MOST WANTED MOTU FIGURES
I coined the term Literature Faction to illustrate how many superb Masters of the Universe characters there still are which have not yet been made into Classics figures. The characters all came from story sources, namely the MOTU minicomics, newspaper strips, comics and books. I wanted to show that these nominations – which by no means make up a complete list – deserve places in the toyline.
But the Literature Faction isn't the only corner of the MOTU world which still remains – a decade since the beginning of the line – largely unexplored. Having created one page listing dozens of potential characters, I thought I'd put together a second list from my other area of interest: Concepts & Prototypes. So here's a page which takes a look at another exciting part of MOTU lore.
As I said on the first Most Wanted page, it's my hope that Super7 will turn a lot of these characters into toys for the Classics line. Having picked up the baton from Mattel, Super7 now hold the responsibility for continuing the journey. These are rich veins to tap. The Classics under Mattel's watch drew inspiration from these special sources, and it's very important that Super7 continues to do so.
As before, I've given names to the hitherto unnamed characters, and I've added a title for everyone as well. There are biographical and source notes. I really want to remind MOTU fans that there is an intriguing body of non-Filmation work to draw upon. Here are another thirty characters who would be superb additions to the Classics. If you want these characters, get organised and make your voice heard online!
MOST WANTED CONCEPT & PROTOTYPE FIGURES
1. KING MER-MAN
Evil Ocean Overlord
One of the greatest MOTU characters is Mer‑Man, and this early concept painting from Mark Taylor is the version of this evil warlord many of us have wanted for a very long time. (He was illustrated in a similar fashion by Alfredo Alcala in the original minicomics.) So what makes him different from the Mer‑Man we already have? The answer lies in the unique seaweed detailing on the trunks and boots – fitting embellishments for the underwater equal of Skeletor. This is no idiotic underling but a master of his own realm. An alternative name could be Océanor, which is the original French name for Mer‑Man.
Warrior with the Evil Eye
This unnamed warrior, featured in Rudy Obrero's incredible Box Art, has always reminded me of Tri‑Klops due to the banded helmet and what appears to be a prominent eye on the front. It's hard to tell, of course, if that was the intention of the artist. I think a single-eyed version of Tri‑Klops would be a great addition to Skeletor's collection of warriors. Obrero added several characters into his artwork, but usually just as shadowy silhouettes. This is the most clearly painted. There is a lot of fan interest in this character, who hitherto has only been known as The Warrior In Red.
Heroic Rhino Warrior
Here's another example of Mark Taylor's work. He conceived a clever design which means the human part of this warrior could tip forwards when charging into battle, and his helmet design is neatly drawn to represent a rhinoceros's face. This concept never made it into the original line, although it could be argued that the New Adventures figure Sagitar made partial use of Taylor's design. Custar was the designer's name for this intriguing figure, with Rhino Man as an alternative.
Heroic Tribal Chieftess
Sharella was mentioned in a 1987 biography for He‑Ro which you can see on He‑Man.org in this thread. She was painted in the background of the original Megator's box art. Unfortunately it's hard to find good source material for this character, hence the rather poor image quality. The idea behind the Powers of Grayskull line – in which Megator was featured – was that it followed events in Eternia's ancient past, thereby preceding the clashes between He‑Man and Skeletor.
Evil Dinosaur Warrior
Here is a concept drawing, illustrated for the Vintage line, which never made it to production. It's a great looking character and I think it would be a great fit for the Classics. He's actually not too dissimilar from one of the Masks of Power demons, although he wears armour which the minicomic creature does not. Horrosaur is classic MOTU in that he is a hybrid humanoid creature.
6 WASP MAN
Heroic Vespine Warrior
Here is an early Colin Bailey concept for the character which became Buzz‑Off. Unlike Buzz‑Off, Wasp Man has a human head. The cloak-like wings were eventually given a more technological design for the finalised figure. There's still something quite interesting about Wasp Man though, and it would be interesting to see him realised as a Classics figure.
Evil Scorpioid Warrior
This character was drawn by the Four Horsemen when they were coming up with ideas for the 2002 relaunch line. I don't know if they ever invented a name for this scorpion humanoid, but Scorpian sounded right to me. I'd love to see Scorpian turned into a Classics figure, although I think that enormous tail might need to be slimmed down a bit to give him a fighting chance of standing upright.
