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Western Animation / He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021)

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"To know oneself is to truly become... a Master of the Universe."

The third iteration of the Masters of the Universe franchise to bear this title, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a CG animated series from Netflix, revamping itself as Younger and Hipper while putting more emphasis on Science Fiction elements. It debuted on September 16th, 2021.

As is tradition, the land of Eternia is threatened by the machinations of Prince Keldor/Skeletor (Ben Diskin), and it falls to a group of young champions - the titular Masters of the Universe - to band together with Adam/He-Man (Yuri Lowenthal) to protect the realm from all those who would threaten it.

The first reveal trailer debuted on August 19th, 2021. Additional videos, such as the series intro and Adam's transformation followed suit. A second season was announced for March 3rd, 2022. A third season released on August 18th, 2022.

A chapter book series, Tales Of Eternia, takes place in the events of this series, with the books having canon placements in the show's lore, along with a variety of characters exclusive to the books.

Not to be confused with Masters of the Universe: Revelation, another He-Man series that also came out in 2021 on Netflix, but is related to the original series.

By the power of Greyskull...I have the tropes?

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Cringer is a brave warrior cat all the time here, instead of being a coward when he isn't transformed like in other series.
    • Skeletor and his group are more powerful than most previous versions. Especially Skeletor, as he even took over Eternos.
    • Mer-Man was a pretty standard villain in the original series and not especially more or less powerful than any other. Here, he's capable of taking on the combined forces of the Masters and Dark Masters and winning handily, only being taken out by a giant snake falling on him.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
  • Adaptational Modesty: He-Man's outfit is noticeably far less revealing than any of the previous iterations. Here he gets a bodysuit comprised of a shirt/full length pants instead of the furry underwear and boots he wore in the original. The sleevelessness of his bodysuit is the most explicitly revealing aspect.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Subverted Trope. Teela and Duncan do start off working for Evelyn in this continuity, but they quickly side with the heroes. In fact both have switched sides before even meeting Adam, Teela because of the voice in her head and Duncan because burning down a village is going way too far.
    • Downplayed with Man-E-Faces. He is a king of thieves as said by the Guidebook, but still has some redeeming qualities when being a father figure to Teela.
    • The season 2 finale has Ram Ma'am pulling a Face–Heel Turn and becoming the Dark Master of Destruction Rampage after Skeletor manipulates her into recombining the Sigil of Hsss. Most versions of Krass stayed on the side of good.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Red-haired Teela is now white-haired in this version.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: The Havoc Staff that Skeletor uses is also connected to Castle Grayskull in this continuity. When Keldor brought Adam to Grayskull and demanded that Eldress let him access the power, he was offered the choice between a scepter and the sword, and he chose the scepter, which cursed him. When he became Skeletor, he changed the scepter's shape into the classic staff form. Season 3 reveals that King Grayskull himself made it as a weapon against the snakes.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Cringer and Duncan both have drastically different personalities from their original incarnations. In-fact in a lot of ways they seem to have completely swapped personalities.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Cringer was Adam's sidekick/talking pet in the original series, but this incarnation is his adoptive father figure instead.
    • He-Man and Ram Man are allies in most incarnations but never more than friends or even friendly aquantances. Here, Adam and Krass are Like Brother and Sister.
    • Duncan and Teela were originally father and (foster) daughter. In this incarnation they're roughly the same age. Given that they each start out as the protege of a different (but associated) villain, they're more like foster siblings.
      • There's also the fact that original series Duncan and Sorceress (aka Teela Na) had history and were implied to have possibly been together romantically. There is currently no indication whether this series Duncan and Teela Na are even interested in each other.
    • Man-At-Arms and Trap Jaw never had any real connection to each other outside of being enemies in the battle of good vs. evil. Here, Kronis adopted Duncan as a ward and served as his Evil Mentor until Duncan finally defected.
    • Teela and Man-E-Faces were never more than allies in other series. Here, Man-E-Faces takes Duncan's place as Teela's Parental Substitute.
    • King Grayskull and Mer-Man never met each other in any other continuity. Here, Mer-Man is a devout follower to the late King Grayskull.
    • Evil-Lyn and Hordak have no connections at all in other stories. Here, Hordak is Evil-Lyn's father.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Played with. Orko is a Decomposite Character in this series; a robot called Ork-0, from a series of robots called RK Units, and a famous Trollan wizard whose personality was encoded on the memory unit that runs Ork-0.
    • Ram Ma'am is a member of an unidentified humanoid race in this continuity, with the original Ram-Man being human.
    • Keldor is fully human in this series, as opposed to having blue skin and pointed ears that were featured in 200X, Classics and Origins. Though this may be a call back to the 1980s minicomics where Keldor's species was likely human.
    • Tri-Klops was a human in the original series. Here, it is a robotic Mind-Control Device built by Trap Jaw.
    • Evil-Lyn may look human, But Hordak being her father makes her a hybrid member of Hordak's species, nothing was revealed of her mother.
  • Aerith and Bob: Alongside names like Teela, Krass, Randor, Keldor, Kronis and R'Qazz, we also have Adam, Duncan and Evelyn.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Evelyn occasionally calls Kronis "[her] dear Kronis" and later "[her] dearest Trap Jaw".
  • Age Lift: A few.
    • Duncan is a teenage contemporary of Adam, Teela, and Krass in this incarnation rather than an older mentor figure.
    • Cringer is the older mentor figure who raised Adam and Krass rather than Adam rescuing Cringer as a kitten.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: This series is presented in stylized 3DCG animation, adapted from the art style of Jeff Matsuda (The Batman; TMNT). The animation studios involved are House of Cool (Trollhunters) and CGCG (Star Wars: The Clone Wars).
