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Old 11-24-2021, 09:32 PM   #781
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That's... Rather complicated and I have some trouble wrapping my head around it.
Some key questions here:
  1. What does it mean to "use the characters as they appear there" exactly? Like are they barred from making an explicit sequel to those cartoons? Or are they barred from using certain ideas that originated in those cartoons? Or does it mean something else entirely?
  2. Taking a look at the original She-Ra toy package, I can indeed see it's labelled as "Princess of Power" rather than "Masters of the Universe". I'm still a little confused here though, is it because it was officially a different toyline that it is considered a different license or were the characters created by Filmation rather than Mattel?
  3. What exactly is going on between Dreamworks and Mattel, what is one allowed to do without the other and to what extent do they collaborate? Is Dreamworks allowed to do whatever they want with She-Ra or do they need Mattel's permission? Is Mattel allowed to make a She-Ra cartoon if it's nothing like the Filmation one? Hordak was in the 2018 She-Ra show, so is it a shared rights thing going on?

Part of the reason I'm confused is that it's generally not this complicated. Fred Wolf owns the rights to his TMNT show but clearly just the show itself, Hasbro bought all the rights to their Marvel collaborations and most DC cartoons are made by other branches of Time Warner meaning no fuzzy copyright crap at all.
It IS a bit more complicated than most properties. Also, keep in mind, I'm no expert in copyright or trademark law. BUT, there's a few people on the He-Man board who ARE (including some who've worked with Mattel directly at one point or another), and I've been able to glean some general info from their posts over the years. I'm not 100% on every single detail but I understand the gist of it.

So here's some things I DO know, as I understand them:

- With regard to "as they appeared", if you take a close look at a lot of MOTU/PoP characters, their appearance varies quite a bit between their toy designs and their cartoon designs. Mattel owns outright everything that was created for the MOTU/PoP toy division - including character likenesses - but the Filmation shows were developed by different people, merely "under supervision" from Mattel, and Mattel does not own those designs. Thus, they can't do toys or other merch based distinctly on the Filmation cartoons unless they come to agreements with DreamWorks.

Hordak would be a simple example. Action Figure Hordak (owned outright by Mattel) is gray; Filmation Hordak is blue. Or perhaps a better example would be She-Ra herself; her original toy looks almost NOTHING like her cartoon appearance. There are a lot of other examples.

- Mattel does, and has, reached agreements in certain circumstances when it's not too much hassle or inconvenience. For example, they recently did a blue "Filmation-inspired" Hordak figure as one of this year's PowerCon Exclusives. And apparently they recently reached agreements to do even more such figures in the future. But they don't own the cartoon designs outright.

- The problems all come from the fact that while MOTU was originally designed on its own, with only Mattel having any input, and then Filmation got involved later on and put their own spin on things such as character designs and story elements, She-Ra was a different case in that she was co-developed by Mattel AND Filmation with each side having some input. When He-Man was created, the cartoon show was nothing but wishful thinking; when She-Ra was created, the fact that she would have her own cartoon was a given, and as such Filmation had a lot of say in things regarding her. So Filmation had certain limited rights of ownership on the She-Ra side of things.

- When Filmation went out of business, their catalog of shows got shopped around and acquired by different parties. At some point, DreamWorks obtained both the He-Man and She-Ra Filmation cartoons, and all character likenesses and story elements specifically pertaining to them. So they get "first dibs" on anything that was uniquely Filmation-based.

- Things get REALLY complicated when you add sublicensing into things. To wit, when Mattel was doing their "MOTU Classics" action figure line, there were famously a lot of characters and designs that they either couldn't use at all, or didn't end up doing for a very long time, because their rights were tied up with the Filmation stuff. Meanwhile, when Mattel sublicensed MOTU to Super 7 to continue "Classics" (as well as their own 5.5-inch line and "Club Grayskull" collectors' series), Super 7's output was almost 100% Filmation-inspired as they specifically only wanted to use those versions of the characters, at least initially. For reasons I'm not 100% on, Super 7 had a much easier time getting the Filmation license than Mattel did.

