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What Fans Are Saying About Masters Of The Universe: Revelation

Spoilers ahead for "Masters of the Universe: Revelation"

"Masters of the Universe: Revelation," the reboot of Filmation's 1983-1985 series "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," was released on Netflix Friday, July 23, and it's making a big splash. While critics like the series, giving it a 94% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, some fans aren't as happy. They've review-bombed the series in order to tank its ratings, and it now holds a 32% Audience Score on that site, as well as a 4.7 out of 10 rating on IMDb.

So what's the problem with the show, according to these unhappy fans? Well, if you have watched the original series (or its 1990 continuation "The New Adventures of He-Man," or the 2002 revival also called "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," or the 1987 "Masters of the Universe" movie starring Dolph Lundgren), you're aware that the story centers around Prince Adam (Chris Wood). This young man transforms into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe, to protect the land of Eternia against the forces of the evil Skeletor. 

In the first minutes of the new series, though, the main premise of the original show — Adam's secret identity and his ever-present battle against Skeletor — is totally upended. With Skeletor and He-Man dispatched early, the show then centers on Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the female warrior and friend of Adam who has just been promoted to Man-at-Arms. In dramatic fashion, she denounces the lies she has been told by her father and others, strikes out on her own, and acquires a friend and sidekick in Andra (Tiffany Smith) as a quest ensues to bring magic back to Eternia.

So yes, this is a major change. And as you can imagine, fans have plenty to say about what some of them are calling a "bait and switch" designed to make the show more modern. They're asking, how can you have a "Masters of the Universe" show without He-Man? And in true internet style, they're making their opinions known in a big way. 

Fans are upset at the lack of He-Man

While the show is actually getting plenty of love on Twitter, negative fans have also been out in force. On YouTube and other social media platforms, fans are attacking the show's creator, Kevin Smith, saying that he outright lied about the series (as A Common Idiot did). That's because when early previews indicated that Teela would be a main focus of "Masters of the Universe: Revelation," Smith said in multiple interviews (via Movieweb) that this wasn't the case. However, he did say during a San Diego Comic-Con panel on Friday that "Teela, who was there in every episode, side-by-side with He-Man, and also there to protect [Prince Adam], was the one person left out of the secret. Based on that, Teela was basically the center of the story that we were going to tell. It's a He-Man story, it's a 'Masters Of The Universe' story, but it's watching Teela's journey" (via Yahoo! Life).

Over on Rotten Tomatoes, user @mark s said, "Not only did He man not have hardly anything to do with the story, they kill off or hide EVERY male character in the story.... Its an insult and a slap in the face for anyone, who as a kid, liked the show." 

Others are commenting on the race-swapping of characters from previous properties, specifically King Grayskull and Andra. "Started off being sold as a direct sequel to old filmation show, then a spiritual, then smith lied about being a fan, altering designs, racebending so much more," said Twitter user @Ciaranredokeefe

Of course, on YouTube, commenter Brother Axiom also called it when he said, "So how long till they start blaming the fans and calling us all toxic man babies?"

Kevin Smith has responded to the criticism

Smith has directly responded to the criticism — even before he heard this most recent brouhaha — and it's clear he's annoyed about it. He told Variety, "I know what a fan base reacts like when they don't get the thing they grew up watching. You think I'm gonna be the fall guy for that? If I'm involved in a thing, it's going to be true to what it is. It's gonna be true to the franchise." And he pointed out that, for those who are complaining that the show is "woke," "I'm like, all right, great, then so was the original cartoon we're f**king sequel-izing. Go watch it again. There are girls in every episode. Deal with it." 

He believes that fans who are criticizing "Revelation" don't get the original material. "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 f**king point of the show." Smith expressed disbelief that people would accuse him of getting rid of He-Man completely. "Like, you really f**king think Mattel Television, who hired me and paid me money, wants to do a f**king 'Masters of the Universe' show without He-Man? Grow the f**k up, man. Like, that blew my mind, bunch of people being like, 'Oh, I smell it. This is a bait and switch.'"

The Netflix series has released five episodes that end on a cliffhanger so far. While Netflix hasn't said when the remaining five from the first season will be released, they're expected by the end of 2021. It remains to be seen if He-Man — and Prince Adam — return, but it's unlikely he'll stay away for long. Chris Wood, the actor who plays him, told Variety that the character is not dead, just injured. 

So, for those upset about He-Man's disappearance, maybe patience is in order — not exactly the internet's strength.