Mattel Is Bringing Back the Original Vintage He-Man Figures Now Packed With Articulation [Updated]

Gif: Mattel
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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe sits in the upper echelons of popular and fondly remembered ‘80s toy lines. Decades after debuting way back in 1982, there have been several attempts to revive those original figures, but starting in 2020, io9 can exclusively reveal that Mattel will release a new Masters of the Universe Origins Line, starting with He-Man and Skeletor.

The Masters of the Universe Origins Line marks the first time Mattel is revisiting the vintage styling of its original MOTU toys. The new figures still stand about 5.5-inches tall, and feature the same incredibly buff builds and bulging muscles as the ‘80s figuress did, but with some updates made possible by 37 years of advancements in toy manufacturing.

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Mattel’s vintage MOTU He-Man figure (left) compared to the new MOTU Origins Line He-Man and Skeletor figures (center and right).
Photo: Mattel

Children of the ‘80s had to make do with just six points of articulation on their MOTU figures, resulting in some stilted battles between He-Man and Skeletor. But the new Origins line now features 16, allowing He-Man to finally raise his sword high into the air when calling upon the power of Castle Grayskull.

The revamped vintage line also features more details this time around, with improved paint jobs, and even new face sculpts that reflect the equally popular Masters of the Universe ‘80s animated series. But before you fly off into a rage about another toy company dabbling with nostalgia but messing with perfection, Mattel’s created an excellent stop-motion video showing off what Prince Adam and He-Man are now capable of with their newfound flexibility and posability. Take a first look below, debuting here on io9!

It turns out retro toy fans can have their Eternia cake and eat it too.

Even the packaging for the new Masters of the Universe Origins line is highly influenced by the original ‘80s figures, with a gratuitous use of shiny metal-effect lettering. Mattel has even created an updated line of mini-comic books that will be included with every Origins line figure—a tactic that originally allowed the toymaker to give the characters it was introducing in the early ‘80s an interesting backstory before the animated series hit the airwaves, but now it just serves as an added and welcome bit of nostalgia.

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The Masters of the Universe Origins Line packaging also reflects the design used back in the ‘80s.
Photo: Mattel

The 30+ year wait for He-Man to return to toy store shelves isn’t quite over just yet, however. The figures are being revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 for the first time, but won’t go on sale until Fall 2020, just ahead of the new He-Man movie that’s also en route.

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If you just can’t wait that long, there’s some good news: As part of its SDCC 2019 exclusives, Mattel will actually be selling a He-Man and Prince Adam collectible two-pack featuring the same highly articulated figures as will be included in the 2020 Origins line. The company’s online store appears to be sold out of them at the moment, but if you’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con this week, you’ll have a chance to grab the set at Mattel’s booth.

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MOTU’s Teela and Evil-Lyn will be returning to toy store shelves in 2020 as well.
Photo: Mattel
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Update: Thursday, July 18, 12:00pm EST: Masters of the Universe had one of the largest and most bizarrely diverse cast of characters of any ‘80s toy line. So after yesterday’s reveal of He-Man and Skeletor being the first two characters in Mattel’s new vintage-inspired Masters of the Universe Origins line, we can now reveal that Teela (with her snake armor headpiece) and Evil-Lyn will also be resurrected and included in the new line, and available sometime in the Fall of 2020 as well.


MOTU’s Man-At-Arms and Beast Man are getting an Origins line update too, and both are bringing their mustache A-game in 2020.
Photo: Mattel
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Update: Friday, July 19, 12:00pm EST: One of the greatest injustices in the history of toys was that the Masters of the Universe character, Man-At-Arms, sported a magnificent mustache in the Filmation animated series, but his action figure was devoid of any facial hair. Mattel is finally righting that wrong with its MOTU Origins line as today the toymaker reveals updated figures for Beast Man and Man-At-Arms, who finally carries over his fantastic ‘stache from the ‘80s cartoon. Both of these figures are enroute for 2020 as well, but should be on display at Mattel’s San Diego Comic-Con booth this weekend.


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