  • All There in the Manual: "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Heroes and Villains Guidebook" has extra information regarding the characters and the world of Eternia not touched on in the series but offer hints for what might come in the future. A few extra details include Teela being trained in combat and stealing by this series's version of Man-E-Faces or Kronis secretly considering Duncan to be his greatest "invention".
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Notably there's no mention of Queen Marlena or a mother for Adam, though a woman appears in the royal family portrait in "Cry Havoc, Part 2" sitting next to a younger Adam.
    • Marlena is eventually mentioned in the season 2 finale, confirming that the woman in the portrait is her. It's heavily implied that she died before Adam and Keldor disappeared.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Adam doesn't remember his childhood living in Eternos.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • "He-Man" is a nickname that Krass/Ram Ma'am comes up with after seeing his muscular transformed state.
    • Evelyn is shocked that Teela's powered form allows her to use spells without incantations. Teela gives herself the name "Sorceress" as a result, a title Evelyn is familiar with.
    • Duncan takes his name from his opponent's title. After Kronis brags about being a Man-at-Arms for all Eternos, the newly transformed Duncan declares that he must be Man-At-Arms for Castle Grayskull.
    • Cringer was named so by an Evil Poacher due to how he could intimidate the cat and for Cringer's refusal to fight in his Beastly Bloodsports. When questioned why he kept the name after escaping, Cringer claims that there is no shame in refusing to fight and would rather be called Cringer than "Killer" any day.
  • Arc Words: "We Have The Power" becomes the team's In the Name of the Moon battlecry whenever they transform together. While Adam solely possesses the Power of Grayskull in most incarnations, the classic phrase is altered to refer to those worthy of sharing said power.
  • Arch-Enemy: Invoked by the Sapient Cosmic Forces of Grayskull and Havoc. If a person wields one of the powers, the other power will eventually find someone to wield it, creating a "Nemesis". To fully master either power, one must overcome their Nemesis in a final confrontation. As it happens, every Master of the Universe had a prior antagonistic relationship with who became their Dark Master Nemesis.
    • Keldor kidnapped his nephew Adam and used him as a hostage to try and steal the Power of Grayskull. But where Keldor failed a Secret Test of Character and was cursed with Havoc, Adam passed the test and was chosen for Grayskull. Events lead to Adam losing his memory and thus his family in Eternos thanks to Keldor, and years later as He-Man prevented Keldor from claiming the Power of Grayskull for good. Keldor then embraced Havoc and was transformed into Skeletor, who threatens all of Eternia in his powerlust.
    • Evelyn took the Street Urchin Teela under her wing to use her to steal artifacts related to the Power of Grayskull, a power Evelyn spent her entire life studying to obtain. Teela is eventually guided by the voice of the Guardian of Grayskull and is chosen by its power to become Sorceress, making her leagues stronger in magic than Evelyn. Evelyn is now Driven by Envy to use Havoc and prove herself the better spellcaster than someone who "lucked into" getting what she desired.
    • Kronis was Duncan's Evil Mentor who forced the boy to do all of his menial inventive work. Duncan was strictly under Kronis's thumb until the day he was ordered to burn down a village full of innocents, at which time he finally defected and became a Master of the Universe. Kronis doesn't like his apprentice turning against him and takes perferse delight in trying to kill his former ward.
    • The beastopoid R'Qazz had captured and enslaved the sapient tiger Cringer in his youth to make him fight in Beastly Bloodsports. Cringer refused to fight, which lead to his insulting name and R'Qazz declawing Cringer. Cringer eventually escaped, but still bears the physical and emotional scars from his imprisonment. Meanwhile, R'Qazz sees Cringer as the one that got away and is hellbent on having Cringer fight to the death for his amusement.
    • A Driving Question for Krass in season two is why she's the only Master of the Universe who doesn't have a Nemesis, which seems to relate to why she hasn't mastered the Power of Grayskull to the same level as her fellow Masters. As it's revealed in the season two finale, Krass is her own Nemesis due to having both powers within her.
  • Artifact of Doom: In season 2, Skeletor begins seeking the Sigil of Hssss, a terrible artifact that can raise an army of undead snake men that King Grayskull hid away.
  • Ascending to a Higher Plane of Existence: What happened to the Trollans thanks to the help of the original Orko.
  • Asteroids Monster: Evelyn casts a duplication spell on her drones that causes them to multiply whenever He-Man hits them.
  • Backstab Backfire: Let's just say that Skeletor is well aware that his underlings are not exactly trustworthy.
  • Beam-O-War: When attacking Snake Mountain, He-Man uses his signature Lightning Strike against Skeletor. Skeletor responds with his own Signature Move Havoc Strike. The two cosmic powers clash with enough force to send a shockwave for miles and an opening into the cosmos begins to form where the powers of Grayskull and Havoc meet.
  • Being Good Sucks: There are a couple moments of this in Season 2:
    • Adam trying to be diplomatic toward Stratos, which involves letting the latter walk all over the former. Until Adam had enough and kicked him off the team in "Eternia 2000".
    • While she doesn't want Evelyn to destroy Gary the Dragonfly, even Teela finds him annoying.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Castle Grayskull seems to have an entire Pocket Dimension inside of it, with just the first room alone being far bigger than the apparent outer dimensions of the castle.
  • Blade Lock: He-Man and Skeletor end up locking weapons after their Beam-O-War. The energy running off of them as they struggle is so great it tears a hole in reality all around them.
  • Blind Jump: In the season 1 finale, Adam has Eldress teleport Castle Grayskull to escape the Red Legion, but in her weakened state she can't control where it will reappear.
