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Variety

Mattel’s ‘Masters of the Universe’ Moves From Netflix to Amazon for Summer 2026 Release, Travis Knight to Direct

By Angelique Jackson

May 1, 2024

The long-awaited live-action “Masters of the Universe” movie is one step closer to becoming a reality, with Amazon MGM Studios and Mattel Films dating the project for worldwide theatrical release on June 5, 2026.

Travis Knight (“Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Bumblebee”) is on board to direct the film adaptation of the popular franchise, with Chris Butler writing the screenplay, following initial drafts written by David Callaham and Aaron and Adam Nee. Mattel Films’ Robbie Brenner, Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch are producing.

According to its official synopsis, “Masters of the Universe” introduces a 10-year-old Prince Adam, who crashed to Earth in a spaceship and was separated from his magical Power Sword — the only link to his home on Eternia.

“After tracking it down almost two decades later,” the synopsis explains, “Prince Adam is whisked back across space to defend his home planet against the evil forces of Skeletor. But to defeat such a powerful villain, Prince Adam will first need to uncover the mysteries of his past and become He-Man: the most powerful man in the Universe!”

Casting on the project has yet to be announced, but news that “Masters of the Universe” is officially back on track is a welcome bulletin for fans of the popular Mattel franchise, which began in 1982 as a line of action figures, followed by the animated series “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” in 1983.

The Amazon MGM/Mattel-backed movie comes after a previous (and pricey) live-action adaptation was scrapped at Netflix, with the Nee brothers at the helm and Kyle Allen announced to star. In July 2023, Variety exclusively revealed Netflix was no longer moving forward after nearly $30 million had been spent on developing the project.

The project’s implosion at Netflix was just the latest false start for He-Man and friends, who’ve been journeying to the big screen since 2007, Variety’s Matt Donnelly wrote, explaining that “it’s a long road that’s crossed through two other studios, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures, and countless writers and directors like Jon M. Chu and McG.”

By November, though, Amazon MGM had set its sights on bringing the blonde barbarian to the big screen, particularly given that Courtenay Valenti, the studio’s new head of theatrical film and streaming, and Mattel Films had just struck the box office jackpot with the $1.4 billion box office success and Oscar buzz of “Barbie.” Valenti had been head of production at Warner Bros., where she worked on the film starring and produced by Margot Robbie and directed by Greta Gerwig.

He-Man and “Barbie” are just the tip of the iceberg for Mattel Films, which has built a robust slate based on the company’s dozens of children’s toys. Among the properties in active development are “Barney,” produced by Daniel Kaluuya; “Bob the Builder,” with Anthony Ramos starring and producing alongside Jennifer Lopez; “Polly Pocket,” written by Lena Dunham and starring Lily Collins; “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” starring Vin Diesel; an “American Girl” doll movie; a “Hot Wheels” movie produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot; and a Magic 8 Ball movie with Blumhouse.

Chris Butler is represented by attorney Rob Szymanski.