Hordak is a fictional character in the Masters of the Universe franchise. He is the leader of the Evil Horde, an army of savage warriors, most of whom wear a red bat symbol on their chests to convey their allegiance. He is the former mentor of Skeletor, one of the franchise's main villains. According to most story media, Skeletor betrayed Hordak and trapped him in another dimension before beginning his own conquest of the planet Eternia. Hordak then returned with a vengeance to take over Eternia for himself. This background is consistent across most story media.
Hordak is recognizable by his grotesque white (sometimes cream/bone colored) face, with sharp red eyes, his flat snout-like nose, red vampire-like fangs and pointed bat-like ears. He wears a collar of bones and black armor over his chest, emblazoned with the Horde bat symbol. His appearance resembles a vampire or bat-like creature, although in some media he appears more cyborg-like. Whenever he talks, he pauses his talking by snorting between his statements. According to the toy line's creator Roger Sweet, his face was modeled on an African witch doctor's mask.
Hordak is generally recognized as being the lead villain of the She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon, in which he is the arch nemesis of She-Ra, He-Man's twin sister. In this series, he rules the planet of Etheria with an army of Horde Troopers. In a few episodes, he does make attempts and mentions of trying to conquer Eternia, giving his goals some similarity to his action figure/mini-comic counterpart.
Hordak in the Masters of the Universe toy line
Hordak and his Evil Horde were introduced into Mattel's Masters of the Universe toy line in 1985 to inject new blood into the line by introducing a new army of villains, as adversaries to both He-Man and Skeletor. Hordak is introduced in the minicomic "Hordak: The Ruthless Leader's Revenge!", packaged with his action figure, in which he returns from the dimension in which he was imprisoned to wreak vengeance on Skeletor while making his own attempts to destroy He-Man and conquer Castle Grayskull. His character is presented as a sorcerer who has now turned his attention mainly to science, and uses a combination of magic and science, but mainly the latter, in his attempts on Eternia. He apparently was involved in lots of events in Eternia's past such as the building of The Three Towers, which is alluded to in some of the mini comics that came packaged with the action figures.
A second figure of the character, 1986's Hurricane Hordak, with vac-metalized gold armor and an arsenal of spinning propeller weapons, corresponds to the Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor figures of the same year.
The Buzz Saw Hordak action figure first released 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 (known as MOC / Mint on Card) version of this figure can fetch high dollars on auction sites such as eBay.
In the 2009 Masters of the Universe Classics toy line, Hordak is revealed to be named Hec-Tor Kur, second born heir to the Horde Empire who came to Eternia while battling He-Ro. Hec-Tor adopted the name Hordak and eventually raised an army to battle against the Snake Men for rule over Eternia. Eventually, Hordak's army defeated the Snake Men but was then defeated by King Grayskull, who banished him to the dimension of Despondos.
She-Ra: Princess of Power
Hordak made his first animated appearance in She-Ra: Princess of Power, in which he is the main antagonist. In this continuity he has conquered Etheria and rules it from the Fright Zone. He is the highest ranking member of the Horde on Etheria. This version of Hordak uses technology more than magic, and has the ability to transform his body into mechanical weapons. He is opposed in his rule of Etheria by the Great Rebellion.
According to the series' backstory, Hordak and his apprentice Skeletor kidnapped Adora when she was an infant, but Skeletor was captured and told Man-At-Arms where to find Hordak. Hordak was able to escape to Etheria with the infant Adora, and he saw to it that she grew up to be a Force Captain in the Horde, thanks in part to the spells Shadow Weaver cast on Adora to make her compliant.
In this series Hordak is not the supreme ruler of the Horde, and takes orders from Horde Prime, who he fears.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002)
In the new continuity of the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series, Hordak was returned to his mini comic roots as sorcerer Dark warlord from ancient Eternia, who opposed Castle Grayskull's original ruler, King Grayskull, with a massive army. The conflict ended when Hordak commanded his sorcerers to draw Castle Grayskull into the dimension of Despondos. The spell failed with King Grayskull's intervention, which only destroyed the area around the castle and drew Hordak and his army into the dark dimension instead. While trapped in Despondos, Hordak saved Keldor's life after he failed to assassinate the Eternian Elders, and had acid splashed in his face when it was deflected by Captain Randor. Hordak saved Keldor by magically removing the damaged flesh and allowed his bare skull to exist in a magical floating state above his shoulders. Having saved his life on the promise of a later price to be paid, Hordak renamed Keldor as Skeletor. While Skeletor is known for bullying his minions, Hordak was even more cruel towards his underlings. In the episode "The Power of Grayskull" Hordak completely destroyed one of his generals, Callix, simply for giving him bad news that he didn't want to hear.
