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Thread: How to kill off an iconic character

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior
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    How to kill off an iconic character

    So MOTUR happened... and it got me thinking. If you really have to kill He-man, or any iconic character of a beloved franchise, how would that have to be done to emotionally hit the right note? (Obviously, I disagree with how Smith did it in his Netflix show..).

    Which brought me to a very nice and insightful discussion on Youtube by Chris Gore - not about MOTU, obviously, but other iconic franchises:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K2THwBdVF0

    Worth a watch, if you like film-making and the theory behind story telling.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    I honestly don't think he has killed He-Man off and I really can't imagine Mattel allowing that. But it's Mattel...
    I think it was just a poorly thought out idea for a badly paced and plotted story to get attention for the series.

  3. #3
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    Yea, to me it was a weird "stunt". To people with no attachment to the franchise it probably was "oh well, that dude is dead, now what?" . And for MOTU fans "Wait, what, you didn't just let him go poof in the first episode?!"

    But the general thought stuck - what's the thinking behind such a decision, and what role, if any, should the viewers/fans play.

  4. #4
    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasastard View Post
    Yea, to me it was a weird "stunt". To people with no attachment to the franchise it probably was "oh well, that dude is dead, now what?" . And for MOTU fans "Wait, what, you didn't just let him go poof in the first episode?!"

    But the general thought stuck - what's the thinking behind such a decision, and what role, if any, should the viewers/fans play.
    I get people with no attachment or knowledge would be surprised but from the marketing campaign it has always been presented as something really just for MOTU fans. Having him die in the first episode then to seemingly get killed/wounded again at the half way point is a very odd choice.
    What is even odder though is the amount of damage control Kevin smith is now doing assuring fans He-Man will be back in part 2.
    The story really reminds me of the poor planning and subverting expections crap of JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson.

    I am still puzzled why they killed off Optimus Prime in the movie...for Hot Rod/Rodimus.
    Personally I don't even understand why they bothered with Ultra Magnus. like the toy was just a repaint of Prime with armour. They should have just had Prime wounded fighting Megatron then repaired and given the power armour. The Ultra Magnus toy would still be a new toy on shelf and it would still be Optimus Prime.

  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior
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    True. Which then begs the question.... why would you kill off your main character, and if there is a good reason for it, how do you do it.

    It feels a bit like Smith did it for the giggles. And of course, we all more or less know tha the character will be back. Which makes it even more problematic, from a creative point of view. It just feels a tiny bit lame.

  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior Rikki Roxx's Avatar
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    I mean, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt in thinking it was less "for the giggles" and more that "It's never been done".

    As I mentioned elsewhere, they went into the development of this show with the intention of "adding stakes". Well, there's only a few "big things" you can do to imperil the heroes to a major degree or otherwise "shake things up". You can kill the Sorceress, you can make Teela the Sorceress, you can kill Man-At-Arms, you can kill Adam/He-Man, or you can get rid of the Power Sword.

    Many of those things have been done already, even if not in the Filmation cartoon which some people erroneously expected this to be a sequel to (marketing aside; we need to all just accept that it's NOT a 1:1 Filmation sequel no matter WHAT they said in the marketing blitz). So even if we never saw them animated, we HAVE seen those plot points before.

    So maybe I'm wrong, but I'd LIKE to think that the main driving motive behind killing Adam/He-Man was simply, "It's the one thing that's never been done." Outside of "Masters of the Multiverse" obviously, but that's a bit of a stretch. AND, it immediately creates at least the "illusion" of high-stakes right from the very beginning.

    OR maybe they just got high and thought it'd be a lark. I don't know, I wasn't in the room.
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  7. #7
    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasastard View Post
    True. Which then begs the question.... why would you kill off your main character, and if there is a good reason for it, how do you do it.

    It feels a bit like Smith did it for the giggles. And of course, we all more or less know tha the character will be back. Which makes it even more problematic, from a creative point of view. It just feels a tiny bit lame.
    The only way I could imagine He-Man being killed off would be one of two ways.
    He gets killed and someone else gets the power although there seems to be no real point if you are just going to replace him. Much like what IDW comics did with Snake Eyes.
    Personally I would prefer Adam to maybe give up He-Man's powers and maybe just be Adam the Prince a warrior leading the Masters or just focus on the Masters battling the various villains on Eternia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rikki Roxx View Post
    ...."Masters of the Multiverse"....
    That comic has such poor story. the only thing I liked was the inclusion of New Adventures. The rest of the comic was pretty awful and really served no purpose.
    I truly hate Multiverse and time travel stories. Cheap, lazy and unimaginative.

  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior Rikki Roxx's Avatar
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    I liked it.

    I forgot for a second that Adam did "die" in the Thundercats cross-over as well, but they didn't really explore it very much.
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  9. #9
    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rikki Roxx View Post
    I liked it.

    I forgot for a second that Adam did "die" in the Thundercats cross-over as well, but they didn't really explore it very much.
    In New Adventures episode 5 it's kind of implied..or at least Mara and Kaz believe He-Man is dead when they have to leave him on an asteroid...but he then later some home comes out of a statue at the end of the episode.

    I prefered the Thundercats crossover of the two although the Thundercats were a bit out of character. Actually Skelegod reminds me a bit of the powered up Skeletor/Mumm-Ra.

