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Thread: Could He-Man be openly gay in a new media adaptation?

  1. #1
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    Could He-Man be openly gay in a new media adaptation?

    He-Man is a gay icon, whether itís Alcala or Filmation, in the same way Streisand and the Golden Girls are.

    You could say it started with cartoon and toy Adamís costume (due to Scheimerís colorblindness; he made everything meant to be gray purple, including Klingon uniforms in Star Trek TAS). But even the original designs before Scheimer had Adam dressed like a cross between a French aristocrat and a pirate with a big floppy hat and a description of him as a ďdandyĒ. And the subtext didnít start or stop there. Anything as overtly macho as He-Manís initial concept is so over-the-top to raise some LGBTQ subtext because itís a level of macho that doesnít exist in the observable world.

    Thereís very little explicit about his apparent relationship with Teela, even by childrenís media standards. Even Clark Kent romantically pursued Lois more openly when she wasnít pursuing him.

    In terms of his later career in older takes, Teela had her own destiny as Sorceress.

    Even when you get into the idea of biological offspring, He-Ro II was meant to be the child of Sea Hawk and Adora, raised by Adam. Not that biological conception is necessarily the only kind in Eternia.

    Iíve thought about the various ways you could diversify He-Man to reflect the changing culture the target audience exists in. While I could easily see Man-at-Arms as being of color, you DO get into a tricky thing where Teela must be biracial also to carry the assumption that sheís his biological daughter and then Sorceress probably is as well. Iíve seen resistance to this idea even from fans of color because it changes some dynamics potentially. (Although if Idris Elba wanted to play Duncan, I bet heíd be cast. I gotta admit Iíd like Nick Offerman so itís not like keeping it a bunch of white guys would upset me.)

    So I was thinking about what they CAN change to keep the ďpro-socialĒ (Lou Scheimerís words) aspects of the old version fresh in 2019.

    And I donít actually think it would change ANYTHING for the worse if He-Man/Adam were gay. It wouldnít even cause a small ripple in the mythology as near as I can tell. Teela is primarily his friend and combat instructor anyway. Duncan is not necessarily age appropriate either. If anything, it creates an opening for new characters or boosting the importance of somebody like Clamp Champ.

    And I think you could even do that AT THE SAME TIME as a more savage minicomics style take with Alcala artwork and piles of skulls everywhere with He-Man swinging an axe everywhere. It doesnít have to be campy or particularly Filmation.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior WDWFreak53's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    He-Man is a gay icon, whether it’s Alcala or Filmation, in the same way Streisand and the Golden Girls are.

    You could say it started with cartoon and toy Adam’s costume (due to Scheimer’s colorblindness; he made everything meant to be gray purple, including Klingon uniforms in Star Trek TAS). But even the original designs before Scheimer had Adam dressed like a cross between a French aristocrat and a pirate with a big floppy hat and a description of him as a “dandy”. And the subtext didn’t start or stop there. Anything as overtly macho as He-Man’s initial concept is so over-the-top to raise some LGBTQ subtext because it’s a level of macho that doesn’t exist in the observable world.

    There’s very little explicit about his apparent relationship with Teela, even by children’s media standards. Even Clark Kent romantically pursued Lois more openly when she wasn’t pursuing him.

    In terms of his later career in older takes, Teela had her own destiny as Sorceress.

    Even when you get into the idea of biological offspring, He-Ro II was meant to be the child of Sea Hawk and Adora, raised by Adam. Not that biological conception is necessarily the only kind in Eternia.

    I’ve thought about the various ways you could diversify He-Man to reflect the changing culture the target audience exists in. While I could easily see Man-at-Arms as being of color, you DO get into a tricky thing where Teela must be biracial also to carry the assumption that she’s his biological daughter and then Sorceress probably is as well. I’ve seen resistance to this idea even from fans of color because it changes some dynamics potentially. (Although if Idris Elba wanted to play Duncan, I bet he’d be cast. I gotta admit I’d like Nick Offerman so it’s not like keeping it a bunch of white guys would upset me.)

    So I was thinking about what they CAN change to keep the “pro-social” (Lou Scheimer’s words) aspects of the old version fresh in 2019.

    And I don’t actually think it would change ANYTHING for the worse if He-Man/Adam were gay. It wouldn’t even cause a small ripple in the mythology as near as I can tell. Teela is primarily his friend and combat instructor anyway. Duncan is not necessarily age appropriate either. If anything, it creates an opening for new characters or boosting the importance of somebody like Clamp Champ.

    And I think you could even do that AT THE SAME TIME as a more savage minicomics style take with Alcala artwork and piles of skulls everywhere with He-Man swinging an axe everywhere. It doesn’t have to be campy or particularly Filmation.
    Having no real issue either way because, as you said, he's become an icon of sorts to the gay community.