Heroic Fist-Flinging Hurricane
Tornado was a working name for the character which became Sy‑Klone – in fact one instance of the name can be found uncorrected in the minicomic called Spikor Strikes! This illustration is one of Roger Sweet's better contributions to the MOTU. It's a figure with a really nice colour scheme, and Tornado illustrated this way is arguably more interesting than Sy‑Klone himself.
Horrific Hybrid of the Evil Horde
Another concept drawing for the original line, this character has unofficially been given the working name of Horde Mammoth, although it's not mammoth-like at all. It's subsequently been nicknamed Goretusk (sometimes spelled differently), which is a great name. The creature is clearly a beast of the Evil Horde from the chest piece and armband. It has ursine claws, a tapir-like snout, and vespertilian ears (not unlike Hordak's own).
Heroic Giant Warrior
This character featured in a concept illustration for the Power of Grayskull line, and he's clearly the model for Tytus. This fellow is a little more basic in that he doesn't have armour or boots. Tytus wasn't done particularly well in the Classics line, so Tytan (my working name for the character) might be an opportunity to put things right. Besides, there must have been more than one heroic giant during that period.
Savage Mutant Henchman
This is a movie concept drawing by Ralph McQuarrie which reimagines Beast Man. I never liked the film, but the conceptual art is interesting and deserves to be explored. In my view, this particular illustration is more closely related to the original swords-and-sorcery theme than the science fiction of the movie.
Heroic Master Spellcaster
This wizard appeared in the same Powers of Grayskull illustration as Tytan (number 10 above). He's clearly a powerful fellow. It's easy to imagine him in a cadre of warlocks led by Eldor. The name I've suggested here comes from the Welsh Arthurian myths. Magic is a recurring feature in the MOTU stories, so another magician would be welcome.
13. BATTLE MAGE SKELETOR
Evil Lord of Power
Mark Taylor is arguably one of the most influential artists to have illustrated the Masters of the Universe. Many of his designs became characters in the original toyline; others found their way into the Classics. This version of Skeletor, with the angular hood and modified Havoc Staff, shows character development in progress. Note the detailing on the shinguards and the feet. The title comes from the working title for the toyline, Lords of Power.
14. ENCHANTRESS TEELA
This is a prototype model of Teela based on Mark Taylor's illustrations. This figure appeared on some of Mattel's promotional material. She was also shown in the first MOTU Annual. The gold spear and shield are particularly striking. This character looks much older than the finalised retail figure. The MOTU mythos has been expanded to include several sorceresses; this figure would enhance that lineage.
Evil Master of Strangulation
Here's an early unnamed concept character by MOTU designer Ted Mayer. The detachable torso idea was eventually used on King Hiss, and wouldn't be necessary on a new figure. Perhaps this illustration influenced the very good Classics Evil Seed. This illustration suggests the character is a malevolent creature of Eternia's Vine Jungle.
Heroic Weapons Master
Once again we return to Mark Taylor's work for this next illustration. This is, of course, an early version of Man-at-Arms. The ball and chain which extend from his club are details which never found their way into the toy. The dagger in the boot is another key feature. This looks like a Man-at-Arms from an earlier era; perhaps a warrior who fought alongside a different He‑Man such as Wun‑Dar.
Evil Giant Warlord
Here's one of a pair of evil giants illustrated in the aforementioned Powers of Grayskull painting. This character is evidently a maniacal beast who revels in wanton destruction. It's clear that this giant became Megator. Perhaps the second one, not shown here, could be named Thuggertor.
Evil Camouflaged Hunter
After the huge success of the original Masters of the Universe toys began to decline, Mattel found themselves needing to relaunch He‑Man, and various ideas did the rounds. One of Dave McElroy's better ideas was this concept character named Thorn. Although the path chosen eventually led Mattel to the poor New Adventures of He‑Man line, this illustration actually had more in common with the original themes.
19. LORD TRI-KLOPS
Diplomat Who Sees Everything
This prototype of Tri‑Klops has been a favourite of mine since I saw him in the first MOTU Annual. If one goes back to the minicomic which introduced Tri‑Klops to us, The Terror of Tri‑Klops!, we see a character with unusual qualities for an evil warrior. It's not hard to imagine a continuation of the story in which he detaches himself from Skeletor and regains his independence. I think this prototype could be the model for a version of Tri‑Klops who atones for past wrongs by using his intellect for diplomacy.
