In this interview Kevin Smith discusses his involvement with Masters of the Universe: Revelation, making it clear his is passionate about it.
In support of Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation, I participated in a roundtable discussion with showrunner Kevin Smith to discuss his inspirations, the casting process, and how it felt to be involved in such an iconic franchise.
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION AHEAD!
If you have not yet watched the series and do not want to be spoiled, check out this spoiler free review of Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation.
Kevin Smith Interview – Masters Of The Universe: Revelation
There are so many great things that Kevin said, so it seemed best to write this interview in transcript form, which is not the normal for us. Hope you enjoy it!
Tessa Smith (MamasGeeky.com): This series picks up after the 80’s series, so can you tell me the decision process for that?
Kevin Smith: It was not even my decision… Mattel met with me and they’re like doing three Masters of the Universe things. One is a live-action movie. One is a reinvention of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon for kids. This kind of CG version. And he said, there’s a middle version, which is meant to be like a kind of fanservice for everyone who loved the old show – their idea was the movie takes it in a new direction. The cartoon, the kids’ cartoon takes it in a new direction. They didn’t want people who grew up watching the show to be like, this ain’t my He-Man. I don’t recognize any of this – we want to do one strictly for those people. And that was primarily for our boss, Ted Biaselli, who works at Netflix.
He’s the biggest Masters of the Universe fan on the planet. He was the guy that got all this going, man. I think he was the one that brought it into Netflix. If they wanted me to do to He-Man what Nicole did to She-Ra, I would not have been that person. I’m not inventive. I’m not creative. And I can’t take a concept and turn it into something cool and new. But they asked me to just continue the story. They’re like the idea is we’re going to spiritually sequel-ize the old classic series. So I was like, wait, you just want to keep it going and maybe grow them up a little bit. I was like, I’m your guy. I can totally do that. As I’ve done that in comic books, I think I could pull that off.
So I felt pretty good about taking the job. I felt excellent. The moment I realized that the two people on either side of me Ted at Netflix and Rob David at Mattel television, Rob had written like Masters of the Universe comics for DC. So not only is he like a suit, who works at Mattel, he’s a creative as well. I knew I wasn’t going to go wrong between the Scylla and Charybdis of these guys. They weren’t going to crush me. But I knew I wasn’t gonna go wrong, because they could tell me what a superfan would or would not bump into. You know?
So constantly with Teddy, I’m like, ‘What if we did this?’ I don’t want to spoil it, but like, we kill one character twice. And he’s a pretty big character! And you know, most people would be like, don’t do that. But Ted, being a super fan, was like, ‘I know where it’s going. I like it, do it.’ And it wasn’t like ‘Break at all!’ Because this dude ain’t interested in breaking it all, he’s still got his original toys like set up around his house.
So the idea of going in was we were given parameters that were never like suffocating. They were the parameters that allowed me to take the job. It was just creative enough, where I was like, I would love to take these characters and just grow them up a little bit. That was the idea. Our marching orders, it was kind of like this, we’re like, Look, we want the person to watching this show to feel like when they sit down, they’re like, ‘Oh, shit, all my old toys are exactly where I left them. And they look the same. And the relationships are the same -everything about it is the same. But I’m a little more grown-up and they can be a little more grown-up too.’ We got to bring stakes to it, which is something -of course- they were never able to do with Filmation.
I don’t think He-Man ever punched Skeletor or used his sword on him. They weren’t allowed to do violence and stuff. So, it wasn’t just as simple as Ted being like, ‘I want to see him fight!’ Naturally, that’s a part of it and stuff. But it was like what if these characters -you know- who blindly kind of had very simple adventures and morality tales -week after week, episode after episode, daily- what if you know their entire world was kind of confronted with stakes? Like Teddy goes, ‘I used to watch the show, and like I would think that Skeletor is gonna kill him in every episode. Then I became a teenager realize that was never gonna happen. But just, I would love to feel that way again.’ He’s like ‘If you can make me feel like stakes, odds, -like somebody could die at any minute. He’s gone! I feel like that would really go the distance.’ And that was like -you know- candy to a baby! Because I’m like, ‘You mean we get to like kill characters too?’ I mean, that’s like the easiest Street in drama.
