Fisto's 2002 series toy even had to be called "Battle Fist" due to trademark issues with Star Wars' Kit Fisto, despite being created like 20 years earlier(unused trademarks expire shortly however, and Mattel had let their hold on the name lapse)
The Classics line turned Mark Taylor's original concept for Skeletor into a new character named Demo-Man. To avoid confusion, it should be stressed that the "demo" is short for "demon", not "demolitions".note In fact, this one's name is pronounced "deemo" as in "demon", rather than "dimmo" as in "demolitions"
One example happened because of Mattel reusing a trademark to keep it active- the human form of Beast from Beauty and the Beast was named Adam in the script but the name "Prince Adam" was used on toy packaging. Mattel made these toys. This has been dropped after Hasbro obtained the Disney toy license.
Retroactive Recognition: Late into the line's lifespan, Mattel held a contest for fans to design their own character, which they would then make into an official action figure (the plan never came through). The winner was Nathan Bitner, who grew up to design characters for the Halo series.
Saved from Development Hell: The winning character design from the contest mentioned above was never made for unknown reasons, though Mattel came through with every other promised prize. Finally the character, Fearless Photog, was made as part of the Classics line for the 30th anniversary of the franchise.
Likewise for Wun-Dar, Mara, the Star Sisters or any other toy from the Classics line that had reached prototype stage in the 80s but was never released.
There were plans for a prequel to both MotU and She-Ra featuring an ancestor of the main characters, He-Ro. Yeah, those never saw the light of day, but He-Ro has recently been released as part of the MotU Classics toyline.
Similarly, Vikor, He-Man of the North, is a MOTU classics figure based on the earliest stage of what would become He-Man's design. Vykron is also based on an early concept prototype where the idea was to have a hero with separate costumes, similar to Mattel's prior Big Jim line - a barbarian, a military man and a space man with a Boba Fett-esque helmet.
The Monogram figure kit line was almost cancelled in favor of another project (which didn't itself see the light of day): a 1/25 scale Dodge Diplomat police car.
There was to be a sequel series called He-Ro Son of He-Man, featuring He-Man's adopted son, but nothing came of it.
The original idea for Two-Bad was making one of the heads be a good guy and the other a bad guy. This was skipped and both were bad.
In the 2002 series, they were going to be part of the Evil Warriors from the beginning, until their origin story was considered for a later episode.
Stratos was going to be a villain.
Tri-Klops and Whiplash were going to be heroes.
She-Ra's working name was He-Ra, both to keep a connection to He-Man and a nod to the Greek goddess. It was changed as another company already had a trademark that conflicted.
Think it odd that Horde commander Colonel Blast from the cartoon had Rio Blast's gimmick? He was an early concept for what would become Rio Blast.
The unreleased "savage" He-Man toy with brown hair, often mislabeled "Wonder Bread He-Man"(Wonder Bread did have a MOTU promotion but this figure was NOT offered through it). To this day no one knows what its purpose was, how many were made or why it was made, let alone how the few samples were released. Even Mattel doesn't know. Theories have floated between a prototype Conan toy(Mattel did negotiate for the movie toy rights but never followed through, and they were in development on MOTU before then), a prototype Prince Adam look(possible as Adam looked different in the early DC issues) or a product for a promotion that never happened.
Contest Winner Cameo: In the DVD Commentary, Gary Goddard mentions how Mattel held a contest where the winner would get a role in the film, but they didn't tell them about this until very late in production, so the winner just got a cameo as one of Skeletor's guards near the end with his face hidden under a pig mask.
Doing It for the Art: The final sword fight between He-Man and Skeletor was filmed at the very end, after the money ran out. The director paid out of his own pocket to get that vital sequence filmed and have a finished movie, which is why the set and lighting change so dramatically just for the lions share of the duel.
Frank Langella embraced his role and the producers knew full well how lucky they were to have him, as such nearly everything about Skeletor from the makeup to the clothing to bits of the dialogue was based on his suggestions.
Mattel refused to have any action figure based character killed in the movie. Ironically, one of the three movie characters which Mattel turned into an action figure, Saurod, gets killed early on. They also mandated early in production that He-Man not be allowed to kill anyone on screen. This necessitated making Skeletor's troops into robot soldiers, though this fact is never stated outright in the film.
Gary Goddard tried to dedicate the film to Jack Kirby in the closing credits. But the studio took the credit out.
Stillborn Franchise: There were plans for a sequel, which got as far as early production. However, due to monetary issues, Cannon Films lost the rights to the franchise, and the whole project, along with the Cannon's cancelled Spider-Man production assets, eventually turned into Albert Pyun's Cyborg.
Troubled Production: The film went into production at the wrong time, as He-Man was slowly dwindling in popularity, Cannon Films was going bankrupt AND Mattel was having financial issues. It went from getting a slashed budget right before filming began to spending the entire back half of filming trying to convince the crew that paychecks will be in that day. Filming was officially shut down just before they could film the climactic sword fight and have a completed movie, the director had to wiggle in another two days of extremely calculated filming to do the bulk of the fight later that evening and then squeeze in another day a month later (on the directors dime) to get the final shots before the set was torn down. They designed the set with the intention of the final fight using all of it and were disappointed in the end result themselves.
A fictionalized version of the production can be seen in one of Paul Chadwick's Concrete stories, Fragile Creature, where the title character helps do practical effects on the set of a movie adaptation of a (deliberately) very obvious Captain Ersatz of He-Man. Chadwick himself was in fact part of the real movie's crew.
The original idea was to have the film set on Eternia throughout and be much more faithful to the cartoon, but since the first draft the script was written to have it set on Earth and reduce the amount of sets, and strange characters they would need to create.
The original concept for Blade was to have him in heavy alien make-up, chain mail, and a black rubber body glove. However, because of the daunting action sequences, Anthony De Longis feared for his health, so the rubber was trimmed away in the areas that the chain mail would not cover to allow his skin to breathe. De Longis also did not want to wear heavy make-up, so he offered to shave his head instead.
Snake Mountain was actually going to be in the movie. A matte painting was to be done for the exterior, while the interiors, known as Skeletor's Palace, were drawn by production designer William Stout. Stout had drawn a series of byways throughout the floor plan with small rivers of lava flowing through the ground around Skeletor's throne in the throne room. The shapes for Skeletor's throne room, also called the Lava Lounge, were inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's design of the Imperial Hotel in Japan. Plans for Snake Mountain were quickly scrapped before a set could be built to keep the film's budget low, much to the ire and disappointment of He-Man fans.
The Snakemen and She-Ra were in early drafts. William Stout was able to get Gary Goddard to approve his redesigned She-Ra costume◊, which was a futuristic white and gold suit consisting of a gold crown, a long sleeved top that revealed She-Ra's cleavage and midriff, a gold chain-mail skirt and knee-high boots. However, the Snakemen and She-Ra were cut out due to the film's limited budget.
The planned second film Skeletor invade our world once more, this time in the guise of an evil corporate tycoon, and would have introduced both She-Ra and Trap Jaw.
The Director has admitted he wasn't excited about Dolph Lundgren as He-Man, in large part due to his thick accent, but was cast by the execs due to his exposure in Rocky IV. He auditioned others and even had one he felt better suited, but was overruled. He even anticipated to have him overdubbed, but Lundgren's contract specified against it (Lundgren did redub himself in places where his original performance was difficult to understand).