Masters of the Universe, a big screen reboot of Mattel’s He-Man/Masters of the Universe multi-media property, is one of those projects that seems to be continually in development, but has yet to progress beyond the script development stage. Today we can confirm that a fresh Masters of the Universe screenplay draft has been finished by writer/director Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2); whether or not the project at last takes the next step forward, remains to be seen.
The Masters of the Universe franchise (including its various comics/cartoon spinoffs) revolves around the fight between forces of good (He-Man/She-Ra) and evil (Skeletor) in the fantasy world of Eternia. It was a popular geek property of the 1980s, similar to brands such as Transformers and G.I. Joe; in fact, G.I. Joe: Retaliation director John Chu was once set to reboot the Masters of the Universe live-action film iteration.
Wadlow joined the project as a screenwriter after Chu stepped down as director; hence, the Masters of the Universe script has gone through a handful of writers’ hands at this stage. That list includes Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean 1-4), Richard Wenk (The Equalizer), and writing duo Alex Litvak and Michael Finch (Predators).
Those combined film credits indicates that Masters of the Universe is, in fact, meant to be a fun action/fantasy offering that’s nonetheless more straight-faced than camp-tastic. It remains to be seen if all of these scribes get credited for their contributions, but their names are included on the Masters of the Universe script cover that Columbia Pictures Senior Vice President DeVon Franklin posted via his Twitter account (see below).
Wadlow is reported to be in the running to direct Masters of the Universe, assuming that Columbia Pictures heads approve of his completed script draft. The writer/director also finished a script for an X-Force movie that may or may not ever get filmed – now that 20th Century Fox is moving forward with X-Men films like Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016 instead – but Wadlow might have more luck with his He-Man movie screenplay.
Kick-Ass 2 was neither as commercially successful nor nearly as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, but Wadlow did show potential as a pop action filmmaker on the comic book adaptation (read our review for more insight on that). 1980s-born IP revivals like Masters of the Universe don’t exactly have a strong quality record, but it’s possible that someone like Wadlow could bring a fresher perspective to the proceedings… or, failing that, at least a competent approach to updating He-Man.
However, before he gets a shot, Wadlow’s Masters of the Universe script has to go over with studio heads well enough to earn a green-light; otherwise, it’s back to the drawing board (… again).
We’ll keep you updated on Masters of the Universe as more information is made available.