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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 11:04am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I'll believe it when I see it:


I question this:


 QUOTE:
Ironically enough, Masters of the Universe wouldn’t exist without the success of Star Wars. In 1976, Mattel turned down making a series of Star Wars action figures, convinced the film wouldn’t be a hit. When they were proven wrong, they started to work on their own line of fantasy toys, with character backgrounds conceived by comic book writers like Donald F. Glut. The figures first arrived in 1981 and became a phenomenal success. Mattel quickly saw the franchise potential of Masters of the Universe, and DC Comics signed up to create comics supporting the action figures, giving He-Man his secret identity of Prince Adam. Filmation launched the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series in 1983.

I've never heard that previously.

In fact, I've seen another story entirely (reported countless times), about how the figures started off as Conan figures, but Mattel became concerned about a violent movie character being associated with figures, leading to them creating He-Man toys.

Wonder if either story is true. I have seen numerous publications mention the "Conan figures became He-Man figures" story.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 12 January 2018 at 11:04am
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 2:35pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

You need to watch The He-Man episode of THE TOYS THAT MADE US on Netflix. Just about everything in that quote is wrong. 

Edited by Brian Miller on 12 January 2018 at 2:35pm
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 2:40pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The Conan story is kind of simultaneously true and untrue, as unhelpful as they may sound.

By the end of the 70s, Conan had become very successful: Marvel was selling decent numbers of Conan comics and Edward R Pressman acquired the rights to make a film version from Conan Properties Inc, Dino De Laurentis took over and Unviersal provided a large part of the funding for the movie. Filming began in Autumn 1980 (and obviously production would have begun before this).

Knowing this was going on, Mattel asked some of their designers to come up with a fantasy barbarian character in early 1981. There were no firm plans that this would be Conan or even directly based on Conan. They did, however, look into the possibility of licensing Conan rights from CPI, with draft documentation going back and forth from May 1981 leading to an actual deal at the end of that summer. While this was going on, Mattel had progressed with their barbarian doll, producing various He-Man bodies and heads.

A Mattel memo from April 1981, arguing in favour of signing a licensing deal with CPI:  "If the movie becomes popular, (even though it is `R'), or the TV series becomes reality in late '82, the trade could well react more strongly to the Conan line than the He-Man line or at least be confused as to where their emphasis should be. This could well cause failure of our line. We can't allow this to occur."

In short, Mattel and CPI didn't get on very well and after Mattel saw the movie in September 1981 and in December 1981 gave a warning that they would only proceed with a Conan doll if the movie was cut to remove the heavy violence. Some changes to the film were made, but Mattel were still not happy and ploughed on with their He-Man line, releasing it in early 1982.

CPI, when they saw the toy at a toy fair in February 1982, decided it was based on Conan. In April 1982 Mattel and CPI terminated their licensing agreement.

CPI then sued Mattel for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, breach of contract and fraud. Mattel countersued.

The court basically accepted Mattel's argument that a fantasy barbarian was generic enough that He-Man did not infringe on Conan's copyright, dismissing CPI's claims for copyright and trademark infringment.




Edited by Peter Martin on 12 January 2018 at 2:42pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 3:39pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Thanks, Peter.

One must learn to question everything. Brian, I will watch that Netflix documentary in the near-ish future. 

When I saw that Screen Rant quote, it was the first time I'd heard it, but I'd certainly heard the Mattel/Conan thing, which Peter has helpfully expanded upon. 

Screen Rant seems to get a lot wrong at times! Guesswork.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Out of the three episodes I watched, I was never a big He-Man fan, but it was the most entertaining episode. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 9:39pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

There was a full-length documentary called TOY MASTERS that came out a few years ago that discussed the creation of He-Man with a lot of focus on the dispute between designer Roger Sweet, artist Mark Taylor, and some others over who actually created He-Man. I haven't actually seen it, but I was at a panel at Power-Con, a fan convention for Masters of the Universe, where those gentlemen tried to make their case over who deserved credit for He-Man. I'm guessing that the Netflix episode covered some of the same ground?
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 11:02pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Just watched the Netflix episode -- entertaining stuff. My take was that the two prime contributors originally were Sweet and Taylor -- Sweet coming up with the twin fundamentals of a (1) a muscly barbarian and (2) the name He-Man. Taylor basically designed the distinctive look of everything in the original line-up -- He-Man's face and hair, Beast Man, Skeletor, the Enchantress, Man-at-Arms, everything that was there in the original toys.

