Beloved childhood cartoons do not always give us the same feelings of joy and contentment that they once did when we were young. It is rare when a cartoon you watched as a kid ages like wine; more often then not, your favorite cartoons age like milk. In my opinion, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe aged...superbly! Bet you didn't see that coming. Admittedly, the series has aged, but re-watching it still gives me enjoyment. Granted, the enjoyment is usually an embarrassed kind of enjoyment, wondering how I could have thought He-Man was so cool and Skeletor was so scary, but it is enjoyment nevertheless.
He-Man is a doughty barbarian hero, bursting to the seams with muscles and morality lessons for his viewers. His iterations have changed over the years, but they have followed the same basic guideline: He-Man is a hero. Whether he is saving Eternia, Primus, or Earth, he is doing his best to protect those who can't protect themselves. And he never does this alone. The cast of characters that surrounds him are colorful and engaging. There was Orko, the bumbling, Trollan buffoon, Teela, the strong and fiery-tempered female companion of Prince Adam's, and Man-At-Arms, the imaginatively named weapons master at Castle Grayskull, to name a few.
But He-Man, and his alter ego Prince Adam, sometimes bordered on the ridiculous. As a kid, we could just shrug our shoulders and continue watching the show. He-Man was He-Man, and that was usually explanation enough for situations that did not add up. But looking back on it now, there are quite a few things concerning He-Man that make very little sense, and some of these things are quite surprising. Here is a list of some astonishing facts regarding our all-time favorite protector of Grayskull.
25 Glass Master
One of the best/worst things about He-Man is that his skill set is never completely defined. We know he is super strong, but occasionally, he'll pull a trick out of his bag that we never knew he had. And sometimes, those tricks are downright weird. At one point, he moved his hands rapidly over some sand, and the force of his hands' motions caused the sand to turn into glass. Even though he was only rubbing a small portion of sand, he created giant sheets of glass, which he then lifted up and threw around a large bug, walling it in with the glass panes. Yeah, He-Man didn't always have the most explicable of moments. Sand heats up and turns into a liquid at extremely high temperatures. No matter how strong he-Man is, we doubt he turned such a wide area of sand into glass just by moving his hands in a tiny circle.
24 Ancestor Or Son?
Timelines can get a little funky in the Masters of the Universe series, especially when your characters are stuck in a continuity error because they have the same name. He-Ro is the name of He-Man's potential son as well as the name of one of his ancient ancestors. Let's start with He-Man's son. An idea for a continuation of the Masters of the Universe series revolving around He-Man's son, He-Ro, was pitched, but ultimately rejected. In another piece of canon, an ancestor of He-Man and She-Ra's that predates King Grayskull is also called He-Ro. So here we have two characters with the exact same name on either side of He-Man's life. This isn't too shocking, but it is definitely confusing.
23 Forget That Alter Ego
The animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that was produced by Filmation contains the most well-known images of He-Man's world. Even though He-Man began as a toy, most of us know him from that cartoon. When he was first made (as a muscular little action figure), there was never any mention of there being a Prince Adam toy to go with him. In the cartoon, Prince Adam was He-Man's alter ego, the Clark Kent to his Superman. Originally, He-Man was He-Man 24/7. The cartoon changed He-Man's backstory so that he was Prince Adam from the beginning, only gaining the power to turn into He-Man after the Sorceress granted it to him. In later iterations, cartoons and comics kept the idea of Prince Adam alive by retaining that aspect of the story. But let's be honest with each other. We always anticipated He-Man's appearances in the show with more enthusiasm than we did for Prince Adam's. Adam was a bit of a wet blanket.
22 Earth To Mom
Queen Marlena is wife to King Randor and mother to Prince Adam. She is kindly and virtuous and, like most of the inhabitants of Castle Grayskull, a promoter of goodwill. She is also not a native to the planet Eternia. (Small side note here: The planet and the realm are both called Eternia. I seriously think there is a deficiency of good names on Eternia.) Marlena is actually from the planet Earth. She was an astronaut, and she crash-lands on Eternia, causing her to be effectively stranded. Since magic exists on Eternia, she probably could have figured out a way off of the planet with the help of some friendly local residents. She falls in love with King Randor though, and she decides to become his wife and stay on Eternia. It makes me wonder if she ever misses her home. I mean, I'm sure she had parents and friends back on Earth. Apparently, they weren't worth an attempt at a return.