  • Breaking Old Trends: The Secret Identity aspect of He-Man is almost completely dropped from this incarnation; all of the Masters are in the know of who Adam is from the beginning, along with the Dark Masters. The only time there's any secrecy regarding Adam's identity as He-Man involves King Randor, who has no clue they're one and the same, and even then learns it by the time the two finally interact.
  • Brick Joke: In Season 1, Adam is running around looking for Castle Grayskull's toilet during a Potty Emergency. In Season 2 Skeletor asks where to find it only to be told by Duncan they never managed to. Then, in Season 3 the toilet is finally seen amongst the rubble of the castle. Amusingly, no one seem to notice or even acknowledge it.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: True to form in the He-Man Franchise, Adam's transformation into He-Man is catalyzed via this phrase. Adam initially learns of this phrase from the runes projected from the Sword of Power, which he unknowingly recites by reading it quizzically.
    • Part of the team dynamic is not only that Cringer can transform into Battle Cat by He-Man sharing his power with him, but also the rest of Adam's team/friends — Teela, Krass, and Duncan — likewise transforming via He-Man's power into the respective fellow Masters of the Universe Sorceress, Ram Ma'am, and Man-At-Arms.
    • Notably, the villains get their own version with Skeletor being their collective trigger rather than each invoking it individually. While Krass is working with Skeletor in Season 3, she uses her own version of Skeletor's transformation phrase to become Rampage, something which Skeletor petulantly corrects afterward.
  • Call-Back: There's a few. Perhaps one of the funniest is due to a line in the season one finale where Skeletor says "Someone get me a Battle Cat for my next birthday!" Come Skeletor's actual birthday in season two, Trap Jaw presents him with a Cool Bike modeled after Battle Cat (only purple) that he calls "Painthor".
  • Casting Gag: Masters of the Universe: Revelation has Mark Hamill as the voice of Skeletor, while this incarnation of He-Man that is airing across from it had Kevin Conroy as Hordak.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: This series will give you Mood Whiplash in all the best ways.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Practically an entry requirement for the Dark Masters, especially in season 3, where they spend almost as much time betraying each other as they do fighting the heroes.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: According to Orko the Great, anyone can use magic if they believe in magic and believe they can wield it.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Magic and other energy sources.
    • Yellow/Gold for the power of Castle Greyskull representing Light and Justice.
    • Green (of the neon acid variety) for Havoc
    • Blue for Teela/Sorceress's magic and the kingdom’s security forces, representing something more neutral and possibly overall benign.
    • Purple for Evelyn/Evil-Lyn's magic and 'maker-override' security forces, possibly representing a mundane corruption of the above.
    • Red for R'Qazz's poacher tech.
    • Pink for Krass/Ram Ma'am's equipment and powers, due to being a combination of Havoc and Castle Greyskull's power in her helmet.
  • Combination Attack: The Masters of the Universe end up obtaining these at the end of the season as a result of their weapons being reforged with Kirbinite, based off the attacking duo's Signature Moves.
  • Composite Character:
  • Darker and Edgier: Despite being softer, it has way darker moments, where people are killed by petrification on screen and the villains getting horrifying transformation scenes.
  • The Dark Side: Havoc is often framed as a dark counterpart to the power of Grayskull, with those empowered by it having transformations and special attacks like Adam and his friends do. It's eventually revealed in season 3 that King Grayskull created it from a proto-Havoc stone like the one Krass has in order to use it as a weapon against the snakes, who he couldn't defeat with his own power.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the Season 2 finale, Skeletor's ghost haunts Krass through the gem in her helmet. He convinces her to embrace the power of Havoc and complete the Sigil of Hssss for him. In exchange, he will use the Sigil's power to bring her parents Back from the Dead. Near the end of Season 3, she is welk aware that Skeletor may be lying and finally betrays him, though he implied that he would very well keep his promise; just not the way she would've wanted.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Cringer is now two characters, with him acting like the brave Battle-Cat all the time and his cowardly nature transferred to his nephew, Kitty.
    • Ork-0 here is a robot who thinks he's the Court Mage, Orko, who served Castle Grayskull years ago.
    • In this series, Kronis was Man-at-Arms of Eternos before the failed coup, the position held by Duncan in other continuities (Here, he is Kronis's apprentice).
    • In the main series, Duncan is Teela's adoptive father. Thanks to the Age Lift making them close to the same age, the role of surrogate father figure is given to Man-E-Faces.
    • In season 3, it's revealed that Teela's full name is Teela Na, the real name of the original Sorceress, and that she's Eldress's Reincarnation making them both this to the original Sorceress.
  • Denser and Wackier: When compared to the 2002 version and Masters of the Universe: Revelation, this series has much more sillier moments.
  • Designated Girl Fight: When the Masters take on Skeletor's crew in the penultimate episode, Teela has a Wizard Duel against Evil-Lyn.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Sigil of Hssss was broken into three pieces by King Grayskull and hidden across Eternia so no one could use its power.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "Meanwhile...", Skeletor blasted a gift-giver for reminding him that he ordered the people to sing to him after he told them to be quiet.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: As He-Man and Skeletor fight, they throw their Master Strike and Dark Master Strike against each other in a Beam-O-War. The scene cuts to outside of Snake Mountain where a dragonfly lands on a distant rock. Then a shockwave erupts from the mountain and blows the dragonfly away when the forces clash.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Big cat Cringer has a nephew called Kitty.
  • Domed Hometown: Randor manages to get a dome-shaped forcefield erected over Eternia but it doesn't last long, as when Skeletor reaches it he easily destroys it.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Season 1 ends with Skeletor successfully taking control of Eternos with the entire army brainwashed to follow his every command, King Randor in hiding with Teela and Ork-0 to protect him, and the rest of Team Grayskull teleported to somewhere unknown in order to prevent Skeletor from destroying the Castle.
