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David S. Goyer In Talks to Bring He-Man to the Big Screen

Does this mean the hero of ‘Masters of the Universe’ is going dark?
He Man And The Masters Of The Universe
By  · Published on December 1st, 2017

Does this mean the hero of ‘Masters of the Universe’ is going dark?

Sony has a Masters of the Universe movie in the works, and — as The Wrap has learned — they might have tapped David S. Goyer to helm the project. Yes, Prince Adam / He-Man might be coming to cinemas from the guy who had a hand in bringing two of the most recent iterations of Batman to life.

Goyer has reportedly written the most recent draft of a Masters of the Universe script. The original He-Man character first appeared as a toy line by Mattel. It was then adapted by Filmation in 1983 into the show, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and became a cult hit. Goyer’s adaptation wouldn’t be the first attempt to revive the property for a modern audience. The New Adventures of He-Man was a short-lived revival in the 1990’s, and a 2002 version of Masters of the Universe ran for two seasons like the original did.

Most would generally associate He-Man and his crew, including a talking cowardly tiger who finds his courage in the incantation that gives He-Man his own superpowers, with the 80’s show. Think the best of the Skeletor memes. The sheer ridiculousness of the original Masters of the Universe is definitely charming and delightful, which makes me wonder just how Goyer will treat the characters in the franchise.

Many superhero movie fans would be familiar with at least some of Goyer’s scripts and stories. He wrote all three Blade movies and even directed Blade: Trinity. Goyer penned the Hayden Christensen superpower vehicle Jumper, as well as the Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider sequel. But his most prominent contributions to the superhero scene began with co-writing Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (and subsequently writing the stories for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises). Goyer stayed in the DC family after Nolan, writing Man of Steel and co-writing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He will also co-write the upcoming Green Lantern Corps film, slated for release in 2020.

All this to say that much of Goyer’s work depends on who he’s working with. His DC work has largely been darker and more serious, while something like Blade — which he wrote on his own — absolutely relishes in the bizarre and somewhat absurd. That isn’t a bad thing when Blade is such a fun film, and that kind of tone would more likely suit a He-Man adaptation than whatever Goyer’s done in the DCEU.

Moreover, as odd as it sounds, the timeliness of a Masters of the Universe film also depends on that tone. Taking a protagonist called He-Man too seriously in 2017 is incredibly unadvisable, although I guess if Power Rangers could go dark, anything could happen. The escapism and practically slapstick nature of Masters of the Universe give the stories and those characters more of an edge in today’s oversaturation of ultra-superpowered dudes. We don’t really need any more disheartening origin stories (or indeed, origin stories in general). There is definitely room for some superheroes to be unabashedly fun again and Goyer should embrace that opportunity.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)