Every one of those decisions, like I would bump it off of Robert and no time ever, was there ever a moment where they’re like, ‘Don’t do that.’ No idea was ever kicked back. Now. To be fair, I didn’t play the game I normally play where it’s like, Alright, this one fucker is gonna make sex jokes and this mother fucker is gonna be like cursing. I had to leave some of the tools that I’m used to playing with back in my toolbox. But what was great is, I’ve been consuming shit like this my whole life.
Comic books, cartoons, sci-fi movies, I never make them. I make movies where people talk to each other about stupid shit. I don’t play in this arena. I’m more of an Audience Member for this kind of thing. But I’ve been an audience member for 50 years now -I’m gonna be 51 in fog in August. So I’ve been a member of the audience for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of TV. I’ve seen a lot of movies I’ve seen like how it’s done. So even though I’d never done something like this before, I was like, ‘Well, I’m gonna just do what like my favorite things did.’ Like going forward with this, we were essentially doing Marvel-method -Marvel Cinematic Universe method. Like I said, ‘Look, when I go see a Marvel movie, it is my childhood serve back to me, but in such an appetizing way that even though I know exactly whatever flavor is at every component, I’m still gobbling it up. And not only that, I’m gonna bring my kid to sit there with me and be like, see this shit. I grew up on this. This is my childhood.’
As my father did with me, man. When I was a kid, we went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. And nobody knew about the movie. No internet back then. So there was no like pre-release hype. It’s a very quiet release and stuff. And so my old man took me to the movies every Wednesday to a matinee. Pulled me out of Catholic school. And I have to tell them all the time, like, ‘A relative died.’ They go like, ‘You got a lot of dead relatives.’ And then we go to the matinees. So we went to see Raiders the Lost Ark, and I got to see a version of my father I’ve never seen before in my life up to that point. Up to that point, he’s, -that’s Dad. You know? He’s stoic. And he’s just, he’s in charge. And he’s got to go to work and pay the bills and shit like that. He’s dad.
That day, when I saw Raiders of Lost Ark with him, I saw somebody completely different. Because this was a piece of his childhood. He was excitedly telling me, he’s like, ‘You don’t understand. When I was kid going to the movies, this is what they did. And then you’d make you come back the next week, to see the end of it. It was called a cliffhanger. I can’t believe this!’ I got to see a version of my father that I absolutely fell in love with. I’d always love my dad, but he was my dad. I got to see the boy that he was, his passions, the thing that like fueled him when he was a kid, and he shared that with me. And it shaped my view of my father, it shaped my view of entertainment, like, this is what he likes, I should like this too. There is something worthy here or whatnot. And I want that for everyone else.
As we were writing this, we were like, ‘Somebody is going to be sitting down with their kid and watching this. And they are going to be breathlessly retelling every element of the Masters of the Universe lore that they can possibly remember.’ And they remember it all. Because it was built into their DNA at a time when they were kids. That shit takes hold. So we knew we were making it for a fan, you know, a fan service audience. But we also knew they were bringing their kids with them. And we wanted to make sure that that was going to be an equally enjoyable experience for both the kid – we don’t want kids being like, ‘Fuck, what is this?’ – we want the kids to be engaged because their parents are engaging. Also, because hopefully, they find the story interesting and stuff.
But for me, like the notion of like, I watched WandaVision with my wife, and she didn’t give a fuck about Marvel and shit. But here we were in the middle of the pandemic, and she’s like, ‘Look, I’ll watch anything.’ And so I’m like, ‘Well, this is good. Like, this character is real fuckin dope. And if this is what I think it is, this shits about grief, man, it’s gonna be amazing.’ And so she starts watching with me and I discovered the joy of secondary storytelling. Like I’m a person who receives storytelling in the audience, I like when a story is told me, I watch TV, movies, plays, whatever the fuck. I’m happy to consume and shit. But when you get into something that you are an expert at, like, you know this shit backwards and forwards, you get to be a part of the storytelling in a way that you never were before. Because you’re sitting there with somebody going like, ‘What’s going on?’ And you’re like, *pause* ‘Let me fucking tell you what happened! And like I can -I’m going to recount nine movies to you just so you can understand this one point!’ And then you are part of the storytelling. You didn’t pay for this movie. You didn’t have to get yourself in shape like Chris Hemsworth to be on camera this way. But suddenly you are part of the storytelling tradition of this movie. And I wanted that so badly for Masters. I hope it happens.
