Kevin Smith Responds to Sexist 'Masters of the Universe: Revelation' Complainers: "Deal With It"
In news that surprises absolutely no one, a bunch of entitled, whiny fans are review bombing a new series for not living up to their fanboy expectations. The series is Masters of the Universe: Revelation, and creator Kevin Smith has a pretty expected response: “Deal with it.”
Spoilers for the new Netflix series ahead!
Smith, Skeletor, and Some Angry Fanboys
Smith, best known for vulgar stoner comedies about adult nerds, recently spoke with Variety to talk all things He-Man and Masters of the Universe.
Smith, who amassed fame for his comedies like Clerks, Dogma, and Chasing Amy, might seem like a weird pick to helm a super-earnest animated sword-and-sorcery show. When Rob David, vice president of content creative at Mattel Television, and Netflix director of original series Ted Biaselli came knocking, even Smith wasn’t sure he was the man for the job. Thankfully, they had an approach to the material that sat firmly in Smith’s wheelhouse. They wanted to directly continue the original 1980s cartoon, only now for an adult audience.
“Honestly, if it had been anything else outside of that — if they were like, ‘We want you to reinvent this for the modern age’ — that would have scared me off creatively, because I’m not that inventive,” Smith explained. “And also, because I know what a fan base reacts like when they don’t get the thing they grew up watching. You think I’m gonna be the fall guy for that? If I’m involved in a thing, it’s going to be true to what it is. It’s gonna be true to the franchise.”
Smith and the rest of the creative team decided to make one big change to the formula, one that’s infuriated some long-time fans. They decided to “kill off” He-Man/Prince Adam and Skeletor in the first episode. The remainder of the five episodes focus on He-Man’s friends trying to return magic to Eternia. Spoiled fanboys lost their fragile little minds, and began immediately review-bombing the series, focusing their ire on the increased role of the female character Teela.
“I know there’s some people that are like, ‘Hey, man, this show’s woke,’” Smith said. “I’m like, all right, great, then so was the original cartoon we’re fucking sequel-izing. Go watch it again. There are girls in every episode. Deal with it.”
One of the things Smith wanted to do most was make the characters in Masters of the Universe feel more real. Sure, they’re fictional people in a fantasy realm, but he wanted to give them motivations and depth. The cast and crew rallied behind the decision. It even helped convince the voice of Teela, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, to sign onto the project. She spoke with Variety about what changed her mind:
“I think what’s interesting about the original incarnation was it was very gender specific. There wasn’t something for me; there wasn’t a character that I saw myself in. And I think that sort of then you realize it’s not about gender, right? It’s not necessarily boy/girl, but it’s about seeing yourself in someone in it. What’s so wonderful about what they did [with ‘Revelation’] is not only do I see myself in a lot of these female characters, but I also see myself for the first time in He-Man and Skeletor. They’re much closer to characters that I think that we can understand and feel like we have something in common with. Not that I like to think I have too much in common with Skeletor.”
David felt it was important to dig deep into what makes the heroes heroic, and sometimes that means laying them low.
“My favorite movies are ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ ‘The Wrath of Khan,’” David told Variety. “The hero gets really hit hard, and then the story becomes about how the hero gets back up again and better and stronger than ever. In basically stripping away all the comforts the hero took for granted, the hero reveals to him or herself what truly makes them strong inside and then have to rebuild.”
Smith was unsurprisingly blunt with regards to the decision to shift focus.
“It’s been interesting, seeing who truly is a hardcore fan,” he said. “Because anybody that’s like, ‘Oh, man, there’s not enough He-Man’ or something like that, doesn’t understand the show that we based it on. There were episodes where he lost the sword and he never became He-Man. It wasn’t like He-Man always saved the day. His friends helped him. That was the fucking point of the show.”
Part 2 of Revelation, set to premiere sometime in the next year or so, will explore Prince Adam recovering from a near-debilitating blow. Maybe salty fans who wanted more of He-Man himself will be satisfied to see their hero return. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s impossible to ever actually make the fanboys happy.
Check out Masters of the Universe: Revelation on Netflix and decide for yourself.
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