masters of the universe director

The wheel of fate spins. Another artist is pulled into the vortex of the always-in-the-works, never-coming-to-pass Masters of the Universe reboot. The cycle continues and it shall continue, even as our world turns to dust and the universe slowly stumbles toward oblivion.

In other words, another director has been roped into trying to make a new Masters of the Universe happen. This time around, that director is McG, who is best known for directing the Charlie’s Angels movies and Terminator: Salvation. But don’t get too attached to this news – this property has a long history of attaching talent and losing talent and attaching talent and losing talent and…you know.

Deadline reports that McG (human name: Joseph McGinty Nichol) is currently in talks with Sony to helm the feature version of the beloved ’80s Mattel toy line and animated series. The studio, having seen the Transformers series fill Scrooge McDuck-sized vaults over at Paramount, surely wanst to capitalize on that same audience: grown men who can say they love a character named “He-Man” with a straight face and young kids who just like it when cool stuff goes boom. But this is no easy road. Masters of the Universe already made it to the big screen in 1987 and it’s the kind of fascinating bad movie that deserves its own column dedicated to how it came into being. And that’s the version that actually got made!

To appreciate the long history of the Masters of the Universe reboot failing to come to fruition, you have to journey back into the /Film archives. In 2009, Sony Pictures acquired the rights to Masters of the Universe, hoping to get a franchise launched as soon as possible. In 2010, Predators screenwriters Mike Finch and Alex Litvak were hired to pen the script, completely ditching Justin Marks’ screenplay (which was described as “Lord of the Rings meets The Matrix meets Batman Begins”). Then, in 2012, director Jon M. Chu boarded the project and he talked about it in public often enough that it started sounding like a viable thing that could actually happen. A little over a year later, Chu dropped out of the film and new writers were hired. In 2014, a new director short-list emerged, but no one actually took the gig. A few months later, Jeff Wadlow was hired to write the screenplay and a few months after that, Thor writer Christopher Yost replaced him.

And that brings us to right now, with McG boarding this ever-unstable ship and working from a screenplay by…Alex Litvak and Mike Finch. Yes, the screenwriters who worked on a Masters of the Universe screenplay six years ago have contributed the latest draft. What a world!

Honestly, you can take one quick look at Masters of the Universe and understand why this thing is such a tough nut to crack. Since these characters were designed to be cool-looking toys and the animated series was designed to move those cool-looking toys, the mythology of this world is colorful and insane and bonkers and not necessarily built to sustain a feature film. Taking a character named Optimus Prime seriously is difficult – writing a speedo-wearing barbarian with a Prince Valiant haircut named “He-Man” without giggling is a titanic task. Look at how many writers have been defeated by this thing!

But we hope McG lands this job and we hope this movie actually goes before cameras. Not because we’re necessarily excited to see a new Masters of the Universe, but because we’re curious to see what this movie will look like after years of being chained to a boulder in development hell.

Plus, we really want to see if someone can top Frank Langella‘s totally loony Skeletor.

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