King D'Vann Grayskull (aka D'Vann Grayskull or King Grayskull) is a character from the 2002 version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He was planetary monarch of Eternia, ancestor of King Randor and Prince Adam. He was considered one of the greatest leaders of the government of Eternia, around five hundred years before the time of the rule of his descendant King Randor.
Fictional character biography
In the 2002 remake of He-Man, it is revealed that Castle Grayskull was once home to King Grayskull, an ancestor of Prince Adam. He appears in the episode, "The Power of Grayskull", waging battle and ultimately defeating the Snake Men led by King Hiss. His triumph was short-lived and he would die defending his kingdom from a subsequent campaign waged by Hordak. During his lifetime, King Grayskull ruled with wisdom and compassion.
Upon his death, King Grayskull transferred his mystical energies into his Power Sword which now forms the basis of He-Man's power, thus the transformation cry "By the power of Grayskull!", (at least in this version) refers to the king, not the castle. His wife, Veena, became the first Sorceress and his advisers became the Council of Elders. The Sorceress first introduced the story to Prince Adam by showing him a previously unrevealed statue of his titanic ancestor inside the bowels of Castle Grayskull.
King Grayskull's character design was originally an early prototype for He-Man himself. His appearance is largely the same as He-Man's but with much more exaggerated muscular body proportions resulting in an enormous stature, with long hair gathered into loose ponytails framing his face, and wearing a long brown cape with fur-topped shoulders. The producers liked it enough that they decided to use it for King Grayskull. Whereas He-Man rides the green tiger Battle Cat, King Grayskull rode an even larger giant green lion, and during his war with the Snake Men he was shown also wearing the same "Snake Armor" He-Man used in the second season. King Grayskull was voiced by Cam Clarke, He-Man's voice actor for the 2002 series.
Interestingly, according to the unproduced series bible for The Powers of Grayskull that was written as a proposed six-issue miniseries, Grayskull's hair was supposed to be gray, not blonde like his descendant. And also that Gray, alter-ego of He-Ro, was supposed to become King Grayskull when the giant Tytus gave him some of his blood to save his life. Which explains King Grayskull's enormous stature.
The Masters of the Universe Classics King Grayskull figure includes a short character biography in the Classics continuity, blending elements from the 2002 series as well as other sources:
Long before Prince Adam™ held the Sword of Power™ to become He-Man®, his ancestor, King Grayskull™ defended Eternia™ from evil. Heroically mastering the secret power of his sword, Grayskull™ fought side-by-side with the cosmic warrior He-Ro against both the evil Hordak and King Hssss™. Although Grayskull™ eventually fell before Hordak’s magic, he was able to preserve his powers inside the sword, so that one day his descendants could reclaim the power and call upon Grayskull's name whenever evil threatens the peace of Eternia. To this day, Grayskull's spirit remains hidden away deep inside the castle which will forever bear his name.
At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, Mattel offered an exclusive King Grayskull figure, due to fan requests. However, as the figure served to launch Mattel's new Masters of the Universe Classics collector toyline, he is depicted more in the style of the other forthcoming Classics figures rather than that of the 2002 toyline, resulting in more standardized body proportions than his enormous cartoon physique, although it is still slightly taller than the 2002 He-Man figure. Furthermore, his Power Sword accessory uses the design from the original 1980s version of MOTU (in which his character did not exist) rather than the larger, more mechanized 2002 design. He does, however, feature the correct "asterix/letter-H" chest emblem rather than the classic Maltese cross. The figure was packaged in an elaborate box which can be unfolded to create a simplified cardboard playset of Castle Grayskull, with the figure included behind the drawbridge which, when opened, triggers a strobe to simulate lightning and a sound recording of the famous catchphrase "I have the power".
King Grayskull's production run included a chase variant of the figure cast in a uniform bronze color to emulate the statue which Prince Adam first viewed. An additional ultra-rare "Spirit of Grayskull" variant in translucent blue was given as gift to Mattel's team that worked on the new toyline, with only two copies available to the general public: one was raffled at San Diego Comic-Con, the other will be auctioned to raise money for children affected by AIDS through the Dream Halloween charity event.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002 Series)
- An action figure of King Grayskull was released as one of the first figures in the Masters of the Universe Classics line in 2008 as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive and was also available in a limited bronze 'statue' variant. Two more variants followed: a redesigned version in 2010 and a glow in the dark Spirit of King Grayskull in 2015.
- page 392 of volume 1 of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium by Dark Horse Comics, published 23 May 2017.
Before he died, he deemed his friend D'Vann Grayskull worthy of wielding the Sword of He. He-Ro's spirit later revealed to He-Man and She-Ra that his son married King Grayskull and Veena's daughter, thus making He-Ro the twins' ancestor.