Masters of the Universe: Revolution Brings Back a Surprising He-Man Movie Character

No one would have expected Netflix’s He-Man show to pull this deep a cut.

Gwildor and Orko in Masters of the Universe: Revolution.
Photo: Netflix

This article contains spoilers for Masters of the Universe: Revolution.

Episode 3 of Masters of the Universe: Revolution features former Man-At-Arms Duncan (Liam Cunningham) and wizard Orko (Griffin Newman) achieving an important goal, enhancing He-Man’s Sword of Power. To do this, Duncan goes to the one person he believes can do it, a locksmith who is, “small in stature and tall on talent.”

That locksmith is a short creature named Gwildor (Ted Biaselli.)

For those not well-versed in their Masters of the Universe franchise lore, Gwildor doesn’t come from the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Filmation cartoon. He actually debuted in the 1987 live-action movie, Masters of the Universe, played by Billy Barty. In that film he was also a locksmith whose main purpose in the plot was as the creator of the Cosmic Key, the object used to transport He-Man and company to Earth in that film.

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The character was originally created as a replacement for Orko, who was too expensive to produce on the film’s limited budget considering he always floated and thus would have needed wires in every scene. Thus, Gwildor.

Despite the film receiving some positive critical reappraisal in recent years, Gwildor is not a likely candidate for getting much love. He did appear in the 2019 comic He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse and even received a well done figure as part of the Masters of the Universe Classics line, but it wasn’t much.

Which makes his appearance in Revolution all the more delightful is because it directly acknowledges and plays up the out of universe status of the character as a stand-in for Orko. Duncan claims that Orko and Gwildor are “quite a bit alike,” which Orko hates the thought of. Even as Gwildor helps with the Sword of Power, Orko takes every chance to get in cutting remarks. Gwildor doesn’t just take this and gives it right back, mocking Orkos use of magic over technology.

Gwildor just being included here isn’t the only reference to him from the live-action Masters of the Universe film. Duncan, when first coming across Gwildor, states, “I was Man-At-Arms back when we traveled across the universe.” Considering Man-At-Arms was one of the few MOTU characters to actually make it into that film and that they did travel across the universe? This is a fun suggestion that perhaps an alternate version of the live-action movie’s events occurred in this universe. Duncan even references the Cosmic Key!

There’s also a direct reference to a line from the film when, in Revolution, Gwildor complains that he’s come across Skeletor so many times that, “I don’t like adventures.” He said the same thing in the live-action movie when he was chased by Skeletor’s forces.

This isn’t even the only reference to the live-action movie in Revolution. Meg Foster, who portrayed Evil-Lyn in that film, plays Motherboard in Revolution. It’s wonderful that, even if the live-action film isn’t the most beloved part of the Masters of the Universe franchise, the team behind Revolution recognized it’s still part of it and deserved to be utilized. 

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Masters of the Universe: Revolution is now streaming on Netflix.