses such a responsibility and heads back home. However, he arrives to see the palace in ruins, where he finds that Skeletor's forces have captured his father. Adam, Man-At-Arms, and Teela pursue Randor's kidnappers into the forests, where they are ambushed. Adam is covered by Man-At-Arms as he returns to Grayskull, followed by his pet tiger Cringer, and the court magician Orko. His flight through the forest infuriates Teela, who only sees a coward leaving the scene of battle. Adam accepts his destiny, and is granted the Sword of Power, which he uses to become He-Man. With Cringer transforming into Battle Cat, a strong and brave method of transport and assistance, He-Man returns to the scene of battle and rescues his father from Skeletor. Over the course of the first season, Randor's armies of defense expand, some convinced to fight through encounters with He-Man. The Sorceress stands revealed as the mother of Teela. Teela's ultimate destiny as the successor to the mantle of the Sorceress manifests in small doses physically and mentally, often causing her pain or general befuddlement at what these abilities are and what they mean for the future. Skeletor becomes aware of Grayskull's power when he attacks it, prompting him to spend much of the season attempting to enter it. Hints are made as to the fate of Skeletor's mentor, Hordak, and the future main adversaries of the second season, the Snake Men. Much like the original series, selling toys was a key goal of this series, and He-Man and Skeletor would don variations of their costumes or different ones entirely whenever they were briefly "empowered" with an ancient relic or new technology. The first season ends on a cliffhanger in which Skeletor unites several of the other adversaries fought by the 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[edit]

After the events of the season one cliffhanger such as Orko returning the sword to Adam and the Heroic Masters rescued, the Snake Men took center stage as the main antagonists, having been hinted at in the first season as being trapped beneath Snake Mountain (the place being their former stronghold, hence the name and reason for its existence) inside a void. They are finally being liberated by allies existing outside of the void, as well as a treacherous Evil-Lyn. Adam is informed of their rising by the Sorceress, and finds his He-Man armor completely different upon transformation, designed to fight the Snake Men, led by King Hiss. Skeletor would still appear from time to time, but would be gradually phased out, although had the series continued, he would have returned to his status as a major player. This season was shorter than the first, and as a result, more serialized, with certain episodes following one from another. Characters were strongly developed, and old characters reintroduced, including Fisto, who was Man-At-Arms' brother and a disgraced soldier of the court who went AWOL during the last great war. The third episode of this season "Out of the Past", also told the tale of how the Sorceress, on a granted leave from her duties, nursed an amnesia-stricken soldier back to health and fell in love with him. The soldier left mysteriously before she gave birth, and therefore his identity remains a mystery, and it is debated whether or not Man-At-Arms or Fisto were the ones involved, or somebody else entirely. The secret origins of Evil-Lyn, Skeletor, Snake Mountain, and the power of Castle Grayskull itself, were also revealed.

Comic book[edit]

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.[7]


Voice cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]


DVD releases[edit]

BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Entertainment Rights) released the entire series on DVD in Region 1, for the very first time, in three volume sets in 2008. Each volume contained an extensive array of special features including documentaries, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, end of episode morals, photo galleries and more. In December 2008, BCI Eclipse ceased operations, as a result all releases are now out of print.[8]

In June 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and subsequently released 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.[9] 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.[10]

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Additional Information
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


  1. ^ Referred to as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe during the first season.
  1. ^ YTV"HE-MAN returns to TV on Cartoon Network". 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. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  3. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe vs. The Snakemen: The Complete Series (2002) DVD Review". IGN. 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. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
  5. ^ Mowatt, Raoul V (2002-08-16). "Improved `He-Man' series heads to Cartoon Network". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  6. ^ "Masters of the Universe 2002": The Power Returns, In Style". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Site News - PRESS RELEASE: Navarre Shuts Down BCI, Makers of He-Man, Day Break, Price is Right and other DVDs". Archived from the original on 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  9. ^ "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - ReUse of BCI Box Art for Mill Creek's Releases on He-Man, Day Break & Ultraman". Archived from the original on 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  10. ^ Lambert, David (September 19, 2012). "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - 1983, 1990 and 2002 Shows Together for ' 30th Anniversary' DVDs". Archived from the original on September 23, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.

External links[edit]