We are about to embark on an adventure … The great unknown awaits … Plastic uncertainty, articulated excitement, and the great guessing game (that all fans of He-Man and She-Ra know well) will soon converge! At the end of this year, Super7 will take over production and distribution of the Masters of the Universe Classics line. You know what that likely means, yes? SEE YA, Digital River!
On a more serious note, it also means there is a new captain at the wheel! Which characters will be offered? Will Super7 be open to Q and A’s from fansites? Do the guys really know the brand? Will the figures cost $300 each? Inquiring minds would like to know!!
Over the past several years, I’ve done a lot of work (mostly for fun), but also as a service, of sorts, to fellow fans, gathering information, pertinent to the toy line, that may not have always been readily available …
Going forward, hopefully that won’t change, but let’s take a moment before New York Comic Con is upon us, to discuss character selection. We know that the heavy hitters have been produced, and most fans of this line already have those characters. We know that there is a line within a line, so to speak, if you consider the Club Grayskull offerings. It is my belief that both Collectors’ Choice and Club Grayskull will and should continue. I do not agree, however, with those who say the character selection we are left with is far too obscure to keep the line going. While it is absolutely true that nostalgia helped launched this line, it is my firm belief that, at this point, it is the work of The Four Horsemen that has kept it, and our interest, alive. The Classics-style MOTU line we enjoy stands on its own as a thing of wonder. It has fans who collected the vintage lines, and it has many fans who did not. Those who collected only for nostalgia purposes have likely jumped ship; and that is okay! Collectors only have so much money and/or space!
However, those of us still hungry for more have an opportunity to bond with the new guys in charge. We have an opportunity for a clean start without drama, without anger, and without the frustration that an entity like Digital River can throw upon a maddened fan base. Meeting Brian Flynn and the others from Super7 at SDCC was a blast, and they all seemed very interested in what we want as a fane base.
So this article, and its upcoming sequel, is an offering not only to fellow fans, but to that new guard. I’ve put this list together with the help of talented artist, Tom Bryski. He and I have discussed the characters and why they should be included. Our decisions were based on fan site polling, an effort to finish incomplete team rosters, and an eye towards the rich, unproduced history of the property. Remember, if you don’t see a favorite on this list, you might see it in the next article… Or it may not have been included because it is a no-brainer, obvious selection!
Who do we want? Who do we need? Who do we NOT know we want or need, but should? Part One for your consideration:
Karg — YES, We know. Not possible … or is he? Unlikely? Or possible? He’s a great choice for a subscription exclusive, assuming there will be a subscription (Super7 has expressed interest in continuing with a subscription model). He is desired by most of the core fan base, but isn’t necessarily a must-have for casual collectors… Perfect. He’s also a wicked pirate / bat hybrid with Elizabethan fashion sense, and the same hair stylist as Bowie in Labrynth. What more could you want?
2) General Tataran
From the Filmation episodes “The Arena” and “The Problem With Power,” General Tataran is the commander of an army of goblins who feels absolutely no remorse for committing acts of evil. In a scheme hatched by the Lord of Destruction, Tataran disguised himself as a human, “crushed to death” by debris created by He-Man during a battle. The warlord has no heart, and therefore no heart beat. This caused He-Man to believe he had carelessy caused the death of an innocent bystander. What’s more, Tataran is named for legendary producer/director/animator Tom Tataranowicz, who is beloved by many, if not all, fans of MOTU!
3) Wrapper, the Horde Mummy
There are countless concepts that could fill volumes when it comes to characters that did not make it to plastic form during each incarnation of the Masters of the Universe toy lines. Among the most well known to the fan base might be the “Horde Mummy.” As long as I’ve been interacting with fellow fans, this character has been a topic of conversation, and I think many people would enjoy owning him. Tom has done a wonderful job of creating a design that maximizes play-factor while remaining true to the aesthetic created by The Four Horsemen for the line as a whole. “Wrapper” could also easily be a subscription exclusive candidate!
4) Dree-Elle & Uncle Montork
Uncle Montork & Dree-Elle — Okay, WHERE are the Trollans?! We are still waiting … We’ve had Orko for years, but We have yet to see that buck utilized for more Trollans. Both Montork and Dree-Elle made enough memorable appearances in the Filmation cartoons to justify their being produced in the line. They are great characters, and their inclusion would further diversify the line.
5) Masks of Power Demons 2-Pack
The vintage minicomics are legendary, and now that most of the fan base owns the hardcover collection (if you don’t own it, you should!), this highly demanded two-pack seems an even more obvious choice for production. It would cater to those MOTU fans who love the minicomics, as well as those who love the sword and sorcery aesthetic so beautifully represented by the early vintage line. Including comic-specific accessories, like the sword-in-the-stone here, only makes this potential two-pack that much more exciting!
6) Master Sebrian
The New Adventures Sorceress? No. We need her too (and she’s here with her own design), but Master Sebrian is one of the more interesting characters created for the New Adventures cartoon. He’s also a leader and mentor for Adam on Primus. If he isn’t produced, there will be a glaring empty space on the New Adventures shelf. This design also includes the robot helper Gleep, who is a personal favorite of mine. Sebrian could even make use of a repurposed Filmation Evilseed robe, which exists as of this year.
