A new report claims the planned Masters of thBree Universe live-action film will no longer move forward at Netflix after development costs bloated to at least $30 million.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 2. Chris Wood as He-Man in Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 2. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

This new report comes from Variety’s Matt Donnelly who declares, “Masters of the Universe, a live-action movie based on He-Man and a slew of other popular Mattel toys, is officially dead at Netflix, according to multiple Variety sources.”

Donnelly added, “Insiders said that close to $30 million has already been spent on development costs and the cash that’s been shelled out to hold on to talent – like previously announced lead Kyle Allen and the film’s heatseeking directing duo Adam and Aaron Nee.”

But $30 million might be on the low end, Donnelly notes, “Other knowledgable (sp?) sources estimate all-in costs for development at twice that figure.”

Mumm-Ra impales Adam on his Power Sword in He-Man/Thundercats #1 (2016), DC Comics

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Before this report, the movie already had a troubled pre-production. Noah Centineo, who played Atom Smasher in last year’s Black Adam was originally cast to play He-Man in the film back in 2019. At that time the film was expected to be produced by Sony Pictures.

However, in January 2022 the character was recast with West Side Story’s Kyle Allen taking on the role. With Allen taking on the role the project was also moved to Netflix. Mattel Films producer Robbie Brenner confirmed the move at the time saying, “Masters of the Universe is an iconic property that shaped the imaginations of an entire generation of kids with the message of becoming the best version of yourself.”

She added, “With our partners at Netflix, we look forward to showing audiences that anything can happen in Eternia. We are continuing to unlock this global franchise in new ways, and we can’t wait to see Kyle battle it out with Skeletor in this epic live-action saga.”

Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 2. Mark Hamill as Skeletor in Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Part 2. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

In fact, the film’s producers note they’ve been trying to get a live action film made for 14 years. Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, and Steve Tisch issued a joint statement, “We’ve always been inspired by the fantastical world of Eternia. This movie has been 14 years in the making for us and our partners and we are so excited to tell an entirely new story for Masters of the Universe with the Nee Brothers and Dave Callaham for Mattel and Netflix and share it with a global audience.”

Callaham’s addition was also new for the project at Netflix. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway had previously worked on a script for the film while it was at Sony.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (L to R) Yuri Lowenthal as He-Man in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2022

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David Goyer also worked on the script while it was at Sony and was even in talks to direct the film at one point. He explained what they had planned to The Hollywood Reporter back in 2021, “What I liked the most about it was that it was mostly about a friendship between He-Man and Battle Cat. The idea was there had always been He-Men and different recipients of the Sword of Power, and that Battle Cat had always served at their side.”

Goyer continued, “And this was a new He-Man that Battle Cat and many people didn’t think was worthy of the sword. So it was a story of the character earning the sword but, more importantly, earning the friendship of Battle Cat, who just thought this guy was a lightweight. I really liked it. I thought it was a fun story. There was a lot of humor in it, and it creeps up on you because Battle Cat sort of grudgingly accepts him, and it’s Battle Cat’s acceptance of He-Man that gave this version of the story heart.”


As for the film at Netflix the movie was expected to see an orphaned Adam discover he is a prince who is expected to save a faraway land. It would depict He-Man learning how to wield his powers and discovering why it is so important to save his true home from the forces of evil.

He-Man punches Mumm-Ra in He-Man/Thundercats #1 (2016), DC Comics

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The move to Netflix came after Mattel partnered with the streamer for the animated Masters of the Universe: Revelation series helmed by Kevin Smith. The animated series debuted in 2021 and was panned by audiences.

The series has an abysmal 5.5 out of 10 rating on IMDb.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation IMDb

On Rotten Tomatoes the series has a 38% Audience Score.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Rotten Tomatoes Score

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The report does not mention whether or not the reception for Masters of the Universe: Revelation affected Netflix’s decision to move on from the project, rather it points to failed negotiations around the film’s budget. Mattel and the film’s producers apparently tried to sell Netflix on a $180 million budget, but Netflix still said no despite that budget including the rights to the film as well as the already incurred development costs. Negotiations also reportedly included a sequel that would be shot at the same time.

Despite claiming Netflix seemingly owns the film rights now, Black is trying to the shop film elsewhere having contacted Universal Pictures in the last month. However, Universal reportedly passed on it.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (L to R) Yuri Lowenthal as He-Man and Kimberly Brooks as Sorceress in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2022

What do you make of the live-action He-Man getting stuck in production hell shortly after audiences rejected Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation?

NEXT: Masters Of The Universe: Revelation Showrunner Kevin Smith Attempts To Explain Why He-Man’s Armor Was Changed

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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.