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Thread: Behind the Scenes Origin of He-man and She-Ra

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior
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    Behind the Scenes Origin of He-man and She-Ra

    Hey, this is for a project of mine and I knew i'd have to ask but I've been putting it off because a) i'm not the most popular or interesting person on these boards and b) I put stuff off. the origins of the Masters of the Universe and especially Princess of Power toylines are really hard to fine any information on, and when you do it's kind of confusing and I don't own a Power and Honour Foundation catalog (nor can i find one to buy) so i was hoping your far more knowledgeable people could help me out please?

    Here's what I do know and some questions relating to it:

    Masters was put into development by Mattel as a reaction to the success of Star Wars, or rather them not having the success of Star Wars

    Mattel were developing toys for Conan the Movie from 1980 to 1982 (january) when they requested the licence be terminated, it was by April - allegedly because the film was violent and stuff. in Feb 82 He-Man was unveiled - do we know if they have any bearing at all on Masters? were any of the people who designed Masters working on it etc?

    Roger Sweet claims he came up with the name He-Man and had his pitch accepted - he developed the 'Vykron' prototypes the He-Man Trio (from old Big Jims). he wrote a book but I'm not sure if it would be useful, as it's meant to be pretty much him saying he did everything - but what did he do (or claim to do)? did he work on the line after the prototype stage?

    Mark Taylor says the barbarian/fantasy line that became Masters dates back to concepts he'd had since he was 11, he says he pitched the idea and it was greenlit. Taylor designed the first series of figures and the first three series of toys with Ted Mayer (who designed vehicles) and then left, and Mayer carried on, a lot of his designs are the ones in Power and Honor (all of this is from the Tomarts articles)

    Tony Guerrero - who is he? is he just the sculptor? he made the helmeted He-Man prototype 'Megaton'

    The line playtested well, but Toys R Us weren't keen, hence the original 'small' release of He-Man, Skeletor and...Battlecat?

    Mattel was sued by Conan owners, and Mattel won.

    Things I'd like to know:

    1. Mark Taylor's The Fighting Foe Men and Vikor/Demo-Man/Beast Man designs where do they fit in with everything? Were they Taylor's initial pitch?

    2. Is there a way to reconcile the Roger Sweet and Mark Taylor stories? Plus anything I've left out about that

    3. When was the Filmation show put into production (I can't seem to figure it out)? After the first series? And did it or G.I. Joe come first? (I always thought it was G.I. Joe, and that He-Man was the first syndicated toy show?)

    4. Can anyone explain the Goddess/Teela/Sorceress development?

    5. Information on the origin of the mini-comics

    6. Who was created just for the Filmation show? I think it was Orko, Sorceress (originally purple) and Marlena/Randor (plus Shadow Weaver and Horde Troopers)?

    7. How did the Horde and the Snake Men come about - do we know who designed them (it seems Mayer designed King Hsss?)?

    8. Anything about the development of Princess of Power - I heard (i think) it was co-developed with Filmation? Is that right? is that true for the Horde also? do we know the names of the designers involved, were they Taylor/Mayer? it came from Mattel/Filmation wikipedia says - they wanted to diversify the line? I know she was going to be called He-Ra (after the Greek goddess Hera) but it was too weak a trademark and that's about it.

    9. Who/why/how did Powers of Grayskull come about, it was cancelled due to low sales/orders right? but do we know who did the work on it? how it came to be? For that matter do we have any backgrond information on the Laser figures?

    10. Anything about the development of He-Man/NA - again was a revamp pitched or ordered, who did the design work for it (i know a lot of this in Power & Honor, i think), i know a military themed revamp was planned as H.E./M.A.N. but I don't have the text (just pictures) of that, how does that fit in?

    11. Anything I've missed

    I know that's a lot of questions to just ask, I'm sorry - BUT can anyone help with any of it? Even if it's just links to pages/videos Google etc hasn't turned up or threads on here?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by dwitefry; April 17, 2015 at 08:27am.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Vikor was Mark Taylor's sketch. And while Roger Sweet did sort of design the guy we call Vykron, my understanding is that Taylor actually designed the harness, which is the only thing about Vykron that is really recognizably He-Man. I believe Taylor is correct that he came up with the name He-Man.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Regarding Goddess/Teela, they were originally separate characters. The Goddess was human with a greet suit, not unlike Man-At-Arms. Her face was originally flesh colored. As imagined by Mark Taylor, she was originally bad, but then became a guardian of Grayskull (a lot of characters originally designed as bad or good later switched sides - like Zodac, Mer-Man, Tri-Klops, Stratos).

