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He-ManHe-Man ("The Most Powerful Man in the Universe") is the fictional heroic lead character in the toy series Masters of the Universe ("MOTU") and the various spin-off products and media related to it. The most prominent is the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, produced by Filmation Studios. The syndicated series premiered in 1983 and ran until 1985, for a run of 130 episodes. In the series, He-Man and his friends defend Eternia and the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil forces of Skeletor.
As with many parts of the Masters of the Universe story, He-Man's background and origins were somewhat revised in successive versions of the story and it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the various versions. In the earliest series of minicomics released with the original toys, He-Man is a wandering barbarian on the world of Eternia, which is dealing with the aftermath of a Great War that has devastated the civilizations that once ruled supreme over all lesser beings. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull gives He-Man special powers and weapons, and he sets out to defend the secrets of Castle Grayskull from the evil villain Skeletor.
Starting with the third series of mini-comics, the scenario was somewhat revised: He-Man's true identity is Prince Adam, the son of King Randor and Queen Marlena, the rulers of the planet Eternia. Marlena is from the planet Earth, making He-Man only half-Eternian. In the new version of events, The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull endowed Prince Adam with the power to transform into He-Man by holding aloft his magic sword and proclaiming, "By the power of Grayskull...I have the power!" This was carried over into the 2002 series.
Prince Adam's pet is a cowardly green tiger named Cringer. When Adam changes to He-Man, Cringer becomes a giant (and brave) armored green tiger named Battlecat, who serves as He-Man's steed. Adam is friendly with Teela, the female Captain of the Royal Guard, who has a crush on He-Man. Castle Grayskull, which resembles a gigantic skull, is the source of the Power of Grayskull. Inside the Castle lives the Sorceress. Part falcon and part woman, she possesses the magical ability to fully change herself into a falcon. The Sorceress is among the most powerful magic-wielders on Eternia. She can only utilize the power within Castle Grayskull for its protection. She also communicates telepathically with He-Man, and granted Prince Adam his transformative abilities.
To protect his family, He-Man keeps his double identity secret, sharing the knowledge only with Man-At-Arms, Orko, Cringer/Battle Cat and the Sorceress. The original cartoon series also indicated the dragon Granamyr and the cosmic enforcer Zodak also knew his secret. He-Man was usually accompanied by an assortment of allies in his battles, such as Ram-Man, Stratos and Man-E-Faces.
Adam has a twin sister named Adora, theoretically the Princess of Eternia, but in fact a leader in the Great Rebellion against Hordak on the planet Etheria. Adora, like Adam, has been given the gift of the power of Grayskull and has her own sword which she uses to transform into She-Ra, Princess of Power. He-Man made several appearances in the She-Ra: Princess of Power television series. He-Man's chief adversary is Skeletor, a blue-skinned sorcerer with a skull for a head, wearing a cowl. He is skilled in black magic as well as all forms of combat. Skeletor's weapon of choice is his Havok Staff, a ram's skull atop a large rod which serves to channel his magic and amplify his powers. Though his origin is mysterious, and the cartoon described him only as a "demon from another dimension," a tie-in comic implied that Skeletor was Keldor, younger brother of King Randor, thus making him He-Man's uncle.
Skeletor's base of operations is Snake Mountain, a fortress made of polished black basalt, which has a giant stone snake coiled around it. Snake Mountain is located on the Dark Hemisphere of Eternia. Skeletor leads a motley crew of henchmen against He-Man and his associates; the most popular are the sorceress Evil-Lyn, the bumbling Beast Man, the bionic Trap-Jaw, and Tri-Klops. In the 1980s series, He-Man/Adam was voiced by John Erwin. In the 1987 feature film, he was played by Dolph Lundgren. Gary Chalk provided the voice of He-Man for the 1989 series The New Adventures of He-Man (and later the voice of Man-At-Arms for the 2002 series). In the 2002 series, He-Man was voiced by Cam Clarke (who voiced Leonardo on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series).
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