Kevin Smith has further addressed rumors and allegations his He-Man Netflix series is woke where he lets it be known the recent trailer was inspired by the 1984 Kevin Bacon Footloose movie featuring the song “Holding Out For A Hero” by Bonnie Tyler.
In the movie, a group of kids rebels against a small town that has banned music and dancing.
Regarding “woke,” here it’s a term used to describe Hollywood’s rampant replacement of original characters with “woke” female and POC characters at the expense of those original characters, ideas, and storylines. Fans are afraid the Masters of the Universe: Revelations series will ruin He-Man, much like how Disney Star Wars ruined Luke Skywalker, and replace He-Man with Teela, all for the sake of political correctness, again, something Hollywood and Netflix are all about.
He-Man: the most powerful man in the universe
Now, I happen to be a He-Man fan myself and even had a letter printed in the official He-Man Magazine when I was nine years old, and to be honest, that song wouldn’t have been my choice to be featured in the trailer as I think it to be too goofy for the trailer and He-Man (and wouldn’t you know, the song was also featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy video game trailer inspired by the goofy James Gunn Marvel movies).
I’ll also add that I never would have associated Footloose with He-Man in any form, as growing up, I was a fan of things like the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan movies which were popular at the time, King Arthur (He-Man wears the Knights Templar symbol on his chest and the show is about secrets), and things like Dungeons and Dragons (spells, transformations, magic swords, etc.).
I also happened to be the smallest kid in my class up until eighth grade, so as with any young kid growing up in the 80s, their heroes tended to be these big muscular superheroes that could overcome anything.
I can still recall my childhood battles, as I set up my Navarone Giant Playset as the homebase with all the action figures (He-Man, GI Joe, Voltron, MASK, the green army figures) duking it out until one was the last standing, something I have reconstructed and replayed with my own children.
Ted Biaselli is a HUGE He-Man fan
During his latest Fatman Beyond podcast, Kevin Smith reveals why “Holding Out For A Hero” was chosen for the trailer which has to do with Ted Biaselli, the Netflix exec responsible for developing Masters of the Universe: Revelation as well as a lot of 80s properties at Netflix including Castlevania, Transformers, Strangers Things (Biaselli wasn’t directly involved with She-Ra but sat in for meetings) and Biaselli has provided voice actor work for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pound Puppies, Marvel’s Super Hero Squad and more (according to IMDb).
Checking Biaselli’s Instagram account, you can see how huge of a fan he is as it’s full of action figure pics, and Biaselli also happens to have a huge collection that fills up something like a two-car garage.
He-Man no more neutered than original show says Smith
So this Biaselli dude has some cred where he is projecting his experiences as a kid playing with He-Man toys onto the Masters of the Universe: Revelation animated series which is where the Footloose movie comes into play.
“He-Man is no more neutered in our show than he was ever neutered in any episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. I don’t understand why… Did everyone watch the show?” says Smith. “Largely, 99% of the reaction to this teaser has been insanely positive. There is a very small percentage of people who are like ‘We are being like f’n bait and switched [laughs].’ They really feel like we went out of our way to trick them, which is like fascinating to me… I can’t believe more people aren’t hitting me with like ‘She-Man’ or something because everyone keeps going ‘It’s woke.’
Smith continues, “As I said on the internet, our series is exactly as woke as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is in the 80s. We literally do the same things they did. Spoilers, kids: In the old show, He-Man would sometimes get into trouble and his friends would save him. I know because I literally watched every episode. So spoilers again, we do that in our show as well. There are moments when friendship is the only way to get through something, and that’s what we learned watching every episode of He-Man the Masters of the Universe when we sat down to do our writers room, so if you are bumping into that, you might bump into the old version of the show.”
Smith goes on to say: “But I’m telling you, I’ve never felt so much f’n love. People are so warm and wonderful about the teaser. This is the crazy part. So like online it’s easy for people to be like ‘you rock’ just as easy it’s for them to be like ‘you suck.’ This time around it was more of the former – way more the former – very minimal latter. Nobody going ‘you suck,’ some people suspect though. Going like [scratches chin] ‘the bait and switch,’ I’ve seen that a lot. It’s kind of nuts but the overwhelmingly positive response makes me so happy because that teaser, like wow wonderful, and thank god, Teddy Biaselli, who has been our shepherd through the entire project, like the guy for whom we are making the whole show, he is the one that brought us in to Netflix…”
Masters of the Universe: Revelation is Ted Biaselli’s vision
Smith also went on to explain there are other He-Man projects going on, but again, their He-Man is all based on the vision of Ted Biaselli.
“There’s other He-Man Masters of the Universe projects going on,” reveals Smith. “There’s another show called He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, it’s more… It’s wrong to say it’s a kids show because ours is a kids show as well, but [the other show is] definitely more youth-oriented with CG characters and stuff like that, kind of a reinvention of the franchise as well, and then, of course, they are always trying to make the feature film, which I wish had any sort of news for you, it’s a completely different division so I only know what folks know online. I read the same sh-t you do, I have no other inside information, but we were hired literally to make the show for Teddy and his age group who grew up watching the show for whom it was religion.”
