Revelation Rewrites, part 1.
Note to Readers: The following will contain spoilers and critiques of the first episode of Masters of the Universe: Revelation. So, so many spoilers. I mean oodles of spoilers, okay? And a fair amount of snark. If you don’t like spoilers, just breeze on down to the comments. I won’t mind. Beware the spoilers on the way though. If you don’t like snark, what are you even doing here??
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Episode 1: The Power of Grayskull
INTRODUCTION: The scene opens to show the planet Eternia, with criss-crossing double rings and two moons orbiting super close to the planet but not affecting the rings at all. Take that, planetary physics!
NARRA-TOR: “The planet Eternia is at the center of the universe, and on that planet is Castle Grayskull, a repository of great power! That power is sought after by the Lord of Snake Mountain, the demon Skeletor, and his horde of evil minions, chief of which is Evil-Lyn — Lyn, sweetie, for this shot why don’t you lay down on your side in front of Skeletor on his throne, and bend one leg up to show off a little thigh for the camera. I’m looking for a bit of a slave-Leia vibe here, honey. That’s good, just great, you’re gorgeous!”
NARRA-TOR: “Moving on, Skeletor really, really wants the Power of Grayskull, and the only person who can stop him is … Prince Adam! Except not really Prince Adam, since he’s pretty much a wimp and needs to turn into He-Man, the Most Powerful Man In the Universe instead. Why did I say Prince Adam then? Shut up, that’s why.”
NARRA-TOR: “Only four other people know the whole Prince Adam/He-Man thing: A soldier, a sorceress, a court jester, and He-Man’s mount so he’d have to know, right? They also have a bunch of ignorant heroes on their side, too, all trying to keep Skeletor from getting into Castle Grayskull. Because if you capture the Grayskull flag, you get to have “Master of the Universe” as your official title. Don’t look at me like that; I don’t make the rules.”
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SCENE: An exterior shot of Castle Grayskull looming silently over a barren landscape. A large figure obscured in an even larger cloak appears, riding a robotic horse that fans will recognize as Stridor, an invention of the heroic Man-At-Arms. Not a very practical vehicle when you have tanks and flying machines and a gigantic intelligent tiger to ride on, but Adam and Teela wanted a pony as kids, and do you know how much ponies eat? Stridor probably got armored up after they outgrew him. Whatever.
Stridor begins walking towards Castle Grayskull, revealing two bound figures on foot behind him, both known by fans as henchmen of Skeletor’s: Clawful, a monstrous crustaceanoid warrior; and Spikor, Evil Master of thumbtacks and porcupines or something. They have little choice but to follow the mysterious rider, who looks to one side as some multicolored lights illuminate the distant horizon.
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SCENE: The Royal Palace of Eternia, above which a display of fireworks light up the night sky in dazzling colors. A celebration of some sort is happening. King Randor and Queen Marlena, goodly rulers of the Kingdom of Eternos, make idle conversation, which segues into meeting some of the familiar heroes of the setting. Man-At-Arms reassures Cringer, who is hiding from the fireworks, that all is well.
MAN-AT-ARMS: “Take it from someone who has seen battle, cat.” (actual line)
KEVIN SMITH: “Tee hee, I’m so clever!”
Teela arrives on scene, and it is revealed that she is to be granted the official title of Man At Arms this evening. The current Man-At-Arms beams with pride. Orko appears as well, and the conversation clumsily moves to them noting that Prince Adam has not arrived. Where could he be??
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SCENE: The desolate region just outside of Castle Grayskull. The mysterious rider has dismounted and flings his cloak off DRAMATICALLY to reveal He-Man! The Jaw-Bridge of Grayskull opens (yes, that’s what it’s called), and a falcon flies into the scene! It dives towards the open Jaw-Bridge and, just before striking it, the falcon transforms into the Sorceress of Grayskull! She coolly notes that the Forces of Evil seem to take no holidays.
Spikor sneers back that the Sorceress didn’t even realize he was actually SKELETOR IN DISGUISE! His false form melts away, revealing a familiar skull-headed figure!
SKELETOR: “Mua ha ha Ha! It is I, the Lord of Gloating Long Enough To Let The Heroes Get In the First Shot, SkeletOOF!”
Skeletor is blasted backwards into the dirt by a bolt of arcane energy from the Sorceress.
SORCERESS: “Please, Skeletor. I knew it was you the whole time. I mean, I did wait until you dropped your illusion to tell you that I knew it was you all along, and I did open the Jaw-Bridge to the Castle for you, but that was only to fool you into thinking that you had fooled me, see? That’s it, yeah. So I’m far more clever than you are. You may have mind-controlled He-Man here or something, but I feel quite confident moving forward such that He-Man is now behind me. Gosh I’m clever.”
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SCENE: Back at the royal palace. A fanfare is being played on the trumpets, which of course frightens Cringer. Orko casts a spell on Cringer that is supposed to help but has Unexpected Consequences. Orko tries to save the cowardly tiger but instead makes the spell worse! He then desperately asks if anyone has the power to help. Then…
PRINCE ADAM: “I have the power.” (actual line)
Kevin Smith: “Tee Hee Hee!”
Adam rescues Cringer from the spell and the party can continue. But wait, Adam’s at the Palace? Then who’s at Castle Grayskull?
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SCENE: Back at the gates of Grayskull. He-Man smiles evilly and grabs the Sorceress from behind!
SORCERESS: What the Fu-?!”
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SCENE: Back at the Palace — you dizzy yet? Prince Adam is hugging Teela from behind, laughing. Teela reverses his hold and puts him into an arm bar for some reason, foiling his treacherous … hug? Did I mention he’s royalty and she’s a soldier in his father’s service? Adam says “aunt” and Teela lets him go.
The party moves indoors, and Adam and Teela have a conversation about how great she is. Teela mentions how she knows everything about battle, the Palace, and Castle Grayskull, and Adam reminds her that she doesn’t know who “He” really is, basically revealing that He-Man has a secret identity and isn’t just a powerful hero who shows up when needed. Moron.
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SCENE: Back at Grayskull, now inside the Castle itself. Skeletor gloats that the Sorceress was totally fooled by his latest deception: A He-Man doppleganger robot named Faker!
FANS: “Oh yeah, I remember him.”
The Sorceress summons such power as to blast Faker’s arms off, thus escaping his clutches. Faker silently extends mechanical tendrils from the stumps of each arm, which reach out to each of his forelimbs and retrieves them. The arms fuse back into their proper place. Skeletor further gloats that he has another powerful ally with him who is also in disguise. The form of Clawful melts away, revealing the sinister witch, Evil-Lyn!
EVIL-LYN: “I’m not Clawful, but I can be awful!” (actual line) She fires an eldritch blast from her staff at the Sorceress!
SKELETOR: “… You know what was awful, Lyn? That line just now! Sweet merciful Hordak, I told you about this mission two days ago! You chose to cosplay as Clawful and you couldn’t think of a better line than that?”
EVIL-LYN: “Well I’d like to see you come up with a clever rhyme for ‘Clawful’!”
SKELETOR: “Okay, fine. Hm, I’m not Clawful… but I want some falafel! There. You’re welcome.”
EVIL-LYN: “Oh, that’s real intimidating! Remind me to use that one if we ever attack a food truck!”
SKELETOR: “Being intimidating wasn’t stipulated in your challenge. Skeletor wins. Anyhow, the point is, do we really need corny rhymes anymore? Our target audience is middle-aged now. They’ll be forcing their kids to watch instead of the other way around. You didn’t see me making some silly rhyme when I revealed myself, did you?”
EVIL-LYN: “No, I saw you take a magic money-shot instead. Evil-Lyn wins.”
SORCERESS: “I’m sorry, is there an attack happening any time soon?”
SKELETOR: “Oh, right.”
A titanic battle commences, as Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, and Faker are inside the castle, while an army of sinister looking soldiers has massed outside of the castle, led by more of Skeletor’s evil henchmen in various vehicles from the Snake Mountain motor pool, each of which are familiar to He-Man toy collectors. The Sorceress summons some mystical castle defenses, but she is one and they are legion! From inside the Castle, Skeletor taunts the Sorceress, and invites her to summon her champion. Why would Skeletor want her to call for help though??
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SCENE: The Palace again. The ceremony is about to begin. Teela walks down the grand chamber towards the King. Man-at-Arms is about to kerplode with pride!
RANDOR: “You know, Adam, it would be great if I too were able to feel fatherly pride about my offspring someday. I should introduce you to He-Man. Or I would if you were ever around when he is, harrumph!”
Prince Adam takes the abuse glumly. By now Teela has arrived at the steps to the dais upon which the royal family stands. She sinks to her knees. Randor steps forward holding a sheathed sword. Adam smiles at Teela, then suddenly looks to have been struck with a migraine, which Teela sees. The Sorceress has telepathically alerted him that Grayskull is under attack!
RANDOR: “I hereby dub you Man At Arms.”
That’s it. One brief sentence. No speech about how deserving Teela is of this honor, nothing about the hard work she put in and dedication and loyalty she has demonstrated. That’s Silent Ran for you, I guess. Adam steps down to Man-at-Arms (the older one) and whispers the Sorceress’ message to him. Duncan (Man-At-Arms’s given name) steps forward and announces to the palace guard that Grayskull needs defending! Nobody questions this outburst; Duncan is getting old, and old soldiers have been known to have PTSD and dementia. Best to humor him rather than cause a scene. Duncan looks at Teela and suggests that she lead them into battle. Teela draws the sword offered by Randor and holds it aloft.
TEELA: “For Eternia!” (actual line)
This is a curious remark, since Eternia is a planet and Grayskull is just a castle somewhere on said planet, so they’re not synonymous terms at all. It might have made more sense for her to hold the sword high and say something like “For the honor of Grayskull!”
KEVIN SMITH: “Genius!”
Anyhow, the gathered soldiers respond with a valiant roar. King Randor urges the civilians to follow their King and Queen to safety, even though Grayskull isn’t exactly next door. He’s probably still humoring Duncan. The King assigns Adam to crowd control, who basically ushers people through a set of double doors further into the Palace. Soon it is only Adam, Orko, and Cringer left in the room. Queen Marlena looks back over her shoulder as Adam closes the doors to the audience chamber instead of following the civilians.
MARLENA: “Be careful, Adam.”
OH SHIT SHE KNOWS ADAM’S SECRET!!! Well, that’s Mother’s Intuition for you, kids. Don’t bother keeping any secrets from your mother, especially if they involve removing most of your clothing and going out in public.
Adam tells Orko to go on ahead to Castle Grayskull and see if he can help, and he manages to say it without laughing. Cringer asks to take a sick day, but Adam smiles and declines his request. Adam draws the Sword of Power and raises it over his head.
ADAM: “By the Power of Grayskull.”
Hm. Adam says it more as if he’s asking for a cup of coffee instead of all the power in the freaking universe. I guess volume doesn’t matter when you know the words and have the Sword, but still, man. Pretty casual ritualistic intonation if you ask me.
A bolt of energy gathers in the heavens and blasts downward through the Palace without doing any damage, then impacts where Adam is standing. The Power courses all around him in a field of shifting colors, and it’s pretty damn awesome I have to say. Then:
ADAM: “I. Have. The Power!”
Hell yeah, that’s more like it! Adam’s body becomes a scintillating silhouette, and the camera pans rapidly around his changing form. A golden wristband appears on one arm, then a sturdy golden vambrace on the other arm! The camera pans down to see a furry loincloth come into being where you would expect it to be worn. It pans back up and around to see a harness materialize over an expanding torso. A red “H” appears in the center of the harness, then the camera pans away and the colors dissipate to reveal He-Man!
FANS: “Whew! I need a cigarette! Interesting that Adam only changed after saying ‘I have the power,’ though. In all the other media it’s He-Man himself who says that line. I wonder if it’s significant.”
NARRA-TOR: “It’s significant.”
Cringer tries to flee, but He-Man points his sword at the tiger and he too becomes infused with the Power of Grayskull to become the mighty Battle-Cat, but his transformation sequence was never as important. He-Man mounts Battle-Cat, they pose for the camera a moment, and then ride off towards Grayskull.
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END OF PART 1 of 2.