Jenna Busch (Vital Thrills): I love the show and I was a fan of the original. But 80s cartoons were really big into secret identities. Like every story was about, like, this person can’t know what if they find out. But they get revealed a little bit here, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Kevin Smith: Thank you for that. That was my way in. And as much as I’ve been a longtime comic book fan, even before I watched He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in the early 80s. You know, I was a comic book kid. And the secret identity is that the core of every great superhero. Like, this is the person everyone sees me as, this is the person that I truly am. It’s aspirative. That’s why kids love it, man. It’s like, ‘You mean I could be somebody else? Like, I’m treated like a kid but I could be treated like this?’ And that’s at the heart of the ethos of He-Man himself. If you’ve ever watched, like The Toys That Made Us on Netflix, they do a great job of telling you where this all came from man. And it was like a bunch of old men sitting around a room going, What do kids want?’ And they’re like, ‘Kids want power.’ And so suddenly, this thing came to be. So secret identities, like are big. That was part of the draw for me, because to me, like, I didn’t know if I could tell a proper He-Man and the Masters of the Universe story. But I knew I could tell a superhero story.
And to me, I was like, ‘Oh, this is Superman. This is Clark Kent and Superman. Dual identity. And Lois Lane doesn’t know that he’s Superman. And yet they’re friends and she pines for Superman.’ So I was like, ‘This is a classic storytelling element that’s been at play heavily in a medium that I love for years and years.’ So secret identities were my way in. And the idea of this show, like when we were like, in the writer’s room, and even before that, when they were like, ‘What’s your idea?’ I kind of latched on to in the opening credits, just like in our opening title sequence, they’re very clear about only some people know the secret that Prince Adam is He-Man. And the one person really left out of it, aside from like his parents, is Teela. Who like He-Man literally fights beside for every episode. And if he’s not He-Man, he’s Adam. Teela is protecting him as Prince Adam in every episode. And so to me, I’m like, the most important person in his life doesn’t know his secret. What happens if she finds out?
What happens if she finds out at the worst time possible. Like when the dude can’t even answer for himself anymore. It’s not a case of like ‘Sit down, I gotta tell you something. You know He-Man? I’m him.’ It’s basically she’s gonna find out under traumatic circumstances where she has to balance how she felt about Adam and He-Man and how she feels about them now knowing she was at the heart of deception.
So that was the thing I pitched. And that’s what Netflix and then Mattel Television went for right away. They’re like, ‘Ooh!’ So for me, I was like, it’s kind of doing the story of if Lois finds out the Clark was Superman after Superman died. How heartbroken she would be. What kind of effect that would have. And so it trickled on from that.
In a world where, in episode one, He-Man and Skelator get killed presumably, it was also telling a story of what happens when you take the two figureheads – the two people in which the entire world has been built. The two people that are at the epicenter, the people that drive the motivation of every single episode of the show. What happens if you pull them out? What happens to the rest of the characters? What happens to Metropolis if Superman goes away? What happens to Gotham City if Batman is no more?
So that was kind of the way in for us. But it had everything to do with secret identities. And that was the that was -for me- the draw. I was like, ‘Whoo, I love this. A comic book story!’
Joseph Deckelmeier (Screen Rant): Hey, Kevin. So you’ve accomplished your goal. I have a six-year-old here and we love the show. We’ve I’ve seen it in our household three times in its entirety. It’s amazing. You immediately hooked me in when I saw Tri-Klops and Motherboard. When you guys had Tri-Klops in there, I was all on board. Merman, played by Kevin Conroy, and you have Skeletor played by Mark Hamill. How did that all come together? That’s such an iconic moment and seeing them on the same side too.
