Masters of the Universe was among the most sought-after cartoon series between 1983 and 1985. It was one of the most popular toy lines and television shows in the ’80s. At some point, over 9 million viewers would tune in every single afternoon. Between the Masters of the Universe live-action hitting the theatres in 1987 and its initial release, He-Man made over two billion dollars in merchandise sales. The merchandise included everything you could imagine, from toothbrushes to clothes. He-Mania is one of the known toy success stories of our time. Here are the ten facts you didn’t know about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe:
1. Dolph Lundgren’s Character as He-Man Was His Least Favorite Role
He-Man was the first leading role for the martial arts master and Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren. While he was the perfect physical match for his role as He-Man, the fans felt he didn’t have the expertise at the time for such a role. He would agree. In the years following the movie release, Dolph admitted that He-Man was his least favorite role. He also struggled with his accent, but he worked on it through the filming, eventually making the producers happy.
2. Lou Sheimer (Executive Producer) Had Some Toy Characters Omitted From the Show
The show’s executive producer determined the toys featured in the Masters of the Universe and He-Man. Some of the action figures he found not fit to feature are ‘Snake Face,’ ‘King Hiss’, and ‘Stinkor’ due to his weird super-power (emitting a toxic smell through his body).
3. The Toys Made Their Debut before the Show
The Masters of the Universe and He-Man was the first anime series with a toy line. The show intended to boost the sales of the He-Man toys. However, the filmmakers made some characters like Orko, King Randor, Prince Adam, and the Sorceress exclusively for the movie. Later on, they got created into toys.
4. He-Man Was Never Allowed To Use His Sword to Cause Harm
In all the 130 Master of the Universe episodes, He-Man was never allowed to cause harm to live creatures. His use for the sword was only for blocking lasers and cutting obstacles. Unless when fighting a robot, he would never kick nor punch. He would not do it even to defend himself. If he needed to get into a confrontation with any creature in any circumstance, he would grab and throw them into a puddle of water or mud.
5. Skeletor is He-Man’s Uncle
King Randor was Skeletor’s brother, which made him He-Man’s uncle. However, this 80’s cartoon doesn’t give much detail about that. Later in He-Man comics, we confirm that Skeletor (known initially as Keldor) was King Randor’s brother. He had his face melted by acid.
6. There Was Major Creative Input by Dolph Lundgren
Dolph Lundgren, like other film stars, offered creative suggestions in the film. He lobbied the movie director to add action set parts and beef up the role of He-Man in the movie. He also tried to swap He-Man’s boots with kickboxing shoes but failed. Dolph was not the only one who suggested changes in the movie. Frank Langella came up with some of the few improvised lines used by Skeletor.
7. The Creation of Gwildor Was to Replace Orko
Due to budgetary reasons, several creatures and characters did not make it to be part of the Masters of the Universe. Among those removed was Orko, whose perpetual floating and inhuman physique required a more expensive production. Instead, the production crew came up with a replacement for Orko. His name was Gwildor, and he did not require any particular advanced input. And he could efficiently perform Orko’s duties. The producers also removed Battle Cat from the film. Same as with Orko’s case, the special effects needed to bring to life the jungle cat would have cost them a fortune. The filmmakers, due to financial constraints, did not consider the Battle Cat for the movie.
8. Snake Mountain Was Initially Set to Appear in the Film
Skeletor had the Castle Grayskull as his hideout in the Masters of the Universe. His lair in Snake Mountain almost made an appearance in the film too. Skeletor’s hideout had a palace-like interior, with a matte painting for the exterior. The bone-strewn caves got a replacement with streams filled with lava. The layout was similar to the design by Frank Lloyd Wright of the Imperial Hotel in Japan. Unfortunately, with the initial budget set at $ 17 million, they settled on real-world locations that were cheaper as opposed to Eternia-based sets. As a result, Skeletors activities got confined to the Grayskull throne and not the Snake Mountain.
9. He-Man’s Mom Was a NASA Astronaut
While his father is King Randor from Eternia, his mom Marlena comes from Earth. She was a NASA astronaut. Her shuttle got off course, which had her land in Eternia. King Randor found her and later married her. She then gave King Randor twins Princess Adora (She-Ra) and Prince Adam (He-Man).
10. Orko Had His Name Changed
Gorpo was Orko’s original name. To save on animation costs, the name of the character had to change. Because of the letter’ O’, the animators flipped the animation cells and used them twice. Animators regularly use different backgrounds for the same animations to save money and time.