Faker is a fictional character in the popular toyline Masters of the Universe and the accompanying animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He is an evil duplicate of the lead character, He-Man, in service to the villain Skeletor.
Different media present differing interpretations of his character. The original toyline presents him as a blue-skinned robot replica of He-Man built to serve Skeletor, the toy was packaged as "Evil robot of Skeletor" (or "Evil robot impostor"), and this is the way he is generally viewed by fans, but other media showcase him as a magical creation rather than a robot, or as an exact physical replica of He-Man intended to fool the people of Eternia.
Original Action Figure
Faker was one of the earliest characters to be produced for the Masters of the Universe toyline, released onto the shelves in early 1982. His toy is a blue-skinned, red-haired repaint of the He-Man figure, wearing armor identical to Skeletor's in orange, with a sticker showing inner robotic workings over his chest. His skin color and armor are intended to make him appear as a cross between He-Man and Skeletor. Only one mini-comic, late from the original toylines run, features the character - "The Search for Keldor" - and the suggestion is that he is an evil robot built to duplicate He-Man's power and use it to serve the forces of evil. He is used by Skeletor to impersonate He-Man in order to distract King Randor from uncovering the great secret of Keldor. Randor is not fooled by this attempt and Faker suffers a quick defeat, impaled on Randor's spear.
There were two versions of the original release of Faker - a very early version with darker boots and a larger chest sticker (which was not completely hidden by his armor), and the more common version with purple boots and more concealed chest workings sticker.
The Faker figure was reissued in the late stages of the toy line, in 1987, with a slightly different color scheme and solid head (as opposed to the hollow rubber version released previously).
The action figures second release by Mattel in 1987 is a very rare and sought after collectors item today. Its rare existence can be attributed to being released very late into the toy series original run. The mint condition version of this figure can fetch high dollars on auction sites such as eBay.
When Faker appears in a single episode of the MotU animated series by Filmation, the cartoon presents a radically different interpretation of him, which greatly confused toy buyers. Appearing in the early episode "The Shaping Staff," Faker appears as an exact physical replica of He-Man with the same skin tone and armor as the real He-Man, the only physical differences being glowing eyes and a hollow-sounding voice. This is primarily due to the artists at Filmation being able to cut costs by reusing He-Man's character model rather than drawing up a new one for Faker, wearing Skeletor's armor. Paul Dini's original notes for "The Shaping Staff" indicate that Faker was originally intended to appear like the action figure, but Filmation chose instead to depict him as identical to the real He-Man in order to cut down on costs, by avoiding having to produce extra cels for different characters.
He is presented as a magical creation rather than a robot, created by Skeletor out of thin air in a surprisingly easy manner, leading one to wonder why Skeletor did not use his magic to create a whole army of evil He-Men if such an act was this easy. His role in the episode is minor, appearing only in a five-minute sequence in which he is created to lure The Sorceress out of Castle Grayskull by pretending to be the real He-Man in pain from an injury. After a quick fight with the real He-Man, Faker charges at him and falls into the bottomless abyss of Grayskull, never to return for the rest of the series, despite Skeletor's claims about recovering him. Though it is never confirmed or denied in the story, Faker's fate can be taken as the only time that a villain is effectively killed in the series. The fact that Faker is only a magical creation and not a "living" being is probably the reason that the violence-cautious producers allowed this fate to occur. Originally, He-Man was shown throwing Faker into the pit, but Scheimer insisted that the scene be redone rather than send children the wrong message. An android He-Man was shown in the following episode, "Disappearing Act," this time built by Man-at-Arms at the direction of the Sorceress.
The writer of the episode wanted to bring Faker back and eventually have his skin tone change, making him into a Bizarro sort of foe, but without the broken speech, but he never realized his intent.
Other media producing MotU stories throughout the 1980s gave their own individual interpretations of Faker. In the early UK annuals he is a psychotic mass murderer who is Skeletor's most trusted assistant and an escapee from the intergalactic Prison Star. Later annuals state that he is the result of a spell cast by Skeletor that did not quite work out; it is often stated that it was Beast Man's fault, and although intended as an exact replica of He-Man had turned out blue-skinned and deformed, and therefore unable to fool the Eternians in the way Skeletor had planned. In the UK comics, meanwhile, he is once again shown as a magical creation, although this time he is able to temporarily change from his regular blue-skinned form to exactly the same form as the real He-Man, but the change only ever lasts a short period of time. The comics also clearly show that he is not equal in strength to the real He-Man, and despite having the same appearance possesses only the strength of an average warrior. The comics add extra depth to his character by giving him a bitter grudge against the real He-Man after his original loss to him in battle, and a sense of competition, hoping to overcome the man in whose image he had been created.
Although Faker was absent from the 2002 cartoon, he did receive an exclusive figure available by mail-away from ToyFare magazine. He was also solicited as a mini-statue from NECA, to be sold exclusively by online retailer Action Figure Xpress (in a two-pack with Kobra Khan), but problems with the factory caused the item to be cancelled.
He had been intended to play a major role in the unproduced third season of the Mike Young Productions cartoon, tricking the Eternians into turning against He-Man and enabling Skeletor to conquer the planet. Although the cartoon was cancelled before this storyline could be produced, the episode "The Courage of Adam" features a brief "sort of" glimpse of Faker. As a holographic He-Man robot built by Man-At-Arms is deactivated, it briefly flashes the Faker colors before collapsing, intended by the director as a subtle hint that the robot would be resurrected in the show's later stages as Faker.
Masters of the Universe Classics
A line of toys that were debuted in 2008 to be sold exclusively on Mattel's collector website. Sculpted by the 4 Horsemen these toys are updated versions of everyone's favorite Masters characters. Although the MOTU Classics toyline, as yet, no supporting fiction, the toys' packaging do include short character biographies that merge elements from various different incarnations of the franchise as well as some newly-developed information to form a new, distinct "Classics" continuity. Faker was the fourth figure released in the 2009 Masters of the Universe Classics toyline, available as an exclusive at the New York Comic Con. Faker's bio on his card back reads as follows:
Evil Robot of Skeletor/Evil Robotic He-Man Imposter
Real Name: N/A Originally built by Man-At-Arms to cover for He-Man when Prince Adam is needed, Faker was abandoned after his first mission in the royal junk yard and salvaged by the evil warrior Tri-Klops. At the request of Skeletor, Faker was reprogrammed to replace He-Man and convince the people of Eternia that He-Man had betrayed King Randor and turned to evil.
- The one-shot character He-Slave from The New Adventures of He-Man recycles the "He-Man's evil copy" concept first used for Faker.