Why Netflix Was Right To Make He-Man 2021 An Independent Story

Netflix’s new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe show is completely unconnected to any other recent entries in the franchise, and that decision seems to be working out great for the series so far. The Masters of the Universe brand is back in a big way, with Netflix leading the charge through shows like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and Masters of the Universe: Revelation. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is the latest addition to the popular 1980s franchise, and it’s finding success by detaching itself entirely from what’s come before.

In the modern media age of the MCU, Star Wars, and other big franchise names, interconnectivity and transmedia narratives have become the norm. All of Disney’s Star Wars projects exist within the same canonical universe, the MCU multiverse has connected old films series with new entries into the long-running superhero franchise, and characters from the DCEU have appeared in various Arrowverse crossover events such as Crisis on Infinite Earths. Multiverse storytelling is huge in the modern era because it allows for the creation of massive, overarching storylines and lots of points of engagement for viewers. But with Masters of the Universe, Netflix has taken a different approach.

Related: He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Why The Reviews Are So Positive

The collection of She-Ra, Revelation and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe all exist in entirely different canons with entirely different looks and feels, and that model has been working pretty well so far. In fact, the three He-Man shows released by Netflix in recent times have nothing to do with one another. It’s allowed for each series to focus strictly on its own specific audience – new, young fans in the instance of He-Man 2021, older fans of the 1980s cartoon for Masters of the Universe: Revelation, and so on – rather than forcing them to all adopt the same tone.

For Netflix’s new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, that’s worked out quite well so far. The series is receiving significant praise from critics because of how it’s revamped the franchise for a new audience, keeping pieces of the old cartoon while still updating many aspects of it in important ways. He-Man 2021 is a show for kids, and it knows it. Therefore, it wouldn't make sense for it to be set in the same universe as other He-Man stories, or She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

Though all these shows are derived from the same franchise, they all serve different audiences and have drastically different energies. In an era when most big franchises are unified by canon, Netflix has taken a bold step by developing each of their Masters of the Universe properties independently. Not everyone has loved all of them, but that’s partly the point. By allowing He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 2021 to exist in its own new world, Netflix giving it the best chance of succeeding on its own terms.

Next: Why Masters of the Universe Looks So Different From Original He-Man

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