A new adaptation of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has been in development forever. The project has cycled through a handful of directors and countless screenwriters over the years, and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s an old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery story in a time when sword-and-sorcery stories fail to sell (see Warcraft). While the property does have the built-in audience of fans of the old animated TV series, that may not be enough to power it to a greenlight.
Back in January, McG became the latest director to board Masters of the Universe, and he recently spoke to IGN about his vision for the movie. He says that they’re currently polishing the script and that “We have a big meeting with Sony regarding prep of the movie on Wednesday.”
When it comes to casting the film, McG says he isn’t there yet, but he is aware that Kellan Lutz (Twilight) has been campaigning on social media for the role of He-Man/Prince Adam, because when you have a big franchise picture, you want to rest it on the star of The Legend of Hercules:
We haven’t cast the role yet, but I like Kellan very much. Obviously, we need a talented entertainer, but we also need a certain physicality, which he embodies. He’ll be considered very, very closely. We haven’t gotten to the casting process yet. Kellan’s a good guy, and we had a great meeting, and he’s passionate about He-Man, he’s passionate about the Adam story. He really knows a lot about it. I was charmed by his focus and intensity. He’ll be considered very, very carefully. We’re just not there yet. We’ve got to get the movie on its feet, then we’ll cast the movie.
When asked about the tone of the film, McG name-dropped every recent success he could think of:
I think we want to honor the fan base, first and foremost. We also need to be cognizant of the incredible resonance of what Kevin Feige is doing with Marvel, and the balance of full-bodied entertainment. That it’s both credible and emotional, action-packed, and the story of a hero’s journey. It’s the genesis of He-Man, it’s the becoming of He-Man. We want it to be clicking on all cylinders in that regard. We’re not going to stop until we get it right. Listen, I love that movie with Frank [Langella] and Dolph [Lundgren]. I watch it, and it’s a tremendous pleasure for me to watch. I’m raised on the toys, and I’m down at Mattel all the time. We’re just really focused on getting it right. I want it to be full-bodied entertainment that respects the fan base, and is more emotional than you might imagine, inventive and original. Obviously, we’re all cognizant of what’s going on with Game of Thrones. It’s incredible. We’re cognizant of what’s going on in Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn’s doing a great job. We’re going to try to answer the call and take it higher. How’s that sound?
So just to recap: Marvel, Kevin Feige, the original Masters of the Universe, Mattel, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy, and James Gunn. He should have thrown in Stranger Things, American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, and Suicide Squad for good measure.
As for where the movie will be set, he says it will largely take place on Eternia, and while he wouldn’t divulge if He-Man and Prince Adam will be played by the same actor or two different actors, he did pivot to his excitement over Skeletor and doing makeup tests for the beloved villain.
He also mentioned that Evil-Lyn will be in the movie, and here comes that Suicide Squad mention:
I’ve got to answer the call with Evil-Lyn, that’s for sure. Because I think what Margot Robbie just got up to with that turn [in Suicide Squad] is really, really interesting, and I want to make sure I answer the call. I even think Cara [Delevingne] did a good job in Suicide Squad with Enchantress. I want to make sure our Evil-Lyn is the standard bearer. That’s a tall order, isn’t it?
McG also mentioned that he’d like to see Cringer and Battle Cat in the film, so perhaps we can expect to see them (assuming this film ever gets made). When it comes to Skeletor, McG cautioned that he’s not looking for a big actor as much as he’s looking for the right actor:
I think the characters are bigger than any given actor. I think the right actor is going to be what’s most important. I’m not really hung up on, “Oh, it’s got to be a star.” I just want someone who’s right for it. I enjoy working with big movie stars. I enjoy working with discoveries. We’re going to do what’s right, so it embodies the energy. Skeletor needs to be an incredible menace. I really think — again — I mean it when I say Vader, Gruber, Skeletor.
So Masters of the Universe fans: do McG’s words fill you with hope? Dread? Sound off in the comments section.