It probably shouldn't shock anyone to realize that any franchise whose main character was named "He-Man" was, in fact, kind of ridiculous. But somehow the Masters of the Universe toys, cartoons and movie managed to exceed all expectation of weirdness. Here are a dozen bizarre He-facts that you've probably forgotten (or repressed).
1) He-Man Is Actually Half-Human.
While Prince Adam's dad King Randor is an Eternian born and bred, his mother Marlena is actually from Earth. Marlena Glenn was a NASA astronaut on a one-person mission to Europa, when her shuttle was knocked off course and somehow landed on Eternia. She was found by King Randor, married him, and eventually gave birth to Prince Adam. Interestingly, the first time she was mentioned as being from Earth was in the original DC Masters of the Universe comic, so that He-Man would have a reason to recognize guest-star Superman — apparently Marlena told her son of the Man of Steel's exploits when he was a kid.
2) Skeletor Is He-Man's uncle.
Only hinted at in the original Masters of the Universe mini-comics, this rather major revelation became canon in the 2002 He-Man cartoon. Skeletor was King Randor's brother, who wanted the throne for himself and turned to dark magic to seize it. In the 2002 cartoon, Keldor tried to throw acid on his brother's face, but Randor deflected it back on to him, giving Keldor his visible skull. Keldor only survived the injury with Hordak's help, after promising to serve the evil conqueror.
3) Skeletor Is Legimiately Blue.
Did you know that other than his armor and boots, Skeletor is just as nude as He-Man? It's true, and that means yes, his flesh is an odd light-blue color. According to the 2002 cartoon and Masters of the Universe Classics toyline, Keldor is somehow a Gar, an ancient blue-skinned race that assassinated the original King Grayskull and have been reviled ever since. Why Keldor is a Gar and his brother Randor and father are Space-Caucasian or whatever they're supposed to be is unknown. In fact, according to the most recent MotU stories, Keldor was Randor's older brother, but was passed over by his father for the throne because of the color of his skin. That's racist!
4) He-Man's Pal Teela Is More Important Than He-Man.
He-Man was of course the most powerful man in the universe, but arguably the Sorceress — the person responsible for giving Prince Adam the Sword of Power and protecting the secrets of Castle Grayskull — is even more important, given that He-Man wouldn't exist without her. And the Sorceress' successor is none other than her daughter, Prince Adam's female friend Teela (one of two female MotU action figures). She has a variety of origins based on the various cartoons and comics, but whether she's a daughter by birth or a magical clone, she's still next in line to be Sorceress. Sometimes the character Man-at-Arms is her real father, sometimes her adopted father; in the 2002 cartoon her dad may have been the character ridiculously named Fisto. In the most recent toyline canon, the Sorceress is eventually killed by King Hiss of the Snake-Men and Teela becomes the Sorceress for real.
5) He-Man Was A Notorious Cheapskate.
Filmation Studios made both the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons, which were infamous for using and re-using (and re-using even more) the same few animated sequences over and over again. But the best indication of their cheapness may be this: in the original cartoon bible for Masters of the Universe, the small, floating, idiotic wizard-jester Orko was named Gorpo. He was going to have a big "G" on the front of his tunic and everything. Filmation renamed the character Orko purely so he would have a big-ass "O" on his chest instead — which meant the animators could flip his animation over without it looking backwards, effectively giving them twice as much footage.
6) He-Man Never Hurt Anybody.
I'm 100% serious, at least in the cartoon. You can watch all 130 episodes and not once will He-Man ever truly harm any living creature — he won't use his sword for anything other than cutting obstacles or blocking various lasers; he won't even punch another living creature (punching robots is okay, though). If He-Man did need to engage in a physical confrontation with another sentient being, he would inevitably grab them and then throw them somewhere, like in a barrel, a puddle of mud, water, etc. Given that He-Man was one of the first cartoons based on toys, and was under heavy scrutiny by the FCC and parents alike, Filmation wanted to make sure it had as little objectionable content as possible. That's also why the show had the morals stuck on at the end.
7) She-Ra's Sword Was Absurd.
The twin of He-Man's Sword of Power, She-Ra's Sword of Protection allowed Adora to transform into the mighty warrioress when she held it aloft and yelled "For the honor of Grayskull!" It was also a ridiculous deus ex machina because, unlike He-Man's sword, it could transform into pretty much anything. A rope, a boomerang, a magnet — hell, it even turned into a pair of handcuffs in one episode. But the most ludicrous thing it ever turned into? An ice maker. Yes, if She-Ra ever stayed in a cheap motel, she could keep her beverages cool.
8) Nobody Loves Stinkor.
Stinkor was one of the very few toys that never made it into the He-Man or She-Ra cartoons. This was intentional, as Filmation, the animation studio responsible for making the shows, thought the character was too dumb to use (given that Orko was a main character, this is really saying something). For the record, the Stinkor figure's amazing stink was created by adding patchouli oil into the plastic as it was molded; many Stinkor figures still smell terrible to this day.
9) He-Man Gave Some Major Nerd Celebrities Their Start.
Bruce Timm and Paul Dini are best known for co-creating the amazing DC Animated Universe with their Batman, Superman and Justice League cartoons, but one of their first gigs was at Filmation. Timm was a background artist and layout designer for the cartoon, while Dini wrote scripts. In fact, Timm made his comic book debut with the mini-comics included with the He-Man action figures. Another name you might know? J. Michael Straczynski, who sent Filmation a He-Man spec script out of nowhere and got hired as a story editor for He-Man and the She-Ra cartoons.
10) He-Man Defeated Spider-Man.
One of the '80s finest purveyors of schlock movies, Cannon Films originally had the rights to make a live-action Spider-Man film, but decided to use their funds to make the Masters of the Universe movie and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace instead. The hope was the two movies would be successful enough to create a Spidey movie with a much larger budget. Both of these hopes were dashed quite emphatically.
11) He-Man Had His Own Bat-Signal.
The Widgets, a very Hobbit-like race of tiny people in Eternia, were constantly being threatened — enough so that they devised a He-Man signal to call him when necessary. This flare made a giant version of He-Man's chest symbol appear in the air — which seems pretty innocuous until you remember He-Man's symbol is an iron cross, the military decoration used mainly by the German armies of the 19th and 20th centuries, including the Nazis. Not shockingly, when a rebooted He-Man cartoon premiered in 2002, He-Man's cross was changed to a less troubling "H" symbol.
12) The Masters of the Universe Movie Sequel Would Have Been the Worst.
Before Cannon Films went out of business, they planned to make a Masters of the Universe 2 with surfer Laird John Hamilton as He-Man, since Dolph Lundgren hated the first movie and refused to reprise the role. This movie would have been terrible on several levels, mostly because He-Man would be back on earth, disguised as a pro quarterback, while Skeletor would also be on earth, masquerading as an evil CEO (sigh) named Aaron Dark. How amazingly terrible does that sound?