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Kevin Smith Reveals How Stan Lee's Legacy Helped His Work On Masters Of The Universe: Revelation - Exclusive

When it comes to Stan Lee's biggest fan, that title just may go to Kevin Smith — longtime friend and fan to the late Marvel icon. Lee's impact on the superhero genre and beyond will no doubt last more than several lifetimes, and we have the comic book creator to thank for much of today's pop culture. There's no denying that Lee's characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Captain America helped turn the comic book genre into one of the highest-grossing entertainment markets. In the past two decades, the title of comic book nerd has slowly shifted from a negative connotation into something to celebrate, and we have incredible creators like Lee to thank for that.

It's not only fans who feel Lee's impact, though. Looper spoke to Kevin Smith during an exclusive interview for Part 2 of "Masters of the Universe: Revelation." The showrunner dove into his process of creating his show's heroes and villains and revealed how the legacies of creators like Stan Lee and George Lucas impacted his work as a creator.

The long showrunning game

On what it's been like hammering out the details and nuances of each season's villains and if work from Lee and Lucas inspired him in his role as showrunner, Smith simply said, "Absolutely. We told one big story, and it's been split up to two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. But we were telling this ten-episode story arc that took us into interesting places with the characters. We're playing with toys, essentially. We're all adults playing with toys, and these toys have been around for damn near 40 years at this point." 

Smith wasn't without direction when taking on the project. He noted, "The beautiful thing is, when Mattel created them, they created these lush backstories and intricate relationships — which you got to then explore and take apart and put through a modern prism. All of that just seemed super appetizing to me."

While Smith has been in the directing game for decades, he's new to his showrunning role. "I've never showrun before. I've made movies, but that's telling one story over the span of a month. Showrunning, this was 18 months to almost two years, and learning what the job was," Smith explained. "Because I had writers, and they'd hand me these wonderful scripts, and we'd get notes from Netflix and Mattel. I'd pass on the notes, and they'd do another draft." 

Noting his surprise at the level of writing he was able to do, Smith recalled, "I was like, 'This job's easy.' Then the next round of notes, I went to give it to the writers, and they're like, 'Oh, no. No, you do these.' I'm like, 'What? Me? I'm not going to rewrite these writes.' But that becomes part of the job and stuff."

Honoring the Marvel Method

"So it went on and on, and it was always these wonderful gifts, re-gifts of here's an animation package. Here's the first previs. Here's a breakdown, the storyboards," Smith continued. "You'd forget about it because you were doing other things, and then every three days, somebody would send you this gorgeous parcel of artwork where you're like, 'Oh, man. We're making a very cool cartoon.' Up until that point, it's just words written about what Eternia could be and what He-Man could be."

Smith may be at the forefront of every major decision in the show, but even he gets surprised at the epic final product. He said, "Even having written the dialogue and not knowing what it would sound like, and then you get Woody [Chris Wood] in front of the mic, and suddenly you hear Prince Adam, and then you hear He-Man. It's the same kid — same guy doing both voices. Once you have that, suddenly, you're like, 'Oh, this is such a collaborative effort.'" It certainly pays to have the right people voicing their roles. 

Getting back to Stan Lee's Marvel Method, Smith explained, "In movies, it generally lives and dies by me as the writer-director, as the auteur, if you will. But in this field, in this milieu, I'm one of many artisans that came together and made this really powerful stew." He added, "To that degree, it is a bit like Marvel Method in as much as everybody brings their best to it. We were a lot more heavily scripted than the Marvel Method goes. But you know your own strength, and then you hand off to others who are far stronger than you at better things. That's how the process went."

Fans can now binge Part 2 of "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" on Netflix.