The Masters of the Universe Movie Is Finally Happening After 20 Years

An interesting director choice could finally master the universe.

The Cannon Group, Inc.

Move aside, Barbie. The newest Mattel toy to get the big screen treatment is the massively successful Masters of the Universe franchise, a toy line that launched multiple animated television series in the past decades, a cult classic live-action film, and now two different Netflix series. But there’s always been one missing piece to this cultural mainstay: a new live-action film to bring He-Man and friends to the same level as the MCU and the DC Universe.

After 20 years of trying, it looks like the winning strategy may be to go back to basics.

Deadline reports Bumblebee director and Laika Animation CEO Travis Knight is in final negotiations to direct a Masters of the Universe live-action movie. He’s a perfect fit for the film: not only does he have experience in both animation and live-action, but Bumblebee came in under budget for a Transformers movie. This is a huge plus for this movie in particular, as it’s been in development hell for decades.

Laika’s Chris Butler and Travis Knight are in talks to write and direct the Masters of the Universe reboot.

Deadline/Penske Media/Getty Images

The first attempt at a second Masters of the Universe live-action film was in 2004 when legendary director John Woo was attached to direct, but the project fell through. In 2009, a Sony production was developed with Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson attached. In 2012, Jon M. Chu was announced as the new director, but he left in 2013. Directors were in and out from then until 2022, when Netflix officially acquired the project, but in July 2023, even Netflix was no longer involved.

After such a long and torturous journey, it looks like there’s finally some stability: Knight is in talks to directs, and Amazon MGM Studios is interested in distributing. Laika mainstay writer Chris Butler will rewrite the script from a previous draft.

For 20 years, it looked like not even the power of Grayskull could make a Masters of the Universe movie happen.


Even though this live-action reboot has had animation directors attached to it in the past, Knight is a director who has proven himself in both mediums, and it’s evident he knows how to direct action in a way that’s suited to Masters of the Universe’s 1980s origin. Animation to live-action adaptations are very trendy right now, but a Masters of the Universe reboot will have to thread a very specific needle: it must be retro enough to honor the source material, but updated enough to bring the Universe to a new generation.

After 20 years of trying, maybe this is the magic combination of talent and interest to actually get this project off the ground and bring it to live-action in a way that honors the rich animated history that comes before it. The Mattel Cinematic Universe is coming, and there’s no better place to start than the Masters themselves.

Related Tags