CAST THIS: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Who’s evil enough to play Skeletor? Andy gets creative. 

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a children’s television show based on a toy line. It had a mildly successful run from 1983-1985, and has become popular in modern culture for its camp and homoerotic undertones. This perceived subtext has been lampooned in memes and videos such as 2005’s “He-Man Sings.”

What many non-geeks don’t know is that He-Man was also made into a Dolph Lundgren monstrosity in 1987 called Masters of the Universe. The film had the advantage of saving money on effects and sets by having their hero travel to modern-day America, and it could quite possibly be the inspiration for the god-awful Highlander 2. The movie is good to watch with a few friends, a few bottles of alcohol, and some takeaway pizzas. However, watch it alone, and I can’t guarantee that you won’t want to jump out of the nearest window or set yourself on fire just because you’d find that more amusing than suffering through Masters of the Universe.

But what if we got a new live-action adventure with He-Man? What would be the tone? Who would direct? And who would play the iconic characters? By the power of Grayskull, we have some suggestions!

Director

In my mind, there are only three directors who could pull off a reboot in the public’s eyes and actually get them excited in a Masters movie:

Peter Jackson: Jackson has a huge amount of fantasy films under his belt. Trouble is, he’d probably split it into three four hour-long films.

Guillermo del Toro: If there’s one director who knows the genre inside and out and understands how to shoot it through with fantastic imagination, it’s del Toro. Even with the arguably mediocre Blade II, he STILL executed it with great enthusiasm for the impossible.

Christopher Nolan: Nolan can take a camp idea like a man dressing up as a frickin’ bat and turn it around into a piece of art. Something as schlocky as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe would be a walk in the park for him, with everyone coming out of the cinema talking about how it was the best film since Inception (typical Nolanites). The only problem is that the director does take things too seriously, and his Masters of the Universe may end up like most of his films – with all the fun sucked out of them…

Cast

He-Man/Prince Adam – Chris Hemsworth: So sue me if I’m type-casting, but you know Thor is just a flashier version of He-Man (Norse mythology aside), and I can’t think of ANYONE more suited to the part of our thong-wearing, sword-wielding hero.

Man-At-Arms/General Duncan – Tom Hardy: I think Hardy has the right attitude to play Duncan. With his range, Hardy could play fucking Woody Allen if he wanted to. He’s already been pipped to play Elton John.

Teela – Julianne Moore OR Jane Levy: While her choices of films have been questionable, I stand by my suggestion that Moore is a very talented actress, and she has the right look and attitude for Teela. If you want a younger version of the character, than I think Levy (star of the Evil Dead remake) is a promising young star. She is certainly willing to get down and dirty…

Stratos – Cillian Murphy: Don’t ask me why, but whenever I see Stratos, no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I always see CAST THIS-regular Murphy in the owl suit. Well, him or Watchmen‘s Patrick Wilson!

Orko – CGI/Seth Green: Okay, well, at least I didn’t pick Rob Schneider this time! He makes a better Snarf from ThunderCats. So just thank your lucky stars! But Seth can be amusing, he’s a true cult icon who probably likes the cartoon, and he’s used to doing voice work.

Just look at that outfit!

Just look at that outfit!

King Randor – Russell Crowe: Yes, here I go with more obvious type-casting. But do I really need to explain why he’d be good in this role? He’s practically played these parts his whole career. He’s Robin Hood, Noah AND Jor-El! Enough said.

Sorceress of Castle Grayskull/Teela-Na – Tilda Swinton: She played the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and nothing says evil sorceress like the androgynous Tilda does. I can’t imagine anyone else in this role.

King Grayskull – Dolph Lundgren: Bring back Dolph! Two reasons – he once played He-Man himself and Lundgren would seem natural and commanding atop the throne.

Skeletor – Ralph Fiennes: If there’s someone who could bring a touch of class to a villain that’s rarely taken seriously, it would be Fiennes. Someone good has to follow in the footsteps of Frank Langella, after all.