At a much later date, Hordak called upon Skeletor to free him from Despondos, and Skeletor initially seemed powerless to resist his mentor. However, Skeletor surprised the onlooking Evil-Lyn and He-Man by defiantly destroying Hordak's Sanctuary, and thus hoped to seal his former master away forever.
Soon after, Evil-Lyn attempted to free Hordak through different means with the help of Count Marzo, but after He-Man destroyed the Well of Darkness, Marzo absorbed the power of his amulet and fled. It was also revealed that Hordak was responsible for creating that series' Dark Hemisphere on Eternia by performing the Spell of Separation.
Hordak was intended to be released in the new toy line, as well as being the main villain in the third season of the cartoon series. According to Ian Richter of Mattel, who initiated most of the storylines on the cartoon, Hordak was going to conquer Eternia in season three and serve as the main villain of the season before finally being overcome by Skeletor. However, the toy line and cartoon series were both canceled after the show's second season, so the third season was never produced. His figure was produced however by NECA & The Four Horsemen in their MOTU mini statue line.
Hordak in other media
While Hordak came to be generally recognized as She-Ra's main adversary, most story media outside of the cartoon focuses more on Hordak as one of He-Man's arch enemies. He features predominantly in the Star and Marvel comic series in the US as an enemy of He-Man, and also in the London Editions comics in the UK. London Editions also published a short-lived She-Ra comic series, which also stars Hordak as the main villain, explaining that he divides his time between his rulership on Etheria and his attempts at conquering Eternia. The UK comics also state that there are two Fright Zones that he operates from, one on Etheria and one on Eternia, the latter resembling Mattel's Fright Zone playset. The UK comics state that he comes from the world of Academica, apparently a world dominated by science and industry.
The relationship between Horde Prime and Hordak
In the Filmation series and later comics derived from its continuity, Horde Prime is the only being with authority over Hordak as well as his Horde inspectors, for he is the intergalactic ruler of the Horde Empire, with control over all Horde regimes. He apparently hails from a world known as Horde World although his exact background has never been revealed. All that has ever been seen of Horde Prime is a gigantic skeletal robotic arm, which suggests he may be some sort of cyborg. He travels the universe in his ship, the Velvet Glove, keeping watch over the Horde's universal activities. It has been speculated, but never confirmed, that Horde Prime may be Hordak's brother.
The main reason for this comes from the episode "The Peril of Whispering Woods", the first She-Ra episode to allude to Horde Prime. In this episode, we see Horde Prime's son, Prince Zed, who addresses Hordak as 'uncle'. This could suggest that Prime is Hordak's brother, but it is also possible that Zed only called him 'uncle' as a friendly term or that Hordak is Horde Prime's brother-in-law. How Prince Zed is Horde Prime's son still remains to be seen but he may be adopted.
Two UK She-Ra annuals in the mid-1980s state that Hordak is Prime's brother, but these operate within a canon independent of the cartoon and also altered Horde Prime's name, referring to him as 'Prime Horde'. The UK He-Man comics state explicitly in one issue that Horde Prime is not Hordak's brother, but again these operate within an independent canon and Prime is depicted with a completely different appearance from the cartoon.
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. Hordak's bio on his card back reads as follows:
Real Name: Hec-Tor Kur™
Second born heir to the Horde Empire, Hec-Tor Kur™ arrived on the planet Eternia® while battling the cosmic warrior He-Ro™. Taking the name Hordak™, he raised an army and challenged the Snake Men™ for rule over the planet. Although he defeated King Hssss™, Grayskull, leader of the free people of Eternia® succeeded in banishing him to the dimension of Despondos™. It was here that centuries later Hordak™ contacted a young alchemist named Keldor™ and began teaching him the ways of the dark arts in exchange for freedom from his extra dimensional prison.