    • Season 2 has He-Man defeating Skeletor, but his ghost possesses Ram Ma'am's helmet. He convinces her to make a Face–Heel Turn, become the Dark Master Rampage, and complete the Sigil of Hsss, unleashing an army of undead serpent-men.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite playing a part in Skeletor's resurrection and ascension in Season 3, Krass' friends quickly forgive her after her Rampage phase is over. Granted, Adam knows Skeletor manipulated her in a promise that would have been false or twisted.
  • Eldritch Location: The interior of Castle Grayskull is MUCH Bigger on the Inside with starscapes instead of walls in places and doors that connect in nonsensical ways.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: Each of the Masters of the Universe, except for Ram Ma'am, packs one of these based on their abilities, complete with Calling Your Attacks and a Stock Footage special attack sequence when they use it. Later on, Skeletor and the Dark Masters show off their own, seemingly tailor-made to counter their respective rival. And after Krass follows Skeletor and becomes the Dark Master of Destruction Rampage, she ends up acquiring her own move with Skeletor's power.
  • Five-Man Band: There are indeed five heroes who can use the Power of Grayskull.
    • The Leader: Adam, as the title character He-Man, naturally.
    • The Lancer: Krass, as Adam's sister figure and the one most likely to butt heads with him (sometimes literally) on any subject.
    • The Big Guy: Cringer is of the Gentle Giant variety while also being the physically largest of the group.
    • The Smart Guy: Both Duncan and Teela can fit this depending on the situation. Duncan is a Gadgeteer Genius with technology while Teela is a Street Smart magic user.
    • The Heart: The whole group fits this at different points. Adam has a desire to protect everyone, Cringer is a fatherly mentor figure, Duncan and Teela have high levels of empathy given their less than stellar childhoods, and Krass after she gets over her issues at the end of Season 3 is the one to rally everyone at their lowest point and trigger Enlightenment Superpowers.
  • Flying Books: There are some books flying around inside Castle Grayskull.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Skeletor's Havoc Staff seems a little powerful for just a Secret Test of Character relic, and there are some odd interactions noted between Havoc and Castle Greyskull. It's eventually revealed in season 3 that King Grayskull created Havoc as it is now and the staff in order to use it as a weapon against the snakes.
    • When Skeletor first meets R'Qazz, he remarks how R'Qazz seems "more beast than man." When made into a Dark Master by Skeletor, R'Qazz adopts the name Beast Man.
    • There are a few hints throughout the first two seasons that Krass will eventually fall and become the Fifth Nemesis.
      • Most of the Masters' nemesis are the ones to give the Masters their code names or names, except for Ram Ma'am being on Adam's side and making the He-Man name. And then at the end of season 2 Krass embraces Havoc via Skeletor's ghost and becomes a nemesis herself.
      • In one episode in season 2 Skeletor notices the gem that's attached to Krass's helmet and seems to know something about it although the two are interrupted before Krass can fully question him. It's revealed near the end of the season that the crystal is a Ram Stone, made from the same Proto-Havoc that the Sigil of Hssss is made from, and that Skeletor will use the stone to tether himself to the world of the living after his death.
      • In "Eternia 2000", Mo'squita-ra remarks on the delicious gold and green energy radiating of the Masters and the Dark Masters. When she turns to Krass she's delighted to see that she has both in equal amounts, foreshadowing the reveal the Krass has access to both the Power of Greyskull and Havoc at the same time.
      • Throughout season 2 its remarked upon that Krass is the only one of the Masters who doesn't have a nemesis of her own a fact that frustrates and confuses her, with even Skeletor musing on why that is. It's revealed at the end of the season that the reason is because Krass is her own nemesis.
      • Unlike the rest of the Masters, who each unlock their Signature Move over the course of the show, Krass never does and only has the same skillset she started out having as Ram Ma'am. This is due to the Ram Stone in her helmet infusing her body with Havoc making it incompatible with the Power of Greyskull. It's only once she embraces Havoc and becomes Rampage that she gains access to her own Signature Move.
    • The Snakes are mentioned in season 1 by Cringer as a dangerous past threat to life on Eternia. The sigil that can resurrect them is the key feature of season 2.
    • In season 3, Evelyn complains to Rampage about how Havoc supposedly brings out one's inner truth, and for her that's a bat theme despite the fact that she doesn't even like bats, with her construct even shedding a tear in reaction to it. The finale reveals that it's genetic, as she's Hordak's daughter in this universe, and the construct was apparently him the whole time.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Dark Master are almost a case study in the character flaws of each type.
    • Choleric: Skeletor. Dear God, Skeletor. It's like someone used it as a checklist for his character.
    • Melancholic: R'Qazz. If it wasn't for him being a notorious poacher, it's doubtful he'd ever see daylight.
    • Phlegmatic: Kronis. The man is brilliant, but lazy.
    • Sanguine: Evelyn. By her own admission, she loves the sound of her own voice.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In "In-Can't-Ation", a broken ancient spell causes the true selves of the Masters of the Universe to be pulled out of their bodies and exchanged with the true selves of nearby navits. Ork-0 is able to use real magic to return the navits to their true bodies, but accidentally got the Masters mixed up among themselves. It takes a few tries to correct the mess.
  • Free-Fall Fight: In the episode "A Very Hungry Dragonfly", Teela and Evelyn end up in a Magic Duel while freefalling towards Gary the Dragonfly, as neither of them are transformed at the time and lack their full Flight.