    My question is...in what way does it matter to the story? Will there be a He-Man love interest? If not, what does it matter? Would they just say it to shoehorn it in because if that's the case, I'm 100% against it (gay or straight).

    Having a character shoehorned in to appease groups (religious, sexual preference, race, etc.) takes away from the story and comes across as only doing it to create controversy or "buzz" whether it be positive or negative. As a child I never once thought if He-Man was gay or straight. Why should I think about it as an adult? If the He-Man film is done really well and he has a love interest with Bow, what does it matter? On the flipside, if it's really done well and he has a relationship with Teela...does it matter either way as long as the film is strong?

    I look at Black Panther...it seemed as if that got more praise due to it being an African American superhero and cast than it did due to the actual movie itself. I don't want to see that happen with He-Man due to his possible sexual preference. Just make a kickbutt movie and if the story lends itself to it, go for it.

  3. #3
    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    I'm open to the idea, I love equality and diversity and social justice. Loving the MOTU/POP/NA characters and stories as much as I do, I don't think there's anything that could disappoint me in the franchise. That's one of the reasons I love DC Comics and the recent superhero shows as much as I do, because they are not afraid to show life as it really is, inclusive and accepting of all types of people. Having gay characters in MOTU would enrich the franchise just as having these themes in DC enriches that franchise.
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    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    No. Not in a big budgeted movie with high stakes. MOTU is not a guaranteed hit at the box office, so I think it would be in their best interest to not have the main character be a polarizing character. Besides his interest in Teela in The Problem with Power episode, Teela and He-Man have been married off in both the comics and Classics.

    It would work much better in a DC/Marvel superhero team movie.

  5. #5
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    In theory, yes. In reality, no because Mattel are interested in $$$$ and they will want to appeal to the largest possible audience and not ... anger any segment of that potential audience.

    I guess they could have it both ways - Prince Adam is straight, but He-Man is gay. But, that really calls into question exactly what the "Power of Grayskull" does to the individual wielding it.

    In a more serious tone, they could potentially consider making Man-at-Arms gay and raising Teela together with a long-term partner like ... Clamp Champ or Fisto (IF Fisto isn't his brother in this canon and IF they can avoid all of the obvious jokes with a gay character called "Fisto"). Or keep MAA as a single dad and ... hint at him being gay, for example, a throw-away comment from Teela about how he needs to start dating some of the eligible bachelors in the palace. MAA was always one of the most intelligent and responsible characters in the series, so having him be gay would be pretty positive representation.

  6. #6
    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but if people have a problem with gay characters in a franchise, they have deeper issues that need addressing. I just don't see how equality and diversity can possibly be a negative thing.
    "Tell me I am beautiful - it means nothing to me. Tell me I am intellectual - well, I know it already. Tell me I am funny however, and that is the greatest compliment in the world that anyone can give me".

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  7. #7
    Cobra Saboteur Firefly's Avatar
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    Lou Scheimer was going to have He-Man and Teela married in a sequel series that never got off the ground:
    https://he-man.fandom.com/wiki/He-Ro...f_the_Universe

  8. #8
    Ancient One zodak74's Avatar
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    They could make He-Man gay. I wouldn't mind it. But I don't actually think it's necessary. Honestly, having a B, C, or D-lister character whose background was never fully explored be gay in a reboot would probably be a better choice. We already know so much about Adam/He-Man, but folks like Man-E-Faces (identity crises galore!), Rokkon, Extendar, Tri-Klops, Batros, Mekaneck, that ol' She-Demon of Phantos herself- Queen Elmora, they're practically blank slates. Backgrounds could be fleshed out a bit more by revealing Tri-Klops and Mekaneck once had a thing, for example... talk about drama and conflict... LOL! I like the way the new She-Ra cartoon has presented same sex couple as just a matter of fact without any sort of fanfare. It's just sort of... there. I'd be interested in modern takes on MOTU taking the same course of action. But I don't think it necessarily has to fall on He-Man's shoulders.
    Last edited by zodak74; June 13, 2019 at 08:13pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    He-Man is a gay icon, whether it’s Alcala or Filmation, in the same way Streisand and the Golden Girls are.
    Only Filmation carries that connoation, and that's because of how campy it was, even at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    You could say it started with cartoon and toy Adam’s costume (due to Scheimer’s colorblindness; he made everything meant to be gray purple, including Klingon uniforms in Star Trek TAS).
    It was the 1980's, colors like that were everywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    But even the original designs before Scheimer had Adam dressed like a cross between a French aristocrat and a pirate with a big floppy hat and a description of him as a “dandy”.
    To show a Clark Kent sort of disguise that He-Man adopted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    And the subtext didn’t start or stop there.
    You're reading way too much into things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    Anything as overtly macho as He-Man’s initial concept is so over-the-top to raise some LGBTQ subtext because it’s a level of macho that doesn’t exist in the observable world.
    Every wrestler ever must be gay on this basis then, as must every 80's action hero.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    There’s very little explicit about his apparent relationship with Teela, even by children’s media standards.
    By what standards? Today's standards? Back then you didn't need to explicitly show characters having sex, it was a show aimed at very small children to get them to buy action figures, not a romantic drama.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    Even Clark Kent romantically pursued Lois more openly when she wasn’t pursuing him.
    Over the course of decades and decades of existing material in multiple mediums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    In terms of his later career in older takes, Teela had her own destiny as Sorceress.
    Who also was in a relationship with Adam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    Even when you get into the idea of biological offspring, He-Ro II was meant to be the child of Sea Hawk and Adora, raised by Adam. Not that biological conception is necessarily the only kind in Eternia.
    You're delving into the realm of your own personal fan-fiction here now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobrala View Post
    I’ve thought about the various ways you could diversify He-Man to reflect the changing culture the target audience exists in.
    I hope you never ever get a job working for any media company to reboot a franchise. I don't want Ghostbusters 2016.

