Revelation embraces the 1987 live-action film

Masters of the Universe: Revelation pays homage to the infamous 1987 live-action movie with a pair of perfect Easter eggs.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2, now streaming on Netflix.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation wears its nostalgia on its sleeve, openly embracing the franchise’s 1980s roots and presenting its story as a direct sequel to the Filmation cartoon. Indeed, Revelations The premise is to present these characters “growing up” and experiencing loss and darkness before renewing their heroic purpose.

It works well and helps the Netflix series find the right mix of contemporary themes and throwback fun. However, the Filmation cartoon isn’t the only piece of ’80s He-Man nostalgia. Revelation recognize. The 1987 live-action movie masters of the universe, starring Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella, also receives nods. It’s remembered less fondly than the animated series – or, at least, it’s remembered for reasons other than what the filmmakers intended – but Revelation provides two easter eggs that make the connection impossible to ignore.


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Produced by The Cannon Group, the infamous B movie studio behind the american ninja series. masters of the universe was part of a bid for A-list status, along with the sci-fi/horror film life force and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Like these last films, masters of the universe bombed, grossing just $17 million off a $22 million budget and accelerating the studio’s decline. However, fans still hold a warm place for it, thanks in large part to an upbeat tone and Langella’s cheerful turn as Skeletor.

Revelation carefully chooses the moments to acknowledge the film, focusing most of its energy on the original animated series. But twice, in the new Part 2, he makes direct (and very amusing) references.


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The first occurs during Part 2, Episode 4, “Hope, for a Destination,” as Teela and Andra enter the Castle Grayskull dungeon, intending to free Duncan, imprisoned there by Skeletor and Evil- Lyn. They are confronted by Pigboy and Goat Man, a pair of low-level minions who earn the heroes’ scorn just before attacking.

Goat Man was a minor villain in Mattel’s line of action figures in the 1980s and had never made a screen appearance before. Revelation. But Pigboy goes straight to one of the weirdest elements of live-action film. Third-grade student Richard Szponder won an appearance in the film through a contest presented by Mattel and had the honor of presenting Langella’s Skeletor to his staff. Pigboy has never received his own action figure and has never appeared in any other He-Man production until now. (Szponder revealed the story of his cameo in a 2010 interview with fan site MOTUmovie.com.)



Frank Langella as Skeletor in Masters of the Universe in 1987

The second reference comes later in the same sequence and contains less history. masters of the universe culminates in expected fashion with a showdown between He-Man and Skeletor. “Let this be our final battle!” Skeletor cries before launching his attack. The revelation version of Skeletor delivers the same line, this time with Evil-Lyn poised to destroy the universe and the Master of Mayhem determined to finally kill He-Man before that happens. Either way, it’s ironic: the live-action film clearly had a sequel in mind, which would have featured the return of Skeletor, while the villain survives the battle of Revelation and will presumably appear in all subsequent seasons.


Revelation Executive producer Kevin Smith is well grounded in pop culture, and including a reference to the live-action movie might have been too much to resist. In keeping with the rest of the updated series, they’re presented knowingly, but with a lot of warmth. They not only recognize the stupidity of the live-action movie, but also that its stupidity doesn’t matter much at this point. Like the animated series, it’s part of the nostalgia. Revelation finds the right way to make fun of him without once losing his affection.

The entire 10-episode first season of Masters of the Universe: Revelation is now available on Netflix.


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