Terry Rossio Takes On Masters Of The Universe

Pirates screenwriter heads to Eternia

The long development of a new Masters Of The Universe movie continues this morning, with the news that Terry Rossio has been handed the keys to Castle Grayskull and set to work on a new screenplay. Rossio, co-writer of this year's The Lone Ranger (which is better than you've heard, by the way: even Quentin Tarantino says so), as well as the Pirates Of The Caribbean and Zorro movies, is the latest in a long line of writers trying to crack the material. He takes over from most recent incumbents Alex Litvak and Mike Finch, the writers of Predators.

Masters Of The Universe, if you were born after the '80s and need an explanation, was a Mattel toy line and Filmation cartoon series. It centred on Adam, Prince of Eternia and defender of the secrets of Castle Grayskull. Fabulous powers were revealed to him on the day that, for reasons best known to himself, he held aloft his magic sword and said some magic words, turning him into the muscular warrior He-Man.

His cowardly pet tiger-thing Cringer got to become Battle Cat as part of the deal, and with allies like soldier Man At Arms, sorceress The Sorceress, amazon Teela and floating wizard thing Orco, they fought the somewhat inept powers of evil, headed up by the weirdly buff skeleton overlord Skeletor.

Gary Goddard directed a cheap-o version in 1987, with Dolph Lundgren as the He-Man that fell to Earth. An attempt at a sequel to that, directed by Albert Pyun and starring surfer Laird Hamilton as He-Man, somehow morphed into Cyborg with Jean-Claude Van-Damme. Since then, various attempts to bring the property back to the screen have fallen into the void. In recent years the rights were with Joel Silver at Warner Bros. The current iteration at Columbia - thought to be a full-on, sci-fi, Eternia-based FX epic - had Jon M. Chu (GI Joe: Retaliation) at the helm for a while, but he's now jumped ship, leaving the project directorless.

Still very much attached, however, are producers Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch (Tony Scott's The Taking Of Pelham 123), and Mattel themselves: protective enough of their property that they took it away from Warners when they didn't like the direction it was taking. There's still nothing like a start date yet.