The He-Man Movie You Never Saw Would Have Been Like a Buddy Comedy

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The concept was integral to Goyer’s screenplay, since Adam’s newfound role as He-Man would have come attached with an intimidating, seemingly-unattainable legacy, of which this wryer, more-critical version of Battle Cat seems acutely aware. Thus, Adam’s arc as an upstart hero would have hinged on earning the ornery Battle Cat’s stamp of approval, yielding buddy comedy style interactions.

“So, it was a story of the character earning the sword, but, more importantly, earning the friendship of Battle Cat, who just thought this guy [Prince Adam] was a lightweight,” explains Goyer. “I really liked it. I thought it was a fun story. There was a lot of humor in it and it creeps up on you because Battle Cat sort of grudgingly accepts him, and it’s Battle Cat’s acceptance of He-Man that gave this version of the story heart.”

Goyer’s comments shed light on the reasoning behind the eventual casting of Noah Centineo, who—hardly the WWE-level jacked giant one would envision for the role—seemed set to convey Adam’s getting-by-on-good-looks slacker personality, having come from the realm of teen comedies, notably from his role as Peter in 2018 Netflix rom-com To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and its two sequels. It not only would have been interesting to see how a fully-transformed He-Man himself would have manifested in this live-action attempt, but how Battle Cat could have served as his shade-throwing foil.

Unfortunately, fate would not favor this particular Masters of the Universe live-action reboot project, which saw several attempts—notably the Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones-influenced version under director Jeff Wadlow. Those years saw several hints about the movie in the form of early versions of its logo and various concept art designs, which revealed a motif that—perhaps in response to Marvel’s 2014 success with Guardians of the Galaxy—leaned into the space-esque sci-fi technology side of the franchise’s traditional amalgam with savagery and sorcery.

Back in 2015, one of the project’s more enthusiastic early proponents, producer DeVon Franklin, tweeted a concept image of what the Battle Cat in question might have looked like—albeit as a CGI creation—in this particular live-action milieu. Yet, despite years of hype and even a projected, never-realized March 2021 release date, the project came to an ignominiously anti-climactic end, notably affirmed this past April after Centineo reportedly exited the COVID-stopped production.

Regardless, Goyer, having made a monumental mark on the industry with The Dark Knight Trilogy, among other heavy hitters, isn’t thinking about He-Man and Battle Cat these days, since his hands are currently tied with two lofty tasks as the credited creator of Netflix’s developing television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and, more imminently, the Apple TV+ television adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s sprawling novel franchise, Foundation.

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