Kevin Smith: I know! It’s so weird and it’s weird hearing them voice at each other but not in the roles that you’re used them doing. Mark of course was one of the first people we thought about for Skeletor but he was real pie in the sky. Like I don’t know if we’ll get him. Like they asked me to like you know, you work with him I was like, ‘I did. But just recently, I made a Jay and Silent Bob reboot and I asked him to come be in it and he couldn’t do it because he was making some star fucking thing.’ So I don’t know that I’m your ticket to getting Mark. The ticket to getting Mark was just saying Skeletor. Because Mark had this affection going back to not when he was a child, but when he had children. So Mark tells a story about like in 19 -December 81 or 82- he’s like ‘I spent one month calling every Mattel exec on the planet to try to secure a Castle Grayskull for my kid.’ So for him, there was a nostalgic connection to the material, even if you didn’t watch every episode. And also, he was just like, the chance to play Skeletor, like one of the most famous bad guys in all history in all media history. And he was talking about slowing down if not stopping voiceover work. And he said he’s like, ‘When they offered me Skeletor like I had to go for it.’ And stuff. So getting him was was great. And you know, part of it was like, I know Kevin and stuff. I like to think in my heart of hearts, that he was like, ‘Well I couldn’t do the reboot, so I’ll do this.’ You know? Or something like I I owe him. But I doubt it’s that. Mark loves to chew the scenery. And Skeletor is very dramatic. You get to do the Joker to the 10th degree.
So getting him was wonderful. And then once we had him as we were casting, like we had Merman, and I was like what if we got Batman to play Merman? I know Kevin very well, I’ve had him on our podcast of Fatman on Batman. He was in Yoga Hoser as well, in a bit part and stuff. So we reached out and he was like, ‘Oh my god, I’d absolutely love to!’ So being able to bring those two dudes together, you know, on our set, so to speak. That’s just fanboy stuff, fangirl stuff if you’re a woman, But for in my case, fanboy stuff where you’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ Like I- you know? Batman the Animated Series was not even really part of my childhood as much as a part of my adulthood by the time it aired. I was kind of heading toward adulthood and stuff like that. But, you know, I remain a big fan of this stuff and being able to like have the bragging rights of like, or be a bar question of like ‘Name the only other cartoon where Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, play opposite one another.’ You know? That’s me. Like I don’t do shit for the money. I don’t do shit to win awards. I do shit for weird Easter eggs and bragging rights like that. And to be a trivia question, based on smart casting would be a dream come true.
But working with those guys again, both of whom I’d worked with before, I tended to bring a lot of people in like I’d worked with Diedrich Bader before. I’d worked with Tiffany [Smith] before. I’d worked with Chris [Wood] before. Stephen Root. You know? A lot of folks. Jason Mewes, I think I’ve worked with him in the past. So you know, generally I was like, ‘Hey man, we’re having a show we’re putting on a show. It’s cartoon. You guys want play?’ And nobody said no. Like, everybody dove in for different reasons. But most of it came from people being like, ‘I have some sentimental or nostalgic connection to this material.’ Either, ‘I watched it,’ or. ‘It’s a big part of my kids’ lives.’
[The 5th episode is] gonna blow people’s minds. We’re always wondering, are people going to be mad? I think they’re going to be mad. Not because of what we did. But because we don’t have an episode after that. Like, that’s what’s gonna irritate people. Like, ‘You son of a bitch! You can’t go out like that!’ But that’s how they do. They do that in movies. I’ve gone to movies my whole life, and when they’re doing a series of shit, the fucking one movie ends on a cliffhanger. And so you’ve got to go back. So I was like, I’m gonna steal that formula. I didn’t invent anything. I just borrowed from everybody.
Ray Flook (Bleeding Cool): First, Kevin, congratulations with the series. I have been tracking your excitement from the moment it was announced. So for you, I think we’re all excited for just how well it’s turned out. One question with two little mini parts to it. When/once the work got underway, was there ever a moment in it early on where you pause and had one of those, ‘Oh, shit, I’m really doing this and continuing the story.’ And on those lines, in that production, was there ever a moment where you sat back and went, ‘Yeah, I think we might just be getting this.’
Kevin Smith: I honestly even now, I still don’t know if we got it. Because that’s all predicated on the audience, right? It’s like, there’s how you feel about the work. And then there’s how you feel about the work after everyone consumes the work. So you know, if you talked to me before Yoga Hoser came out, I’d be like, ‘Oh, best movie I’ve ever made.’ Then after the world told me what it was. I was like, ‘Well, perhaps it wasn’t.’ So I can’t say even now that I’m like, ‘Oh, man! We nailed it!’ But I know this much. I’ve been watching this shit obsessively since they’ve been sending me things. I mean, I wrote the story, wrote scripts, and then saw the animatic, saw the finished animation. Saw the animation with Bear McCreary’s amazing score involved, recorded the voices.
