It's been nearly 30 years since that terrible yet strangely beloved Masters of the Universe film with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man. Since then multiple attempts to reboot the property have been launched, then killed, then launched again, but a return trip to Eternia seemed further away than ever. That appeared to change earlier this year when McG (Terminator Salvation) took over as director, followed by a lot of nothing until Kellan Lutz tweeted that he had met for the role of He-Man.
So what's next? McG spoke with IGN and provided his take on where the project is right now, where it's headed, and whether Lutz is truly in contention to wield He-Man's power sword...
"It's a very exciting moment for Masters of the Universe. We have a big meeting with Sony regarding prep of the movie on Wednesday. And we're in the middle of a bit of a script polish, and it's my absolute passion. I'm laser-focused on that being my next film. But I mean, you know how it works in contemporary filmmaking. You really, really have to earn the good will of the parent studio, and Tom Rothman runs a tight ship at Sony, and we're going to get there. I'm so happy to report that to the fans."
The success of Marvel's cinematic universe came up when McG was asked about the movie's tone. He also mentioned HBO's Game of Thrones as another influence; both of these things suggest to me that they have no idea what to do with Masters of the Universe so it's better to just mention what's already popular, while praising the original 1987 probably more than it deserves...
“I think we want to honor the fan base, first and foremost. We also need to be cognizant of the incredible resonance of what Kevin Feige is doing with Marvel, and the balance of full-bodied entertainment. That it’s both credible and emotional, action-packed, and the story of a hero’s journey. It’s the genesis of He-Man, it’s the becoming of He-Man. We want it to be clicking on all cylinders in that regard. We’re not going to stop until we get it right. Listen, I love that movie with Frank [Langella] and Dolph [Lundgren]. I watch it, and it’s a tremendous pleasure for me to watch. I’m raised on the toys, and I’m down at Mattel all the time. We’re just really focused on getting it right. I want it to be full-bodied entertainment that respects the fan base, and is more emotional than you might imagine, inventive and original. Obviously, we’re all cognizant of what’s going on with Game of Thrones. It’s incredible. We’re cognizant of what’s going on in Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn’s doing a great job. We’re going to try to answer the call and take it higher.”
Asked about the skull-faced villain Skeletor, McG says he won't be CGI and that he is testing makeup currently. As for where Skeletor ranks on the list of top bad guys, McG holds him in incredibly high esteem...
"By the way, to me: Vader, Gruber, Skeletor. That's how powerful the antagonist is to me. Maybe I'm just a weirdo. No, but, for real. I think that's how important Skeletor is to the world."
Er, okay? I didn't know there were Skeletor enthusiasts out there? And what about Kellan Lutz, who seems pretty confident he'll land the part? He sure looks like He-Man, but what does McG think of him?
"We haven't cast the role yet, but I like Kellan very much. Obviously, we need a talented entertainer, but we also need a certain physicality, which he embodies. He'll be considered very, very closely. We haven't gotten to the casting process yet. Kellan's a good guy, and we had a great meeting, and he's passionate about He-Man, he's passionate about the Adam story. He really knows a lot about it. I was charmed by his focus and intensity. He'll be considered very, very carefully. We're just not there yet. We've got to get the movie on its feet, then we'll cast the movie."
So this still sounds very early on as there aren't a lot of specifics. I have to be honest, nothing McG says here fills me with much confidence. He seems to be saying only what he thinks will generate buzz. Masters of the Universe isn't like anything Marvel does. Period. It's not like Guardians of the Galaxy. It's not like Game of Thrones, either, and I think fans of He-Man, of which I count myself as one, would prefer to see a movie that does it's own thing.