In 1983, a new cartoon appeared on television based on a series of action figures by Mattel. It was called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and it featured a strange, muscleman who rode a green tiger and swung a glowing sword while fighting an equally strange muscular blue skeleton. It was awesome.
He-Man is who you get if you cross Conan the Barbarian with Mickey Mouse. He rarely punched or hacked at anyone with his sword, preferring instead to throw heavy things around and talk things through. Skeletor cut a more forbidding figure, with his enchanted staff, his giant purple panther pet and his army of evil goons, each more colorfully named than the last.
Skeletor has become one of the most enduring villains in all of pop culture. He has often been the subject of parody and memefication, but also commands respect for being the arch-enemy of the strongest man in the universe (take that, Superman!). There is a long, involved backstory behind Skeletor that stretches back decades.
Not all of that backstory makes sense or maintains coherency. That is because the character of Skeletor has been assigned various origins and ambitions in different mediums, from cartoons to comics and live-action movies. Going through the various stories about the purple bodied and white skulled villain brings up a number of questions about the how and the why of the various aspects of his character. Here we bring to you 25 such things about Skeletor that make no sense from a logical standpoint, which, as we all know, is such an important part of Saturday morning cartoons:
25 Where's The Neck?
Skeletor has a body design that is as awesome as it is baffling. You have the Grim Reaper-like face, and then a body that looks like it's stepped straight out of a Mr. Universe contest. But the neck always remains mysteriously unaccounted for.
So what is the deal with Skeletor's neck?
Does it actually exist, or does his chin disappear into inky black nothingness? Some action figures show Skeletor with a blackened neck, others with a blue one. Yet others choose to cover his neck entirely in cloth. We suspect even the character's creators aren't sure about that body part's existence.
24 Why Did He Not Pass Away?
So in most cases, the explanation behind Skeletor's skull face is that years ago, he was a normal-faced guy. Then he was attacked with acid, which ate away his face leaving intact only the bone beneath. But that is not how acid works.
If you got hit in the face with acid in the amounts that can do that kind of damage, you're not going to be able to survive. You will pass away almost immediately. This is like that Two-Face nonsense from Batman comics all over again, where exactly half of Harvey Dent's face was burnt off by acid.
23 Why Is He So Buff?
Skeletor is many things. He is a leader. He is a mastermind. He is a sorcerer. But he is never shown to be much of a physical threat. He tries to win all his fights through cunning, unlike a certain arch-enemy who gets by on brute strength alone.
So when exactly does Skeletor get the time to work so much?
Look at his physique! He looks like that guy who practically lives in the gym and posts sweaty shirtless selfies on Instagram the whole day. Considering how busy he is always plotting mischief against Castle Grayskull, Skeletor must have discovered the most efficient diet and exercise plan in the universe.
22 How Can He Talk?
You need a tongue in order to be able to vocalize and talk. Does Skeletor have a tongue? That's not a question that usually gets asked about a character, but based on Skeletor's face, it seems there is only more black void where the inner parts of his mouth should be.
But if that is the case, how is he able to talk at all? You know those joke skeletons that start chattering their teeth when you press a button? That should be all that Skeletor's face is capable of doing. Instead, the man is always ready with a villainous monologue.
21 How Can He Smell Stuff?
We're still not done talking about Skeletor's face and how anything he does with it doesn't make any sense. So let's talk about his sense of smell. How does he have one? None of the organic tissues that need to be present for olfactory identification to work are available on Skeletor's... well, that place where his nose should be.
And yet, it has been proven that Skeletor has no problem smelling stuff.
Or maybe he just pretends to be able to smell. Or maybe it's the go-to answer for logical fallacies in most fantasy series: magic.
20 How Does He Still Have Allies?
One thing that has stayed consistent across all the adaptations of the character is that Skeletor always treats his minions like dirt. He insults them, belittles them, and we're pretty sure he doesn't allow them to form unions either. He also betrayed Hordak when Skeletor was his second in command.
With such a history of being an absolute tool to the people he works with, how has Skeletor managed to retain his allies? Why haven't Beastman, Evil-lyn, and the other minions kicked him to the curb? Maybe they just can't find work anywhere else.
19 Why Does He Have Allergies?
There have been a couple of stories where Skeletor was revealed to suffer from allergies. From pollen. From flowers. That's right, Skeletor's kryptonite is the gently wafting daisy flower that might send some flower dust up his nose-hole.
So what is the point of being one of the undead, a powerful scientist and sorcerer if you can't even cure yourself of a condition that renders you unable to go into a garden without needing an EpiPen shot? Skeletor should look into resolving this embarrassing condition before he steps out of Snake Mountain to fight He-Man.