  • Funny Background Event: During the episode “In-Can’t-Ation” the Masters have temporarily been turned into Navit’s (small, turnip-like creatures), and discover Tri-Klops spying on them. What follows is Randor and Orko discussing how to turn the Masters back while the Navit-Masters are comically beating up Tri-Klops behind them.
  • Fun with Homophones: Kronis grouses that he was about to eat a sandwich before Skeletor removed his jaw brace to empower with kirbinite. Evelyn remarks to herself that she used to know a sand witch.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The classic character Ram Man is flipped to be Ram Ma'am, the Master of Demolition, though this version of the character is still called Krass as a given name (short for Krass'tine).
    • Mosquitor, traditionally a male member of the Evil Horde, is reimagined as a female Desert Bandit named Mos'quita-ra.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Krass has a light purple skin tone.
  • Guilt by Coincidence: In episode 5, because He-Man and the rest of the team was seen with Teela who stole the sword, King Randor considers them all criminals.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: He-Man and Teela, the former having his trademark Super Strength and the latter being a magic user.
  • Hand Gagging: Adam does it to Krass to stop her alerting enemies of their presence when they revisit the village and Teela later conjures a phantasmal hand over Kin Randor's mouth to temporarily keep him from calling the guards. As Sorceress, she would use the same spell on Evelyn to stop her casting spells. But with her new transformation as Evil-Lyn, she can cast magic non-verbally.
  • Happy Ending Override:
    • Near the end of the second season, Adam and his friends defeat Skeletor once and for all... or so they thought. Skeletor manages to possess Krass and get into her head, convincing her that Adam will abandon the Tiger Tribe, and by extension her, when he reclaims his rolyal title. With the promise to bring back her birth parents, and thinking Adam truly abandoned her, Krass wields the power of Havoc to go from Ram Ma'am to Rampage, and helps Skeletor unleash the snake army on Eternos.
    • The third season ends on perhaps the highest of high notes. The Masters are victorious Krass is back on the team, Keldor has been depowered, and Adam has shared the Power of Greyskull with all of Eternia. Then we find out that Hordak is on his way.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Randor originally thinks He-Man is a thief who stole his sword (to be fair, he had good reason to, seeing as he was first seen wielding the stolen sword in the company of the girl who stole it in the first place). Even after he learns the truth, he considers his son a criminal for voluntarily using the power in opposition to royal decree. But at the end of Season 1, he decree that his son is no longer a criminal.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: A major issue the heroes have in the beginning is that their powers don't exactly come with instruction manuals.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Season 3 has He-Man doing this to Krass/Rampage. Then, in the middle of that, the rest of the team has to do this to He-Man himself.
  • Internal Reveal: In "A Very Hungry Dragonfly", Evelyn tells Teela that Adam was lying to her. She realize it's about Eldress, forcing him to confess.
  • In Their Own Image: In the climax of season 3, Skeletor tries to use the full power of Castle Greyskull to turn everyone on Eternia into either a Dark Master or Skeledrone with a World-Wrecking Wave of Havoc. Once Adam gives him the sword to save Krass from the latter fate, he decides to instead head to the Heart of the Universe and change everything, causing entire planets to become spikes masses decorated with his skeletal face.
  • Kirby Dots: Fittingly enough, these appear when Skeletor is using Kirbinite to reforge his minions weapons.
  • Land of One City: Randor's Kingdom of Eternos seems to consist of only one city. Somewhat Justified in season 1 as any city-based plot always involved the palace within that one city.
  • Large Ham: Keldor already chews on the scenery like it's a steak dinner, so after he becomes Skeletor it was only a natural progression.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the episode "In-Can't-Ation", Ork-0 gives a pep talk to Orko the Great about the lesson he learned hoping to pass that lesson on. At the end of the speech, the camera work makes it look as if Ork-0 is talking directly to the audience. All of this is a Mythology Gag to the morals taught in the original He-Man cartoon.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Masters of the Universe: Revelation, another He-Man show airing at the same time, which is geared toward older fans of the original Filmation cartoon, this show goes to a much more back-to-basics approach to the franchise, being aimed toward a younger audience.
  • Magical Gesture: Teela uses these to cast her magic, marking her as a "Hand Witch". Two women acting as guards for Man-E-Faces are also hand witches using the same gestures.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: In the intro, Cringer's Battle Cat form is able to produce a powerful shout attack, disrupting the bots he's chasing.
  • Mass Teleportation:
    • In the backstory, Eldress teleported Castle Grayskull to stop Keldor from finding it again without the Sword of Power.
    • As Sorceress, Teela discovers she's capable of this, accidentally teleporting the Masters of the Universe from Snake Mountain to the skies above Eternos.
  • Match Cut: In the first episode:
    Voice: Bring the sword to the champion.
    Teela: What champion?
    Adam: (in the opening intro) I HAVE THE POWER!
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Episode 7 starts with a flashback to how Adam first met Cringer when he was a child.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page here.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Both Teela and Duncan perform a Heel–Face Turn when Evelyn and Kronis' ambitions for the power of Grayskull threaten innocent lives. Teela escapes with the Sword of Power after protecting a group of palace guards who were only doing their job from Evelyn. Duncan would defect and help the heroes after Evelyn ordered him to burn down a village full of innocents to flush out Teela.
  • New Era Speech: After fully embracing the power of Havoc, Skeletor boldly claims to Kronis and Evelyn that the era of Grayskull is over and his age will begin.
    Skeletor: I've been looking at everything wrong for so very long. Grayskull, the light I once sought to wield, is the tool of a soldier, one who fights at the behest of others. Havoc, on the other hand... From the ruins of this fallen kingdom, from where the Snakes failed to bring ancient Eternia to its knees, I will usher in an era of brimstone and blight that will bless the modern age and all ages yet to come with the purity... of... HAVOC! The time of Grayskull has passed. Welcome... to the Age. Of. Skeletor!
