[REDACTED] MOTU: Revelation Kevin Smith Interview

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Kevin Smith, Masters of the Universe: Revelation showrunner, gave us a great roundtable interview that we can share after being heavily REDACTED

Revelation Kevin Smith Interview

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION (L to R) CHRIS WOOD as PRINCE ADAM in episode 101 of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

 

The iconic filmmaker, podcaster, writer, super nerd, Kevin Smith, Masters of the Universe: Revelation showrunner as well, provided us with a great interview at the MOTUR roundtables hosted by Netflix. Unfortunately, we can’t share most of the interview because it focuses heavily on spoilers. So, I’m just going to share some of the questions and pieces of his responses I am able to share. It’s a bit sparse, especially compared to our Tony Todd Interview and Interview with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Wood, and Tiffany Smith, but there’s still a lot of great insight. For all of it, be sure to come back here after the series airs and we’ll share to unredacted version with the update.

COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Kevin Smith Masters of the Universe: Revelation REDACTED Interview

Tessa Smith (MamasGeeky.com): So [this show] picks up after the 80’s series, so can you tell me the decision process for that?

Kevin Smith: It was not even my decision… Mattel met with me and they’re like doing three Masters of the Universe things. One is a live-action movie. One is a reinvention of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon for kids. This kind of CG version. And he said, there’s a middle version, which is meant to be like a kind of fanservice for everyone who loved the old show… their idea was the movie takes it in a new direction. The cartoon, the kids’ cartoon takes it in a new direction. They didn’t want people who grew up watching the show to be like, this ain’t my He-Man. I don’t recognize any of this… we want to do one strictly for those people. And that was primarily for our boss, Ted Biaselli, who works at Netflix. He’s the biggest Masters of the Universe fan on the planet… He was the guy that got all this going, man. I think he was the one that brought it into Netflix… If they wanted me to do to He-Man what Nicole did to She-Ra, I would not have been that person. I’m not inventive. I’m not creative. And I can’t take a concept and turn it into something cool and new. But they asked me to just continue the story. They’re like the idea is we’re going to spiritually sequel-ize the old classic series. So I was like, wait, you just want to keep it going and maybe grow them up a little bit. I was like, I’m your guy. I can totally do that. As I’ve done that in comic books, I think I could pull that off. So I felt pretty good about taking the job. I felt excellent. The moment I realized that the two people on either side of me Ted at Netflix and Rob David at Mattel television, Rob had written like Masters of the Universe comics for DC. So not only is he like a suit, who works at Mattel, he’s a creative as well. I knew I wasn’t going to go wrong between the Scylla and Charybdis of these guys. They weren’t going to crush me. But I knew I wasn’t gonna go wrong, because they could tell me what a superfan would or would not bump into. You know? So constantly with Teddy, I’m like, ‘What if we did this?’… I don’t want to spoil it, but like, we kill one character twice. And he’s a pretty big character!… And you know, most people would be like, don’t do that. But Ted, being a super fan, was like, ‘I know where it’s going. I like it, do it.’ And it wasn’t like ‘Break at all!’ Because this dude ain’t interested in breaking it all, he’s still got his original toys like set up around his house.

