Hollywood’s recycling program has churned out endless sequels, remakes and reboots, with the latter cash-grabby results oftentimes tainting the legacy of the original and prompting the social media cri de coeur: “You ruined my childhood!”
No one is screaming that about the new Netflix series Masters of the Universe: Revelation, the Kevin Smith-produced reboot of the popular ’80s and ’90s He-Man Saturday morning cartoon staple that’s loyal to its source material to a fault.
“The only difference between this version and the legacy version is their cartoon was very episodic in nature, very rarely did any episodes tie together — ours is one giant epic, as if somebody was like, ‘Go make a Masters of the Universe movie,” Smith told us during a recent virtual interview (watch above).
“The idea was to take the Filmation cartoon, all the relationships that everyone knows, not reinvent it and stuff, but just do the next episode as if the next episode they decided to switch format and go, ‘Let’s tell one long story and let’s let them clash swords. Let’s make it for grown-ups.’ Because that’s who I was hired to make this for. Same show that you remember, except we’re just going to grow it up and make it for you now.”
The series has become a passion project for Smith, the writer-director-actor famous for his View Askewniverse of films that includes Clerks (1994), Mallrats (1995), Chasing Amy (1997), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and Clerks II (2006) — and whose more recent work on projects like Tusk (2014), Yoga Hosers (2016) and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019) hasn’t been quite as celebrated.
“Honestly, this is one of my top five favorite things I’ve ever worked on,” says Smith. “For years I was like, ‘When I die they’ll be like, ‘He made Clerks,’ and that’s where it ends. I honestly feel like [now it will be], ‘He made Clerks, and he made that one He-Man thing that one time.
“Generally the stuff I do is met by Kevin Smith fans like, ‘Great! One more try at the f***ing slot machine. Let’s hope we get some cherries… F***, lemons.’ But most people are indifferent to the things I do. This is the first thing, honestly, ever in my entire career, where people are deeply engaged with it and they’re like, ‘You go, girl. You got my childhood covered.’”
Masters of the Universe: Revelation is now streaming on Netflix.
— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jason Fitzpatrick
Watch Kevin Smith celebrate the 15th anniversary of Clerks II:
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