MOTU is the name of a media franchise by Mattel. The franchise comprises TV series, films, comics and action figures. It features the characters He-Man and Skeletor among others. Since its initial launch in 1981 there have been four animated television series, several comic series, a film and numerous action figures.
The toyline was initiated by Roger Sweet, who managed the line throughout its whole original run. The character of He-Man was given three different designs: an old-fashioned style barbarian, a contemporary military man, and a futuristic spaceman. The barbarian design was the most popular, but the overall design was selected when a chief Mattel executive pointed to Sweet's prototype figures and declared, 'those have the power,' a line which the Filmation cartoon would paraphrase as He-Man's famous catch-phrase, 'I have the power!'.
Early promotional literature from Mattel refers to Skeletor and his followers as the 'Masters of the Universe' and an early version of the opening title sequence for the 1980s incarnation also uses this description, and was used on the VHS version of the early episode 'The Dragon Invasion.' However, later literature and spin-offs use the term 'Masters of the Universe' for He-Man and his allies. Series writer Robby London has commented that he noticed the change in description, and personally considers both sides, good and evil, to be the 'Masters of the Universe.' The 1987 live action film features yet another interpretation of the phrase, as the opening narration claims that whoever occupies Castle Grayskull will have 'the power,' and this power will make them 'masters of the universe.'
Roger Sweet claims to be the chief creator of He-Man and MOTU, although this is not officially acknowledged by Mattel. The earliest storybooks and much of the original backstory were written by Donald F. Glut.
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