- Legally, no, they cannot do a "true" sequel to either Filmation cartoon. DreamWorks theoretically can, if they want to.

- This also has a lot to do with why the MOTU movie that's been in development hell for decades never gets made. Since She-Ra is "supposed to be there" from the beginning, most of the scriptwriters who get hired to write the movie include some reference to her in the script... only to be told AFTER the fact by the suits, "We can't use She-Ra in the live-action movie, it's a separate set of rights we have to pay for and we don't want to." Then they have to start over. It's not the ONLY reason the movie isn't happening but it has been a commonly-recurring problem; multiple writers have claimed "They never told me we couldn't use She-Ra!" until it was too late.

Short version: Mattel owns (most of) the characters, but not all the cartoon-specific stuff. They can use the cartoon stuff sometimes, but they have to jump through hoops, and sometimes they'd rather not bother. She-Ra/PoP is considered a completely separate line (and license) than He-Man/MOTU, despite the fact that they're intertwined.

It is all very, VERY complicated. Sorry I'm not more help, but like I said, this is about as much as I can give since I'm just a layman at such things. Pretty sure I got MOST of it correct however.
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Old 11-24-2021, 09:56 PM   #782
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It's kind of like how the Enterprise had to look 20% different or whatever on Discovery than it did on film because the Paramount rights are different than the Viacom CBS rights.
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Old 11-24-2021, 10:40 PM   #783
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So... A lot about the rights is a bit unclear, correct?

From what I understand reading all that it's something like this:
  1. Mattel did indeed create Masters of the Universe and all characters within it's toyline all on their own, Filmation just came into the picture later and thus anything from that toyline is indeed owned by Mattel.
  2. She-Ra is more complicated because it is technically a different franchise and was co-developed by Filmation from the start.
  3. Whatever rights Filmation had were transferred to the shows themselves rather than Mattel and thus Dreamworks when they bought the shows.
  4. Mattel can make She-Ra toys all they want but movies/TV-shows are out of the question.

Is that it? Did I get that right?

Trying to make sense of all this, I would assume this essentially means She-Ra as a toyline and She-Ra as a TV-show are officially unrelated in the eyes of copyright laws (which is sounds totally absurd to me). And if that is indeed correct... Does that mean Dreamworks can literally do whatever the hell they want with She-Ra provided they don't try to license the merch rights to anyone but Mattel?

And even if we assume that is the case... God this so damn weird... Then it mean Hordak as depicted in He-Man stuff and Hordak as depicted in She-Ra stuff are legally considered seperate characters? Or was Hordak only allowed to show up in the Netflix She-Ra because they made a toyline and Mattel simply refused to allow characters like He-Man to appear in that show? And if it's the former, the Hordaks officially being two different characters, then it would mean Mattel and Dreamworks would be able to license Hordak to different studios and there still wouldn't be grounds for a legal case. In theory, we could get something like a She-Ra movie by Universal starring Hordak as the main villain and a He-Man movie by Warner also starring Hordak as the main villain, released at the same time and thus in direct competition and one studio would not be able to sue the other over the character.

It sounds totally bonkers to me.
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Old 11-24-2021, 11:08 PM   #784
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It is nuts.

And Mattel can make She-Ra toys unfettered IF they resemble her original toy appearance and NOT her cartoon appearance. However, they CAN (and have) come to terms and make toys based more closely on the cartoons when it suits them.

And yeah, DreamWorks basically gets to do whatever they want with She-Ra. They did that reboot show a few years ago with NO input or oversight from Mattel whatsoever. Likewise, Mattel did make toys for the show... barely. It was pretty much 100% a DW production and Mattel had no interest in it, only producing toys out of obligation more than anything.