21 I Do My Own Stunts
Say what you will about his acting ability or his accent, you cannot deny that Dolph Lundgren looks the part of He-Man in the live-action adaptation of the cartoon called Masters of the Universe. Golly, he is as ripped as a paper that has gone through a shredder. Muscles just seem to burst out of him. Since his physique is so uniquely...huge, it was difficult to find a stunt double that looked suitably like Lundgren. With that being the case, Lundgren had to perform most of his own stunts, most of which involved He-Man-ly tasks such as tossing enemies around like a hacky sack. Some people criticized Lundgren for performing his stunts poorly, but I never had any qualms with them. Call me old-fashioned, but I like hokey action. The movie is dated, just like the show, and it makes for a good movie on bad movie night.
20 Ultimate Shot Put
One of He-Man's go-to solutions for solving problems is throwing things. Everyone makes fun of it, but hey, if it gets results, that means it works. Of course, Masters of the Universe can take this too far. At one point, He-Man was able to lift the entirety of Castle Grayskull and chuck it through a portal. When the castle is spirited away to another dimension, He-Man must retrieve it. Once he locates it, he makes his way to the base, settles the edifice on his shoulders and then just...lifts with his thighs? Look, we don't know exactly how He-Man does the things he does. He calls on the Sorceress to aid him, she says some magic words, lightning flashes, and then boop! He-Man tosses Grayskull into a portal to return it home. I'm especially amazed at He-Man's aim. The castle landed right where it used to be.
19 The Gun Controversy
When you turn anything into a film adaptation, there should be an expectation that things will be altered. Changes have to be made when converting something of any format to a movie that will be shown in theaters. These changes have often sparked heated debates about whether or not they should have been made, and one of the changes that Masters of the Universe made caused quite the revolt. Fans of the Filmation animated series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, were displeased at the inclusion of guns in the movie and of the increase in violence. This sentiment is admirable in that the fans wanted the movie to stick to the source material, but in the end, it is the director and the writer who made the creative decision to have He-Man shoot the bad guys. It is what it is.
18 My Hero, Orko
Orko's underrated. He might be the proverbial weak sidekick who constantly needs rescuing and gets you into trouble more than gets you out of it, but at least he's good for a laugh. Orko is from Trolla, an extradimensional world apart from Eternia. He is one of the few at Castle Grayskull who knows He-Man's secret identity as Prince Adam. He is the epitome of comedic relief, as he's usually not good for much else. But when he first met He-Man, Orko proved himself quite useful. When a young Prince Adam and his pet cat, Cringer, were hanging out in Tar Swamp, they got into a spot of trouble, and it was only thanks to Orko that they were saved from drowning in the swamp. And thus ended the only time when Orko was truly helpful. I kid, for the most part. Orko's pretty cool. When he's not being annoying.
17 Black Haired Beauty
When the concept for a new toy line was being considered, there were three possible versions of He-Man that could have been made. One was the barbarian model that we ended up getting, and the other two were a soldier and a spaceman, which were rejected. The barbarian model that was pitched looked a tad different from the He-Man we know and love. His skin was darker than what we are used to, and his hair was a thick black crop. When they finalized the concept, we got a blond-haired, muscular white guy. We're used to seeing He-Man as he's presented to us, but to be fair, with that much skin constantly exposed, he should definitely have had more of a tan than he does.
16 Toe-to-Toe With Superman
There's nothing like a good crossover to get the blood pumping, and what could be a better mash-up than Superman and He-Man. In several comics, Superman and He-Man team up to fight off Skeletor's evil machinations. Since the mixing of universes wouldn't be as fun without a brawl or two, the pair are forced to fight each other due to extenuating circumstances. In their fights, He-Man definitely holds his own against the Man of Steel, and the two trade blows as easily as we mere mortals trade Pokemon. Because they're the good guys, the fight dies away and they both turn their attention to the real culprit. Villains. Can't live with them, can't live without them.
15 Practicing Nonviolence
For such a buffly-drawn cartoon with a large and imposing sword, He-Man never actually swings his sword against an enemy to kill them. For being based on a barbarian, He-Man is definitely not barbaric. If you watch the Filmation cartoon, most of He-Man's moves against his enemies consist of body throws. His opponents will rush at him, and He-Man will just lift them up and toss them away (usually into a very conveniently placed mud pit). When He-Man does use his Sword of Power, he usually uses it against the environment, like cracking a giant boulder that was in the way into two manageable pieces. Other times, he uses it to deflect bolts of energy that evil magic-users will hurl his way. It's surprising to see fighting done this way, especially given what is included in modern cartoons, but it is refreshing to see a hero solve his problems without unnecessary violence.