So I was there every step of the way. And many times, you know, It sounds ridiculous and on brand but I generally get up around 4:20 every day. And so there were days where I didn’t have things do I wasn’t writing my own project or something. The few times where I had free time, instead of surfing the internet, I would literally just go back and rewatch the episodes. And like, you know, I like when you make a movie, you watch it over and over and over again. And by the time it’s ready to come out, you’re like, I’m done seeing it. This, I could watch over and over and over again. It just grabbed me, like emotionally. Like, every time. I like the key moments, the key depth still makes me cry, and I came up with them. I know they’re coming. But it doesn’t matter.
For me it’s dream come true stuff to watch the smallest weakest character, the character that most people are like, ‘Ugh!’ about, face down down the Lord of Hell. There’s a short where Scare Glow unleashes all these demons and it’s intimidating as fuck to look at even in animation. And there’s Orko, like does the spin forward and busts his circle at him. And that, to me is the heart of heroism. I’ve been reading this shit since I was a kid – not just Masters of the Universe, but comic book superheroes – because of that notion.
The notion that like in the moment that the worst thing in the world is happening, that everybody is running from, there’s one, or a couple of people, dressed in very colorful costumes, heading straight at it. And that’s the moment we gave Orko. And so stuff like that. When I saw that, even when in script form, like coming up with that beat. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s gonna be great.’ Tim wrote that script. Seeing it written out like how it played out like, ‘Oh my god! It’s breathtaking.’
Hearing Griffin Newman record it, and Griffin is like a secret weapon. He does that voice without any help. He wanted the role so badly and thank God he got it. He lobbied for it on twitter. He brought insane amounts of soul to it. He sounds like the guy.
When you love something a lot it’ll power you through. I’ve made some shit people don’t love and as long as you love it, it’ll get you where you need to go. Like I always say to myself at the end of every project, generally two things, and whether they succeed or fail. And in my case, most of the time, this is after failure. I say, ‘You wanted this. Oh my god, you wanted this. You changed life so that this could happen. You looked for millions of dollars and you got people to change their schedules and come to a place to make pretend for you. You wanted this so don’t fucking sell out on it.’ Because I remember when Mallrats tanked when I was a kid, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ Like, I’ve turned my back on the movie for a while. Now, Mallrats is like my most beloved movie. So I learned early on like fucking like, just because it don’t work in the moment, don’t mean it won’t work in the future.
The second thing I say to myself after I’m done with something is like, ‘What was the alternative? What were you gonna do? If you didn’t do this fucking thing it’ll eat at you like a cancer. Because you know, you could pull it off.’ Same thing here with Masters of the Universe. If I hadn’t done it, even though I’d never done this sort of thing, this exact thing before, I’ve done versions of it. I’ve done some episodic, I’ve done some fantasy storytelling with like Dogma. I’ve you know, I’ve done comic books and stuff. But putting them all together in one place. I’d never done it. But I felt like, if I could just hit key moments, like, as long as I’m happy, as long as I feel like that’s a beautiful fucking story, then I can kind of deal with it. The nice thing is when other people start reacting to it. Like, all day long I’ve been hearing from people who have actually seen it. And you are the people we’ve been thinking about. We don’t know what you look like, but for the last two years we’ve designed it for use, for user friendly, for it to be user-friendly, for fan service. That it would be something that would be embraced. We didn’t want to challenge the audience and be like, ‘Everything you know about fucking He-Man is wrong!’
Basically, we’re like, ‘Everything you know about all that shit was absolutely right. This is just what happened, the next day. You know? When something bad happened and shit went wrong.’ But it was -I still to this moment, I don’t want to count my chickens. You know what I’m saying? Like, I feel pretty good about it. I hope the rest of the world embraces it like I have, like as much as I love it. But I’ll be honest with you, I love it so much that even if the rest of the world shit on it, I’d be like, ‘You know what? Then I’m an idiot. Because that’s the exact story that I wanted to tell. And it still moves me to this day.’ So we’ll see. I guess we’ll know if we’re successful if we ever get to season two. But we don’t find out about that -they told us- until they drop it and then three weeks after they look at the algorithm and that’s when they decide whether something gets re-upped and stuff. So fingers crossed enough people watch it. I mean, that’s the sad thing. It’s like, even if people hate it, if they watch it, we’ll probably get to season two. And then I could be like, let me repair all the shit I did wrong that you didn’t like. Hopefully.
