Contains spoilers for "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" Part 1
The world of Eternia has returned to our screens with Netflix’s "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" Part 1. The first five episodes of the two-part series take everything audiences loved about the classic "He-Man" series of the 1980s and widen the scope to explore these characters in much deeper ways than ever before. Part 1 also sneakily subverts the expectations of what a "Masters of the Universe" show should focus on, with its story featuring a huge change in direction that works a treat.
Created by "Clerks" and "Dogma" director Kevin Smith, "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" chronicles what happens after a dramatic final battle between He-Man (voiced by Chris Wood) and Skeletor (Mark Hamill), following Royal Guard Captain Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as she’s tasked with reforging the Sword of Power in order to save the universe.
If you’re like us and have devoured all five episodes of Part 1, you’ll no doubt have some questions about what the ending means for Eternia, Subternia, and Preternia. The short answer? The legions of heroes will definitely have a huge fight on their hands to face a threat so deadly it will undoubtedly tip the balance of power in the universe. That said, their journey to find the missing Sword of Power wasn’t exactly easy, which makes the Part 1 ending even more devastating.
So, while we wait for "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" Part 2, let’s take a look at what that ending means for the heroes and villains of Eternia.
Teela steps up
Sure, He-Man wears a hairy loincloth and Skeletor’s a wizard with just a skull for a head, but they’re two of the most iconic animated characters of the 1980s. "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" treats them with a level of gravitas that dispels all silliness while still staying true to who they are. But most surprisingly, the series gets rid of them both by the end of the first episode since Skeletor was trying to get his hands on "all the magic that flows through Eternia," as He-Man puts it.
Surprisingly, the pair are both vaporized when He-Man absorbs all the energy through the Sword of Power to keep it out of Skeletor’s grasp. It’s a typical heroic sacrifice, but it’s still a shock to see the series kill off its most famous hero within the first episode. However, He-Man’s death paves the way for Teela to be thrust into the spotlight, as she renounces her new "Man at Arms" status and goes off in exile as a mercenary. But Teela eventually realizes that she has a purpose: Alongside Orko (Griffin Newman), Andra (Tiffany Smith) and Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey), she journeys to reunite the two blades that make up the Sword of Power, and along the way, she comes to understand that Eternia and all its realms are still worth fighting for.
Although Teela has to grapple with the fact that those closest to her lied about Prince Adam’s muscly He-Man alter-ego, she doesn’t let her bitterness get in the way of restoring magic to Eternia. Yes, she has difficulty working alongside the likes of Evil-Lyn and Beast-Man (Kevin Michael Richardson), but she knows that it’s all for the greater good.
Searching Subternia and meeting Scare Glow
As the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull (Susan Eisenberg) reveals, Teela has to travel to the realms of Subternia and Preternia to retrieve the two different blades that can be reforged into the Sword of Power. That’s no small feat, since Subternia is a demonic realm home to a bizarre entity known as Scare Glow (Tony Todd), which can drain any person’s life by forcing them to confront their worst fears. But let’s get the most pressing question out of the way first: Is Scare Glow actually Skeletor? He does have a similar skull-face, purple cape, and armor, after all.
Well, the demon tells Teela that Skeletor is a name he hasn’t heard for some time, and that he’s the "shadow of a ruler." Per Fandom, there’s been some debate over whether Scare Glow is Skeletor’s ghost from his eventual death in the future, or if he’s simply a being that Skeletor created. That said, a toy from 2009 lists Scare Glow’s real name as Karak Nul, a former bounty hunter who was banished into the Infinita dimension (via Parry Game Preserve). Either way, Scare Glow is a formidable foe, and his presence forces Teela to confront her bitterness about suppressing her own heroic status to live as a normal citizen after Prince Adam’s death.
Eventually, Teela overcomes the illusion and fights off Scare Glow by accepting her strengths, her weaknesses, and her fear because they all make her who she is. Giving any part of that up would be betraying herself. The hero’s honesty over her feelings also helps her manifest the Subternian blade from out under the bony villain’s control, so that’s nice.
Preternia and Prince Adam
Because good and evil are two sides of the same coin, the gate to Preternia, a heavenly realm filled with the souls of fallen heroes, is carved into the walls of Subternia. (So many -ernias!) Teela, Evil-Lyn, Andra, Beast-Man, and Roboto (Justin Long) cross over to the other side — after a tearful, heroic sacrifice from Orko against Scare Glow — and arrive to find none other than Prince Adam himself. It’s not exactly a happy reunion for Teela, because even though she just faced her own inner demons in Subternia, she didn’t expect to be faced with the person who’s the cause of her trust issues.
Even when Prince Adam hands over the Preternian blade, it doesn’t fix things for Teela. She wasn’t able to mourn the loss of Prince Adam (or He-Man) because he was hiding a huge part of his life from her, which she sees as a betrayal. But now that Teela has both blades, she and Adam reforge it into the Sword of Power using Roboto’s Quark particle collider in his chest. Convenient, huh?
Although he already sacrificed himself to save Eternia at the beginning of the series, Prince Adam gives up his place in the paradise to return home and restore magic to the universe, knowing that he can never return to Preternia. It’s yet another example of his truly noble nature — which is what actually makes him a hero, not his muscular transformation into the Champion of Grayskull. It’s just a shame he didn’t transform as soon as he returned to Eternia.
Skeletor: Master of the Universe
In a world like Eternia, a hero always needs a villain. Otherwise, he’s just a do-gooder with no real purpose — nobody to save, and nobody to fight. To balance the scales of Prince Adam’s resurrection, Skeletor also makes a shocking return at the end of "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" Part 1, impaling the hero with his ram-head staff. It’s not the first time audiences have seen the villain get one up on Prince Adam/He-Man, but this feels pretty dire — especially since before this moment, it’s explicitly pointed out that if the titular hero dies again, he won’t return back to the Preternian paradise.
But how did Skeletor make a comeback, anyway? In typical villain fashion, during the original explosion underneath Castle Grayskull in the fifth episode of "Masters of the Universe: Revelation," Skeletor waxes lyrical about sealing himself inside Evil-Lyn’s staff to "protect [his] essence." If he had a mustache, he’d be twirling it. And to add insult to injury, creator Kevin Smith and the series’ writers give Skeletor everything he’s ever wanted: the Power of Grayskull. Yes, that’s right: It’s taken just under 40 years, but the last episode of "Revelation" Part 1 hands the keys over to Skeletor and beefs him up into a hulking version of himself.
Interestingly, the juiced-up Skeletor is filled with a fiery green essence not too dissimilar to the powers Scare Glow wields the previous episode. Hmm. Anyway, it’s a huge cliffhanger to leave on. It’ll be interesting to see how this huge power-shift will affect the rest of Eternia in Part 2, especially since reforging the sword was meant to bring magic back into the world. Will all types of sorcery and spells be warped now that Skeletor has the power? Only time will tell.