Sony’s Masters of the Universe reboot has become one of Hollywood’s most notoriously stuck in Development Hell projects. A plethora of directors were rumored to be in the running to direct, which was indicative of the studio’s struggle with what tone to go with. These included straight scifi/fantasy with Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) and Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last, Looper), a dark fantasy/horror slant with Andrés Muschietti (IT, Mama), the YA angle from Harald Zwart (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Agent Cody Banks), the mature but self-referrental comedy by way of Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street), as well as the kid targeted avenue from Kirk De Micco (The Croods, Space Chimps), Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon, Lilo & Stitch) and Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie).
Jon M. Chu (Now You See Me 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) was the first director to officially sign on, directing from a script by Alex Litvak (The Three Musketeers, Predators) and Mike Finch (American Assassin, Hitman: Agent 47), but ended up leaving the project. He was replaced by Jeff Wadlow (True Memoirs of an International Assassin, Kick-Ass 2), who also rewrote the script. Additional screenwriters varying from Terry Rossio (the Pirates of the Caribbean series) to Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World) have worked on the project at different points during its Development as well. Last year, McG (3 Days to Kill, Terminator Salvation) came onboard to direct and also to rewrite Wadlow’s script. He described their take on the property as similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, calling it “credible and emotional, action-packed,” citing a desire to “get it right.”
Last week, Sony confirmed that the film would be released on December 18, 2019. The same report also revealed David S. Goyer (Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel) was working on the latest version of the script and that McG was longer directing. While there’s no telling who they’ll end up getting to replace him, they’ll have to lock someone in pretty quick in order to stay on their timeline set by the release date.
There’s also the matter of who will be chosen for the role of Prince Adam/He-Man, who was previously portrayed by Dolph Lundgren in 1987’s Masters of the Universe. For the reboot, the studio originally offered the role to Chris Hemsworth (Thor: Ragnarok, Ghostbusters), but he turned it down for being too similar to Thor. Kellan Lutz (The Expendables 3, The Legend of Hercules) met with McG and the producers and seemed all but certain to land the part. After that failed to happen, bodybuilder and former American Gladiator Mike O’Hearn expressed interest in the role, but I doubt Sony will go that direction.
With Marvel currently redefining the space opera/adventure film genre with Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok, it wouldn’t be completely unexpected to see Sony borrow their comedy-laden, whimsical formula for this project. Goyer has some high-profile spacebound projects in the pipeline, such as his Man of Steel prequel series Krypton to air on SyFy later this year, and his scripting duties on Green Lantern Corps, due in 2020; so it looks like we’ll get to see him really flex those particular storytelling muscles over the next few years. It will definitely be interesting to see his interpretation of the He-Man mythos, if in fact his version of the script makes it to the big screen.