'He-Man' Cartoons Keep Predicting The Future (In The Silliest Way Imaginable)
Filmation’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, not to be confused with the 2011 Chinese action-comedy He-Man (even if both feature about the same number of sweaty shirtless dudes), was the cartoon that changed the game. The story of a sci-fi-ish barbarian with a villain inspired by an actual corpse should absolutely not work, but against all odds, He-Man became a global hit, spawning live-action movies, remakes, and sequels, with the latest one, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, having hit Netflix on June 23.
With amazing animation and Mark Hamill voicing Skeletor (or, as France calls him, MUSCLOR, for which I’m eternally grateful), Revelation is shaping up to be the wildest part of the He-Man franchise, not counting all those stories explaining that Beast-Man is, in reality, a lobotomized, tortured human being. But the most important question still remains: will Revelation – like all the other follow-ups to the original Filmation show before it – predict the future? Specifically, movies produced by Joel Silver.
Look, no one can explain it, but every incarnation of He-Man after the 1983-1985 animated series seems to feature the basic blueprint for a future Joel Silver movie premiering exactly 3 years later. It started with the live-action Masters of the Universe (1987) movie starring Dolph Lundgren, which took the familiar sci-fi character and transported him to an unfamiliar urban environment shot in California. In 1990, the Silver-produced Predator 2 hit the theaters, transporting the familiar sci-fi character to an unfamiliar urban environment in California. Coincidence, right?
Well, next came The New Adventures of He-Man (1990), a total reboot where the titular character travels through time to a future where the people have lived in a peaceful utopia so long, they no longer knew how to fight and couldn’t protect themselves from a new threat. Oh, wait, sorry, that’s actually a summary of Demolition Man, a 1993 movie produced by, hold on, I can’t read my own handwriting… Joe Lsilver? Anyway, The New Adventures of He-Man (1990) was actually about the titular character traveling through time to a future where the people have lived in a peaceful utopia so long, they no longer knew how to figh-HOLD UP…
Finally, you have He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, the 2002 update of the original cartoon, which gave us a lot of background on classic He-Man characters. Among other things, it showed us that Skeletor had a face before becoming disfigured and losing the ability to reciprocate oral sex (that’s how you could tell he was a villain). The story also focused on how Eternia stopped being a democracy and became ruled over by a singular, unelected leader. In 2005, exactly 3 years later, Silver produced V for Vendetta, the story of how the UK stopped being a … well, you know the drill. The movie also starred a character with a disfigured face, which he had to hide underneath a mask. The hero-villain dynamic was obviously switched here, but the basic building blocks predicted by He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are all still there.
Why, though? Why does this rule work, and does it have anything to do with Joel Silver being the co-creator of Ultimate Frisbee? More importantly, will it also work for Masters of the Universe: Revelation? We’ll know in three years, by which time climate change will engulf the planet, so it doesn’t matter.
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Top Image: Netflix