18 Where Did He Come From?
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe hit the ground running when it came to Skeletor. They provided no explanation or backstory for him before pitting him against He-Man. One can understand why. When a guy looks like Skeletor, you don't need to present a two-hour documentary to make the audience understand that, yep, he's a bad guy.
But we'd still like some clarification.
According to the earliest origin stories, Skeletor is an interdimensional being who accidentally landed in Eternia. According to another retelling, he is King Randor's long-lost brother. So which story is true?
17 How Did He Get Snake Mountain?
As far as evil lairs go, you can't beat Snake Mountain. The place has a dank, dark look and a giant snake statue coiling around the edifice to signal that this building is not a family home or government property, but a bad place where bad things are plotted.
But how did Skeletor come by it? According to one story, the mountain was a holding cell for Serops, the snake god, created by the council of elders. So Skeletor is basically a squatter. But according to a different storyline, Skeletor himself built the structure from scratch.
16 Who Is Scare-Glow?
There is no shortage of weird looking humanoids with freaky appearances in Eternia. But Scare-Glow is just another level of freaky and weird. Because there is a strong chance he might be the spirit of Skeletor, who is... also still alive... what?
Skeletor called Scare-Glow from beyond space and time.
It is strongly hinted that Scare-Glow might be Skeletor's ghost from the future. It was later revealed that Scare-Glow is actually the ghost of Karak Nul. But how is he a ghost when he has a clearly solid body that just happens to glow? And why was he initially marketed as 'The Evil Ghost of Skeletor'?
15 Why Does He Turn Good Only During Christmas?
One particular He-Man and She-Ra Christmas special saw Skeletor learning about the true meaning of Christmas. A couple of Earth children get transported to Eternia during Christmas. There they get captured by Hordak and are sent to be held captive by Skeletor.
But instead of punishing the children for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive in their heart, Skeletor ends up befriending them and celebrating Christmas with them. He then proceeds to forget everything about them in the next episode and goes back to being a complete monster to everyone around him.
14 Is He A Scientist Or Sorcerer?
The thing about Skeletor is that he seems to be equally skilled at both science and magic, and he himself seems to have trouble telling the two apart. A lot of his minions make use of highly advanced scientific equipment to do his bidding, like ships and lasers.
But then he spends all his time obsessing over the magic inside Castle Grayskull and how to possess it.
Science and magic are historically shown to be opposing forces in fiction. You pick one or the other and stick with it. You never saw Lord Voldemort plotting to steal a nuclear bomb for his arsenal. Yet, Skeletor can't seem to decide which of the two forces he wants to gain mastery over.
13 Is Skeletor The Victim Here?
One of the backstories for Skeletor is that he is the half-brother to King Randor, named Keldor. The mother of Keldor was a woman from a different race called Gar, which is why Skeletor inherited her blue skin.
It is also implied that it is the color of his skin that prevented Keldor from claiming the throne, and he has been working to right this injustice ever since.
Can you imagine if this happened in the real world, where a person was stopped from becoming king because of his skin color? Our sympathies would totally be with Skeletor.
12 How Does Skeletor Not Know Who He-Man Is?
The whole thing about Skeletor is that he is a mastermind. That is why his minions follow him, and that is why the Sorceress who looks over Castle Grayskull views him as a serious threat. And yet, this evil genius could never figure out that Prince Adam and He-Man are the same people.
Everyone knows that the one superhero who has an even more pathetic disguise than Clark Kent is Prince Adam.
The man's idea of a secret identity is to wear lesser amounts of clothing and hope his muscles distract everyone from his face. And apparently, that is exactly what happens in the case of Skeletor.
11 Where Is His Power Sword?
During an episode, Skeletor realized that the source of He-Man's powers is his sword, and set out to make his own. And then he succeeded in making it. Skeletor's new sword was almost a match for He-Man during a couple of episodes and then got ignored completely afterward.
This is a recurring trend with Skeletor's plan. The guy really hates repeating himself. Why didn't he make an entire arsenal of power swords and distribute them to his minions and keep the biggest one for himself? And why does he need the powers of Castle Grayskull at all if he can already create a weapon of nearly the same amount of power as the sword powered by Grayskull?
10 Is Skeletor He-Man's Clone?
The very first time we saw Skeletor in the cartoons, viewers noticed a curious fact. Both He-Man and Skeletor are basically the same person from the neck down. Since Skeletor doesn't have a face, could we assume it also looks like He-Man's face?
Do the two have some clone-type deal going on?
The actual answer is that He-Man, Skeletor and related characters were initially created as action figures. To save time and money, all the male figures had basically the same exact shape and dimensions with different clothes and coloring added afterward. Hence the similarity in everyone's physiques.
