Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Masters of the Universe: Revelation.
Reboots. Sequels. Prequels. Re-imaginings. After a while, these slick industry terms just seem like a euphemism for "unoriginal." A lot's been said about the alarming lack of original stories being produced in film and TV. If it doesn't have a cape or a young adult series of novels to back it up, it's going to have a difficult time getting made.
Even Kevin Smith, who's carved out a specific niche for himself in the entertainment industry, has had trouble getting projects picked up by Netflix. An interview with The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Smith had six different pitches rejected by the streaming giant and that he's using Masters of the Universe: Revelation as a "backdoor entry" to hopefully getting other ideas he has been developing made. But is his new take on the popular '80s series a reboot?
Is 'Masters of the Universe: Revelation' a reboot?
Kevin Smith's show isn't a "reboot" that retcons all of the stuff that's previously occurred in the Masters of the Universe, err, Universe. It's officially described as "a direct sequel series to the original series Masters of the Universe. Featuring He-Man, Teela, Orko, Cringer, and Man-at-Arms, the story features them as guardians of Castle Grayskull in a battle against Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Beast-Man and the legions of Snake Mountain."
Even though 'Masters of the Universe: Revelation' isn't a reboot, some fans aren't happy with it.
Kevin Smith's take on the loincloth, sword, and sorcery series has been upsetting some fans. When it comes to adapting nostalgic nerd properties like He-Man, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who can generate as much honest enthusiasm for the subject as Kevin Smith, someone who has long rocked his love for comic books and nerd culture on his sleeve.
The Red Bank, NJ native's decision to basically "kill off" Skeletor and He-Man, two of the most popular figures from the Masters of the Universe canon — in the first episode of the series — angered fans, who were upset that ancillary characters like Teela, Orko, Man-at-Arms, and Cringer are getting more screen time.
The bulk of the narrative follows Teela's character arc; she's been positioned as the first season's primary protagonist. Critical reviews center on "wokeness" being behind the shift in focus away from He-Man. However, according to Smith, it has more to do with pulling the rug out from under people and selling more toys.
Smith said, "I feel like anybody who remembers the original TV show will remember that it wasn’t a one-man show. It was He-Man and all the Masters of the Universe! For us, it was like, all right let’s seed this with drama. Here are the two f--king pillars of your world, He-Man and Skeletor, and every character revolves around these two and what they want. What happens if those two players step back?"
He continued, "Also, like, Mattel is a toy company, and they sell more than one toy, right? The more we can play with every figure in the story, the better it is for sales."
Smith was enlisted by Netflix's director of original content Ted Biaselli, who had a specific vision for the show. Smith says that "Ted ... [is] the world's biggest Masters of the Universe fan."
The director continued, "He told me, ‘I grew up watching this show and every episode I believed Skeletor was going to kill He-Man. … Make me believe that one of these people could die. Make me believe that there are consequences to their fights and actions.'"
It seems that Smith took that idea and ran with it.
Is there a release date set for 'Masters of the Universe: Revelation' part 2?
Why yes, there is, but it's not necessarily a second season per se, just a second part of episodes for the show's first season. Part 1 of Season 1 has already debuted, with five episodes that range between 25 and 27 minutes. Fans are already lapping them up and viewers were stunned with episode 5's cliffhanger.
However, a release date for part 2 hasn't been set. Just know that it's coming.
Watch Masters of the Universe: Revelation now on Netflix.