By Jim McDermott

Writer/Director Kevin Smith brought his Masters of the Universe: Revelation co-writers and co-executive producers Teddy Biaselli and Rob David to Comic-Con Thursday, quipping, “I’m happy to report because of the SAG strike I’m the most famous person here.” 

At the San Diego Comic-Con 2023 Masters of the Universe: Revelation panel with Kevin Smith, Teddy Biaselli and Rob David.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation.

While the panel served up lots of teasers about the upcoming Masters of the Universe: Revolution season 2, including the addition of Keith David in the role of new villain Hordak, the topic Smith seemed to keep returning to was fan animosity over season one. “I’m super proud” of the new season, Smith said, after showing a big battle scene between He-Man and his allies and a now-glow-in-the-dark-and-able-to-embiggen Skeletor. “But I was proud of the last one too and the internet told me I shouldn’t be.” 

He followed up by noting that when he was asked whether he wanted to host a panel, he asked, “Does it come with Kevlar?”, before quipping that after the scene we saw, “He-Man gets killed, actually they all get killed and Teela replaces them all.” 

And that was the first two minutes. 

While Smith maintained a certain playful detachment throughout the panel—having made more than a dozen films and his share of bombs, the man’s no stranger to hostile fans—it was hard to ignore his pain over fan reception to the first season. When Biacelli began his comments on the character of He-Man in season two with the quip, “Contrary to rumors…He-Man is back,” Smith immediately responded, “To be fair, He-Man never left. He was like, absent for three shows. But we don’t do a show called Masters of the Universe and kill off the main guy. He was gone for a moment, but never gone. He was in every episode we did of Revelation.”

Later Smith recalled the process by which he was brought onto the show by David and Biacelli. “The only thing I ask is that you treat the characters with dignity and respect,” Biacelli told him. “Just play them like it’s Shakespeare. For once I’d like to see someone treat  the characters like classical characters, not just toys.”

And their passion clearly touched Smith. “To sit here and listen to them speak about these characters with child-like wonder,” he said, inviting the crowd to give them a hand. 

But when David responded in kind, saying  “Right back at you, you are a joy to work with. Everybody on the entire team—the writers, all the animators at Powerhouse, everybody at Mattel—they adore Kevin,” Smith couldn’t help responding, “It’s the audience that doesn’t enjoy Kevin.” 

Even at the end, Smith couldn’t seem to let it go, asking all those in the audience who loved the show to clap—a request which got fulsome applause, but by no means the entirety of the room. Then he asked anyone who didn’t like the show to applaud, saying it was fine, the three of them could take it. “You fucking liars,” he said to great laughter when no one applauded. “I took a lot of shit online. Somebody better clap right now.”

Despite how it might read on the page, the quality of Smith’s comments never felt like defensiveness. More than once he told the audience the writing staff had taken fan complaints seriously. “We didn’t stick our heads in the sand about the folks that were not happy. A lot of people would like to, but there was a lot of nuanced hate. There were people who legitimately did not like the direction, they didn’t like what we did with the characters.” The new season, he promised, very much attempted to address what people found missing, like big battles between He-Man and Skeletor. “To some extent you’re all like coauthors,” he said. “Remember that. If you don’t like Revolution, it’s your fucking fault as well.” 

People chuckled again, if politely. And, weirdly, that was kind of the vibe throughout most of the panel. Earlier on, the team posted a picture of Chris Wood, who plays He-Man/Adam. This is normally a moment in which the crowd cheers. But though the event was in a huge room with thousands of people, at first, literally no one reacted.  

And even after a few started to clap, the response was light. It was so shocking that Biaselli stopped talking about the second season direction of Adam/He-Man just to talk about just how much they had loved Wood and the things he brought to the series.

In the moment that silence seemed to feed the panel’s need to address audience concerns with the show.  “We are temporary custodians of this brand,” Biaselli said near the end. “We love it, we hope that people saw that there was love in there. If you didn’t, someone else will be the custodian and they will do something else. Something as great MOTU is bigger than Rob, is bigger than me or Kevin, and it’s going to live on and it’s going to have many iterations.”

Later, though, I wondered whether the audience’s silence was actually hostility or just disinterest. The only reveal that the crowd reacted strongly to was the news that William Shatner and Mark Hamill were going to have scenes together. Looking around I didn’t see a single cosplayer either, which for a universe with this kind of history is pretty surprising. 

It made me wonder, were many of these attendees viewers of the new show at all? People have wondered what the effect of Hollywood not showing up to Comic-Con would be. Could part of that be hundreds and thousands of people showing up for things they actually didn’t care about with the hope that a quippy famous film director might entertain them? Could it be that no one reacted or clapped not because they hated the show, but they didn’t know it, or didn’t care? 

At the very end of the panel, Smith pointed out that there was an eight-year-old girl in the front row who had been sleeping for 20 minutes. Waking her up, Smith had her brought on stage and asked her if she would be willing to hoist He-Man’s sword and say his famous line to end the panel. As he talked to the girl, she chewed gum and stared at him with the kind of devastating boredom that only a child can serve up. Her entire manner was so disinterested Smith kidded that she reminded him of working with Ben Affleck

Ironically, this was the one moment the entire audience fully got into the panel. (This, and Smith’s double-entendres about just how hard the staff was going to service their fans in season two.) Clearly, this is what they came to see, a little bit of the Kevin Smith Hollywood circus. 

And as for Masters of the Universe: Revolution or the amount of love that Smith and so many others have so clearly invested in it, and the pinch they feel at having their efforts not appreciated (or depending on who you ask, just not succeed), well, that’s too bad, too, I guess. 

Miss any of our earlier SDCC ’23 coverage? Find it all here!


  1. In the clip shown at this panel, He-man is fighting Scare Glow, not Skeletor. Though I concede they do look similar if you don’t know the IP.

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