    And no, He-man being gay in a reboot would kill the franchise by turning a joke that people make about the franchise into an actual plot point that changes the series. I don't have a problem with characters being gay, or adding new characters for the sake of diversity, but I don't like characters being changed because some guy thinks it'd be great for marketing, and I think there'd be a tremendous amount of backlash from fans who had kept the series alive for all these years.
    Last edited by LLG; June 13, 2019 at 08:56pm.

  10. #10
    Skeletor's Right Hand Man Megalodon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    Lou Scheimer was going to have He-Man and Teela married in a sequel series that never got off the ground:
    https://he-man.fandom.com/wiki/He-Ro...f_the_Universe
    This...why change existing characters into XYZ just create new one's....

  11. #11
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    It was just something that struck me as a minor change. I donít think many folks are deeply invested in Teela as a love interest. Plenty of us straight fans had crushes on Teela OURSELVES. The romance with He-Man is a footnote. Itís just not very core to the franchise.

    I guess itís a risk but one that strikes me as being similar to the 80s Satanic Panic regarding toys and cartoons ó and that HELPED He-Man. The more practical risk is Chinese box office which is why theyíd probably do lesbian Teela if they were going to shake things up.

    Part of what started to click with me about gay He-Man is that you can have love interests WITHOUT introducing new characters. Because MOTU is 95% dudes anyway. Thereís an easy half-dozen love interests.

    As for non-Filmation being iconic in the gay community... I think it is. Soís wrestling and Rocky and Conan. If you put a dude in a fur bikini, thatís going to attract certain fans. I have heard way too many gay friends talk about a first childhood crush on He-Man and itís never the Filmation version. Itís the action figure and the minicomics.

    The Filmation version has a certain place in pop culture for its camp and kind messages. I think heís the He-Man guys want to marry and take home to mom and dad. But Alcala He-Man is the fantasy fuel there.

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    Oh , people are always speculating wheter so and so characters are gay : Batman and Robin , Bert and Ernie , Balki and Larry (never mind the fact that they had 2 gorgeous flight attendants waiting at home , lol)

    HM was never gay , its just an obsession Nostalgia Critic seem to have
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly View Post
    No. Not in a big budgeted movie with high stakes. MOTU is not a guaranteed hit at the box office, so I think it would be in their best interest to not have the main character be a polarizing character. Besides his interest in Teela in The Problem with Power episode, Teela and He-Man have been married off in both the comics and Classics.

    It would work much better in a DC/Marvel superhero team movie.
    ^^^This!!

    It's always been He-Man and Teela as an item... much to the chagrin of Mara.

    I never thought that He-Man / Adam was ever homosexual... especially not when I was eight years old.
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    Heroic Warrior Thrillhouse's Avatar
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    I really hate when characters are changed for no reason. Just keep the character as they were in the original source material. You wouldn't change his name, his sex, his powers or his colour, so why change anything else. And I guarantee if any of what I mentioned was changed, fans would fly off the handle. Not just MOTU, but any franchise.

    On a related note, why when a male character is made female, white character made black or straight character made gay, we are told it's equality and diversity and we are the bad guys for opposing it?
    Yet if a female is turned male, black is turned white or gay made straight it's the producers being sexist, racist or homophobic?

    And I am not sexist, racist or homophobic, before anyone lets loose on me. Im just sick of unnecessary changes that don't benefit the story, and only exist for the filmmakers to say "See how diverse we are?"

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    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    I wasn't calling anybody anything, I just feel equality and diversity are a good thing and I wouldn't necessarily be averse to the changes. Look how awesome New POP is and that has lots of equality and diversity.
    "Tell me I am beautiful - it means nothing to me. Tell me I am intellectual - well, I know it already. Tell me I am funny however, and that is the greatest compliment in the world that anyone can give me".

