A new series of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is soon to be released on Netflix, but while there has been growing hype about the return of the 80s classic to screens, fans have recently been given reason to worry. The early reviews are in, and they aren’t looking good.
Perhaps the biggest source of contention is the main character. It’s not He-Man, all agree. Instead, Teela is the new main character of the Masters of the Universe, with former lead He-Man reduced to a background role. You probably already know who He-Man is, since he is such an iconic cartoon character that he has become a cultural mainstay, recognised even by those who had no interest in his cartoon. You may well be wondering who Teela is, however. She is a friend and ally of He-Man, the daughter of the captain of the guards in his castle, and one of the many supporting characters that fans were looking forward to seeing in the newly updating series.
None of them would have been expecting her to be the new main character of the series, however, and it remains to be seen how many will be pleased with the change. He-Man’s twin sister, She-Ra, has already been reimagined in modern times complete with her mostly female supporting cast, so people were looking forward to seeing how He-Man and the boys would look in state of the art animation.
However, early reviews have been citing a lack of any strong male lead or supporting characters in the new show at all, with He-Man being only the most glaring absence. They also note a surprising lack of action in a series full of such muscle-bound heroes and villains, where even the dentists look like they could enter the ring for the WWF. None of this is likely to endear the show to any fans of the original. This may be unsurprising since series lead Kevin Smith is on record as saying that he never liked the cartoon or He-Man. It might be a bit more surprising that he was hired to helm the reboot in the first place, given his feelings on the matter. That fans are growing less and less inclined to watch the new series is probably the least surprising part of all.
Whether or not adaptations are faithful to the source material has become an increasing source of division among fan bases these days, and it looks like He-Man will be the latest thing for the internet to argue over. The makers will now have to hope that the new audience they hope to bring in are enough to offset, replace and surpass the already existing fans that they may have lost.
On the plus side it is sure to look pretty, being animated by Powerhouse Studios, the same guys who made the recent Castlevania anime. With them on board it is likely to look gorgeous. And with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mark Hamill among the voice actors lending their talents to production, it is sure to be well acted. But that is only going to compound the disappointment of those who were looking forward to seeing the iconic and bombastic characters faithfully portrayed in the new series.