In response to a fan who complained about the race swapping of characters in Kevin Smith’s upcoming Netflix-produced Masters Of The Universe: Revelations series, which has thus far seen both Andra and King Grayskull changed in such a way from their original forms, Netflix Director of Original Series Ted Biaselli has revealed that the production team made the decision to alter the two characters out of a fear that new characters “could be easily rejected”.
On July 3rd, just days before its slated July 7th release date, Bleeding Cool Founder Rich Johnston published a report on a particular panel from the premiere issue of Dark Horse’s Masters Of The Universe: Revelation prequel comic book series which recently leaked online.
In the leaked panel, it is revealed that in this continuity, King Grayskull, the historical ruler of Eternia whose power fuels Prince Adam’s transformation into He-Man, is now a black man.
This version of King Grayskull can also be seen in the series’ Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 trailer standing behind an untransformed Prince Adam as a member of The Guardians of He alongside fellow Guardians He-Ro and Viko
Shortly after this news broke, it was shared to the shared wall of the private Facebook “He-Man & She-Ra fan group”, Shadow Weavers Realm, whereupon it was met with disappointment by a black member of the group who stated, “Ugh. I prefer making new unique black characters than race swapping originally white characters.”
“Instead of wearing your own shirt, you’re getting a hand-me down shirt from someone else,” added the fan, as seen in screenshots provided to Bounding Into Comics by YouTuber Ninja Knight.
This fan’s complaint was soon met with a response from Biaselli, who went on to detail the production team’s reasoning behind the decision to race swap not only King Grayskull, but as previously revealed, the as-of-this-series-no-longer-comic-book-exclusive character of Lieutenant Andra.
“I hear you,” said Biaselli. “And that will indeed be a part of our story too. But a big hurdle when you’re introducing a new character to a line of so many well established characters is that they are bound to be outsiders, and harder to accept as canon, at least for a while. Nobody gives a s–t about Sir Lazer Lot.”
On the specific race-swapping of King Grayskull, Biaselli explained, “We asked ourselves early on about the need for giant white, blonde dudes in the pantheon of [Masters of the Universe]. And honestly, it makes both characters less special in their iconography.”
“I wish I could take credit for being the one with the idea to make [King] Grayskull black,” he added. “Because now, in the history of all the champions of Grayskull, a black man has a role of prominence. As opposed to just being the guy with the clamp [a reference to Clamp Champ, the only black character to receive an action figure in the original toy line].
Turning to the topic of Andra, Biaselli wrote, “Same thing with Andra. She was initially created as a new character [but] it was my idea to dig into the lore and raise up a character who had a small appearance but a strong following.”
“People have been wanting to see Teela and Andra fight side by side for a while,” said the Netflix Director. “As opposed to creating a new character that could easily be rejected.
Biaselli then asked the fan “Honestly, do we really need two badass redheads?” before explaining that the decision to race swap Andra was done because “MOTU had NO women of color, and we saw an opportunity and took it.”
“Why not give little black girls a hero that looks like them?” he concluded.
The first issue of the Masters of the Universe: Revelation prequel series is currently set to release on July 7th, while Kevin Smith’s animated series of the same name will debut on july 23rd.
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