Beast Man – Ron Pearlman: Again I may be type-casting, but if this film provided a new take on Beast Man, I think the guy who played Hellboy has the physical stature and gravitas needed for the character (and his casting would be a foregone conclusion if del Toro made it). So long as Perlman promised NEVER to do an Irish accent again.

Evil-Lyn – Angelina Jolie: While I don’t think Angelina has range, she can play cold-hearted bitches quite well, and this is a role I feel fits her like a glove. Evil-Lyn is, well, evil and sultry. Something that Jolie can do in her beauty sleep.

That’s all, this time! If you have some better ideas or want to know who I’d consider for a character missed out, I’d be happy to comply and potentially infuriate you. Just post a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Comments

comments

10 Comments

  1. Gyaldhart Larenahtz says:

    He Man had a “mildly successful” run? WTF?! There is practically no child
    from the 80’s who was not fascinated by this cartoon! It is quite possible that MOTU and Thundercats were the most successful animated series of that decade!

    But based on the stupid article, most of the casting ideas and suggestions,
    among other things, it is quite clear that the person who wrote it has
    absolutely NO idea of what he is talking about.

    I am actually doubting that this person even grew up during the 80’s.

    • Dave James says:

      It ran for two years, we’d call it mildly successful. Nowhere near Ghostbusters or the Turtles, two franchises the masses still love. Your opinion means as much as anyone else’s.

      • cecil255 says:

        Um… Masters of the Universe ran from 1981-1987 (1988 in Europe) and spawned a 130 episode TV series, a feature film, a christmas special, a spinoff series with 93 episodes of its own, a live action movie, 3 different sets of comics from both Marvel and DC, tons of merchandising, and the toyline alone brought in over $400 million for Mattel. He-Man even beat Barbie in the 1984-1985 Mattel fiscal year. Include all the merchandising, and He-Man made over 2 Billion dollars in its 8 year run.

        Masters returned as He-Man from 1989-1991 with a new toyline and had a 65 episode series.

        Masters returned again from 2000-2001 with a commemorative 20th anniversary line that included 24 specially boxed releases complete with mini-comics. Of course, that was just an appetizer for the 2002-2005 Master of the Universe, which included a new cartoon, toyline, video game, comic, merchandise, and other special SDCC one offs.
        Masters then continued as a statue line from 2005-2007, with special one offs again for SDCC and several online toy retailers.

        Currently, Masters is back as Masters of the Universe Classics, a highly successful toyline aimed at adult collectors. Starting in 2008 with a mere 3 figures (and one chase variant), the line exploded within the first 2 years, moving from 1 figure a month (plus one SDCC exclusive) to multiple figures a month, playsets, weapons packs, dioramas, a special line of Toys R Us exclusives with comics and mini posters, vehicles, a 30th anniversary toyline, and even a new Castle Grayskull that dwarfs the 80s version. The line is still going. and will continue at least until the end of 2014 with a strong possibility of making it to 2015. They also just introduced a “mini-masters” line to compete with things like Minimates and Mighty Muggs.

        Comics have also returned for MOTU published by DC, including a crossover with DC universe.

        Mildly successful, indeed.

        • Dave James says:

          The cartoon, which was the topic in question, ran from 1983-1985, two seasons. I double checked Wikipedia just. A lot of silly arguing over “mildy successful.”

          • Russell Crowsen says:

            Wikipedia isn’t the best source for info. I can go on Wikipedia and say MOTU ran from 1900-2014 if I wanted too. This goes to prove that you are not a fan of He-Man in any shape or form. Neither are you informed and to make matters worse you took a lazy short cut on your research

          • Dave James says:

            1, I didn’t write the article. 2, I’ve checked other sources and my point is still correct.

          • cecil255 says:

            First off, while the 80s cartoon may be the most widely known part of the property, the movie is being made of the PROPERTY, not the cartoon. Second, the property kicked ass on its own for nearly a year and a half before the cartoon even existed. That’s not a small feat. Finally, third, if you are going to isolate it to the 80s cartoon, also mention that He-Man was the first cartoon to come to the airwaves (in syndication, yet) after Reagan changed the FCC ruling about toys not being able to have cartoons, and its runaway success paved the way for Ghostbusters, Thundercats, Transformers, GI Joe, Voltron, Turtles, and whatever else you can think of.
            If you’re going to talk about the cartoon and what it was, talk about all of it, not just what you select.

