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Hero and the Land of Legends - Filmation's Take on the Powers of Grayskull?

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  • MOTU Hero and the Land of Legends - Filmation's Take on the Powers of Grayskull?

    In the interest of sharing as much information as possible about the abandoned Powers of Grayskull spinoff of the vintage line, I'm providing the following information on what it appears Filmation was planning to do with it. All material comes from Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation by Lou Scheimer and Andy Mangels; if James Eatock or anyone else wants to correct or supplement what I've provided here, I welcome it. I think this falls under fair use, as the total material adds up to about half a page of a 288-page book. That said, if anyone's interested in the history of He-Man, She-Ra, or Filmation, I recommend the book. It's definitely a memoir, not a reference, but there are all sorts of fun details in it.

    According to Scheimer, original development started on "Hero and the Land of Legend" back in April 1987.(244) (This may be mistaken; Scheimer's not always the greatest at details in his recollections.) In 2001, he revisited the concept, Although Scheimer states that "it had nothing to do with the He-Man sequel He-Ro that we did with DIC back in 1996," (p. 271, as are all subsequent quotes), I think this was going to be the Powers of Grayskull spinoff.

    The high concept was that this was "the story of a prehistoric world that featured emerging tribal cultures and aliens, fantastic creatures and high-tech robo-organic Chromosaurs, cave dwellers and monsters. It was the mythical Land of Legend, a brave new world still in its infancy. On the side of good were the Naturals, tribespeople who were both humanitarian and ecological. Opposing them were the Saurians, a reptilian race who wanted to subjugate--or eradicate--humanity."

    It sounds an awful lot like Preternia and the threat of the Dino-Reptilian Kingdom, but that's fairly archetypal--you get something similar in the old Land of the Lost show, I believe. But it's the bit about our hero that's the kicker.

    "Hero was a young member of the Tree Tribe named Jak, who could access supernatural powers and turn into an older warrior version of himself." The name's different, but poor He-Ro's been through so many names. But again, nothing definitive, until ...

    "When Jak would place one hand on his heart and hold the other above his head, and recite the chant "Magic and Strength, guided by Heart," he would transform into Hero. His powers included a magical ability over organic beings, plants, and animals, and he was able to transform some of his animal companions into mighty creatures to help him."

    Those bits are almost directly from He-Ro's bio in the 1987 Style Guide. I'd say we can be fairly certain that this concept evolved from the Powers of Grayskull spinoff, with changes over the intervening 15 years. Which means the next bit raises a very intriguing question ...

    "Jak had a counterpart in the young girl named Kara, a member of the desert nomad RoadTribe. Having discovered the magical Brainstorm, Kara was granted the power to become the charismatic Leadra, a super-woman who could bend the powers of the elements to her will." A female counterpart with the 'ra' suffix? Was this Lou's attempt to add general balance, or was Mattel planning a She-Ra counterpart for PoG?

    Again, it's tough to tell what was Mattel and what was Filmation/Lou Scheimer, and what came from the 1987 original concepts and what was from the 2001 revision. But it's a fascinating glimpse into what might have been...

    An end note: Back in the late 90s, someone on the mailing list floated the idea of relaunching He-Man using the Powers of Grayskull concept as the starting point. Just a coincidence, or was someone familiar with Lou Scheimer's ideas trying to take the temperature of the fans?

  • #2
    The two most definitively seem to be tied up together.
    “A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill." ― Robert A. Heinlein


    • #3
      Thank you for sharing this with us, Matthew L.Martin ! I personally like these ideas and where this could have brought us... I would have prefered a hero based in a legendary past, with snakemen, dinosaurs and reptilian enemies !

      On the contrary, the Son of He-Man faction (story ANDS figures), which is now being released little by little, makes me gag...


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