Kevin Fenix (FanboyNation): Thanks for being here. I love the series as well. I wasn’t the biggest He-Man fan, but now I’m a lot more invested after watching the series. So you were talking a little bit earlier about Easter eggs and my favorite Easter egg from the episodes we got was Wun-Dar. I was wondering what’s your favorite Easter egg? And how important do you think it is for you and the fans that Easter eggs are included?
Kevin Smith: Easter eggs are a big part of our culture, as we all know. Like it’s one thing to enjoy a thing as presented, it’s another thing to be able to enjoy the Inside Baseball of it all and that’s something that, my whole career, they always tried to beat out of me. Because you know, I connected the movies back in the day and like they’re all in the View Askew Universe. And I remember whoever I worked with, like the studio’s whether it be Miramax, Universal, or The Weinstein Company, they were always like, ‘You got to stop putting in references to your other movies and stuff like that.’ And I’m like, ‘Why?’ And they’re like, ‘Because only a few people find it funny, the people have seen the other movies. What if you got people in the audience that never saw those other movies?’
And I was like, ‘Well, hopefully they’ll enjoy the movie we’re presenting. But hopefully, the people who did enjoy the previous stuff -that, that shit -we didn’t call it Easter eggs back then- But it’s like that shits in there for them.’ And that’s to reward them for like, ‘Hey, man, if you saw that other flick, here’s another joke within the inside of this flick.’
So I’ve been doing that like for years, but they’d always try to beat it out of me. They’re always just like, ‘Oh, that’s so alienating.’ Now, that’s all anybody wants! They want everything connected, man. Everyone’s trying to find a way to build like a universe and stuff like that. So as we went into this, there’s certain Easter eggs that we definitely knew that we were going to throw in. Like Rob David, who’s our executive at Mattel, who’s like, it’s a shame to call him the exec but that is his job, but he’s as creative as any writer or any of the artists who’ve worked on this. Rob, when I gave him my story was just like, ‘This is great. All I ask is that you put Preternia in it.’ And I was like, ‘Get out of here!’
And he was like, “It’s a legendary toy that nobody really got to have and like to be able to put it in there would be something special.’ So we turned Preternia, which in the Mattel lore was Preternia of old with dinosaurs, we turned that into our version of Heaven, we turned Subternia into our version of Hell. So Preternia was the first Easter egg.
The second Easter egg going in was of course He-Ro. We wanted to do that because this is a character that never got to be in the cartoons. Same with Stinkor, and same with Scare Glow. So going into it, we knew there were elements that had been made like, yeah, there’s a Scare Glow figure, but he was never in the legacy of the classic cartoon. We knew that bringing those in would be fanservice-y moments. And then repurposing Scare Glow into our Lord of Hell, so to speak. Like suddenly you take a character that you know it doesn’t have many parameters because it hadn’t been defined in many other incarnations and, you know, you get a bit more freedom with the character and get to use the character that way.
Laura Nowak (We Are Entertainment News): So I realized that while the sequel still has a lot to do with He-Man, it also had a lot to do with female empowerment, especially with Teela and Andra and Evil Lyn. How did you go about making that concept?
Kevin Smith: The idea going in was like in every episode He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, it was He-Man, and the Masters of the Universe. The heroic warriors he fought side by side with. And Teela is literally in every episode, as Evil lyn is literally in every episode. So we didn’t feel like, ‘Hey man, we’re doing something new.’ They did something new in the 80s. You know, the Sorceress is one of the most powerful characters in the entire Masters of the Universe universe and whatnot. So we felt like it was all just sitting there.
When they made the show back in the day, they weren’t thinking about adults by any stretch of the imagination, they were just thinking about kids. So with us going forward, in this version, this iteration of the story where we take the two big figures, He-Man and Skeletor, and temporaly remove them to see what happens to the world without them, the two people who are most important in their lives are left alone, and we get to see their growth. What happens when they are no longer standing side by side with the most powerful man in the universe or the interdimensional demon. Suddenly you can be yourself. Suddenly you can make decisions for yourself. Suddenly you can decide who you want to be.
