The Evolution of He-Man – Popular 1980’s Cartoon
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“By the Power of Grayskull,” there are so many tv shows and movies that are remakes or based on books or video games! There are even a couple of famous ones based on rides at Disneyland. But only an illustrious few are inspired by toys.
Usually, it’s the other way around, right? The movie gets made and then the action figures and merchandise pop up everywhere, trying to capitalize on the trendiest new box-office hit. But especially in the 80s, a few toys got this reverse origin story, this star treatment to celebrate where they might have come from. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is one such special circumstance.
The He-Man was part of the Mattel line “Masters of the Universe” released in 1982. The tv show, often just referred to now as He-Man, first released in 1983 and its popularity went from zero to sixty in about .2 seconds. So much so that it inspired other toy manufacturers and studios to try to make cartoon advertisements based on other toys. But it never really worked as well. At least, none of them spawned a spin-off series in 1985, a live-action film in 1987, a sequel series in the early 1990s, a reboot in 2002, both an adult show and a kids’ show in development right now for Netflix, and many comic books to boot. He-Man was a superhero star.
Located on the magical, mythical planet of Eternia, the backstory of He-Man is a classic kind of hero-in-disguise scenario. The youngest son of King Randor and Queen Marlena, rulers of Eternia, is Prince Adam, who was destined for greatness. It is he who brandishes the Sword of Power, crying “By the Power of Grayskull!” in order to channel the fabulous secret abilities that make him the most powerful man in the Universe: He-Man.
His life is not without difficulty though, as every good hero also needs a powerful villain. The foe in He-Man’s life is Skeletor, who is forever attempting to conquer the source of He-Man’s power, Castle Grayskull.
But never fear, He-Man is not alone in his quest to vanquish the evil forces of his enemy. He has some wonderful friends and allies. First and foremost is his side-kick pet, Battle Cat. Battle Cat is special because he transforms too. When he’s not in awesome-mode, he is Prince Adam’s fearful tiger, Cringer.
Then there is The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull, who is also known as Teela Na and sometimes transforms into a falcon. She is the guardian and mistress of the source of He-Man’s powers, as well as the mother of another of He-Man’s friends. Her daughter, Teela, grew up with He-Man and was raised by Man-At-Arms, otherwise known as Duncan, but never knowing the truth about who her mother was. For Teela’s protection, that information was kept a closely guarded secret within the group of allies.
We must not forget the comic relief! He-Man also has Orko, a Trollan who hides behind his red hat (often stuffed with random objects) and scarves, while getting into trouble with his own magical abilities.
So go check it out if you haven’t already! That way you’ll be ahead of the curve when the next iteration surfaces, which is sure to be very soon. Plus, you’ll have a blast watching this cult-classic, highly-celebrated cartoon.