Den of Geek! is reporting (original article here) that Sony is one step closer to production on their theatrical reboot of the fan favorite He-Man and the Masters of the Universe franchise.
Based on the popular line of Mattel action figures and the Filmation animated series of the same name, He-Man and the [Masters of the Universe](movie:506499) tells the story of Prince Adam of Eternia. Granted magical powers by The Sorceress, Prince Adam defends the planet of Eternia from the evil horde of Skeletor as He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe.
The franchise has been an off and on hit over the last few decades with more of a cult following as of late. Though hugely popular at the time, the original Filmation series is now often referred to as some of the worst animation ever and a revival series on Cartoon Network in 2002 only lasted for a couple of seasons. One of the best known versions of the franchise (for better or for worse) was the 1987 Gary Goddard movie released by Canon Films and starring Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-Man.
Though I have fond memories of watching it as a child, the movie is actually considered an atrocious adaptation of the source material and has definitely not gotten better with age. Though I do need to give props to Dolph Lundgren for doing the best he could and for, quite honestly, being the best person for the job at the time.
The film focused on He-Man (naturally) trying to defend Eternia from Skeletor, whom had taken over Castle Greyskull and was now in pursuit of the Cosmic Key (developed by new character Gwildor...I guess because he was considered by the writers to be a less annoying sidekick than Orko). Said Cosmic Key transports He-Man and his "Masters of the Universe" to Earth (of course) where they meet a very young (and probably very regretful) Courtney Cox and are pursued by Evil-Lynn and other Skeletor baddies. There's cows, fried chicken, the principal from Back to the Future and the belief that the Cosmic Key is a synthesizer (and apparently that's somehow not far off)...so to call the film a mess is an understatement. It's actually argued that the best thing about the movie was the poster by famed movie poster artist Drew Struzan (below).
Actually, in the documentary Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, fan favorite actor Sam Witwer (I believe...hopefully I'm not getting my celebrity panelists mixed up) notes that he's still waiting to see the version of Masters of the Universe that Drew Struzan promised audiences.
In more recent years there has been a resurgence in interest for the franchise since Mattel relaunched the action figure line as a series of online collectibles known as the Masters of the Universe Classics line. Factor that in with the massive box office success of other 1980s properties like Michael Bay's Transformers series (and more recently his Platinum Dunes produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot) as well as the GI Joe films and a new MOTU movie was only a matter of time.
Which brings us to the news of the day. Back on January 1st it was announced via Twitter (from Columbia Pictures SVP of Production, DeVon Franklin) that a new draft of the script for Masters of the Universe had been turned in by Jeff Wadlow, director of Kick-Ass 2.
The film had been trying to get off the ground prior to this with little success. At one point, GI Joe: Retaliation director, Jon Chu was attached to direct but ultimately dropped out of the project. This was actually kind of a bummer because, despite mixed critical reviews of the film (from myself included), Chu did a surprisingly good job with Retaliation considering the huge rebounding he had to do from the previously released GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
But, regardless, we now seem poised to get a new Masters of the Universe film in production from the words of Jeff Wadlow (and likely, though not confirmed, from his directorial leadership as well). I have yet to see Kick-Ass 2, or any of his other efforts for that matter, so I cannot begin to speculate on whether or not this is a good idea. Personally, I wish Sony would have more faith in the source material to attach an upper tier director like Alan Taylor. With properties like Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World under his belt and what looks to be a rather spectacular reboot of the Terminator franchise later this year, Alan Taylor seems perfect for the sci-fi/fantasy world of Eternia. Plus, how awesome would it be to see [previous Alan Taylor collaborator] Chris Hemsworth strap on the Sword of He and fight the forces of evil as He-Man with his younger (and skinnier) brother Liam backing him up as Prince Adam? I'd see that movie in a heart beat!
But we shall see what happens if/when the film finally goes into production. Hopefully this time they leave the Cosmic Key in the 80s where it belongs. Though, in all honesty, I wouldn't be opposed to a mocking reference to it similar to the mechanical owl in 2010's remake of Clash of the Titans.
What do you think?
Are you excited for a new Masters of the Universe movie?
And like the MST3K of old, here's your stinger: