The new Netflix series Masters of the Universe: Revelation isn’t just another reboot of a beloved franchise from back in the day. In fact, it’s not a reboot at all! MOTU: Revelation is the truly rare SEQUEL series to an ‘80s animated series. Yes, that’s right, we aren’t getting He-Man rebooted yet again (remember that time He-Man went into space?) but instead a full-on sequel to the original 130-episode Filmation TV series.
With that in mind, how much about the original He-Man series is needed to enjoy MOTU: Revelation? Is this something more casual fans can enjoy or do you need to be a hardcore He-Man fan? Can a new fan jump in here?
What you need to know from the jump is that Masters of the Universe: Revelation was made specifically with He-Man fans in mind. In fact there might never have been a new version of a classic property that was made with fans in mind quite this much. Revelation assumes you know quite a bit about He-Man. The show gives a very quick reintroduction to the concept (He-Man being a secret identity, only a few others know the secret, Castle Grayskull, Snake Mountain, Skeletor) but after that you’re on your own.
This is episode 131 of the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon for all MOTU: Revelation is concerned. If you’re even somewhat aware of He-Man through pop culture though you’ll mostly know all of this or be able to figure it out pretty quickly. But is that all you need? Well, this is where it gets tricky.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation is for fans and that doesn’t just mean, “what a casual person thinks He-Man was.” This is a show that heavily relies on mining the very deep lore of the original He-Man. Yes, for as silly as the original He-Man series could be it had a staggering amount of lore. Much of the plot of Revelation hinges on this lore to the point some new viewers may be turned off.
There are deep cuts to things like obscure He-Man record books! If you’re a hardcore fan this is a gift but the show relies on these kinds of references so much that after awhile you’ll feel like you’re the odd one out at the party. Some of the references are subtle and work whether you know what they’re about or not. Other times crucial plot points of the series rely on having seen a specific episode of the ‘80s show.
This means that the people who’ll get the most out of Masters of the Universe: Revelation are the hardcore fans with a textbook knowledge of the franchise. If you’re the kind of person who’s watched the series multiple times, reads the He-Man wiki for fun, or especially EDITS the He-Man wiki, this show is directed squarely at you. It’s easy see how much the team behind the series went out of their way to get the lore and characters right for the people who’ll care the most.
This means that anyone who has zero knowledge of He-Man, however, will likely get little out of this show. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is a celebration of He-Man, its lore, and its characters. It tells the stories fans always wished the original series could do. It’s laudable, in its own weird way, for the show to not really care about anyone new to the franchise and make it exclusively for the fans.
But if you’re just hoping this could be a good jumping on point for the wider MOTU franchise? You’d be better off watching Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. You don’t get any He-Man but it requires zero prior knowledge of any MOTU show to enjoy.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation premieres July 23, 2021 on Netflix.