In 1982, Mattel launched a line of toys called Masters of the Universe. The toy line comprised a collection of action figures featuring a range of weird and wonderful characters, including He-Man and his arch-enemy, Skeletor.
To encourage sales of the toys, and flesh out the backstories of its characters, Mattel contacted animation specialists, Filmation, to see if the studio would produce a cartoon series to accompany the line. Filmation agreed, a deal was made, and the following year the animated series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe arrived on TV screens.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe proved to be very popular, and as well as helping to sell countless toys, it paved the way for more cartoons based around the Masters of the Universe brand. These cartoons included a spin-off show, sequels, and reboots, all featuring more weird and wonderful characters, including He-Man’s sister, She-Ra!
But what are all of the Masters of the Universe cartoons? Well, for that answer and more, I suggest you keep on reading.
Below is a run-through of all the Masters of the Universe shows that have been produced so far. From the original series, through to the most recent cartoon, I am providing all the details about the shows you may have missed.
Mastering the Universe
As noted above, the first cartoon in the Masters of the Universe series was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which arrived on screens in 1983. The show, set on the planet of Eternia, was incredibly successful and ran for two seasons, comprising a total of 130 episodes.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe concluded its run in 1985, but not before inspiring a spin-off show called She-Ra: Princess of Power. This series – which also ran for two seasons – focused on He-Man’s sister, She-Ra, and her adventures on Etheria.
She-Ra: Princess of Power featured crossovers with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, including an animated team-up adventure, He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special – a 44-minute festive feature which combined characters from both shows. However, Princess of Power was not quite as popular as its counterpart and concluded its run in 1986, after 93 episodes.
Following the conclusion of She-Ra: Princess of Power, both shows came to an end. The cartoon adventures of Masters of the Universe had proved to be a winner, but a hiatus was needed before moving forward.
Four years later, in 1990, a new He-Man cartoon made its debut, appropriately titled The New Adventures of He-Man. The series was designed as a loose continuation of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, with the opening episode being used to bridge the gap between the two cartoons.
The New Adventures of He-Man utilised a different animation house to its predecessors, and featured an almost entirely new cast. He-Man and Skeletor remained a key part of the series, but none of the fan-favourite characters from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe or She-Ra: Princess of Power were kept for the series, and the action moved from Eternia to the planet, Primus.
Although there were high hopes for The New Adventures of He-Man, the cartoon failed to connect with fans. As such, the series only lasted one season, and came to an end after 65 episodes.
Twelve years after The New Adventures of He-Man concluded, another He-Man show hit TV screens. The show was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – a reboot of the entire franchise.
Boasting stylish animation, and an anime aesthetic, 2002’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was conceived as a modern update of the 1983 series. It brought back all of the popular characters from the ‘80s show, but reset the story for a new audience.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was fairly successful, but ran for considerably less episodes than any of the previous shows. In total, 39 episodes were produced, with the final hitting screens in 2004.
At this point, the Masters of the Universe brand would go into another hiatus, before being given yet another reboot. But for this cartoon, He-Man sat things out, as his sister stepped back into the spotlight.
2018’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power aired on Netflix as a new take on the She-Ra mythology. The show established itself as a separate entity from all of the shows that came before and made no reference to He-Man.
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power ran for 52 episodes, split across five seasons. The show picked up a strong following when it first aired, including a great deal of critical praise.
With She-Ra’s adventures concluded in 2020, Masters of the Universe would receive its next revival in the form of Masters of the Universe Revelation. The show – which aired on Netflix in 2021 – would act as a loose continuation of the 1983 series, and pick up with characters and plot threads from the old show.
As noted by the title of the series, Revelation placed its focus on multiple ‘Masters’, rather than on He-Man. The series was designed to flesh out the ensemble cast, including popular heroes and villains such as Teela, Man-at-Arms, Evil-Lyn, and Orko.
And finally, hot on the heels of Masters of the Universe Revelation is another Netflix show. The series is He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which acts as a He-Man-focused reboot of the mythology, this time aimed at a younger audience.
OK, so those are the cartoons, now let’s put them in a handy to follow list!
A list of every Masters of the Universe cartoon
Below is a list of all the Masters of the Universe cartoons. The list includes the shows which centre around He-Man, as well as shows featuring She-Ra.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983 – 1985)
- She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985 – 1986)
- He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)*
- The New Adventures of He-Man (1990)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 – 2004)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018 – 2020)
- Masters of the Universe Revelation (2021)
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021)
*Please note: He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special originally aired as a one-off television special. It was later released as a standalone title on VHS and DVD.
I hope this post about Masters of the Universe has proved useful. For more nostalgia-inducing content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.