The 1980s Cartoon Character That Should Be in a Movie
by Duy Tano
With the fact that we're getting a Transformers movie again and that GI Joe is getting rebooted for millennials (I am very pro-millennial, and even I have no idea what that means), I got to thinking about the 80s cartoons I loved, and which ones I'd actually like to see in a movie these days. And then I started thinking about which ones I think would work in today's market. In general, which cartoon character from the 1980s fills a need in today's global movie market? And then I decided.
My three favorite cartoons of the 1980s were these:
- Robotech. Rick Hunter, Roy Focker, and the eternally screwed up love story between Max and Miriya was just great. Loved the designs, loved the Veritechs, loved the whole thing. But I do not want to see it in a movie. After I discovered the original anime, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and the fact that that anime remade the story with Do You Remember Love?, which is as perfect a movie for the material as it comes. I've seen my two-hour Robotech movie, and that was Do You Remember Love? I don't need a live-action version.
- Bravestarr. I love the aesthetics of Westerns and I'll always be convinced Thirty-Thirty is a tikbalang. You know how Bravestarr was a Native American cowboy (kinda)? But he was adopted, so I'm just going in my headcanon and saying he's whatever the equivalent of a Filipino in that universe is. In all seriousness, I'd love to see a Bravestarr movie, but I don't know what niche Bravestarr fills in today's day and age. Westerns aren't particularly in high demand, even space Westerns, plus the cartoon has at least two outdated racial stereotypes that would completely need to be rethought. If they can make it work, then great. But it doesn't fill a need in the market.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. You know what I love about the three cartoons I mentioned? The theme songs. These three and Thundercats are my favorite 1980s theme songs. But I love He-Man because it's basically the Shazam engine and I really like the designs. Still, we're talking about He-Man, and as much as I love him, he's been the subject of a whole load of memes, and his arch-enemy Skeletor has basically become a joke. If I were a producer about to finance a big-budget movie, I would be hesitant in the public's ability to take He-Man seriously, simply because his branding is basically that of what his parodies have made him right now. You'd need to gradually introduce him and his concepts back to the public. And also, with Thor around being a part of one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, you can't really say He-Man fills a need in the market.
But his sister does.
And that, my friends, is my incredibly long preamble to the 1980s character that should, in fact, be made into a movie. She-Ra of Etheria holds a magic sword that turns into anything and has a variety of powers, including turning her into Princess Adora. She leads the Resistance of Etheria against the Evil Forces of Hordak, who has ruled Etheria since she could remember.
Let's take a look at the reasons She-Ra, above any other 1980s character, should get a movie.
She's a Woman
Think about this for a second. How many times have people clamored for a Black Widow movie? (A lot.) How many people are looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie? (A lot.) There's still a lot of demand for female-led movies, and, well, to state the obvious, She-Ra is a woman.
Now you may be thinking, "But Ghostbusters flopped because people who were in love with Ghostbusters as a kid didn't like girls playing with their toys," and yeah, sure, but She-Ra's already a female character with her own identity. She's not genderbent, and she's not just a female He-Man. She stands on her own, and in a landscape that is sorely lacking in female protagonists, She-Ra easily fills that need.
It's Political Allegory
She-Ra is a woman leading a movement called The Resistance. Her main villain is Hordak, this evil man who wants to put everyone under his thumb and oppress dissent and really likes firing his gun.
Currently women all over America (and the world) are actively part of a Resistance against woman-hating leaders who want to oppress dissent and really like guns.
I don't really think I need to explain this further. Here's Hordak in his rocket form.
She Looks Cool
Cool visuals make for cool scenes in movies. Here's a pin-up of She-Ra and Swiftwind by Stjepan Sejic.
She Has a Diverse Cast
If you want to send little girls the message of "Yes, you can be a superhero too!", She-Ra offers something no superhero movie has done, and no franchise looks like it has any intention of doing: provide a cast full of strong, empowered women, both on the good side and the bad side.
|Left to right: Glimmer, Angella, Castaspella, She-Ra, Frosta, Cat-Ra|
The He-Man/She-Ra franchise didn't put much thought into names.
|Oh, let's not pretend he isn't.|
Seriously, though, despite having no explicit LGBT characters, She-Ra is an LGBT icon, and Erika Scheimer is on record as saying that any modern telling of the story would have a gay character, so we're looking at more represented demographics here.
In today's day and age, having a superhero movie representing women and the LGBT community would be a bold step. It's even, I would argue, a necessary step. We see our world in our fiction. Maybe the less open-minded people can see a She-Ra movie and think, hey. Hey, it's okay, in much the same way that Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually apparently helped people through things, like coming to terms with women leaders.
It's Wide Open for a Franchise
Okay, in addition to all that stuff about representation and empowerment I said above, don't think I've forgotten about He-Man. Of course I'd love to still see He-Man in a movie, and this is the perfect way to do it. Doing She-Ra first reintroduces most of the concepts in that universe in a gradual manner and builds up anticipation for He-Man, hopefully getting the audience past the memes and the jokes (except Skeletor. I don't know how you overcome Skeletor now.) Earlier I said that He-Man wouldn't fill a need in the movie market. By creating a She-Ra movie, you create an audience need for He-Man.
You may think it's weird for a franchise to not open with its biggest and most recognizable brand, but for that I'd point you back to 2008, when Iron Man was not the household name he is today. You know who the most popular character Marvel had that they had the movie rights to was?
The Hulk was. And they did do him second. And when that one didn't really take off, they developed Captain America and Thor until they could use the Hulk right in Avengers.
You don't have to start with your biggest gun, and sometimes it's better for the entire franchise if the biggest gun isn't fired all that often.
We Can Kill Loo Kee
I hate Loo Kee. Whatever the hell he is. "Did you see me today?" No, I didn't, you attention-mongering shit. You're annoying and I want to forget you exist. If ever a She-Ra movie gets made, can they kill Loo Kee in the first five minutes? I hate that guy.