Powers and abilities
In the Filmation series, Hordak possesses an array of powers. Unlike his treacherous former pupil Skeletor, who relies mostly on magic, the majority of Hordak's powers are seemingly the product of science. He is capable of transforming himself in a variety of ways. For example, he can turn his arm into an energy cannon, which has also been seen emitting fire, become a massive tank, and even transport himself over great distances by becoming a rocket. In the episode "The Sword In The Stone", Hordak even transforms his arm into a vacuum cleaner. Although mechanical in result, these transformations may have been magically instigated, as they occur instantaneously with an eerie glow and sound effect - but we must not forget the Third Clarke's Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"
However, the minicomics and Marvel Star comic books depict Hordak as using magic to a greater extent, more so than science. He is shown to be a powerful dark mage of equal or greater power to Skeletor and most likely has far greater knowledge.
As was the case with Skeletor and He-Man, Hordak received later action-figure iterations that had new special features. As Hurricane Hordak, he has the power to discharge violent whirlwinds via mechanical rotor-blades that replace his right hand. As Buzz-saw Hordak, he can launch a deadly spinning buzz-saw like projectile from his chest. The accompanying minicomics explain the origins of both seemingly technological powers in clearly magical terms.
In the 2002 Mike Young Productions Cartoon, Hordak briefly appeared in flashbacks and in astral form via dimensional portals. Hordak was depicted as a supremely powerful magic-user, seemingly of vastly greater power than Skeletor, and with no apparent reliance on technology whatsoever, other than his Horde Troopers, although it was unknown if those redesigned minions were still intended to be robots like the original versions.
Masters of the Universe minicomics
- Leech: The Master of Power Suction Unleashed!
- Grizzlor: The Legend Comes Alive!
- Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde!
- Hordak: The Ruthless Leader's Revenge!
- The Treachery of Modulok!
- Escape from the Slime Pit!
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place!
- The Warrior Machine!
- The Menace of Multi-Bot!
- The Hordes of Hordak
- Enter: Buzz-saw Hordak!
Princess of Power minicomics
- Into Etheria
- Beast Island
- She-Ra Unchained
- Battle for Bright Moon
- The Sea Hawk
- The Red Knight
- The Prisoners of Beast Island
- The Peril of Whispering Woods
- The Laughing Dragon
- King Miro's Journey
- He Ain't Heavy
- A Loss for Words
- Horde Prime Takes a Holiday
- The Stone in the Sword
- The Crown of Knowledge
- The Mines of Mondor
- Small Problems
- Book Burning
- The Eldritch Mist
- The Price of Freedom
- The Reluctant Wizard
- Friends Are Where You Find Them
- A Talent for Trouble
- Gateway to Trouble
- The Unicorn King
- Into the Dark Dimension
- Treasure of the First Ones
- Glimmer's Story
- Enemy with My Face
- Welcome Back, Kowl
- The Rock People
- Micah of Bright Moon
- Birds of a Feather
- For Want of a Horse
- My Friend, My Enemy
- Unexpected Ally
- Loo-Kee Lends a Hand
- Of Shadows and Skulls
- Jungle Fever
- Black Snow
- Darksmoke and Fire
- Flowers for Hordak
- He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special
- Return of the General
- A Lesson in Love
- The Pearl
- The Time Transformer
- Above It All
- Day of the Flowers
- The Caregiver
- When Whispering Woods Last Bloomed
- Romeo and Glimmer
- The Perils of Peekablue
- The Locket
- Shera Makes a Promise
- Bow's Magical Gift
- Sweet Bee's Home
- Glimmer Come Home
- The Inspector
- Portrait of Doom
- Hordak's Power Play
- Assault on the Hive
- The Bibbet Story
- Swifty's Baby
Behind the Scenes
- The animation model for Hordak was designed by artists Gerald Forton and Herb Hazelton, based on many different concepts provided by the design department of both Filmation and Mattel.
- ↑ http://princessofpower.co.uk/pages/images/toys/dolls2000/hordak-box-back.jpg 2000s-era design art
- ↑ http://www.oafe.net/yo/motuhord.php Masters of the Universe: Hordak statue from NECA
- ↑ http://princessofpower.co.uk/pages/images/toys/dolls2000/hordak-box-front.jpg box front
- ↑ http://i.toynewsi.com/g/index.php?mode=view&album=Mattel%2FMOTU%2FHordak&pic=03.jpg&dispsize=600&start=0 2009 Hordak action figure biocard