20. DUNGEON KEEPER
Evil Gaoler Of Snake Mountain
Here's another McQuarrie concept illustration. While I don't think it's suitable for a Skeletor variant, I do think it's excellent for a warrior in his cult. It would make sense for loyal adherents to adopt the appearance of their leader. Humans in servitude to the Lord of Destruction would be trusted with important roles, such as controlling the prisoners inside Snake Mountain.
Evil Human Battering Ram
An early version of Ram‑Man by Mark Taylor, this character's entire head is encased in armour. It's also slimmer than the finalised figure. Having seen Ram‑Man's potential in He‑Man Meets Ram‑Man!, perhaps Skeletor decided to create a human battering ram of his own. One of the interesting design features of Ram‑Man is the skull on his belt. It would make more sense on one of Skeletor's underlings.
Evil Blast-Apart Warrior
Here's an early concept for Blast Attak. The finalised figure was a robot; here we see a human version whose armour is reminiscent of Spikor's. Part of me thinks there would be little point in duplicating the suicide-bomber idea; I'd rather see this character reinvented as someone new. Perhaps the shell-like armour has a particular meaning. He could even be a heroic warrior.
Heroic Leader of Talu
Forgive the indulgence, but I've used a name from my own fan-fiction for this character. I've always liked this heroic female warrior illustration by Mark Taylor. Of course, it's one of the ideas which became Teela, but the woman in the picture is older and nobler. Siana led a settlement in one of my MOTU stories, and the illustration seems to fit. Whatever name or purpose she's given, I'd like to see this drawing become a Classics figure.
24. BATTLE ARMOR HORDAK
Savage Leader Of The Evil Horde
I've used the American spelling here because we already have two Battle Armor figures in the Classics. (Technically three if you include the rare-as-rockinghorse-droppings Toys'R'Us Faker – a figure which Super7 really ought to reissue.) I love the idea of a battle-damaged Horde symbol. This illustration also shows Hordak with an intriguing weapon that isn't a crossbow. I reckon we could indulge in one more variant of this great villain.
Heroic Battle Axe Beserker
An early version of He‑Man, there is enough different about this Mark Taylor design to warrant a new figure. It's now become firmly established that several He‑Men existed through Eternian history, so there's room for this character too. There's nothing noble or honourable in this character's soul; he's just a monster-slaying tough guy.
26. EVELYN THE UNENCHANTED
Heroic Mistress of Magic
Evil‑Lyn's cross-sell art usually depicted her skin colour as yellow to match the toy. However, there was a normal version which appeared on the back of some cards. My back-story for Evil‑Lyn is very different from the established canon: I imagine her being abducted as a child by Skeletor when he was Hordak's apprentice. Recognising her magic as a means to defeat his master, he radicalised the girl into a devoted assistant. But the façade gradually slipped. At first she sought her own power, but was then rescued by the Sorceress and reminded of her childhood. This illustration could represent the unenchanted version of this character.
27. MEGATON MAN / MUSCLOR
Heroic Dragon Rider
This photo is of another He‑Man concept, sculpted by the late Tony Guerrero, who took Mark Taylor's ideas and turned them into physical prototypes. This model was given the name Megaton Man, but it's a name that, unfortunately, makes no sense. That's why I am suggesting the French name for He‑Man, Musclor, is used instead. I imagine this character having a special connection with dragons.
28. MAJOR HEADER
Evil Wrecking Ball
Here's a very good concept character that was invented for the Create-A-Character contest which Mattel ran during their ownership of the Classics. (The competition was won by Daniel Benedict's Castle Grayskullman design.) This character, though, is just as good, and there's certainly room in the line for him.
Heroic Snake-Slaying Warrior
The detail in this illustration by Mark Taylor is fascinating. There's some sort of rosette design on the bandolier, and a skull on the belt. The glove, sword and shield are equally intriguing. This is, of course, another of Taylor's brilliant He‑Man concepts, which he named Torak. It's interesting to note that this snake-fighting warrior is rather like Snake Armor He‑Man.
Evil Horde Enforcer
There's something Star Wars-like about this character, but he was actually conceived by production designer William Stout for the Master of the Universe movie. Does he fit the MOTU world? I'm not sure, but I like the illustration a lot. He may be more Mos Eisley than Fright Zone, but I think there's room for him in the Classics.