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior Rikki Roxx's Avatar
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    Skeletor drinking Mumm-Ra is something I never want to forget for as long as I live. That was amazeballs.
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  11. #11
    Life is good Dice's Avatar
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    I can't see a good way of killing off a main character in a series ever. I mean if you're writing the last story for that franchise, I guess you could have them die a death worth dying but with their death, the series should be over IMO.

    The only way I'd ever see it working is you start a new series, based on the old series and have your old main character die in it to make way for the new.
    "To a great mind, nothing is little."

  12. #12
    Heroic Warrior Rikki Roxx's Avatar
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    Nah, Superman died and it was the most interesting the books had been in a couple of years. To the point where after he came back, it was kind of... pedestrian, at times.

    I'unno, there's ways. You just don't wanna use it as a crutch.
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  13. #13
    Life is good Dice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rikki Roxx View Post
    Nah, Superman died and it was the most interesting the books had been in a couple of years. To the point where after he came back, it was kind of... pedestrian, at times.
    I was speaking in terms of a permanent death. Heck in comics now everyone dies a few times.
    "To a great mind, nothing is little."

  14. #14
    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    You want to kill a main character off now just have them do something (or make mention of something from multiple years ago) and the cancel culture twitter mob will have the character killed off.

  15. #15
    Not my Tempo Fendi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rikki Roxx View Post
    Nah, Superman died and it was the most interesting the books had been in a couple of years. To the point where after he came back, it was kind of... pedestrian, at times.

    I'unno, there's ways. You just don't wanna use it as a crutch.
    Call me weird (Not bashing you here) but comic book death is something I'm looking forward too because, it's either they have a long plan to hold rhw character to create cool or shifting storyline ark or going the other way around.

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    Heroic Warrior Reviews2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasastard View Post
    True. Which then begs the question.... why would you kill off your main character, and if there is a good reason for it, how do you do it.

    It feels a bit like Smith did it for the giggles. And of course, we all more or less know tha the character will be back. Which makes it even more problematic, from a creative point of view. It just feels a tiny bit lame.
    The reasons for doing so can vary and it can get attention. In the 87 Transformers movie they killed off most of the old autobots and gave the decepticons new forms to push the new toys. Jason Todd died because the fans wanted him dead (although when it comes to comics death is mostly a revolving door anyway). When it comes to "How do you do it" I don't think there is a definite answer, general guidelines at best, and it will depend on the overall situation.
    Princesses of Power enthusiast

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    Heroic Warrior ProteinNerd's Avatar
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    What was the point even of "killing" Adam or Orko if Smith has come out and already said neither of them is dead....thats not stakes. That a complete mishandling.
    Smith just can't take criticism and he's panicking.

    First he says its a direct sequel to Filmation, then he says it can't be because they don't have the rights, now he's saying

    “I’m like, all right, great, then so was the original cartoon we’re ****ing sequel-izing. Go watch it again. There are girls in every episode. Deal with it.”

    “It’s been interesting, seeing who truly is a hardcore fan,” Smith added. “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 ****ing point of the show.”


    So he's contradicting himself yet again.

    The guy shouldn't be in charge of anything, he can't handle it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rikki Roxx View Post
    I liked it.

    I forgot for a second that Adam did "die" in the Thundercats cross-over as well, but they didn't really explore it very much.
    Thanks a lot man, I just started reading that story

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProteinNerd View Post
    What was the point even of "killing" Adam or Orko if Smith has come out and already said neither of them is dead....
    When did he say that Orko is alive?

  19. #19
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    Gotta point there. And to me that's the key. And from the comic side the righters say make the death mean something.

    The thing about death, characters dieing off and things along that line is how the words death, d*e and k*ll are used.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fendi View Post
    Call me weird (Not bashing you here) but comic book death is something I'm looking forward too because, it's either they have a long plan to hold rhw character to create cool or shifting storyline ark or going the other way around.

  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior Rikki Roxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Latveria View Post
    Thanks a lot man, I just started reading that story
    I'm pretty sure the statue of limitations has expired, pally.

    Here's some more topical news you may not have heard... "Rosebud" was his sled.
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  21. #21
    Heroic Warrior ProteinNerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Latveria View Post
    Thanks a lot man, I just started reading that story

    - - - Updated - - -



    When did he say that Orko is alive?
    He’s already said in an interview when he was ranting that Orko will do a Gandalf and come back stronger, most assume he will become Oracle when he does.

    I’d put it in a spoiler but if the show runner himself has said it in public then I guess it isn’t supposed to be a spoiler?

  22. #22
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  23. #23
    Life is good Dice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProteinNerd View Post
    What was the point even of "killing" Adam or Orko if Smith has come out and already said neither of them is dead...t.
    Just playing devils advocate here but neither of them were confirmed dead. Orko just disappeared and Adam we're left on a cliffhanger.
    "To a great mind, nothing is little."

  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior ProteinNerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dice View Post
    Just playing devils advocate here but neither of them were confirmed dead. Orko just disappeared and Adam we're left on a cliffhanger.
    Adam was dead and in “heaven” , heavily implied he “died” again and he’s already confirmed he isn’t dead, same with Orko, he’s already confirmed he isn’t dead…..all this from the guy that kept saying this will have real stakes.


  25. #25
    Life is good Dice's Avatar
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    Well I was speaking about Adam's second "death". Orko was never confirmed.
    "To a great mind, nothing is little."

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