In Kevin Smith’s Netflix sequel to the classic Masters of the Universe cartoon, the warrior/Prince Adam’s best friend Teela plays just as important a role as He-Man himself. It’s a change to be sure, and change is something some 40-year-old nerds traditionally don’t handle well when it comes to the classic franchises of their youth. But Sarah Michelle Gellar, the voice of Teela and beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer icon, feels optimistic about those fans’ reactions to Revelation.
“Maybe I have too much hope for humanity, but I don’t think [a negative fan reaction] is going to happen,” says Gellar. “I think that when you love a world, you want to see that world continue and you want to see more of that world. And I think [fans] have to have the faith that this show is brought to you by people that love the story, loved the characters, and loved that world.”
Although by all indication in its trailers, Revelation is honouring its source material to a truly remarkable degree, it’s still impressive that Gellar has hope that there won’t be some classic He-Man fans who will scream vitriol at the top of their virtual lungs about any deviation from their beloved ‘80s franchise, especially when it comes to adding diversity. We’ve seen it with Star Wars, Star Trek, and the 2016 Ghostbusters especially.
Updating Masters of the Universe seems like a tailor-made opportunity for some older nerds to lose their minds, but it’s worth noting that director Smith — who well knows how crappy these sorts of “fans” can be — is also optimistic about how Revelation will be received. As he recently told Gizmodo: “The idea was, especially if you grew up watching the original [cartoon], we wanted the experience for the viewer to be like your toys are exactly where you left them. [But] you’re now old enough and they’re old enough to tell a story with stakes.”
Still, by honouring the original, Smith admitted Revelation is itself a kids’ cartoon. But according to Gellar, that makes the show an opportunity to bring a new audience into the franchise while still appeasing the show’s original fans. “[Revelation] is going to open it up to a world of people that don’t know the [original] cartoon,” she says. “I know, for example, my kids watched it last night and my kids didn’t know He-Man, which is so funny to me, because growing up you knew about He-Man whether you watched it or not. But this is a whole new generation of kids that will be excited to learn [about] and be a part of this world.”
Whether Masters of the Universe: Revelation can walk that very fine line remains to be seen, but Gellar’s optimism is reason enough to be somewhat optimistic ourselves. We’ll find out when the series debuts on Netflix on July 23.