The specifics surrounding Hordak himself, I'm unclear on. The closest answer I could give is there's some sort of "shared custody arrangement" since he was developed for the toys FIRST and then got grandfathered into being part of the She-Ra universe after the MOTU cartoon got cancelled.

You see, the Toy Canon and Cartoon Canon are different. VERY different. So technically, the two Hordaks ARE different characters, in that their origins, appearances, etc. are different. In the comics that came with the toys, Hordak is 100% a He-Man villain. The She-Ra mini-comics never reference Hordak at all (in the toy universe, Catra, not Hordak, is the main She-Ra villain). In the toys' version of planet Etheria, where She-Ra's adventures take place, Hordak doesn't even exist; he lives on Eternia with Skeletor and everyone else. BUT in the cartoons, Hordak is the evil overlord of Etheria and the main villain She-Ra and her allies face.

So while they're obviously meant to be the same character... if you WANT to be really petty about it, they're not. Or rather, they're at best "alternate reality" versions of the same guy.

And yes, technically there could in fact be a He-Man movie AND a She-Ra movie which each featured some version of Hordak as the villain. So long as he was gray in the He-Man movie and blue in the She-Ra movie, that would theoretically be just fine and dandy. He also probably couldn't be allowed to turn into a rocketship or any of the other goofy stuff he did in the cartoons, in the He-Man movie. Since he couldn't do any of that stuff in the original comics that came with his action figure and it was all made up later for the cartoons.

It honestly might very well be THE most complicated situation that's ever come up with this kind of thing. And again, for people who wonder why MOTU/PoP hasn't been a bigger deal since its initial '80s run ended, the fact that for a huge chunk of time a lot of the rights are all tangled up doesn't help. It never even aired in syndication after 1990, despite over 200 episodes between the He-Man and She-Ra shows and the fact that the show(s) were hugely popular in their day... but they couldn't even air on TV in reruns after Filmation went under, since for a while it wasn't even clear who owned what anymore.

It's madness, but given how much of what became "iconic" within MOTU/PoP was developed between both Mattel AND Filmation in tandem... it's not surprising that it got muddy after one of those parties ceased to be.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:08 AM   #785
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So then the real question is "who did Super 7 actually license when making the Filmation aaccuration Classics figures?" Filmation or Mattel?
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Old 11-25-2021, 04:39 PM   #786
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I really enjoyed how part two ended! Savage He-Man was the greatest! Using shunpo (shadow step) against Skeletor and finally using the battle axe! So much awesomeness!
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Old 11-26-2021, 07:38 AM   #787
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It's kind of like how the Enterprise had to look 20% different or whatever on Discovery than it did on film because the Paramount rights are different than the Viacom CBS rights.
The Enterprise redesign seems to be a creative choice, rather than for legal reasons.
https://www.inverse.com/article/4372...gal-reboot-art

https://trekmovie.com/2018/04/17/sta...t-a-legal-one/
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Old 11-26-2021, 09:08 AM   #788
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The show has dropped out of the Netflix top ten kids chart after only two days, part one at least lasted a week. This is a flop.
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Old 11-26-2021, 11:06 AM   #789
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The show has dropped out of the Netflix top ten kids chart after only two days, part one at least lasted a week. This is a flop.
Dude. F'n Fisto literally says he wants to "fist Skeletor".
Who the f' would actively support this $#!(?
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Old 11-26-2021, 01:07 PM   #790
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As an experiment, I re-cut the first episode and gave it a happy ending. What shocked me is I didn't have to change all that much. I tried a similar trick with episode five...and dear god, despite the second volume being a marked improvement, both it and the whole series is just so needless in light of those edits.
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Old 11-27-2021, 01:02 AM   #791
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The show has dropped out of the Netflix top ten kids chart after only two days, part one at least lasted a week. This is a flop.
This or the other He-Man show? Because this one isn't really a kids' show. I don't think a kids' show would have this much much blood... Or state that Skeletor and Evil-Lyn ****.
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Old 11-27-2021, 01:06 AM   #792
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It's still technically listed as a "kids show" though. Although apparently in some countries it's rated with the equivalent of "PG-13".