And since like the lure of Masters of the Universe includes He-Man’s dual identity and how it was a secret from Teela, that just felt like rich drama. Like a rich vein to tap to be like, ’She didn’t even know he lied to her. Everyone lied to her. These other people, her dad, lied to her. The fucking talking cat lied to her and stuff.’ So she’s been lied to her whole life and she’s given her whole life to this, to Eternia, to the palace, to the king and queen. And so that betrayal we felt like was like, ‘What a great jumping-off point for that character.’ Because it’s about what happens when the two most powerful figures in that world step out. How is the power gap filled. Who are people if they’re not defined by these huge figures in their lives.
She risked her life so many times and then finds out that she’s been lied to the entire time. And she finds out when the guy dies. And she’s broken and betrayed by that and she leaves that world behind. That to us was a rich vein to tap. And then conversely, since we were doing that with Teela, we get to do a flip side version with Evil Lyn. She too has lost the figure in her life that gave her direction. The person for whom she was a henchwoman and suddenly she’s left to her own devices. Her name is Evil Lyn so naturally she’s supposed to be bad but like we see her in the second episode on a mission to save Eternia.
Whiteout a Skelator you get to see her character growth and I promise you, as interesting as it was for Evil Lyn in episodes one through five, her story in episodes six through 10 is one of my favorite things I’ve ever been involved with in my life. It is an insanely compelling story about the trauma of abuse. A life of abuse and disregard. We really got to go deep with the character while never straying from the roots of like, ‘Yeah, there’s the show with the talking cabinet.’ It was a balancing act that we were very cognizant of, just because the toys, you know, and the characters, some of them could be very colorful and very goofy, but it didn’t mean that we couldn’t approach them with like an adult storyline. And so it was important for two characters who, just like He-Man, just like Skeletor, was in every episode of the classic show, we felt like what a great way to put them forward. You know? Particularly in this instance, and then suddenly, like they get the stage for a few episodes – you know He-Man comes back but in those moments, we get to explore some shit with those characters that they never, never would have done before because they were making kid shows.
And in the next five episodes, oh my God, like where we get to go with the characters, particularly Evil Lyn. I’ll be honest going into this Ted, who I talk about all the time, he’s a fucking Rockstar. Not because he gave me a job, although that was nice, but I’m telling you I just never meet creative execs. I never meet execs in the system who you can like them as a person, but generally speaking, their skills on the job are like, ‘You’re not creative. What are you doing? That’s gonna ruin it.’ So Teddy is the opposite man. He was like a co-writer. He’s like, you know, Jiminy Cricket. He was there the whole time. But Ted at one point, like we were chit-chatting. I was like, ‘Who’s your favorite character?’ And he’s like, ‘I love Evil Lyn.’ I said, ‘Nobody loves Evil Lyn. She’s nobody’s favorite character.’ He’s like, ‘I’ve always loved her as a kid. I think that character is incredible.’
So our version of Evil Lyn, like is Ted’s ultimate dream of what Evil Lyn was. Like insanely articulate, like a mind of her own, trapped in this horrible situation and whatnot. And so, you know, I would make fun of him in the beginning, like, ‘Evil Lyn is Ted’s favorite character.’ Evil Lyn is now my favorite character based on what we did with her and certainly based on Lena Headey’s performance, which is like off the charts wonderful. We were so nervous when she came in, because we were like, you know, ‘Do we ask her to do Cersei? Or is she going to be insulted If it’s like can she sound like Cersei?’ And instead, she gave us something so much more. Like Cersei was a wonderful character and her performance is great, but Cersei is just pretty much evil. All the way through and through. Here Lena gets to like start as evil and then play all these other nuances and by the time you get into Part Two if she don’t win an award for performance. the is no justice in this world.
About Masters Of The Universe: Revelation
The war for Eternia culminates in MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION, an innovative and action packed animated series that picks up where the iconic characters left off decades ago. After a cataclysmic battle between He-Man and Skeletor, Eternia is fractured and the Guardians of Grayskull are scattered. And after decades of secrets tore them apart, it’s up to Teela to reunite the broken band of heroes, and solve the mystery of the missing Sword of Power in a race against time to restore Eternia and prevent the end of the universe.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.