It seems to have taken an Eternia-ity to bring the most powerful man in the universe and his friends back to the big screen, and the Masters of the Universe reboot has been hit with numerous false starts, director and studio changes.
In recent months, it was announced that up-and-comer Noah Centineo, who has sprung to prominence from Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, had been confirmed to play He-Man in the new movie, which has been set for a March 2021 release.
“I have an affinity for being in my underwear! I’m very excited, it’s quite an opportunity,” he told Jimmy Fallon earlier this year.
However, while promoting his latest role in the new Charlie’s Angels movie, Centineo revealed he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee playing basketball. Is this set to be another nail in the Masters of the Universe coffin?
The MOTU line was first created by Mattel in 1981 and in 1983, Filmation secured the rights for an animated show which became He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, a worldwide phenomenon in its own right.
Then, in 1987, Masters of the Universe was brought to the big screen with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor. But despite it becoming a cult classic since, the movie was a critical and box-office failure.
Flash forward to 2007 and Hollywood’s interest in toy lines spiked once more thanks to Michael Bay’s Transformers, and it led Fox 2000 to reignite interest in a new He-Man movie, with various directors including John Woo linked to it over the years.
However, nothing happened until in 2018 – when relative newcomers Aaron and Adam Nee were hired by Sony to direct the reboot, with Art Marcum and Matt Holloway brought on to write a fresh draft.
Shooting was set to get underway in Prague this summer and that’s when Centineo signed on to star as He-Man.
“It’s a really big responsibility. This is, like, first one in, last one out every single day, which I’ve done before, but I’ve never done it on a studio level,” he said of the role. “Which, studio level is the same as indie, but like, they got playback… It’s a big opportunity and I feel more than ready to tackle it.”
A teaser poster was released in May of this year and it seemed everything was on course but since then… not a lot.
What has reportedly been mooted in the months since was that Sony, who own the movie rights, is exploring the possibility of bringing on another studio to help finance what would be a hugely expensive movie, which could involve selling the film to Netflix.
Could He-Man set up home on the streaming service? Well, it isn’t out of the realms of possibility given that the new She-Ra animated series, and the upcoming He-Man sequel cartoon from Kevin Smith set for Netflix releases.
Indeed, with the influx of Netflix originals scheduled for the next few months and their big-budget gambles in the last couple of years, this could be the deal-clincher that finally sees the movie become a reality.
At a time when seemingly big-budget slam-dunks are failing at the box office so, after all this time, would Masters of the Universe even be a hit theatrically in a modern cinema landscape?
If done right, perhaps, but the risk is high that Netflix may be the better option.
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