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: In "Eternia 2000", one of the pieces of the Sigil of Hssss is on a speeding train that is rigged to explode if it slows down too much. King Stratos advocates for letting the train explode, hoping it would destroy the Sigil piece and deny Skeletor his ambitions. He-Man vetoes the suggestion because they don't know who or what is driving the train and he won't risk innocent lives.
  • No Man Should Have This Power:
    • This is part of the initial conflict between the Masters of the Universe and King Randor; no king of Eternia since Grayskull himself has trusted himself with the power of Grayskull, and even when Randor learns that Adam is alive, he ruins their reunion by demanding that he give the power up, and earlier in the episode is incised when he learns that He-Man shared the power with others. Though Randor later changed his mind in the season finale.
    • A flashback in season 2 reveals this is also what soured relationships between Eternos and its allies Avion and Leviathae. After defeating the Snake Men, King Grayskull obtained the Sigil of Hssss, an artifact that can raise the dead as an unstoppable army. According to King Randor, the other nations wanted to use the Sigil's power, but King Grayskull chose to break the Sigil and hide its pieces away so no one could use it.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Ram Ma’am and Ork-0 versus a fairly massive squad of poacher bots in episode 9.
    • Webstor and his people webbing up a bunch of the Snake Men in season 3.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In episode 3, after Adam tells his uncle that the sword is out of power.
    Keldor: So, you can't change then?
    Adam: How do you know I can change?
    Keldor: The pair of sociopaths with the rocket launcher told me.
    • In "Cry Havoc, Part 2", Evil-Lyn when she realized she, Trap Jaw and Beast Man played into Skeletor's hands when they attempted to betray him.
  • On the Next: A unique case, as each episode ends with an illustration depicting the focus characters and idea of the next episode, rather than a narrated montage.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Kronis' password is just a phrase about how great he is.
  • Painted CGI: Despite primarily being a 3DCG cartoon, effects like smoke and energy beams are hand drawn 2D animation that blends with the poppy visuals. This is best seen in the intro, which also adds 2D impact frames.
  • Personality Powers: The powers of Castle Grayskull bring out the greatest attributes in those who wield it, enhancing who they are to become Masters of the Universe. The power of Havoc can also empower someone by amplifying their darkest natures.
    He-Man: You know how Grayskull brought out the best in my friends? I think it brought out the worst in you!
    Prince Keldor: You were wrong. Grayskull brought out the best in me. My best is just a little different than yours, nephew.
  • Plot Coupon: In season two, the Masters of the Universe and the Dark Masters are racing to obtain the Sigil of Hssss, which was broken into three pieces by King Grayskull and hidden across Eternia.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The catalyst for the Downer Ending of Season Two. When a Skeletor ghost haunted Krass, who's having doubts on whether or not she has a place with Adam now that he was back home, goes to tell Adam about Skeletor, she overhears Randor talking to Adam about what kind of role he should give Krass... As Adam responds that she would be terrible at the job, breaking Krass' heart as she runs off to follow Skeletor. However, she tragically misses the part that Adam wanted Randor to adopt Krass so she could be a part of the royal family rather than just giving her another royal role.
  • Potty Emergency: In episode 5, Adam clearly has to go to the bathroom but can't find one in Castle Grayskull. He tries to use Krass's helmet as one until she catches him.
    • Dovetails with Squick when Adam mentions Krass occasionally uses her dad's helmet as a personal portable toilet.
    • It gets a Call-Back in the Season Two episode Meanwhile..., as Skeletor asks Duncan where the bathroom is, as it turns out they still don't know if the castle has one.
  • Prepare to Die: Skeletor cackles "Die!!!" maniacally as he charges energy before launching it at He-Man in the opening theme.
  • Properly Paranoid: In episode 3, Teela was the most suspicious of Keldor suddenly showing up saving them and claiming to be Adam's uncle (though that last one is true).
    Teela: Called it!
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Dark Masters are deliberately contrasted against the heroes, with the only one lacking an Evil Counterpart being Ram Ma'am.
  • Raised by Wolves: Adam and Krass were raised in the forest by tigers.
  • Random Transportation: At the end of Season 1, Eldress has to teleport Castle Grayskull to evade Skeletor's army with no control over where it will end up.
  • The Reveal: In the first episode, when Teela asked if there's a champion amongst the tribe, Adam replies "a champion is about defending those who can't defend themselves", he has no idea how he knows that. In episode 3, it's revealed that Adam heard it from Eldress before he disappeared to the jungle with amnesia.
  • Remake Cameo: Alan Oppenheimer, the original voice of Skeletor, plays King Grayskull in this incarnation. He slips into a variation of the voice once Grayskull gives in to the power of Havoc and becomes the original Skeletor.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: When Keldor kidnapped Adam to try and force Eldress to let him access Castle Grayskull's power, he was afflicted with Havoc and put himself into stasis for ten years to counteract it, while Adam lost his memories and was stranded in the jungle where he was taken in by the Tiger Tribe. Both were believed to be dead by Eternia at large.
  • Robot Buddy: Ork-0, a robotic version of Orko. He's part of a line of small robots known as the RK Units.
  • Running Gag: A recurring joke is how Ork-0 is insistent that his name is "Ork-0", instead of "Orko", when others talk to him, despite the fact they're pronounced the exact same. The responding party will then respond with "That's what I said.", confused at the minute change. This gets flipped when Ork-0 meets the original Orko in season 3 with the latter insisting it's pronounced Ork-oh and Ork-0 insists that's what he said.
