How We Would Cast the Masters of the Universe Reboot
After years of false starts and director announcements that ultimately fall away, it looked for a while like the Masters of the Universe reboot might really be happening. Noah Centineo confirmed being cast as He-Man, and an official licensing expo image from Sony displays both a logo and a release date.
Since then, we’ve heard talk of it going direct to Netflix, and Kevin Smith announced an animated series that actually is in production. But assuming Sony ever gets serious, and Centineo remains aboard, who should come next? The world of Eternia is rich in varied characters, and presumably Sony can afford more familiar faces than Cannon films could back in the ’80s. Our dream cast may break the budget a bit — we can dream! — but in the interest of offering up some good ideas, here goes:
Skeletor: Idris Elba
Skeletor is He-Man’s uncle, so he needs to be significantly older. For his pre-skullface days as Keldor, he also needs to be rakishly handsome, yet seething over the Eternian racism he faces as a blue-skinned Gar. Yes, there’s some irony in taking the sexiest man alive and melting the flesh of his face away, but his Shere Khan turn in The Jungle Book showed us his charisma carries through a CG motion capture performance. And that he can be scary as hell.
Man-at-Arms: Liam Neeson
Teela’s adopted father and He-Man’s mentor needs to be old enough to feel like a veteran, but not so old he can’t still kick ass. That’s Neeson to a tee. A hybrid of Qui-Gon Jinn and whatever his character’s name was in Taken (Bryan Mills, but we’re betting you didn’t remember that offhand just like we didn’t) sounds perfect. Or a nicer version of Batman Begins‘ Ducard.
Sorceress: Jessica Chastain
Cate Blanchett was a thought that crossed our minds, but Galadriel is just too similar. Besides, Teela-Na needs to be a little different. Beautiful, eternally wise, yet still maternal and clearly the most powerful person in the room. Chastain is all these things when she wants to be.
Beast Man – David Harbour
Ron Perlman used to be the go-to guy for beast men under tons of makeup, but he’s getting too old for the physical stress that comes with being covered in latex and fur, and having to do fight scenes. Harbour tried to replace Perlman as Hellboy, and gave it a valiant effort. But perhaps he’d be better served going after a similar role that doesn’t have the same baggage attached.
Teela – Sophie Turner
Okay, so: we need someone who can believably be Liam Neeson’s daughter, Noah Centineo’s peer and possible love interest, and Jessica Chastain’s younger clone, while being a strong warrior in her own right. That’s a tall order for anyone, but Jean Grey/Sansa Stark seems like a sure thing to nail it. If she’s not sick of franchises by now. Or wants to avoid Chastain after Dark Phoenix.
Orko – Erika Scheimer
A new movie could use a tie to the past, and the voice of Loo-Kee and Imp would be a great successor to her late father Lou, who originally voiced the tiny magician in the vintage cartoons. He-Man wouldn’t be the pop-culture icon he is without Filmation and Lou Scheimer productions. Erika has kept the torch alive these many years, and letting her voice the CG character (Orko would have to be) could nicely pay tribute to its roots.
Evil-Lyn – Sofia Boutella
Meg Foster was so perfect in the 1987 live-action movie that it’s hard to imagine a successor. Yet imagine we must. Evil-Lyn needs to crush hard on Keldor, but get doubly hardened and vicious once he transcends mortality and becomes a power-hungry part-demon. And a woman who can beat up Colin Firth in Kingsman, terrify and seduce Tom Cruise in The Mummy, and evince an otherworldly crush on Simon Pegg in Star Trek Beyond has all the skills needed.
Ram-Man – Dave Bautista
Simple choice here: who do you get who most resembles a brick wall, and can still act? The former WWE champ is an easy pick.
Stratos – Gerard Butler
The leader of the birdmen of Avion was reconceived for the 2002 cartoon as a Sean Connery sound-alike, which made him more distinct as a character than he had ever been before. So a Scotsman with muscles sounds about right, and we just happen to know one who can maintain a MOTU-like physique when needed. No stretch to imagine him yelling “Thess…ez…ETERNIA!”
Man-E-Faces – Tom Hardy
A heroic human/robot/monster hybrid who switches personalities at the flip of a dial? That sounds pretty damn close to what Hardy gave us in Venom. Plus he has an action figure physique already. Let’s push him further and see what happens.
Trap Jaw – Doug Jones
The extensive prosthetics and body-part replacement will be what distinguishes this space pirate visually. Performance-wise, there aren’t many people who can deliver a real personality underneath all that. Guillermo Del Toro’s favorite monster actor would undoubtedly give Kronis his own inner life. While making all those wacky arm attachments feel real.
Mer-Man – Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
After The Shape of Water, it’d just be typecasting to say Doug Jones again. Vaughan-Lawlor impressed as Ebony Maw in the last two Avengers films, giving us just the sort of otherworldly suck-up the ocean warlord needs to embody.
Hordak – Keith David
Whoever plays Skeletor’s mentor will be completely hidden under makeup anyway. So we’re gonna pick the former voice of Spawn and Goliath the gargoyle, if he’s up to the physical challenges, because his voice just rules.
King Randor – Dolph Lundgren
Let’s face it: it’s clear Lundgren got the role of King Nereus in Aquaman because James Wan knew him as He-Man. We should just make it official and have him be He-Man’s dad.
How did we do? Would you have cast things differently? You have the power…to offer up your own choices in comments!