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Man-At-Arms

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Man-At-Arms
Masters of the Universe character
File:Man-At-Arms.jpg
Created byMattel
Portrayed byJon Cypher
Voiced byAlan Oppenheimer (1983–1985)
Garry Chalk (2002–2004)
Liam Cunningham (2020)
Information
AliasDuncan
SpeciesHuman
GenderMale
TitleMaster of Weapons
ChildrenTeela (foster daughter)[1]
RelativesFisto (brother)
NationalityEternian

Amazon.com Logo.png Search Man-At-Arms on Amazon.

Man-At-Arms is a fictional superhero in the Masters of the Universe franchise.[2] The figure's tag-line is "Heroic Master of Weapons".

The character was designed by Mattel Visual Designer Mark Taylor, who intended him to be a science-fiction figure to contrast with the line's fantasy barbarian setting. Inspired by Piers Anthony's 1968 novel Sos the Rope, Taylor conceived of Eternia as a planet that once had advanced technology, but had declined into a medieval society. Man-at-Arms was the character that would discover and use the planet's ancient tech.[2] The character's armor was inspired by Spanish conquistadors.[3]

When Filmation developed the animated series in 1983, producer Lou Scheimer developed Man-at-Arms as a "father figure" for He-Man and Teela, a role that was not originally part of the toyline's backstory, to make the characters more appealing to young children. Scheimer added a mustache to the character's look that didn't appear on the toys, "to make him look more like an older father figure rather than the same age as Prince Adam and Teela."[1]

Character history[edit]

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)[edit]

In Filmation's animated series, Man-At-Arms—given the "real name" of Duncan—despite being a soldier and a master of weapons is primarily peaceful and prefers alternatives to fighting. Though his stature suggests a warrior, his character is primarily patterned after skilled mechanics and he likes to pass the time working on all the kingdom's vehicles. He is also Teela's foster father (something already mentioned in a couple of pre-Filmation stories), as well as a mentor to Prince Adam. The Sorceress of Castle Grayskull asked Man-At-Arms to adopt Teela because she felt that she could not raise her daughter and protect Castle Grayskull at the same time and believing that if others knew of Teela's true destiny, it would make her daughter a target.

Man-At-Arms wears armor which is slightly different from that of the standard uniform of the royal guards. His moustache was not present on the original figure, having been added by Filmation to make him look older, wiser and more fatherly—although original prototype sketches for the Man-At-Arms figure gave him a goatee beard. He is often pestered by the court jester Orko, as Orko's magic tricks often backfire directly at him. Duncan is also one of the three people who know He-Man's secret identity, as explained in the introductory sequence of the original cartoon.

Along with Adam / He-Man and Teela, Duncan is one of the cartoon series' central and most often-seen characters. He was voiced by Alan Oppenheimer for the duration of the series.

Masters of the Universe (1987 film)[edit]

In the 1987 live-action film Masters of the Universe, Man-At-Arms is portrayed by Jon Cypher. The character is shown as a veteran soldier who is still the father of Teela.

Masters of the Universe vs. The Snakemen (2002)[edit]

The 2002 cartoon Masters of the Universe vs. The Snakemen portrays Duncan as a much more serious character and more of a warrior, with a deeper connection to the Sorceress than was previously shown. As in the Filmation series, Man-At-Arms is Teela's adoptive father (and is implied to be her biological father as well). He has a close mentor/student relationship with Adam in addition to aiding He-Man and leading the Masters (as the Heroic Warriors are called in the 2002 version) and is close friends with Adam's father King Randor. It is also revealed that Fisto is his brother. Duncan's mentor, Dekker, also appears in the series. Man-At-Arms was voiced by Garry Chalk, who also voiced He-Man in The New Adventures of He-Man.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation (2020)[edit]

Man-At-Arms will appear in the upcoming Netflix animated series Masters of the Universe: Revelation, and will be voiced by Liam Cunningham.[4]

Masters of the Universe (2021 film)[edit]

Duncan will appear in the new live-action Masters of the Universe film, scheduled for release in 2021. He is King Randor's loyal armorer and is knowledgeable in all things weapons-related. He will also serve as a main source of exposition due to his knowledge of Eternia's history.[5]

Toys[edit]

Original figure[edit]

Man-At-Arms was one of the first figures created for Mattel's Masters of the Universe line in 1981, the others being He-Man, Skeletor and Beast Man.[3]

The figure uses the same basic body as He-Man, with a different head sculpt, and orange chest armor, left-arm and leg armor, and mace.

The earliest mini-comics establish Man-At-Arms as one of He-Man's original and most trusted companions.

Unlike some other earlier figures, which were dropped in successive releases as new characters came along, Man-At-Arms figures were produced prominently throughout the line's run. However, Mattel never modified the figure to give him his trademark moustache from the cartoon.

2002 series[edit]

Man-At-Arms was given a new figure as part of the Mattel 2002 Masters of the Universe series. This was the first figure to feature the character with his moustache. Several variants were made of the figure, over the course of the series including a "Snake Catcher" version as part of the He-Man vs. the Snake Men subline.

Masters of the Universe Classics toy line[edit]

A new version of Man-At-Arms was released in 2009 as part of Mattel's on-line Masters of the Universe Classics collectors toyline. As with other releases in the series, this figure was heavily influenced by the original 1980s line. The look of the character was based upon his vintage toy packaging artwork. This new version of Man-At-Arms came with interchangeable heads (with and without a moustache), as well as additional weapons—a sword and small laser pistol, similar in design to those which came with the original 1980s Castle Grayskull playset.

Several other versions of Man-At-Arms have since been released in MOTU Classics. These include Snake Man-At-Arms (based on his appearance in the 200X cartoon episode "Second Skin"), and a Battle Ram version (which includes his 200X helmetless head).

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Scheimer, Lou; Mangels, Andy (2012). Creating the Filmation Generation. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-60549-044-1. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 Baer, Brian C. (2017). "The Secret History of He-Man". How He-Man Mastered the Universe: Toy to Television to the Big Screen. McFarland. ISBN 978-1476665900. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 Seeley, Tim; Seeley, Steve (2015). The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Dark Horse Books. p. 22. ISBN 978-1616555924. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. "Mark Hamill Will Voice Skeletor on the New 'Masters of the Universe'". Screen Rant. February 14, 2020.
  5. Charles Murphy (May 1, 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: He-Man: Masters of the Universe Character Breakdowns Revealed". That Hastag Show.


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