    I believe they consolidated Goddess (actually her name was Sorceress) and Teela into the same person because they didn't want to put out two female toys early in the line. So Teela got the snake armor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    Vikor was Mark Taylor's sketch. And while Roger Sweet did sort of design the guy we call Vykron, my understanding is that Taylor actually designed the harness, which is the only thing about Vykron that is really recognizably He-Man. I believe Taylor is correct that he came up with the name He-Man.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Regarding Goddess/Teela, they were originally separate characters. The Goddess was human with a greet suit, not unlike Man-At-Arms. Her face was originally flesh colored. As imagined by Mark Taylor, she was originally bad, but then became a guardian of Grayskull (a lot of characters originally designed as bad or good later switched sides - like Zodac, Mer-Man, Tri-Klops, Stratos).

    I believe they consolidated Goddess (actually her name was Sorceress) and Teela into the same person because they didn't want to put out two female toys early in the line. So Teela got the snake armor.
    That Goddess stuff is really helpful, thanks!

    So Taylor and Sweet worked on the line together?

  4. #4
    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwitefry View Post
    That Goddess stuff is really helpful, thanks!

    So Taylor and Sweet worked on the line together?
    Yes, Sweet was Taylor's boss. As far as I can tell most of the creativity behind the first wave of figures came from Mark Taylor. Sweet provided some broad concepts and some direction, but I'm of the opinion that it was really Mark Taylor's baby. Of all the original 8 figures I think He-Man had the most input from the various members of the team working on it, but I think most of it was still Mark Taylor, particularly on the other figures like Skeletor, Beast Man, MAA, Teela, Zodac, Mer-Man, & Stratos. Mark Taylor also created Man-E-Faces, although the design was changed quite a bit before production.

    Taylor also came up with the idea for Castle Grayskull, and sculpted it with Ted Mayer. Ted Mayer is the one who created the first two vehicles (Wind Raider and Battle Ram), as well as (I think) some later figures like Snout Spout, Rattlor, Tung Lashor and I think some of the original Horde guys. Less positive on that one.
    Last edited by Lich Leech; April 17, 2015 at 11:11am.
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    2002/DC He-Man Video guy Jukka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lich Leech View Post
    (a lot of characters originally designed as bad or good later switched sides - like Zodac, Mer-Man, Tri-Klops, Stratos).
    I remember Stratos is mentioned in early Mattel PR info as evil.
    Zodac started out good in Mark Taylor design-sheet.

    Where does it say Tri-Klops was originally good?
    And that Mer-Man was a good guy?

  6. #6
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    This is genuinely interesting, do we know how Sweet and Taylor came to have those positions? Was one assigned to the other, merged? I may have some kind of recollection of the two being put together...? maybe in the promo for that fan film that hasn't been released yet because of editing?

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    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jukka View Post
    I remember Stratos is mentioned in early Mattel PR info as evil.
    Zodac started out good in Mark Taylor design-sheet.

    Where does it say Tri-Klops was originally good?
    And that Mer-Man was a good guy?
    Regarding Mer-Man, someone mentioned it to me who I know had seen a lot of the P&H foundation stuff, and seemed to have some inside info on the origins of the line.

    Regarding Tri-Klops, that's something I've heard several times on this site, but I don't have a source.

    I know that's heresay
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    Heroic Warrior ThunDerian's Avatar
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    While I cant offer any definitive awnsers on who created He-Man, simply because I don't know, I do suggest you read Mastering The Universe by Roger Sweet (& a co-writer). It gives an interesting look behind the scenes at Mattel and the stuff that happend during the rise and fall of Masters of the Universe. I know it's basically Sweet defending himself as the creator, but it's a good read and offers some food for thought
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  9. #9
    Council Elder Tallstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwitefry View Post
    8. Anything about the development of Princess of Power - I heard (i think) it was co-developed with Filmation? Is that right? is that true for the Horde also? do we know the names of the designers involved, were they Taylor/Mayer? it came from Mattel/Filmation wikipedia says - they wanted to diversify the line? I know she was going to be called He-Ra (after the Greek goddess Hera) but it was too weak a trademark and that's about it.
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...-Fashion-Dolls
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...Sisters-Part-4
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...evealed-Part-1
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...iverse-With-Me
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...alkback-Thread
    http://www.he-man.org/resources/archive.php?id=950
    http://www.he-man.org/resources/archive.php?id=952
    http://www.he-man.org/resources/archive.php?id=969
    http://www.he-man.org/forums/boards/...rly-She-Ra-Art
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  10. #10
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    Those links are great, much thanks

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