He-Man and the Masters of the Universe premieres on Netflix Sept. 16. Since then, a whole new group of kids discovered Prince Adam, his alter-ego He-Man and his friends. Their parents, who may have also grown up with the original animated series and action figures, may have noticed some changes, too. This is a new retelling, but the greatest beneficiary of it might be Ork-O.
“You can’t have Masters of the Universe, and this goes for every single incarnation of Masters of the Universe, back to the original in-package mini-comics, without it being a mashup between science fiction and technology and fantasy and magic, with a little bit of warrior Conan sprinkled in,” creator Rob David told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in a Zoom interview on Sept. 9. “If you take one of those things out, it’s no longer Masters of the Universe.”
It’s magic that turns Prince Adam into He-Man. He calls upon the Power of Grayskull with his magic sword. However, for some fans of the ‘80s, one character was a step too far. Orko was always a little floating sorcerer who some considered the show’s Scrappy-Doo. But on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, it’s Ork-O for a reason.
“The mixing board where the levels are, you can adjust and you can lean to be more future forward, but magic is still a massively huge part of the show,” David continued. “Sword and sorcery is a huge part of the show. The character which was most important to me in doing this, to symbolize or represent that is Ork-O”
With David’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Ork-O could better reflect the other Masters.
“Ork-O in this telling is a magician robot,” David said. “That was an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, let’s take one of the things that this brand and this property and this story is most known for, science and magic, and have it embodied by one mascot character that would sum it up perfectly.’ But then pull on the heartstrings and make him true to the concept of Orko because he’s not supposed to be a magician.”
David tinkered with Orko’s origin story further. Orko the Great was a magician on planet Trollan, but that’s not the Ork-O we meet on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
“The data cog, the memoirs of the original Trollan non robot Orko the Great gets inserted into him, fuses with his memory circuits and now this poor robot reboots thinking he’s a great Trollan wizard of old and has no business performing magic,” David said. “And yet you love him for it and you don’t want to ever reprogram him.”
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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe shows Adam and all his friends become heroes. It even shows the villains like Skeletor fulfill their destined roles. Now, Ork-O has a journey, too.
His journey becomes well, who am I? Am I not a robot? Am I a magician? What am I? The whole theme of this show is discovering who you are inside and out. So even Ork-O will now have this journey to figure out am I really meant to be a wizard or not? So I think magic and technology is important. It’s an important part of the world we’re living in. We’re all holding these devices but the fantasy and the fantastical aspect of MOTU is very much alive in this.
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