9 Why Does He Eat?
We have seen a few sequences of Skeletor enjoying a hearty meal, or drinking a cup of some kind of liquid. But it has been established at various points that Skeletor is now basically one of the undead. He doesn't need to do any of the usual things other living beings do, like eating, sleeping, or burping.
Could it be like a phantom limb situation? Skeletor is only going through the motions of pretending to eat or drink to remind himself of his own humanity? Okay, now we're just starting to feel sorry for the guy.
8 Why Is He Mostly Left Alone?
Skeletor has repeatedly shown himself to be public enemy number one when it comes to Eternia. He has also never tried to hide the fact that he lives in Snake Mountain. So why have King Randor and his forces not stormed the mountain yet and captured Skeletor?
Instead of waiting for him to hatch a new plot and try to take over Castle Grayskull yet again, Randor could simply have him thrown in jail, cut off from his allies. But that never seems to occur to the Masters of the Universe, who are content to simply chase him away after every victory.
7 Why Doesn't He Get Better Minions?
To date, Skeletor has not won a single battle against He-Man and his allies. And the reason behind this is not that He-Man is some kind of genius who constantly outwits him. The rest of the Masters of the Universe are also too dumb to realize their leader is just Prince Adam wearing a hairy diaper.
The real reason Skeletor keeps losing is that his allies and minions are constantly disappointing him.
They forget their power sets, immediately lose every advantage in a battle and frequently have their plans backfire. So why does Skeletor keep himself saddled with such incompetent buffoons instead of releasing a job ad for competent assassins on Eternia's Linkedin website?
6 How Does He Get Funded?
From the looks of it, Skeletor is a really rich guy. Every episode he hatches a new scheme that uses resources that can fund a small city for a month. And yet we never get an idea of where he gets this endless supply of money to fund his hobbies.
If there is an evil board of directors backing his schemes, shouldn't they be fed up with his never winning, not even once? Or is Skeletor just really wealthy? Is Snake Mountain worth a lot of money on the real estate market? We doubt it. Does he have a side racket going on that we don't know of yet?
5 Why Does He Want Castle Grayskull?
Throughout the different iterations of the character, one thing has remained consistent about Skeletor: his obsession with taking over Castle Grayskull. The entire point of He-Man is to specifically protect Grayskull against Skeletor's attacks.
But one has to wonder why Skeletor is so eager to take over Grayskull.
He is already shown to be an accomplished scientist, sorcerer, and leader. He has frequently proven that he can go toe-to-toe with He-Man, the literal living embodiment of the power of Grayskull. So why keep attacking Grayskull instead of simply focussing on consolidating his already prodigious power and resources?
4 Is Skeletor Really A Threat?
We are supposed to see Skeletor as the ultimate evil. He makes people shake in their boots by his mere presence, and the heroes of the story consider him the biggest threat. But consider the fact that we never see King Randor taking any concrete steps towards neutralizing Skeletor, despite knowing where he lives.
This is the same Randor who has single-handedly repelled entire alien invasions against Eternia in the past. We have to assume that Skeletor is actually small fry for King Randor, which is why the king never bothers to confront him directly.
3 How Does He Laugh?
One of the most memorable characteristics of Skeletor is his evil laugh. He manages to infuse a strange menace into what is actually a pretty high-pitched cackle.
But once again, rationality compels us to ask, how exactly does Skeletor laugh?
Laughing, talking or moving the head in any way involves a complicated interplay of facial muscles with the bone beneath. Skeletor seems to be missing a crucial element of that combination. So how does he manage to do anything with his face more complicated than wobbling in place? Oh wait, we know: It's magic again, right?
2 What's Panthor's Deal?
We have to admit Panthor is the coolest ride in all of Comicdom. The large purple feline can increase the menace quotient of a scene simply by entering it. And that's a good thing because Panthor... doesn't really do much else.
When was the last time you saw Panthor accomplish anything? Sure, it's fought Battlecat a few times, but never with any kind of a conclusive result. We have to wonder why Skeletor keeps such a frankly useless creature around. Is he genuinely fond of the large cat? It can't be just about riding Panthor into battle, because Skeletor's spaceships and cars would be much better suited for that purpose.
1 Is Skeletor Irredeemably Evil?
Perhaps the biggest question about Skeletor that is yet to be answered is: Can he ever become a good guy? Sometimes he is portrayed as evil incarnate. Other times, he is shown to be a victim of bias who turned against a society that had betrayed him.
Skeletor is shown to be capable of softer emotions, like love, friendship, loss, and regret.
Some episodes suggest there is hope for his soul yet. Other times he is shown to be beyond redemption. Perhaps this moral ambiguity is what makes this strange half-human, half-skeleton alien creature such a compelling character.