So who is the true master of the Masters of the Universe?
It's been a long time since He-Man debuted in 1983, but the character and the franchise have stuck with us, even through the oversaturation of the toy market and a really hokey movie. Now, some 30 years later, as people start wondering, "Hey, should we maybe make a big push to revitalize this property?", the question of who really created (and who owns) He-Man has resurfaced.
Sony and original writer Donald Glut are in the midst of just such a struggle. Glut recently laid claim to the characters, saying that, effectively, because these characters grew from his invention, the copyright should remain with him.
Sony, meanwhile, is taking the work-for-hire stance, which would leave the rights with Mattel and Sony. Glut, in response, refers to the work he did for He-Man as licensed work, which would mean the rights would revert back to him upon the expiration of the license in 2016.
But the creation of He-Man and the rogues gallery of Eternia has long been a source of debate. One of Mattel's lead toy designers, Roger Sweet, claims credit for crafting the characters. Likewise, Mattel itself insists that Glut was working under the instruction of the company on "certain key elements."
So why is Glut claiming that his involvement wasn't independent contracting but, rather, that he filed a copyright registration on a treatment featuring the He-Man characters? And why is Sony fighting so vehemently, going so far as to call Glut's claims "both baseless and stale"?
According to Glut, well ... it's all about the money.
My work on 'Masters of the Universe' taught me one basic lesson: Don't create anything original, especially concepts that someone else will make millions of dollars from, unless you have a percentage of the profits or part ownership. It's a lesson I've managed to stick to since my days with He-Man and the gang.
We're still left wondering ... why now, though? 2016 may be close, but it's not that close. Does Glut just want the money he feels he should have made all along? Or is this confirmation that something big is happening with the franchise? We've heard rumors of a new movie, but could major details be on the loom?
(via The Hollywood Reporter)