She-Ra and the Princesses of Power producer Noelle Stevenson has sadly confirmed that He-Man is “not really on the table” for the Netflix animated series. The DreamWorks remake launched to popular acclaim in November. While Stevenson had originally intended the show to only last for one season, the project has expanded beyond anything she expected; she has a full four seasons ready.
The first season was a hit, focusing on the relationship between Adora and the Horde villain Catra. It added more depth to the friendship than any previous iteration, to the extent that the two felt almost like siblings turning against one another – or possibly even wounded lovers. Many fans have speculated that the series could go on to introduce She-Ra’s famous brother, He-Man, but Noelle Stevenson has sadly revealed that’s not going to happen.
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Speaking to Inverse, Stevenson has confirmed that “He-Man is not really on the table for this iteration of She-Ra at all.” As far as she’s concerned, it would be “a challenge” to bring He-Man to life in the present day. “He’s a very iconic character,” she added. “It’d be a lot of fun to incorporate him into the world of She-Ra, but I don’t know what my what my approach to that would be.” Given Stevenson has already plotted out four seasons, this really does mean He-Man and the Masters of the Universe can be written out of the future of the Netflix animated series.
In truth, that’s a sensible approach. She-Ra is as much a symbolic show as anything else, a reminder that nowadays networks and studios are actively seeking out female-led properties. There’s a sense in which the show’s status is reminiscent of Supergirl‘s, another female-led series that usually plays second-fiddle to a male one. But, while Supergirl was able to effortlessly introduce a new small-screen version of Superman, He-Man would prove a little too distracting. For one thing, it’s doubtful that the designs for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe would translate effectively into the unique style taken by DreamWorks for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
Stevenson appears to be right when she says that He-Man is a challenge for the modern film and TV industry. In fact, a new live-action Masters of the Universe film has been in the works since 2007, and is ostensibly due to release next year. It’s almost certain to be delayed; the last concrete news was in April, when The Nee Brothers signed up as directors. There hasn’t even been a new animated series since 2004, and right now He-Man only lives on in a series of comics published by DC. Stevenson clearly doesn’t have her own distinctive vision for the character, and as such she’s probably wise not to risk compromising the success of She-Ra by trying to incorporate He-Man into it.
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