          • Gyaldhart Larenahtz says:

            Those 2 years of Masters of the Universe had a total of 130 episodes, whereas the Ghostbusters were on the air for 5 years and only had 147.

            She Ra had a total of 93 episodes, featuring He Man (and other MOTU characters for that matter) frequently.

            The Ninja Turtles had a good run of 193 episodes divided in several years (comparatively speaking, less than MOTU per season though).

            Nobody is denying that both Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters were very successful cartoons, but calling MOTU a “mild success” is beyond idiotic. People who call it that can whine all they want, but if it was truly a “mild success”, those cartoon series would have never spawned all the things that cecil255 mentioned and that you are conveniently discarding to favor your flawed argument.

            And MOTU is still loved by the masses, if it wasn’t, all the merchandise, spin offs, comics, etc. wouldn’t be marketable or profitable today, more than 30 years after the series were released.

            And I find it funny that you agree with the person who wrote the article about MOTU being a “mild success”, but on the other hand you mention Ghostbusters being a huge success when in fact MOTU was much more successful.

            But hey! Google is your friend, I typed He Man and got 2,190,000,000 search results, I typed Masters of the Universe and got 21,900,000 search results, I typed Ghostbusters and I got 5,670,000 results.

            But go on, keep living in the same fiction that the writer of the article lives, in which you both think that MOTU was a “mild success”.

      • cecil255 says:

        Um… Masters of the Universe ran from 1981-1987 (1988 in Europe) and spawned a 130 episode TV series, a feature film, a christmas special, a spinoff series with 93 episodes of its own, a live action movie, 3 different sets of comics from both Marvel and DC, tons of merchandising, and the toyline alone brought in over $400 million for Mattel. He-Man even beat Barbie in the 1984-1985 Mattel fiscal year. Include all the merchandising, and He-Man made over 2 Billion dollars in its 8 year run.

        Masters returned as He-Man from 1989-1991 with a new toyline and had a 65 episode series.

        Masters returned again from 2000-2001 with a commemorative 20th anniversary line that included 24 specially boxed releases complete with mini-comics. Of course, that was just an appetizer for the 2002-2005 Master of the Universe, which included a new cartoon, toyline, video game, comic, merchandise, and other special SDCC one offs.
        Masters then continued as a statue line from 2005-2007, with special one offs again for SDCC and several online toy retailers.

        Currently, Masters is back as Masters of the Universe Classics, a highly successful toyline aimed at adult collectors. Starting in 2008 with a mere 3 figures (and one chase variant), the line exploded within the first 2 years, moving from 1 figure a month (plus one SDCC exclusive) to multiple figures a month, playsets, weapons packs, dioramas, a special line of Toys R Us exclusives with comics and mini posters, vehicles, a 30th anniversary toyline, and even a new Castle Grayskull that dwarfs the 80s version. The line is still going and will continue at least until the end of 2014 with a strong possibility of making it to 2015. They also just introduced a “mini-masters” line to compete with things like Minimates and Mighty Muggs.

        Comics have also returned for MOTU published by DC, including a crossover with DC universe.

        Mildly successful, indeed.

      • Antonio Nieto Fernández says:

        “Nowhere near Ghostbusters?” You are highly confused, Masters of the Universe was a much more successful franchise than Ghostbusters, their toy line sold way more, most of its spin offs were successful (I can guarantee that the He Man remake of 2002 and the comic books based on He Man characters had a better run than Extreme Ghostbusters, Slimer and the few comic books made for the franchise).

        And today you find more merchandise featuring Masters of the Universe than Ghostbusters, and they definitely make more money.

        The Ghostbusters animated series were nowhere near to the success of Masters of the Universe. Hell, even if you count the movies, they haven’t made more money than the MOTU franchise throughout history.

        Mildly successful….LMAO!

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