So the idea of going in was we were given parameters that were never like suffocating. They were the parameters that allowed me to take the job. It was just creative enough, where I was like, I would love to take these characters and just grow them up a little bit. That was the idea. Our marching orders, it was kind of like this, we’re like, Look, we want the person to watching this show to feel like when they sit down, they’re like, ‘Oh, shit, all my old toys are exactly where I left them. And they look the same. And the relationships are the same -everything about it is the same. But I’m a little more grown-up and they can be a little more grown-up too.’ We got to bring stakes to it, which is something -of course- they were never able to do with Filmation. You know, like, I don’t think He-Man ever punched Skeletor or used his sword on him. They weren’t allowed to do violence and stuff. So, it wasn’t just as simple as Ted being like, ‘I want to see him fight!’ Naturally, that’s a part of it and stuff. But it was like what if these characters -you know- who blindly kind of had very simple adventures and morality tales -week after week, episode after episode, daily- what if you know their entire world was kind of confronted with stakes? Like Teddy goes, ‘I used to watch the show, and like I would think that Skeletor is gonna kill him in every episode. Then I became a teenager realize that was never gonna happen. But just, I would love to feel that way again.’ He’s like ‘If you can make me feel like stakes, odds, -like somebody could die at any minute. He’s gone! I feel like that would really go the distance.’ And that was like -you know- candy to a baby! Because I’m like, ‘You mean we get to like kill characters too?’ I mean, that’s like the easiest Street in drama. You want to go ring a motherfuckers heart in your hands? Kill somebody in media. Oh, especially with -so I mean, we’ve all seen it now. But like, we got a character in the show. Who when we were I guess I could say -it don’t matter- we’ve all seen it. ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■    ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

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You know, just to see what happens. And so we got to play like that. And every one of those decisions, like I would bump it off of Robert and no time ever, was there ever a moment where they’re like, ‘Don’t do that.’ No idea was ever kicked back. Now. To be fair, I didn’t play the game I normally play where it’s like, Alright, this one fucker is gonna make sex jokes and this mother fucker is gonna be like cursing. Like, I had to leave some of the tools that I’m used to playing with back in my toolbox. But what was great is, I’ve been consuming shit like this my whole life. Comic books, cartoons, sci-fi movies, I never make them. I make movies where people talk to each other about stupid shit. I don’t play in this arena. I’m more of an Audience Member for this kind of thing. But I’ve been an audience member for 50 years now -I’m gonna be 51 in fog in August. So I’ve been a member of the audience for a long time. That means I’ve seen a lot of -I’ve seen a lot of TV. I’ve seen a lot of movies I’ve seen like how it’s done. So even though I’d never done something like this before, I was like, ‘Well, I’m gonna just do what like my favorite things did.’ Like going forward with this, we were essentially doing Marvel-method -Marvel Cinematic Universe method. Like I said, ‘Look, when I go see a Marvel movie, it is my childhood serve back to me, but in such an appetizing way that even though I know exactly whatever flavor is at every component, I’m still gobbling it up. And not only that, I’m gonna bring my kid to sit there with me and be like, see this shit. I grew up on this. This is my childhood.’

As my father did with me, man. When I was a kid, we went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. And nobody knew about the movie. No internet back then. So there was no like pre-release hype. It’s a very quiet release and stuff. And so my old man took me to the movies every Wednesday to a matinee. Pulled me out of Catholic school. And I have to tell them all the time, like, ‘A relative died.’ They go like, ‘You got a lot of dead relatives.’ And then we go to the matinees. So we went to see Raiders the Lost Ark, and I got to see a version of my father I’ve never seen before in my life up to that point. Up to that point, he’s, -that’s Dad. You know? He’s stoic. And he’s just, he’s in charge. And he’s got to go to work and pay the bills and shit like that. He’s dad. That day, when I saw Raiders of Lost Ark with him, I saw somebody completely different. Because this was a piece of his childhood. He was excitedly telling me, he’s like, ‘You don’t understand. When I was kid going to the movies, this is what they did. And then you’d make you come back the next week, to see the end of it. It was called a cliffhanger. I can’t believe this!’ I got to see a version of my father that I absolutely fell in love with. I’d always love my dad, but he was my dad. I got to see the boy that he was, his passions, the thing that like fueled him when he was a kid, and he shared that with me. And it shaped my view of my father, it shaped my view of entertainment, like, this is what he likes, I should like this too. There is something worthy here or whatnot. And I want that for everyone else.