Smith continues about Biaselli: “That’s why I knew we would never fail with this show is because the guy that is in charge of us, the guy who signs our paychecks, the guy who made all of this happen, is the guy who knows more about Masters of the Universe than anyone watching this will ever f’n know. That’s not even an overstatement. The dude is a walking encyclopedia of MOTU and right now if you are excited for Masters of the Universe: Revelation, you are literally living in Teddy Biaselli’s dream. This is something he has dreamed about since he was a kid.”
Ted Biaselli wants a serious He-Man
While it has become known that Kevin Smith was never a fan of He-Man, Smith goes on to state that he wasn’t hired to make fun of the property, but just the opposite.
“When I met with [Ted Biaselli] to get the job, he was the one like ‘Just do me a favor, when I was a kid, I thought this was real. I thought every episode, Skeletor was going to kill He-Man, and I was scared for him and then I got older and I was like that is never going to happen. All I want is to feel that way again. I just want to feel stakes. I want to be convinced that something bad could happen to these characters and stuff. Just please don’t treat it silly. It’s low-hanging fruit for some people. They’ll want to make fun of it. They’ll want to tease it, make pop culture references and stuff like that,'” explains Smith about what Ted Biaselli had to say.
Smith continues, “You know I really thought he was talking directly to me, I was like ‘Isn’t that why I’m here?’ But he was like ‘Just do me a favor, treat it seriously. Just for once, I just want to see if this would work.’ Those are his words, and it shaped the whole f’n project. He goes, ‘Treat it like Shakespeare.’ And so I was like, ‘Alright. We’ll play this serious as a heart attack.’ That’s not to say there is not fun in it and levony and stuff, just like the show we are spiritually sequelizing, but there are stakes and we do play it very seriously.”
Trailer song is Ted Biaselli’s idea
Smith explains how “Holding Out For A Hero” is all Ted Biaselli’s idea.
“So Teddy who guided us every step of the way… I asked this week because the internet blew up about the song choice for the trailer,” explains Smith. “Not only were they nuts about ‘Oh my god this looks great’ – visually speaking that belongs to Pat and Adam, our directors at Power House Animation are absolutely fn brilliant, all that big action, all that glorious animation comes from those cats and the good folks at Power House Animation – so I asked the good folks in marketing at Netflix, I said, ‘The internet thinks that I picked that song’ – and you know me, I don’t like to take credit for sh-t that I didn’t do – ‘So please tell me who picked that song? What marketing person said, ‘Oh, let’s take that song’? And they were like, ‘Oh, a little birdie told me it was Teddy.’ And I was like, ‘WTF, are you serious?” They were like, ‘Absolutely.'”
Smith continues, “And this is the charming f’n story of why that song is in, why ‘Holding Out For a Hero’ by Bonnie Tyler is in our teaser trailer… Ready for this… So f’n sweet… And please internet, in a world where you are like ‘Smith said this,’ write this f’n story because it’s adorable. So Teddy tells the marketing folks, they give him trailers with a few song options, so naturally, we wanted an 80s song, so Teddy writes back, ‘When I was a kid, I would put on the Footloose soundtrack, and I would play with my figures and choreograph fights to that song, to ‘Hero.’ So can we try a version with that?’ They did, on all the downbeats the actions and hitting, it’s wonderfully edited, but that came from the head and heart from the guy that has been guiding this project from day one.”
Smith adds, “So he’s the greatest thing that happened to me. I wouldn’t have this job were it not for him, Rob David, they were like, ‘Alright come on in,’ and I was safe the whole time because you could never go off the rails, because on one side you had Rob who had written the DC Comics version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for the last few years, on the other side we had Teddy who it’s like if you, whenever you do a zoom with him, his background is literally all the MOTU figures out boxes and they’re the original ones from his childhood. So to give credit where credit is due, Ted Biaselli was the one that was like let’s put that song in there. And I’m telling you, as much as people were – I read all the feedback – as much as people were like, ‘Oh, my god, it looks crazy, it looks like my childhood,’ the very next comment, if not the main comment was like, ‘that song slapped, like what a great f’n choice, you’re brilliant,’ and I got a lot of credit for it but while I said yes, I was not the guy. Ted. Ted came up with that idea.”
Trust in Kevin Smith and Ted Biaselli?
For reference, here is the Footloose soundtrack:
- “Footloose” (Kenny Loggins)
- “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” (Deniece Williams)
- “Almost Paradise” (Love Theme from Footloose) (Mike Reno and Ann Wilson)
- “Holding Out for a Hero” (Bonnie Tyler)
- “Dancing in the Sheets” (Shalamar)
- “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” (Kenny Loggins)
- “Somebody’s Eyes” (Karla Bonoff)
- “The Girl Gets Around” (Sammy Hagar)
- “Never” (Moving Pictures)
Again, Footloose isn’t something that I would ever associate with He-Man, but Ted Biaselli happens to be a mega-fan of He-Man and everything 80s, so we’ll have to hope that Smith and Biaselli come through for all the fans.
(Sources: Kevin Smith YouTube, The Cartoons That Made Us Gay Gayest Episode Ever, Transcript for Episode 22: The Cartoons That Made Us Gay; Gayest Episode Ever)