by James Eatock
A character that looked like Ming the Merciless on a bad day was reused twice!
Filmation had already animated Ming the Merciless in their Flash Gordon series. Ming was not always a prominent character in the Flash Gordon series, even though he was supposed to be the main villain. Voiced by Alan Oppenheimer Ming sounded a lot like Skeletor even sporting the same laugh. Below we examine how Ming obviously had made his mark on the character designers whilst they were working on He-Man and She-Ra. So what's wrong with basing a design on an existing character? All three Ming clones appeared to have over-eaten slightly and were definitely out of shape in relation to the He-Man and She-Ra series.
MU10 - "A Friend in Need"
When the He-Man series kicked off the writers found themselves using Skeletor an awful lot. The first episode to break the mould was "A Friend in Need" featuring Jarvan. It appears that Filmation looked back to their Flash Gordon series for character design. However to distinguish the two, they gave Jarvan a rather rotund figure. The similarities between Jarvan and Ming were also evident with the voice acting. Voiced by Alan Oppenheimer, Jarvan sounded a lot like Skeletor even sporting the same laugh.
MU60 - "The Return of Granamyr"
"The Return of Granamyr" also from He-Man's season one featured another new villain, Zim. Unfortunately due to budget restrictions the character design for Zim was just a re-colored Jarvan. Even though they looked exactly the same it was Lou Scheimer who voiced the Ming clone on this occasion.
PP87 - "The Inspector"
The final and possibly strangest appearance of the character model was used in She-Ra's season two episode "The Inspector." Spyster was different in one way, his face was not exactly the same as the other two, but his physical form remained the same. Alan Oppenheimer returned to voice this character design, Spyster, but altered his voice, thus it did not sound much like the original Ming voice.