If you’re a child of the 80s, you almost definitely grew up on He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe.” The story of Prince Adam of Eternia defending Castle Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor kept us captivated with its ridiculous characters and colorful action scenes, even though it was just an excuse to sell us toys. You may have seen all 153 episodes, we’re willing to bet there’s a few things you didn’t know about it!
Skeletor is He-Man’s uncle
The comics hinted at this, and in the 2002 remake of the cartoon, it was revealed that Skeletor is Keldor, King Randor’s brother, who tried to seize the throne and attacked Randor with acid. Randor deflected it back at him, and it burnt Keldor’s flesh down to the skull. Yeesh.
He’s also legitimately blue
Skeletor is a Gar, a member of a race that killed the original King Grayskull. In fact, this is why he was passed over for Randor as king, giving the series some surprisingly racist undertones.
He was apparently too terrifying for France
As insane as this sounds, it’s completely true; France didn’t air any episodes featuring Skeletor when the show was brought over, as it was thought he would be too terrifying for children.
He-Man arguably isn’t the most important character in the series
Hear me out. He-Man wasn’t given his power until The Sorceress decided he was worthy of the Sword of Grayskull. Not only that, but she continues to protect the castle’s secrets, the main thing Skeletor wants. In short, she’s practically the reason the story can happen at all.
He also never actually hits or hurts anybody in the entire series
Seriously. He only ever uses his sword to cut down obstacles or deflect lasers, and he basically beats his enemies by just throwing them into water or mud. This was because the show was under very tight scrutiny by the FCC, since it was made to market the toys.
Oh, and he’s half-human
King Randor is an Eternian, but Marlena Glenn, He-Man’s mother, was a NASA astronaut whose ship went off course and ended up in Eternia!
The facts get crazier from here…
The show was notoriously low-budget
The show reuses bits of animation so often that they actually had to plan for it. For example, Orko was originally named Gorpo, but the name was changed so his logo would be a giant “O,” which wouldn’t look reversed in a flipped shot.
There was one toy that never got added to the show
Stinkor, a toy that literally created an unpleasant smell, was considered too dumb to appear in the show (and this is a show that features Orko, so that’s saying something).
Harley Quinn wouldn’t exist without it
Bruce Timm, the lead director and animator on Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, and basically every animated DC Comics movie ever, got his start as a background designer on He-Man. Paul Dini, who wrote Batman TAS and is best-known for creating Harley Quinn, was both a scriptwriter for the show and the lead writer on the comics included with the toys.
We also might’ve gotten a Spider-Man movie much earlier without it
Cannon Films had the rights to do a Spider-Man movie, but opted instead to do Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and Masters of the Universe instead. Both bombed, and the company went bankrupt before they could use Spider-Man.
The rumor is that the show exists because of Conan the Barbarian
Apparently Mattel had wanted to make toys based on the massively successful Conan The Barbarian movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but decided against it when the movie was given an R rating. Instead, they created He-Man.
The actors were pretty cool people
Josh Johnson, a young fan, wrote in to the show’s creators, mentioning that it was his favorite show but that he was losing his eyesight thanks to a medical condition. John Erwin and Alan Oppenheimer, the voices of He-Man and Skeletor, recorded a message for him in-character and sent it to him on cassette tape.