Mattel Studios and Netflix’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will make their debut for a whole new generation and has updated some of their classic characters like Man-At-Arms.
Life-long He-Man fan and Executive Producer Rob David has been preparing for this debut his whole life. He developed the newest version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for Netflix and wanted to tell Prince Adam’s story from the beginning for a new generation. At the show’s core, it’s about four teenagers and their cat. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a true coming-of-age story about friendship and found family.
Rob David and Co-Executive Producer Jeff Matsuda shed some light on what fans can expect from these updated versions of the classic Masters of the Universe characters. We had the chance to chat with the two to discuss the upcoming changes and what actor, Antony Del Rio, brought to the role of Duncan AKA Man-At-Arms.
The Illuminerdi: This is truly an ensemble where we follow four teenagers and their cat. I mean, it’s a true coming of age story. Jeff, can you… And this is one of my favorite characters here. Can you talk to me about Duncan, Man-At-Arms, and his relationship with Adam in the series? Because this is a version that I hadn’t seen in the character before.
Jeff Matsuda: First, I want to give a shout to Antony Del Rio, who plays him for the voice casting. And a lot of times when the voice casting is so great, like what we have on this show, he just killed it on the first day. And because of how he acted, he actually affected the storylines and the way he was written as it went.
Rob David: We basically wanted Duncan to be part of this team and to be a part of this team truly to go on this coming-of-age story. And so, we double down on the kind of master inventor component of it, the archetype of the father figure, the mentor I gave to Cringer, to allow Cringer also be a full master and to kind of have Adam be in the jungle tribe and have that connection to them.
But originally I wanted Duncan to have a little bit more… Like he was a year older than Teela and Adam and he was going to be a little bit older brother to kind of have that. And then we got Antony’s audition. There was another actor who kind of did it really well and did it more as the character was conceived and written, but Antony had this extra… This kind of vulnerability and this kind of insecurity to him that just… To Jeff’s point, just really kind of spoke to us.
And then realized that like, ‘Oh my God, this is just wonderful. And we should lean into that.’ I mean, he was always written in the Bible, in the re-imagining to be the apprentice of Kronis, but Antony’s performance kind of gave that even more of a spotlight, that he has to now prove that he’s not just a tool of Kronis, but he’s his own builder.
Another thing that I really like about this series as well as the theme of found family. Jeff, can you speak to that a little bit?
Jeff Matsuda: Well, I thought it was just really cool the way, I mean, we start out with Adam and the tiger tribe and that’s where he’s from. And then there’s this… He also has this dad, who’s King Randor and then you have Krass, who is sad for the loss of maybe losing Adam to this new family. So I think it’s cool that they all find their way home to him to a degree.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Has Something For New Fans And Old Fans
Jeff Matsuda reaffirms that this version of Masters of the Universe has something for everyone. You won’t need to know any of the storylines that came 30 years earlier. This is a fresh and updated take on the characters that put its full focus on telling a good story.
Jeff, what are you excited for new fans to take away from this version of He-man and the Masters of the Universe?
Jeff Matsuda: What I’m excited for is that they could get into the love that their parents have for He-Man and own it for themselves. And I think for me, it’s just so cool. I went to the He-Man Con with Rob a while back and I’d see these cosplaying characters going up there and they would say, “Please make a show I could watch with my kids.” And that really struck me when I saw that day, I was like, “Wow, that’s, that is the coolest concept.”
I have kids as well and I watched their shows. I wish when I was watching Blue’s Clues and Little Einsteins, shows I love, I wish I had a He-Man show like this to watch and binge watch with my kids. A lot of times when people say kids shows, there’s this assumption of being dumbed down or being simple, this show really isn’t, it is something I would love to watch.
Rob and I and the whole crew, tried to make something for everyone. I mean, it’ll work for kids. But I’ll work for all of us. It’s an epic tale. And the first season is great and it keeps getting better every season, which is to me, nuts. Because I loved the first one.
Rob and Jeff’s passion for the new Masters of the Universe series shines through. Both creators are deeply invested in telling a new story of He-Man for everyone. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe begins streaming on September 16th, 2021. Are you excited to see a re-telling of Masters of the Universe? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.