Netflix and Mattel, Inc. are developing “Masters of the Universe,” Mattel’s iconic franchise from the 1980s, into a live-action motion picture with Kyle Allen (“West Side Story”) set to star as Prince Adam/He-Man, both companies announced on Friday. The project was formerly in development at Sony, which will retain the film rights in China.
The live-action adaptation is expected to begin production in summer 2022.
The Nee Brothers (“The Lost City,” “Band of Robbers”) co-direct from a screenplay written by the Nees and David Callaham (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Wonder Woman 1984”).
In “Masters of the Universe,” an orphan named Adam discovers he is a prince destined to be the savior of a faraway land and must quickly learn of his power and the importance of saving his true home from an evil force.
“‘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,” Robbie Brenner, executive producer of Mattel Films said in a statement. “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.”
“We’ve always been inspired by the fantastical world of Eternia,” producers Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch added. “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.”
Brenner and VP of Mattel Films Kevin McKeon will lead the project for Mattel Films. Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and DeVon Franklin will produce.
Launched in 1982, the toy line was notable for an ever-expanding roster of colorful characters with weird gimmicks — like “Mekaneck,” whose neck extends, or “Man-E-Faces,” who transforms his head from human to robot to monster — and for minicomics included with every toy that explained and expanded the line’s lore.
The line’s popularity was boosted by “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” an animated series produced by Filmation from 1983-1985. That show spawned a feature animated film “He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword,” and the for-television “He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special,” launching the successor “She-Ra: Princess of Power” cartoon and line of toys.
“Masters of the Universe” was previously adapted as a live-action film in 1987, with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor and featuring Courteney Cox in one of her first film roles.
Last summer, Mattel and Netflix partnered to bring Eternia back to screens in two series. “Masters of the Universe: Revelation” is a continuation of the classic storyline from the 1980s. Kevin Smith served as the showrunner for the series, which features an all-star voice cast including Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, Chris Wood and Sarah Michelle Gellar. “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” is a CG-animated series, which reimagines the thrilling heroic adventures of the Guardians of Grayskull for a new generation of fans.
Allen, who most recently played Balkan, one of the Jets in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” first broke out on Hulu series “The Path,” co-starring Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan. Allen also had a recurring role in “American Horror Story.” Next up, Allen will play Romeo in “Rosaline,” a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet co-starring Kaitlyn Dever and Isabela Merced. Allen will also star in “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” co-starring Zac Efron and Russell Crowe.
Kyle Allen is repped by UTA, Management 360, attorneys Steve Warren & Huy Nguyen, and imPRint.