Masters of the Universe: Revelation is on its way to Netflix from showrunner Kevin Smith – but it almost had a different, and very dramatic, title.
"So I came up with a story, which is pretty much the story you see," Smith explains to SFX Magazine. "Back then it was called The End Of The Universe. They were like, 'That's a little too spoilery.'
"They took me in to Ted Biaselli who is our boss at Netflix [Director of Original Series] and who was the passion behind this project. Ted grew up with MOTU, has every toy, still has them all displayed in his home. He's like, 'Look, I love Star Wars. I love Batman. But MOTU has always been my religion. When I watched that show as a kid, I thought He-Man was gonna get killed by Skeletor in every episode, I thought there was danger.
"And then I grew up and realised that was never going to happen. What I'm looking for from this is the same feeling I had when I was a kid. I want to feel there's danger. I want to feel stakes. And I was like, 'I think I could do that.'"
Biaselli was right alongside Smith "every step of the way," giving him "immortal words" that made all the difference to how he approached the project. Namely: don't mock it. "He said, 'Just treat it like Shakespeare for once,'" says Smith, who jumped at the chance. "I could put lofty dialogue in the mouths of characters like Skeletor. He gives these ornate monologues, man... Words that I can't normally write for Jay and Silent Bob and stuff."
Alongside Biaselli and Rob David (executive producer of the series and Vice President, Content Creative at Mattel Television), Smith says they became "a three-headed brain trust." "I've never had a better time creating something," he says with emotion. "Generally, I don't work in the studio system or the corporate system, I'm kind of off by myself. Usually the people who are your bosses are nice, but give you stupid notes and shit. They're people you have to get through, you feel like, in order to make something good. Not this time. If I could have these execs on everything, I'd go work in a corporate culture every day, and I'd wear a suit if they made me, if I could work with people who are as creative as the talent here.
"I'm not the guy people hand popular IP to," he laughs. "Remember, I did a Superman script years ago and people were like, 'That's enough, we don't need anything more from you.' I get to go play in the world of comics, but nobody ever gives me a TV show or movie to do. Giving me this was a real-life show of faith, particularly for a guy who the one cartoon I'd worked on was the Clerks cartoon, and they cancelled it after two episodes!"
You can check out our full interview with Smith in the new issue of SFX Magazine, which features Masters of the Universe: Revelation on the cover, available from Wednesday, July 14. Subscribe here and never miss an issue.
For more from SFX, make sure to sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox. The first five episodes of Masters of the Universe: Revelation hit Netflix on July 23, 2021.