14 By the Power Of Glue
We've said before that a lot of He-Man's unlisted abilities can be a bit absurd. I'm still reeling from his ability to turn sand into glass by rubbing it really quickly. I'm nitpicking, I know; I should not expect absolute realism when I am watching a cartoon kids' show called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It's irresponsible on my part. But seriously, a line has to be drawn when He-Man picks up a broken chair and fixes it by just placing the two parts next to each other. Come on! He didn't even use an adhesive! He just placed them next to each other, and by the power that is He-Man, they stuck to each other as if they were detachable puzzle pieces.
13 Coming Of Age
While Prince Adam lives with his parents, I still find it hard to believe that he is just a teenager. Am I right, or am I right? His voice is so deep, and he seems too brawny to be a teenager. Everyone on Eternia seems to have the bod of a Greek god, but just look at drawings of He-Man. How is it possible that he is a teenager?! That's the age his creators intended him to be though. Adam, as a teenager, is allowed to display moments of laziness and not be considered too much of a sloth (though to be fair, whenever he pretends to be lazy, he is covering up for the fact that he is actually He-Man). If Prince Adam were an adult, it would be weird how much time he spends playing with his cat and not attending to more princely matters.
12 Cruelty To Pets
Cringer is Prince Adam's pet cat, and normally, he's a mild-mannered cat that just so happens to talk (and he's rather large). He doesn't like to get into conflict, and he prefers to stay away from the ruckus that takes over Castle Grayskull on occasion. So what does Adam do? He uses the power that lets him turn into He-Man to transform Cringer into Battle cat, a ferocious counterpart to Cringer's shy personality. This is cruel when you stop to think about it, but what is even more cruel is the fact that Adam named his cat such a mean name. "To cringe" is to back away from something fearfully. Adam basically calls his pet cat a coward every day. Give Cringer a break! He just wants a little peace and quiet after you forcibly change him into a raging monster.
11 Skeleton From Uncle
Skeletor is He-Man's arch-nemesis. He is just as muscular as the rest of Eternia's citizens, but what sets him apart is his bright blue skin and the fact that his head is a floating skull. He-Man and Skeletor get into many scrapes, but Skeletor never really wins. Still, with his cunning and his powerful magic, Skeletor is a worthy opponent. In one version of these characters' backgrounds, Skeletor is really He-Man's uncle. The story goes that Skeletor and King Randor were brothers, but when their father gave the throne to Randor, Skeletor grew mad with envy and became evil. It is a tragic story, especially if you read the comic book devoted to the origin of Skeletor. But when you look at He-Man's encounters with Skeletor throughout the Funimation series, thinking that Skeletor is his uncle becomes kind of funny. It's the oddest uncle-nephew relationship I've ever seen.
10 Rock Blocking
Here is yet another one of those instances where He-Man's powers border on the insane. So a moon is tumbling out of orbit, set to collide with Eternia unless He-Man can do something about it. He-Man considers his typical repertoire of problem-solving solutions, and decides he's going to throw a rock at the moon so hard, that the moon will be deflected from its path. That is just what he does. And it freaking works. The rock had been filled with some explosive liquid, but still, it was the size of a beach ball. There is no way that should have happen. But as per usual, He-Man is He-Man, with the super strength to boot. Shattering falling moons is a piece of cake for He-Man.
9 Twin Love
Having twins separated at birth is becoming a bit of a trend. Luke and Leia did it, so why not Adam and Adora. When they were both young, Hordak, an evil sorcerer, kidnapped Adora and took her away to another dimension on a planet called Etheria. She grows up fighting for the evil Horde, but with the help of the Sorceress and He-Man, Adora realizes she is a good person and leaves the Horde, vowing to fight against Hordak and his rotten ways. These twin siblings are alike in their appearances in that they both have striking blonde hair, and they are both graced with the ability to wield special Swords. Let's just hope they never take a turn for the Cersei and Jaime Lannister kind of twin-ship.
8 Super Blowing
Yet another of He-Man's many powers shows up on this list. With super muscles come super lungs, and He-Man demonstrates his amazing ability to blow really hard on things when he fights enemies. He sucks in a deep breath, then blows his enemies over. This particular power is not as upsetting or as weird as some of his others that I've already mentioned on this list. Super breath is a power He-Man shares with Superman, and for some reason that makes it more believable. Quite frankly, he should use his super breath more often. Think of all the energy he could save. Instead of hurling his enemies away, all He-Man has to do is cough on them.
