When a filmmaker like Kevin Smith gets agrab a popular franchise, it’s natural to be curious about what’s going on do with he. It goes double for something like hers New He-man show on Netflix, because the streamer has reinvented so well She-Ra and the Princesses of Power not so long ago. Recently io9 spoke with Smith, who explained that while he is impressed with what the team has done with She-Ra, his show, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, go in another direction.
“Our manifesto was to be fan service,” Smith told io9 over the phone last month as promote his new book. “We didn’t have some sort of creativity, let’s call it, the freedom to reinvent the franchise the way She-Ra did it and did it brilliantly. [Noelle Stevenson’s] She-Ra cartoon has played far more people than it likely ever would have played if they had just kept it in its original incarnation. But She-Ra, even in his day, was not as well known as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe so there is more room for creativity there. And in fact, that’s what they were allowed to do. “
Instead of reinventing yourself, Smith and his team went the other way: they or they leaning hard in that original animated series was, which is the only reason Smith took the job in the first place. “To be honest with you, I wouldn’t have accepted the job if they’d said, ‘You can reinvent He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,‘”said Smith,” I’m really not that creative. I wouldn’t be the type you lean on to reinvent something. But what if you want this to continue with love, true to the franchise, and just grow the characters up a bit to make their conversations a bit more adult-oriented? [I’m your guy.]He clarified: ‘And I certainly don’t mean that they all talk about sex. Not at all. There is no sex on the show. It’s definitely a family show. The idea was that we needed to be able to show the characters that both audiences can enjoy. The audience who grew up watching him, who are now in their 40s or 50s, and their children—who, presumably they’re going to watch this show with it.
This is where the Marvel inspiration came in. Smith said in the writer’s bedroom that he and the others had tried using what he called the Marvel Method. “And by the Marvel method we mean the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “he said.” It’s when I go to the Marvel movie and take my kid, I like it and I like to share it with my kid because I was like, ‘This is shit on which I grew up on. Now you are growing up on that too … This is what we put into the DNA of Masters of the Universe: Revelation. “
Smith said he had the same experience when his father took him to see The Raiders of the Lost Ark and, more recently, watching WandaVision. “It’s meant to be enjoyed in the same way that I enjoyed WandaVision with my wife, ”Smith said. “My wife didn’t know anything about the Marvel Universe. And finally she said to me ‘I’m going to watch this WandaVision, ‘ [and] Every three minutes on the show, I had to pause to say, “Let me explain the story to you and do a full tutorial.” So if you know [Masters of the Universe], you will be amazed by the loyalty to the original series, the series you grew up on [this one is.] We’re just taking the next logical step in a more current sort of storytelling. But the creator doesn’t want fans to worry when he says things like “more current storytelling.”
“Again it’s not like we’re breaking everyone up and now they’re all cyberpunk versions of themselves,” he said. “They’re recognizable by what everyone was watching in the classic version of the cartoon… if they were like, ‘Hey, man, we want you to take this and destroy it. We want you to make do with Masters of the Universe what they did with She-Ra‘, I would say,’ I’m absolutely not the right guy for this. ‘ You need a visionary for something like this. But what if you ask me to continue the story? That’s what I do in comics anyway. Like when I wrote my daredevil run, when I wrote my Ggreen arrow Classes, and I approached it the same way. It’s just me doing a series of problems Masters of the Universe and the characters are my responsibility for this very limited time. But I didn’t create these characters. So I don’t feel the need to recreate these characters either.
We’ll meet these characters — voiced by Chris Wood, Mark Hamill, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lena Headey, Diedrich Bader, Alicia Silverstone, Susan Eisenberg, Kevin Conroy and more — on July 23 when Masters of the Universe: Revelation debuts on Netflix. Stay tuned to io9 as well, we’ll have more of Smiths soon.
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