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    Heroic Warrior Orko's Magic Hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrillhouse View Post
    I really hate when characters are changed for no reason. Just keep the character as they were in the original source material. You wouldn't change his name, his sex, his powers or his colour, so why change anything else. And I guarantee if any of what I mentioned was changed, fans would fly off the handle. Not just MOTU, but any franchise.

    On a related note, why when a male character is made female, white character made black or straight character made gay, we are told it's equality and diversity and we are the bad guys for opposing it?
    Yet if a female is turned male, black is turned white or gay made straight it's the producers being sexist, racist or homophobic?

    And I am not sexist, racist or homophobic, before anyone lets loose on me. Im just sick of unnecessary changes that don't benefit the story, and only exist for the filmmakers to say "See how diverse we are?"
    Agreed 100%
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    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrillhouse View Post
    I really hate when characters are changed for no reason. Just keep the character as they were in the original source material. You wouldn't change his name, his sex, his powers or his colour, so why change anything else. And I guarantee if any of what I mentioned was changed, fans would fly off the handle. Not just MOTU, but any franchise.

    On a related note, why when a male character is made female, white character made black or straight character made gay, we are told it's equality and diversity and we are the bad guys for opposing it?
    Yet if a female is turned male, black is turned white or gay made straight it's the producers being sexist, racist or homophobic?

    And I am not sexist, racist or homophobic, before anyone lets loose on me. Im just sick of unnecessary changes that don't benefit the story, and only exist for the filmmakers to say "See how diverse we are?"
    I agree. Let them add other characters to appeal to certain groups, but leave established characters alone.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I wasn't calling anybody anything, I just feel equality and diversity are a good thing and I wouldn't necessarily be averse to the changes. Look how awesome New POP is and that has lots of equality and diversity.
    this. I think making He-Man/ Adam gay or including that kind of diversity would open up avenues and plot lines in a series for sure and I'm all for that because of how it improved and deepened character connections in She-ra and brought an intimacy to the overall story.
    And it wouldn't change who Adam/He-man is as a character simply due to the fact that that aspect of Adam was never something touched upon to begin with in either cartoon. He'll still be the fighter for justice and right in Eternia. I can dig it.
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  19. #19
    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webstor81 View Post
    this. I think making He-Man/ Adam gay or including that kind of diversity would open up avenues and plot lines in a series for sure and I'm all for that because of how it improved and deepened character connections in She-ra and brought an intimacy to the overall story.
    And it wouldn't change who Adam/He-man is as a character simply due to the fact that that aspect of Adam was never something touched upon to begin with in either cartoon. He'll still be the fighter for justice and right in Eternia. I can dig it.
    I'm in synch with the way you think. There are a lot of awesome gay and bi superheroes, Batwoman, The Ray, White Canary, Nyssa, Mister Terrific, to name a few, their sexuality never impeded their worth as heroes.
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  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior IceyCat's Avatar
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    They could, but I do not think it would do well for many of the reasons already mentioned. I have a problem with people changing an established character. Why not make your OWN characters and do with them what you will?
    Last edited by IceyCat; June 14, 2019 at 09:25am.
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  21. #21
    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    I don't really care if He-Man is gay or straight, but the story has never really been about romance. It's about good vs evil.

  22. #22
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    It would be a terrible idea. A lot of people are very socially conservative, especially in other countries. I doubt Mattel would want to do something so divisive when they will be hoping to capitalize off of the merchandising of this movie. There is a reason for the term get woke, go broke. Not to mention it just does not fit established lore in regards to He-Man and Teela.
    I think it is time to explore the mythos beyond the time of SOH, or maybe I will eat a taco, either way I'm good.

  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior motogp_fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Ro Eats Soup View Post
    It would be a terrible idea. A lot of people are very socially conservative, especially in other countries. I doubt Mattel would want to do something so divisive when they will be hoping to capitalize off of the merchandising of this movie. There is a reason for the term get woke, go broke. Not to mention it just does not fit established lore in regards to He-Man and Teela.
    Have to agree ..

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  24. #24
    Catwoman...Hear Me Roar! Mikey's Avatar
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    Sorry, but personally, I would rather be broke than discriminatory. DC has gay characters and they have no problem capitalising off their merchandise and fear of being divisive is really not a good argument for alienating the liberal fanbase who believe equality and diversity can only help a franchise.
    "Tell me I am beautiful - it means nothing to me. Tell me I am intellectual - well, I know it already. Tell me I am funny however, and that is the greatest compliment in the world that anyone can give me".

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  25. #25
    Heroic Warrior IceyCat's Avatar
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    There is nothing discriminatory about it. He-Man has already been established as a hetero male character who gets married to Teela. If they turned a gay character straight then maybe I could see that being a point of contention.
    Last edited by IceyCat; June 14, 2019 at 10:10am.
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