After several years of rumblings and false starts, it appears that the first substantive look at the long-in-the-making new Masters of the Universe film has just dropped. In a reveal that would even surprise the magical disaster-worn citizens of Eternia, a seemingly casual tweet made by an important executive at Columbia Pictures would yield a huge, roaring reveal: Battle Cat! Yes, it appears that an image of He-Man’s trusty armor-strewn steed has hit and he is looking quite badass.
Senior Vice President of Productions for Columbia Pictures, DeVon Franklin, has already made Twitter waves in regards to the Masters of the Universe project a few months back when he teasingly tweeted the cover of the film’s finished script, seemingly spiking the ball in the literary end zone. However, this casual unveiling of Battle Cat is the first real bit of payoff to the fans who have been eagerly anticipating the return of Mattel Toys’ sword-wielding, super-powered sporter of fur briefs since the 1987 Masters film starring Dolph Lundgren.
Fans of the popular 1980's property will know that Battle Cat is the trusty steed on which He-Man rides into... well, battle. While the mere sight of the menacing, giant, green "sabrecat" would be enough to send shivers down the spines of He-Man’s evil foes, in actuality, Battle Cat is just a supernaturally-powered alter-ego of Cringer, the typically jumpy, craven pet of He-Man’s own alter ego, Prince Adam of Eternia. In most of the Master of the Universe lore, Battle Cat (and Cringer) is an anthropomorphic character who speaks and interacts with the humanoid characters and even has an origin story of his own, having been found by Adam as a kitten in the jungle.
Thus, this reveal isn’t just a look at some mindless beast, but rather, at what should be a hugely important character in the film. In fact, when not having to haul He-Man on his back, Battle Cat even has his own nemesis. He is paralleled by a direct rival in the giant, menacing purple panther called Panthor, who serves as the steed equivalent for the evil Skeletor.
This reboot film project has been a proverbial hot potato behind the scenes for about a decade, originating at Warner Bros, then moving over to Sony/Columbia. The current script, as it is, was rewritten by Jeff Wadlow, writer/director of Kick-Ass 2 and writer of the upcoming X-Men spinoff, X-Force (which he is rumored to helm, as well). Before that, it was in the hands of Alex Livtak and Mike Finch (Predators), Richard Wenk (The Expendables 2) and even Terry Rossio (the Pirates of the Caribbean films.) With the Wadlow rewrite seemingly set in stone, it appears that executives like DeVon Franklin are confident enough that the project has finally shaken off its inertia to start sending teasers like the Battle Cat reveal. In light of that, more will likely come very soon.
Of course, there still remains the small task of finding a director. Back in 2012, the course for the film seemed set when Jon M. Chu, who had just established himself with the then-upcoming boy toy movie sequel, G.I. Joe Retaliation was brought on to helm the film. However, when the opportunity for another 80’s toy property in Jem and the Holograms came his way, Chu bolted for the property that was possibly more in-tune with his dance film background.
At the moment, the director’s chair is still vacant, but considering how Jeff Wadlow finally managed to put a stamp on the project with his re-write, it would seem that with his own directorial resume that he could be a strong contender to helm the film, as well. As of now, no release date has been projected for Masters of the Universe.