Masters of the Universe

Showing 1–12 of 27 results

Showing 1–12 of 27 results

Masters of the Universe action figures and toys!

Here you’ll find the latest action figure from the Masters of the Universe Origins and Masters of the Universe Revelation toy lines.

The origins of He-Man, Skeletor and the other Masters is disputed amongst those involved and even led to a lawsuit over copyright infringement. In 1976 Mattel passed on the opportunity to produce action figures, toys and playsets for the upcoming Star Wars movie, a decision which haunted the toy company, driving them to create their own successful franchise. After a number of failed experiments Mattel would begin development of a barbarian character who would exist in a sword and sorcery world but with elements of science fiction blended in – He-Man.

Originally called Lords of Power, a number of characters were designed without a story to bind this new concept together. Renamed as Masters of the Universe, it was decided that the 5.5″ figures would be packed with comics that would tell the stories of the characters and establish the mythos. In 1982 He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Skeletor, Beast Man and Battle Cat were released.

Also released in 1982 was the film Conan The Barbarian starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The rights holders of Conan had been negotiating with Mattel to produce toys based on the movie and once they saw the He-Man figure, they begun a lawsuit for copyright infringement.  Mattel would win the lawsuit as none of the figures were ever intended for release in the Conan line but He-Man’s designer Roger Sweet had in fact taken inspiration from Conan artwork by Frank Frazetta.

The pack in comics had portrayed He-Man as a barbarian who had left his tribe to wander the war torn planet of Eternia, which had been invaded by the dimension travelling Skeletor. The comics depicted the Sorceress in snake armour as Teela was originally intended to be the Sorceress when wearing the snake armour the figure came with. Likewise Stratos was introduced in the comics as one of Skeletor’s henchmen instead of an ally to He-Man. A mini series by DC Comics continued to flesh out the lore by introducing Prince Adam and Cringer as the alter egos of He-Man and Cringer, amongst many other plots and characters.

After Toys R Us balked at the idea of the comics a cartoon was proposed with Filmation taking on the duties of bringing the new characters to life for TV screens. The He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon would debut in 1983 and was very different from the pack in comics that came with the figures.

The cartoon set a new direction with the villains being campy, bumbling and incompetent rather than the evil monstrous creatures in the comics. The equally clumsy magician Orko was introduced to explain plots for children viewing at home and to add more comedy. However, the cartoon came under some criticism for its violence which resulted in the end of each episode teaching children the moral of the episode’s story. The fight scenes mainly involved grappling rather than striking in an effort to tone down the violence.  Also notable was that the cartoon was tied into a toy line which was the first time this had been done.

The cartoon also had episodes written by a young writer named J. Michael Straczynski who would go on to write Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, along with episodes of The Real Ghostbusters before moving into live action TV and writing Babylon 5. Straczynski would later go on to write for Marvel and DC Comics and work on the script for the film World War Z.

The cartoon series came to an end in 1986 but created the spin-off cartoon and toys – She-Ra: Princess of Power, introducing Hordak and his evil Horde.

In 1986 the evil Snake Men were introduced to the toy line but sales were beginning to flag especially after the cancellation of the cartoon.

1987 saw the release of the Masters of the Universe live action film which bore no resemblance to the cartoon and established story of He-Man. The film was a flop and its failure along with the failure of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace contributed to the closing of Cannon Films who had made some of the 80’s best known lower budget movies like Delta Force, Missing in Action, Lifeforce, Robotech: The Movie, Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

In 1988 the Masters of the Universe was cancelled but would be relaunched a year later simply as He-Man. Now set in the future and based entirely in sci-fi, the cartoon and toyline didn’t capture imaginations and was shelved in 1990.

He-Man and the other Masters returned in 2002 with a revamp of the toys by design studio The Four Horsemen. The new updated and somewhat stylistically darker toys were well received by collectors but an over reliance on repaints eventually killed the line in 2004. The cartoon from this time was also well received and is still highly regarded.

Collectors rejoiced when Mattel brought back the toy line in 2008 with The Four Horsemen on board again. Learning from previous relaunches, Mattel released Masters of the Universe Classics figures mainly as subscription figures rather than mass releases. Super 7 would take over production of the toys in 2016 until 2020.

2020 saw Mattel launch Masters of the Universe: Origins toys as a general release. These figures were the vintage figures but updated with more articulation for better posing. 2021 saw this line grow and new figures based on the new Masters of the Universe Revelation cartoon.

Gear4Geeks is your one stop geek shop for Masters of the Universe action figures!