"John Blackstar, astronaut — is swept through a black hole — into an ancient alien universe. Trapped on the planet Sagar, Blackstar is rescued by the tiny Trobbit people. In turn he joins their fight for freedom against the cruel Overlord — who rules by the might of the PowerStar. The PowerStar is split into the PowerSword — and the StarSword. And so, with StarSword in hand, Blackstar, together with his allies, sets out to save the planet Sagar. This is his destiny." "I am John Blackstar."Blackstar
is a 1981 fantasy-adventure cartoon from Filmation
. A precursor to the far more successful He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)
(only 12 episodes were produced), Blackstar
followed the adventures of an Earthly astronaut
, the eponymous John Blackstar, and his "allies": Klone, the elf-like ShapeShifter
; Mara, the lavender-skinned Magical Girl
; Warlock, his dragon-like Cool Steed
; and the Trobbits
, seven magenta-skinned little men who tended the Sagar tree on which the planet's environment depended — Balkar, their magical leader; the speechless
Poulo; Carpo; Gossamer, who flew by means of his huge ears
; Burbil; Rif, who talked like Walter Brennan and whose hat was permanently afire; and Terra. All these were in rebellion against the Overlord
and his allies, such as the sorcerous Vizier
, a horde of dinosaur-shaped stone robots, the Lavaloks
, and a series of one-shot villains such as Kadray, the Time-Lord
(no, not that one
Interestingly, the eponymous hero was designed as an African-American (this was in keeping with Filmation's predilection for socially positive messages
in its shows), but was subsequently changed to a deeply tanned Caucasian. It has been asserted that this was done at the behest of the network
, but Filmation producer Lou Scheimer has disclaimed all memory of any such directive. Many fans assume that Blackstar is a Native American, but there is no mention of this in the original series, and he differs somewhat in appearance from Filmation's later Native American hero, Bravestarr
Should not be confused AT ALL with the Soul Eater
character. Nor should he be confused with BlackStar, the hip-hop group consisting of Talib Kwali
and Yasiin Bey
Blackstar provide examples of:
- Ambiguously Brown: As mentioned above, Blackstar was originally going to be African-American, but ended up just sort of brownish with straight hair. Fanon holds that he's Native American.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Averted, amazingly enough for a Filmation series from the Eighties. Any moral lessons are left implicit in the stories themselves.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Sagar tree is the source of magical fruits and nuts that somehow support the entire population of the planet. Many episodes involved the Overlord making some kind of attack on the tree.
- Bifurcated Weapon: The StarSword, wielded by Blackstar, and the Overlord's PowerSword, are the split-off sections of the PowerStar.
- Captain Ersatz: The "Trobbits" were at one and the same time expies of Peyo's Smurfs, J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbits, and Disney's Seven Dwarfs.
- Deadpan Snarker: What Blackstar is supposed to be.
- The Overlord got in a few good ones, too, occasionally.
- Disney Death: In "The Overlord's Big Spell," he drains all the magic from Sagar to summon a huge demon, causing Blackstar's sorceress friend Mara to disappear. When the demon's destroyed and the magic comes back, so does Mara.
- Ear Wings: Gossamer the Trobbit
- Enemy Mine: In The Overlord's Big Spell (see Evil Is Not a Toy, below).
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Overlord
- Evil Is Not a Toy: As the Overlord finds in The Overlord's Big Spell, when he summons the demonic appearing Brelarand to destroy the rebels — which of course fails spectacularly and leads to an Enemy Mine with Blackstar.
- Evil Knockoff: In the episode "Tree of Evil", an evil tree makes evil copies of the Trobbits, Klone, and Blackstar himself.
- Evil Overlord: He was even named "The Overlord".
- Expository Theme Song: At least, expository opening narration.
- Expy: Since this is Filmation, Blackstar's premise shows a lot of influence from their earlier adaptation of Flash Gordon. It also presages their later He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) in many ways.
- Fanservice: Like many of Filmation's series, Blackstar was replete with muscular heroes and busty heroines.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: On one episode, Mara toasts Blackstar; Klone is quick to point out that the toast in question is made in "clear, cool spring water." Festive.
- The Future: Blackstar comes from a future Earth which has developed interplanetary flight. In "Space Wrecked," we learn that Earth has an entire fleet of spacecraft, and has developed a time-traveling space-ship as well.
- Giant Flyer: The Air Whales of Anchar, in their eponymous episode
- Heel-Face Turn: The Emerald Knight in The Quest; Lilah in The Air Whales of Anchar
- Hurricane of Puns: Many of Blackstar's combats seemed to be accompanied by these.
- I Choose to Stay: In the last episode, a rescue ship from Earth (piloted by Blackstar's beautiful girlfriend, no less) navigates the black hole, finds John Blackstar on Sagar, and offers to take him home. He very nearly takes her up on it, but he finally decides that he's too important to the natives' rebellion against the Overlord, and he chooses to stay. The last scene is her returning to Earth, and sending a message ahead that she wants to come back with proper military forces to help John defeat the Overlord.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The StarSword/PowerSword.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Warlock
- Loin Cloth: Blackstar
- MacGuffin: The PowerStar; the Sagar Tree
- Magical Girl: Mara; Amber in City of the Ancient Ones
- Mecha-Mooks: The Lavaloks
- Merchandise-Driven: Blackstar's toy line actually didn't appear until several years after the show was off the air, only hitting the shelves after Masters of the Universe had become a hit. Despite this, they sold well, and the toy line lasted for a couple of years.
- Off Model: In "The Zombie Masters," Blackstar, Balkar, Rif, and and guest-star Prince Dal disguise themselves as zombies by covering themselves with mud. Somehow the mud covers even the flame on Rif's hat.
- Only One Name: When Blackstar's girlfriend from Earth arrives in the last episode, his Sagarian friends are startled to hear her calling him John, since they just know him by his last name.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Delilah the Dryad, in "Tree of Evil".
- Our Gryphons Are Different: Klone becomes one in Tree of Evil.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The Vampire-Men in The Air Whales of Anchar.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: Carpo the Trobbit does this to the stems of Fire Fruit to make them explode, like grenades, before throwing them. In one episode, he does this before feeding them to some Fire People who were helping Blackstar.
- Pure Magic Being: Mara — when the Overlord uses a spell to leach all the magic out of Sagar, Mara's life-force grows weaker and weaker as it is drained away.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Emerald Knight in The Quest; Amber the Sorceress in City Of The Ancient Ones.
- La Résistance: Blackstar and his allies.
- Samus Is a Girl: The Emerald Knight
- Scenery Porn: Used for the infamous "Filmation pan", one of Filmation's favorite methods of avoiding new animation.
- Small Annoying Creature: The Trobbits; Delilah the Dryad, in Tree of Evil.
- Soul Power: In "The Zombie Masters", Shaldemar uses this in conjunction with a Soul Jar to turn people into zombies.
- Spiritual Successor: Filmation's previous series Flash Gordon was clearly an influence on Blackstar (a Fish out of Water Planetary Romance about an Earthman leading a rebellion against a tyrant), and Blackstar in turn was clearly an influence on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) (a Walking Shirtless Scene hero with a magic sword on a planet where magic and technology co-exist).
- Stock Footage
- Stripperific: Most of the women's outfits — Mara's is typical.
- Super Strength: Blackstar is stated to possess this, though the show offers rather slim evidence of it.
- The Voiceless: Poulo
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Klone
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Blackstar