Like I want that -as we were writing this, we were like, ‘Somebody is going to be sitting down with their kid and watching this. And they are going to be breathlessly retelling every element of the Masters of the Universe lore that they can possibly remember.’ And they remember it all. Because it was built into their DNA at a time when they were kids. That shit takes hold. So we knew we were making it for a fan, you know, a fan service audience. But we also knew they were bringing their kids with them. And we wanted to make sure that that was going to be an equally enjoyable experience for both the kid -we don’t want kids being like, ‘Fuck, what is this?’- we want the kids to be engaged because their parents are engaging. Also, because hopefully, they find the story interesting and stuff.

But for me, like the notion of like, I watched Wanda Vision with my wife, and she didn’t give a fuck about Marvel and shit. But here we were in the middle of the pandemic, and she’s like, ‘Look, I’ll watch anything.’ And so I’m like, ‘Well, this is good. Like, this character is real fuckin dope. And if this is what I think it is, this shits about grief, man, it’s gonna be amazing.’ And so she starts watching with me and I discovered the joy of secondary storytelling. Like I’m a person who receives storytelling in the audience, I like when a story is told me, I watch TV, movies, plays, whatever the fuck. I’m happy to consume and shit. But when you get into something that you are an expert at, like, you know this shit backwards and forwards, you get to be a part of the storytelling in a way that you never were before. Because you’re sitting there with somebody going like, ‘What’s going on?’ And you’re like, *pause* ‘Let me fucking tell you what happened! And like I can -I’m going to recount nine movies to you just so you can understand this one point!’ And then you are part of the storytelling. You didn’t pay for this movie. You didn’t have to get yourself in shape like Chris Hemsworth to be on camera this way. But suddenly you are part of the storytelling tradition of this movie. And I wanted that so badly for Masters. I hope it happens.

Tessa Smith (MamasGeeky.com): I think you accomplished it.

Kevin Smith: Thank you.

Jenna Busch (Vital Thrills): I love the show and I was a fan of the original. But 80s cartoons were really big into secret identities. Like every story was about, like, this person can’t know what if they find out. But they get revealed a little bit here, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

Kevin Smith: Thank you for that. That was my way in. And as much as I’ve been a longtime comic book fan, even before I watched He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in the early 80s. You know, I was a comic book kid. And the secret identity is that the core of every great superhero. Like, this is the person everyone sees me as, this is the person that I truly am. It’s aspirative. That’s why kids love it, man. It’s like, ‘You mean I could be somebody else? Like, I’m treated like a kid but I could be treated like this?’ And that’s at the heart of the ethos of He-Man himself. If you’ve ever watched, like The Toys That Made Us on Netflix, they do a great job of telling you where this all came from man. And it was like a bunch of old men sitting around a room going, What do kids want?’ And they’re like, ‘Kids want power.’ And so suddenly, this thing came to be. So secret identities, like are big. That was part of the draw for me, because to me, like, I didn’t know if I could tell a proper He-Man and the Masters of the Universe story. But I knew I could tell a superhero story.

And to me, I was like, ‘Oh, this is Superman. This is Clark Kent and Superman. Dual identity. And Lois Lane doesn’t know that he’s Superman. And yet they’re friends and she pines for Superman.’ So I was like, ‘This is a classic storytelling element that’s been at play heavily in a medium that I love for years and years.’ So secret identities were my way in. And the idea of this show, like when we were like, in the writer’s room, and even before that, when they were like, ‘What’s your idea?’ I kind of latched on to in the opening credits, just like in our opening title sequence, they’re very clear about only some people know. The secret that Prince Adam is He-Man. And the one person really left out of it, aside from like his parents, is Teela. Who like He-Man literally fights beside for every episode. And if he’s not He-Man, he’s Adam. Teela is protecting him as Prince Adam in every episode. And so to me, I’m like, the most important person in his life doesn’t know his secret. What happens if she finds out? ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

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There’s a lot more from our interview, you can check out Part 2 Here, and our SPOILER-FREE review comes out July 21. Then after the weekend, we’ll share the entire unredacted interview.

 

 

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