There's more credit to go around of course. Things like Orco and Prince Adam and the look of the Enchantress in the show and Man-at-Arm's tache -- and Battle Cat (probably my favourite bit in the Netflix episode was about Battle Cat).  
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 9:08am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

It was amazing how much they DIDN’T have planned out with the line. They were just bullshitting and flying by the seat of their pants at the beginning. 
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Though it was no doubt a failure, I kind of like the 1987 movie. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 January 2018 at 5:20pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It's locked now, but if you fancy reading some thoughts on it, here's a topic:

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Doug Jones
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Posted: 22 January 2018 at 10:48pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Though not officially announced, David S. Goyer has all but confirmed the film is in pre-production by posting several images of himself consulting with his artist over multiple concept pieces, including one labeled "Masters of the Universe: Teela Battle Suit."


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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 25 January 2018 at 8:44am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I nominate Jim J. Bullock as He-Man!
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Doug Jones
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Posted: 08 February 2018 at 7:39pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Well, that was quick. Goyer out.
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Oh no, I was looking forward to THE HE-KNIGHT RISES.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 10:07am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Goyer is involved in a FOUNDATION series, I see. The prospect does not enchant me.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 10:28am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Why are some films plagued by such problems?

Or has it always been that way, but we just didn't notice it as much in the pre-internet age? Perhaps some of my favourite 40s/50s films were plagued by reshoots and directors quitting, too.

Brock Lesnar as He-Man, anyone?
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 11:22am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Or has it always been that way, but we just didn't notice it as much in the pre-internet age?

——

This one. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 11:40am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Michael, it entered my head recently when I saw an article on reshoots. I thought, 'Surely reshoots are not a new phenomena?' But even a non-conformist soul like me can get sucked into the hype when movie sites have headlines about "SECOND RESHOOT" and the like.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:04pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Brock Lesnar as He-Man, anyone?

——

Too old and too broad. Maybe as Ram Man.

If I were picking a wrestler, I’d go with John Cena, and that’s still using a time machine to pluck him out from 15 years ago. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 12:09pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

As long as Tom Selleck is cast as King Randor, I don't mind about other characters. 
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Jabari Lamar
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

 Brian Miller wrote:
You need to watch The He-Man episode of THE TOYS THAT MADE US on Netflix.


I just saw it last month and loved it! The funny thing is, I was never really into He-Man when I was a kid and it all started. My friends and I saw the Dolph Lundgren movie for one of our friends' birthdays in Junior High, but I had read the DC Comics Presents issue where Superman met He-Man but that's pretty much the extant of my involvement with the franchise. But that Netflix show was fascinating, and it sparked my interest. I immediately bought the book HOW HE-MAN MASTERED THE UNIVERSE to learn more, and I just finished that last week. I just find all the behind the scenes stuff to be utterly fascinating. The two things that stood out to me was how relatively short the franchise was so huge. Basically a 4 year window, and then it was over. It felt like it was around longer. And it also seems odd that it's never been able to really come back in a big way, despite the various attempts. Compared to similar franchises like Transformers and G.I. Joe. Especially because with it's unique mix of sci-fi and sword and sorcery, it seems like it has all it needs to attract a broad audience. We'll see if this film revives it.

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Jabari Lamar
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Posted: 20 April 2018 at 5:10pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

He-Man has found new masters.

Sony Pictures and Mattel have tapped the directing duo of Aaron and Adam Nee to helm the He-Man movie “Masters of the Universe,” sources tell Variety.

Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, and Steve Tisch will produce with DeVon Franklin.

READ MORE

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 10 September 2018 at 9:55pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Sony's options on Barbie and Masters of the Universe have expired. Now Mattel is trying to start up its own film division.

https://variety.com/2018/film/news/mattel-films-dallas-buyer s-club-producer-robbie-brenner-1202929275/
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 11 September 2018 at 2:34am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I just can't see Masters of the Universe ever making it big as a movie franchise. I remember it as a charming cartoon (and less charming toy line) strictly for six to ten year-olds. But then again, I couldn't forsee Iron Man or the entire the Avengers line-up conquering movie screens across the world. 

Edited by Joe Zhang on 11 September 2018 at 2:37am
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 11 September 2018 at 12:12pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I think the main obstacle MotU faces as a media franchise is that it isn't really grounded in any kind of logically consistent universe.  It was a bunch of cool toys, around which they wrote stories in the mini-comics that came with the figures, and then around which they made the cartoon show.  And those stories, from the cartoon and the comics, are completely different, even at the level of characterization.  Its half Conan the Barbarian, half-Flash Gordon with barbarians in furry shorts flying around in high tech craft that shoot lasers.

Its all stuff that is super cool when you're a kid, smushed together.  But trying to come up with a coherent narrative and compelling characters within that is, to say the least, tricky.
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