The He-Man Cinematic Universe has found its Russo Brothers.
The 1980s was a decade that took commercialism to an epic level. Not satisfied with simply selling action figures to children, companies like Mattel and Hasbro forced their brand into homes by invading the television set. G.I. Joe, Transformers, M.A.S.K., SilverHawks, and He-Man were nothing more than glorified cartoons pied-pipering children to their local Toys ‘R’ Us. When our attention wavered, characters perished or discovered mystical new powers, and another generation of toys would draw us back to market.
Gaining confidence from the MCU’s success, Hasbro and Paramount Pictures are looking to bring this model back into cinemas with their own cinematic shared universe. Now it’s Sony and Mattel’s turn at bat. Variety is reporting that the Masters of the Universe film finally has a pair of directors to shepherd He-Man back onto the big screen. The Nee Brothers will be working from a script by David Goyer (who at one point was also attached to helm), and are expected to deliver the film on December 18, 2019.
Who the heck are The Nee Brothers? Their previous film, Band of Robbers, presents modern-day retelling of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” in which Tom and Huck hunt for treasure via armed robbery. While it received mostly positive praise upon its release, the film failed to grab much attention from the public. Band of Robbers is a cute concept that bares a striking resemblance to Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket but reveals a strong execution of vision.
Give the trailer a look:
Looks fun, right? The actors do manage to capture the scalawag ways of Huck and Tom, and just when you think the script is digging too far into mockery, Band of Robbers shows a bittersweet heart. I’d certainly recommend a watch.
What the film doesn’t scream though is He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. What’s the deal here? So, let’s travel back to that time before Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Do you remember how you felt when you heard that The Russo Brothers would be handling your favorite super soldier? Confused. Maybe a little angry.
Before they delivered what is quite possibly the greatest entry in the MCU, The Russo Brothers were those goofy guys behind the mediocre Welcome to Collinwood and a batch of your favorite episodes from Arrested Development, Happy Endings, and Community. What Marvel saw were a pair of storytellers who could juggle characters and plot, as well as deliver a product on a rushed time schedule.
The Nee Brothers could fit that bill for Masters of the Universe. They don’t have as much experience behind the camera as the Russos, but Adam Nee has been warring in the TV trenches as an actor for several years. He’s made the rounds on Law & Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, and Third Watch. Recently he’s made multiple appearances on Drunk History. Through sheer osmosis, he’s found an education.
For quite some time, the accepted blockbuster method of head hunting has been to reach into the desperate world of Sundance and snatch a budding director for your billion dollar dreams. Like Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards, and Josh Trank before them, The Nee Brothers have been tapped to guide the next gargantuan franchise. Here’s hoping they deliver like The Russos.