I'unno I'm pretty sure most kids see way worse these days.
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Old 11-27-2021, 03:37 AM   #793
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Yeah is it's rated 12 here, I have a vague memory of that being talked about, just that it would have more depth but be a more all ages thing.
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Old 11-27-2021, 11:10 AM   #794
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Dude. F'n Fisto literally says he wants to "fist Skeletor".
Who the f' would actively support this $#!(?
Clearly Kevin Smith watches Robot Chicken since that reminded me of the joke where He-man suggested that Skeletor needs "a good skull f*cking" just before Beast Man shoved the axe in his back.
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Old 11-27-2021, 12:21 PM   #795
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Clearly Kevin Smith watches Robot Chicken since that reminded me of the joke where He-man suggested that Skeletor needs "a good skull f*cking" just before Beast Man shoved the axe in his back.
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:45 AM   #796
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CBR seem to believe that Teela and Andra were supposed to have a romance and that it got 'nixed'

https://www.cbr.com/masters-of-the-u...andra-romance/

Adam and Teela as an endgame has never been realized before in animation even if it's happened in the comics and the original spin-off bibles. We were well overdue representation for them in this medium

It's also a case of them seeing what they want to see, at no point did Andra ever come across as anything but a window into the world for the casual viewers and became increasingly useless as the series progressed because her purpose was served. Teela's whole deal the entire show was in figuring out how to grieve for her best friend and process his betrayal of her trust while learning to forgive him and come to understand his need for secrecy, the whole time, she is clearly in love with him and noone else.
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Old 11-28-2021, 11:15 AM   #797
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Teela's whole deal the entire show was in figuring out how to grieve for her best friend and process his betrayal of her trust while learning to forgive him
Which was an incredibly pedestrian story trope - another marker of everything going on today. Pedestrian, extreme low-level nonsense. "We were friends, but you didn't tell me your big secret and now my entire world has been destabilized".

Basically a completely self-centered viewpoint (Teela's) to absorb someone else's life-choices through (Adam's). But that's the world we live in - a generation wherein someone is wrong for the life choices they keep to themselves and the person who wasn't told is "betrayed". Anyone else here see the extreme irony in this paradigm?

Adam is wrong for keeping a secret from Teela. Teela views this as privldged information for her. Teela does not view this as "wow this must be a heavy burden for Adam to have had to keep it from me". The directionality is her self-centeredness.

The irony? It's all geared towards a generation that views the world through their own self-centered, virtue-signaling lens. All why these people cry out for "fairness" (that they already have) and "homogenization" (because they are afraid to compete, but making everyone "the same" saves them). i.e., "Let gay people come out of the closet freely, but I'm offended that I wasn't told your secret as privldged information".

Clown world.

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Old 11-28-2021, 11:20 AM   #798
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CBR seem to believe that Teela and Andra were supposed to have a romance and that it got 'nixed'


It's also a case of them seeing what they want to see, at no point did Andra ever come across as anything but a window into the world for the casual viewers and became increasingly useless as the series progressed because her purpose was served.
Exactly a case of 'see what they want to see'. The idiots don't know all ten episodes were already made, they were just released slowly, but they were already made. If they actually went in there and nixed anything the episodes wouldn't have been released til last year or something.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:02 PM   #799
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Sk: "OK, read that back to me!"

BM: "Being He-man sucked more than you think. Falling backwards onto an axe now the way I always talked about doing!!"

Sk: Aw, FOOLPROOF!!

EL: "Let's get the hell out of here!"
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:14 PM   #800
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Teela does not view this as "wow this must be a heavy burden for Adam to have had to keep it from me". The directionality is her self-centeredness.
Not at first, but she comes to realize that. Watch that second half.
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