  • Save the Villain:
    • In episode 4, He-Man tried to save Keldor when he absorbs more of Havoc, but the rest of the team tells him he's unable to.
    • During season 3 Adam is pressed with the question of what exactly he's suppose to do with Skeletor since he won't kill him and Skeletor won't change his ways. In the finale Adam finally figures out what to do; depower Skeletor, turning him back into Keldor, and imprisoning him in the dungeons.
  • Secret Identity: Notably Averted in the very first episode as Adam turns into He-Man right in front of Teela, his friends, and the villains. Absolutely no attempt is made to hide afterwards that Adam and He-Man (and by extension the other Masters dual identities) are one and the same. Although he does try to keep his existence a secret from his father at first as he's aware that Randor would want him to stop using Grayskull's power. That said, keeping a secret identity is pointless in this case because Adam and the Masters are, for all intents and purposes, nobodies. They don't really have anyone who knows them outside of the other Masters, so their identities being known to their enemies doesn't endanger anyone who wasn't already in danger.
  • Sequel Hook: Season 3 ends with multiple: the recently depowered Keldor tells the heroes that there are worse things to come than him, the Skele-drone Beast Man finds the Havoc Staff and vows to continue his hunt, and Evil-Lyn meets Hordak, her father, who offers for her to become his equal and a herald for the coming invasion.
  • Shared Family Quirks: The House of Randor can't seem to help themselves when it comes to quips, jokes, and trolling. Even the more serious King Randor is unable to resist a good comeback or one liner.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickly Green Glow: Havoc always manifests in an unnatural green color, either as smoke, electricity, or a bubbling liquid.
  • Sigil Spam: The symbol of Castle Grayskull, a stylized skull, appears on anything tied to the castle or its power. From weapons like the Sword of Power to appearing on the outfits of the Masters of the Universe.
  • Simplified Spellcasting: Normally, magic users seemingly need to use either a Magical Gesture, like Teela, or a Magical Incantation, like Evelyn, in order to cast spells, but when in their transformed states the two of them can channel magic just by thinking of it. Being able to do this is apparently the main qualification of being a Sorcerer or Sorceress, hence the reasoning for Teela's alias when transformed.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening for the series blatantly spoils the appearances of the Dark Masters of this adaptation, when they appear in the final episodes of the first season. While also expected too, it likewise spoils that Keldor's transformation into Skeletor being complete in the same season.
  • Static Stun Gun: The poacher bots that capture Cringer in the first episode use electric rifles designed to resemble tesla coils.
  • Status Quo Is God: Contrasting the original series, this one does a fantastic job of having the status quo change significantly, and sometime irrevocably, as the story progresses.
  • The Starscream: All of Keldor/Skeletor's subordinates are this. Although Skeletor is aware of that.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Felines primarily rely on their claws for hunting and fighting. As such, Cringer is unable to do both very well after he was declawed until Duncan makes him metal prosthetics.
    • The Jawbreaker trope is normally treated as a fatal injury in fiction, but for Kronis it's just a painful inconvenience. And as a wanted criminal hiding in a remote location, he can't get proper medical attention for the injury, forcing him to put together a mechanical brace to compensate.
  • Swallowed Whole:
    • While attempting to infiltrate Snake Mountain, Duncan ends up swallowed up by one of the Battle Bones wandering the Fright Zone. Cringer quickly kills the beast, freeing Duncan but leaving him traumatized. From then on, it's become a Running Gag for a villain or monster to try to eat Duncan.
    • Teela and Evelyn wind up swallowed by a giant dragonfly together. After spending a few minutes arguing and Teela refusing to kill the dragonfly to escape, she transforms into Sorceress to teleport them out.
    • He-Man ends up swallowed by the giant snake summoned by the Sigil of Hssss, which ends with him falling into a pool of Havoc in the creature's stomach. He-Man embraces the Havoc to escape the snake and destroy the Sigil.
  • Taken for Granite: Anyone with their life force entirely sucked out of themselves turn into hollow stone statues that shatter with a single tip over. R'Qazz ends up turning to one as well as part of his transformation into Beast Man, with his new form emerging out of the remains.
  • Tannhäuser Gate: In "Eternia 2000" Ork-0 is talking in his sleep muttering about ships, Orion, Rutger's eyes and an origami unicorn. King Randor later shouts "Origami unicorn" as he's being woken up.
  • Tempting Fate: In the first episode, Evelyn tells Kronis that Teela has never failed them yet. While Teela does steal the sword, she refused to give it to them because a voice is telling her not to.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When the young Adam first meets Cringer he asked him what happened to his claws, to which Cringer tells him then insists to him that he can still hunt in an agitated tone. This, of course, frightens the already scared child even more as it sounded like Cringer was about to attack him and Cringer quickly changes the subject and reassures Adam when he realized just how threatening it sounded.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: In episode 8, when Teela suggested getting help from King Randor's army since Adam's the prince, he refused (still bitter that his reunion with his dad turned sour) and said they have to stop Keldor on their own.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Invoked by the Sword of Power. While it can tear through robots, undead, and inanimate objects with ease, it cannot be used to take a life. This limitation is why King Grayskull created the power of Havoc, since the power of Grayskull was proving insufficient winning the war against the Snake Men.
  • Title Drop: In episode 4, the Eldress tells Team Grayskull they each could become "a master of the universe".
    Adam: A master of the what, now?
    [cue the show's title]
  • Top-Heavy Guy:
    • He-Man's transformed state is a somewhat Downplayed case of this, as while his legs are still pretty muscular compared to what he has as the rather slender Adam, he still has a very exaggerated chest and arm muscles that are bigger than his leg muscles.
    • In the intro, Skeletor and Beast-Man are visualized with similar proportions.