7) Starburst She-Ra
The second vintage variant of the Princess of Power has two origins, aside from the habit Mattel had of creating variant armors and features for its lead characters. One of the origins comes from the UK comics and has the armor and its powers resulting from an adventure in space. The other origin is more closely tied with the crystal variant of She-Ra’s steed, Swift Wind. Many would argue that this variant should have been included in Club Etheria. Now, I like Galactic Protector She-Ra, and I’m glad she was created. However, Starburst She-Ra really should be made, as it is the only legit vintage variant of a lead character left to produce (Okay, that’s a lie; poor Catra has yet to be released in any of her variant forms, but more on that later).
8) False Face
The Horde is always in need of recruits, and this original character from the She-Ra cartoon series is the perfect candidate. In the episode “Glimmer’s Story,” he is shown to be a devious shape-shifter, taking the form of the heroic Prince Highcliff, in order to spy on the Great Rebellion. Part Man-E-Faces, part Zartan, this character would be an amazing figure, and likely would not cost much to produce. Including one of Imp’s many forms would be fun! Tom’s design makes great use of multiple head re-use in that grotesque, almost living-dead pallor that False Face sports.
Featured in the Filmation cartoon series, Kittrina has long been a character for which the fans clamor. She could easily be considered part of Chief Carnivus’s race and tribe, and that’s something that could be used to further ground her in the MOTUC canon. She’d also offer us a new, heroic Eternian female, which we could always use.
Recently, drawings of characters that were never produced, likely meant for the “Powers of Grayskull” line (which was a continuation of the vintage MOTU line), were shared online. Included in those drawings was line art depicting an heroic ninja. Who was he? Was he a fallen hero, perhaps at the hand of Ninjor? Perhaps his spirit has risen to aid He-Man, and the other Heroic Warriors, in the defeat of Ninjor and Skeletor, so that he might finally rest in peace! Clearly, Tom and I have taken some liberties with this particular character. We like what we have come up with, and Tom did a great job of invoking a ghost like feel for this concept design.
The Royal Historian, featured several times in the Filmation cartoon series, would be a fun addition as his accessories could be Filmation story “artifacts.” Fleshing out the Royal Household is not something most MOTU fans might find all that offensive. In fact, there has been a decent amount of support for a Melaktha figure.
The mystery man in yellow from the vintage mini comic, “Skeletor’s Dragon!” Who is he? Where does he fit in the grand scheme of things? Well, we have some answers to those questions, or at least some temporary ones. He was shown in one of the last minicomics in the Classics line as a sort of Deus ex Machina (look it up, there’s no time to explain). I think Tom has done an amazing job of making this particular character a great candidate for plastic immortality.
13) Filmation Count Marzo & Chimera 2-Pack
While Club Grayskull has given us Filmation versions of some heavy hitters, there are a handful of minor characters deserving of the cartoon treatment. Evilseed was a huge success, arguably the best offering in Club Grayskull this year. Super7 and The Four Horsemen have hinted that cartoon variants will continue, so this two-pack seems like a great choice. The evil Count Marzo and his zombie-like helper Chimera could find a nice spot on the toy shelf, perhaps offering their black flowers to Loo-Kee or Orko??
MANY fans were disappointed with, and perhaps perplexed by, the fact that Granita was not included in the Rock Warriors pack for SDCC a few years ago. Yes, the price would have been high, but Granita has, for a while now, been one of those Filmation characters who places highly in fan polls. She should have made that two-pack a three-pack. She and Dylamug are the only remaining character from the huge site-sponsored fan poll run by He-Man.Org. Based on that poll, and the figures that have been produced since, she is currently the #1 most requested original character. Including Facet would be a bonus, as long as it does not cost Granita the ability to “transform” into her rock form.
There aren’t too many original vintage minicomic characters, which is what makes Lodar’s absence from the line a curiosity. At this point, you’d think we’d have more than just Geldor and Temple of Darkness Sorceress (well, Oo-Larr counts too … sort of). Lodar just has an awesome design — It’s a little S&M, a little warlord, a little football player, but it works somehow.
Hawke (and Delora) — A potential Filmation two-for-one. Stratos’s sister was called Delora in the Filmation cartoon, and his nemesis in one episode was called Hawke, but then his sister was called Hawke in the 200X cartoon, and his wife was called Delora in the minicomics … confused? Don’t be. Just hope we get a female Avionian, with alternate heads. Hey, Super7, that’s easily double the sales!
17) New Adventures Sorceress
See? I told you she was here. Some may want to see the Sorceress as she appeared in the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon series. Some might want to see her as Tom has designed, sporting her duds from the NA minicomic. I prefer this look because it is so different from her vintage look. You could also cobble together a white space suited Captain Glenn using this figure, if you were creative. The Sorceress is no longer alive in the MOTUC canon, but that matters not. This spirit version could continue on forever — just like the line!
Stay tuned for part two after NYCC!
–– Brian Charles Rooney is a guest contributor at TheFwoosh.com