7 Manly Inspirations
Inspiration for He-Man was taken from two very important sources. The first is Cro-Magnon man. Cro-Magnons are the earliest known forms of modern humans. They were the first of early men to have a bit of a culture, and cave drawings by Cro-Magnon men can be seen to this day. The second source of inspiration for He-Man came from the Vikings. Vikings were a group of Norse sea raiders who led epic lives of adventure (or at least they do in pop culture depictions of them). Any illustration of a Viking or a Cro-Magnon man would make you think of He-Man. The barbaric outfit that He-Man sports is reminiscent of what Cro-Magnon men are imagined to have worn, and the pale complexion and blonde hair are typical of a Viking's appearance.
6 Move Over Professor Xavier
Another random ability that He-Man has is telepathy. The Funimation series shows him using this ability rarely, and it is mainly used as a form of communication between him and the Sorceress. During times in battle when He-Man really needs help, he calls out for her aid, and she'll respond by trying to give him a boost or whatever he needs. Remember that time when he picked up Castle Grayskull? He asked for the Sorceress to give him more strength, and she did. At this point in the list, is there anything He-Man can't do? He's got super strength, super breath, and he's also got the ability to ask an all-seeing Sorceress for help with only his mind. No wonder Skeletor always loses.
5 It's All In The Outfit
He-Man's power seems to come from his own bodybuilder body and from his Power Sword. However, his strength also comes from that chest piece he is always wearing as well. I'm telling you, the Sorceress built He-Man from the ground up. She created that chest piece for him, and it is made of an Eternian mineral called coridite. Coridite is rare on Eternia, and it enhances He-Man's physical strength, which is already quite hefty. Skeletor and Evil-Lyn once tried to steal some coridite of their own. (They were, of course, foiled.) In the Filmation series, the Sorceress has given Prince Adam everything. All that power he constantly scream about is because of her.
4 And Then He Was A Tornado
I promise, this is the last entry about He-Man's outlandish powers. But come on! This is ridiculous. Even though I don't get how He-Man could turn a wide expanse of sand into glass if he's only moving his hands in small circular motions over a tiny area, I can swallow that he could at least create enough movement to generate high enough temperatures. I can admit that. But how is he only moving his upper torso into a circle to create a tornado?! What is he, the hula hoop champion of Eternia? It is mind-boggling. Or maybe he's pulling an Exorcist moment, but instead of twisting his neck around really fast, he's twisting his hips. I don't know anymore. I'm going to stop trying to explain He-Man's plethora of powers.
3 And To My Only Daughter...
It is an ill-kept secret that Teela is the daughter of the Sorceress. It is unknown to Teela across most iterations of the series that the Sorceress is her mother, but it is revealed to audiences at the very least. The Sorceress keeps her daughter in the dark about the fact that she is her mother, supposedly, for her own protection. What keeps plaguing me though, is this: as the daughter of an actual goddess, why doesn't Teela have more power? The Sorceress gifts Prince Adam with a Power Sword and Princess Adora with the Sword of Protection. Where is Teela's gift? Why is the Sorceress leaving her own daughter out in the cold? Teela is a capable warrior, but she is never given any creditable abilities from the Sorceress. Why not? Methinks the Sorceress prefers Adam to her own child.
2 Ancestral Genes
Whenever Prince Adam pulls out his Power Sword to begin his transformation into He-Man, he yells out, "By the Power of Grayskull, I have the Power!" Now, we know that the castle is called Castle Grayskull, and we know that He-Man's power resides there. What you might not know is that the castle was named after an ancient Eternian hero named Grayskull, and that Prince Adam is a descendant of Grayskull's line (obviously on his father's side since his mother is from Earth). This partially explains why the Sorceress gifted Prince Adam with the Power Sword; his own ancestor wielded the power before Adam. Grayskull's own feline steed, compared to He-Man's Battle Cat, was called Battle Lion.
1 Power Swords... Unite!
In the Filmation cartoon, Skeletor wields a staff with a ram's head on it, and He-Man uses his Power Sword. In the mini-comics that came out with the first action figures, there were illustrations that showed Skeletor with one half of the Power Sword while He-Man still held the other. One time in the mini-comics, in order to defeat a common foe, Skeletor and He-Man connected their two swords together to complete the Power Sword. That is why for some of the toys you could connect He-Man's little sword with Skeletor's. This concept was never used in the animated series, but if it had, could you imagine how cool that would have been? An enemy more powerful than He-Man or Skeletor enters the scene, and the only way to defeat him is for these two adversaries to put aside their differences and unite their Power Swords. That would have been so epic.