  • Tractor Beam: Orko has tractor emitters that make him telekinetic.
  • Transformation Sequence: In addition to Adam's transformation into He-Man, Teela, Duncan, Krass, and Cringer all go through their own individual Transformation Sequences when they transform into the Sorceress, Man-At-Arms, Ram Ma'am, and Battle Cat, respectively. Teela's is full-on magical girl. Kronis, Evelyn and R'Qazz get their own to turn into Trap Jaw, Evil-Lyn and Beast Man after Skeletor empowers them with Havoc.
    • As the show goes on, some of the transformation sequences are shortened to save for time, with Season 3 only having a small handful of the full-length sequences, not even showing the sequence in several moments.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Played with multiple times.
    • Averted in "He-Man, the Hunted". When Adam tries to transform, a poacher bot snatches the sword away.
    • In "Cry Havoc, Part 1", after He-Man and friends go through their transformation sequence, Skeletor snarks that it took a while.
    • Averted again when the Monstroids are introduced with one of them slapping Teela and Duncan's Transformation Trinkets right out of their hands mid-invocation.
  • Trash the Set: Castle Greyskull gets absolutely wrecked in the two-part finale of Season 3 firstly by He-Man and Rampage's fight against Skeletor smashing up the library, and then when Skeletor combines the Power and Havoc to become a Kaiju causing his new gigantic form to smash through the Castle. In the aftermath the Castle is left a complete wreck though the Masters are confident they can build it anew.
  • Ultimate Universe: Compared to the 2002 reboot and the Revelations revival, both of which stick very closely to the overall plot and aesthetic of the Filmation series, the 2021 series heavily reimagines Eternia (leaning more toward the Sci-Fi in the Science Fantasy setting, though magic is still a major part of the world) along with many of the characters in it (such as Duncan being a teenager and Ram Ma'am being a female incarnation of Ram Man), though still contains some familiar backstory elements from prior incarnations (such as Adam being a prince like in the Filmation cartoon, but also lived with a jungle tribe like in the original mini-comics, along with Skeletor originally being a man named Keldor, who is Adam's uncle).
  • Unobtanium: Kirbinite, an incredibly rare metal that has the unique ability to channel cosmic energy. The Sword of Power is forged from it and Skeletor requires a sample of it to improve his Havoc Staff.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Duncan was Teela's adopted father in other continuities. They're about the same age here. But since they used to work for Kronis and Evelyn, that would make them adopted siblings instead.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: At the end of season 3 the defeated Keldor tells Adam and Randor that, having been at the center of reality, he knows a new threat is coming to Eternia. The end of the episode seems to reveal what that threat is; Hordak and the Evil Horde.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Kronis angrily grumbles that he was going to eat a sandwich before Skeletor removed the brace holding his broken jaw in place.
  • Villain Respect: Keldor gives some insulting nicknames to Adam's friends after hearing Krass call him "He-Man". When he turns to Cringer, he can't think of anything... since he loves the fact that he's a tiger that can talk.
  • Villainous Friendship: Evelyn/Evil-lyn and Kronis/Trap Jaw, while not close, seem to have genuine respect for each other and work well together.
  • Vine Swing: How Adam traverses the forest he grew up in.
  • Wham Line:
    • Keldor's words about the Power of Grayskull inspires Adam to lend it to his friends, allowing them all to transform.
    Keldor: ( To his minions) This power isn't the kind of thing one shares.
    Adam: ( To his friends) Wait... what if it is the kind of thing you share?
    • In the episode "Eternia 2000", Mo'squita-ra can sense the energies of Grayskull and Havoc, eager to feed on both. When she looks at Ram Ma'am, she can see "gold and green", revealing that Krass has the Power of Havoc as well as Grayskull.
    • In the third season's fifth episode, during the Flashback showing King Grayskull's Start of Darkness to the corrupted Adam, King Grayskull's new chilling appearance under the power of Havoc, his voice transforms midway in threatening Eldress's defiance to a familiarly nasally voice as King Grayskull is revealed to be the original Skeletor, complete with his whiny Evil Laugh.
    • Season Three, episode eight, Hordak: (To Evil-Lyn): "Daughter"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Divided We Stand", Adam and Teela are angry with each other. Adam is angry at Teela for leaving his dad unprotected to chase after Evelyn, she wanted to prevent Evelyn from retrieving a piece of the sigil. Teela is angry at Adam for not telling her that Eldress is gone and she could have helped bring her back, Adam wanted Teela to focus on protecting his dad which he just got back.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Snake Men in Season 3 endlessly revive, sometimes even combining into stronger forms, as long as the Sigil of Hsss is intact.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Played with. Initially the rest of the gang need to be with Adam if they want to transform and at one point Teela refuses to change with the rest of them then later gets He-Man to change her after everyone else is ready to transform. Later in the series the other Masters realize they can transform without Adam, though a later episode reveals that they do need Adam's sword to be in working order, even if they aren't anywhere near it.
  • Younger and Hipper: Compared to its co-current revival series, Adam and the Masters are depicted considerably younger in this incarnation.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Season 2's penultimate episode has this, with the Masters of the Universe finally managing to defeat Skeletor, and setting the Havoc Staff back in its place once everything has been settled, with the next episode seeming set to be a peaceful wrap-up of most things... If not for Krass suddenly hearing Skeletor's voice at the end of the episode, indicating not all is well. And if the On the Next preview of Krass storming off with the Havoc Staff is any indication, the story is far from over.


Video Example(s):


"They have MY power!"

After upgrading his Havoc Staff with Kirbinite, Skeletor uses the power of Havoc to transform his minions into the Dark Masters.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuperEmpowering

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