Teela (spelled Tee-La in the early minicomics) is a character from the Masters of the Universe franchise. She is the Captain of the Royal Guard at the palace of Eternos and thus responsible for training and protecting Prince Adam of Eternia. While Adam is He-Man, Teela often assists him in his battles, but she is unaware of his alternate identity. Teela is one of the first characters developed for Masters of the Universe, although her figure was released in the second half of the first wave. Writer Donald F. Glut named her after Gunga Ram's elephant from the Andy's Gang television show.
Teela is presented in the earliest media as a heroic "warrior goddess," a capable female fighter imbued with the spirits of great warriors long deceased. She roams the deserted landscapes of Eternia atop a unicorn. As typically by 1980's cartoon standards, she was clad in a sleeveless white leotard with gold trim (suggesting a one-piece bathing suit); said costume was carried over from the mini-comic books. However, she never actually wears the cobra hood (or wield the cobra staff) that her action figure was given in either the animated series or the comics.
The second-wave minicomic The Tale of Teela! explains that, twenty years earlier, Skeletor captured the Goddess and made a clone of her using an ancient artifact. His plan was to raise the child as an evil version of the Goddess. However, the clone was rescued by Man-At-Arms and grew up to become the warrior goddess Teela.
Family: Man-At-Arms (Duncan), father; Sorceress of Grayskull, mother
Teela appeared in the following minicomics:
- He-Man and the Power Sword
- King of Castle Grayskull
- Battle in the Clouds
- The Vengeance of Skeletor
- The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces!
- The Terror of Tri-Klops!
- The Menace of Trap Jaw!
- The Tale of Teela!
- The Magic Stealer!
- Dragon's Gift
- The Secret Liquid of Life!
- He-Man and the Insect People
- Double-Edged Sword
- The Temple of Darkness
- Siege of Avion
- The Obelisk
- Skeletor's Dragon
- The Battle of Roboto
- Grizzlor: The Legend Comes Alive!
- Hordak: The Ruthless Leader's Revenge!
- Spikor Strikes
- The Stench of Evil!
- Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde!
- The Treachery of Modulok!
- The Terror Claws Strike!
- Between a Rock and a Hard Place!
- Eye of the Storm
- The Menace of Multi-Bot!
- The Hordes of Hordak
- Energy Zoids
In the main miniseries, Teela is one of the Heroic Warriors who help He-Man to find the talismans that will guide them to the Power Sword. While both preview issues and issues #2-3 of the miniseries show Teela with her toy attire, issue #1 has her wearing a different uniform with a metal bra and a fur loincloth, looking like a female version of He-Man.However it was very quickly corrected to the intended toy-design attire.
Filmation animated seriesIn the Filmation animated series, Teela is not Man-At-Arms' biological daughter. When Teela was an infant her mother, the Sorceress of Grayskull, gave her to Man-At-Arms who raised her as his own daughter. In Teela's Quest, Teela discovers the truth about her mother from Eternia's Oracle of the Crystal Sea, but an emotionally distraught Sorceress erases the revelation from Teela's memory for her own protection, even though the Sorceress desperately wishes she could tell Teela the truth. Teela's biological father is never revealed; Man-At-Arms says he was one of Eternia's greatest men. In the episode it is stated that he died in the war, protecting Eternia.
Despite her excellent fighting skills and generally being sensible and level-headed, Teela has a reckless streak like that of a wild tomboy, a far cry from her mother's soft-spoken temperament. In the Filmation series, Teela's recklessness and quick temper in situations that she does not agree with often lead to poor judgment, which results in dangerous situations. Unaware of Adam's dual-identity and duties that go with it, Teela often reprimands him for being lazy, cowardly and not attentive to his training.
In the 1980s series, Teela is voiced by Linda Gary.
In the UK Ladybird Masters of the Universe storybook series, particularly in "A Trap For He-Man", Teela's cobra staff gives her some telepathic ability and allows her to communicate with a few wild creatures. This ability does not appear in any other media.
In the 1987 film, she is portrayed by Chelsea Field as a mostly serious fighter who only occasionally allows a sense of humor to show through. She is still portrayed as somewhat aggressive, though her reckless nature is toned down considerably. Nothing is said of her being the daughter of the Sorceress. Teela's costume in the film is quite different from its animated depictions. It covers more of her body, including her arms and legs, and is colored gray. She portrays Teela as having curly brown hair rather than the usual red/auburn hair. In the movie Teela is vegetarian, given her reaction in a scene where she and Man-At-Arms are eating fried chicken. As there is no mention of Prince Adam or the rest of the Royal Family in the film, no mention is made of the childhood friendship between Teela and Adam.
The New Adventures of He-ManIn the series The New Adventures of He-Man, which ran from 1990-1991, Teela makes one appearance in the episode Once Upon a Time, a rare reference to the vintage toyline and Filmation series. However, she bears no resemblance to her Filmation counterpart, being portrayed with long blond hair (as featured in the very first mini-comic) instead of red hair. She wears a pink leotard, rather than the usual white one. She is voiced by Cathy Weseluck.
The basic outline of her character remains the same in the 2002 series, but is taken to a greater extreme due to a difference in censors and restrictions. She still teases or reprimands Adam for his apparent lack of courage and gumption while harboring an unspoken and unconsummated crush on his alter-ego, He-Man, and is still a very durable fighter in her own right. However, Teela appears to be much younger and leaner in the 2002 series than she is in the 1980s series. She also wears her hair in a long ponytail, as opposed to the 1980s figure and cartoon character who are represented with their hair up and she was portrayed in a skirt. Although the Filmation version of Teela has a short temper, the new version of Teela is portrayed as brasher and slightly more aggressive.
In the episode Out of the Past, Teela says that she is 16 years old; her age in the original series is never specified, although in the second season episode, "The Great Books Mystery", Adam celebrates his 19th birthday, and it is generally indicated throughout the series that he and Teela are approximately the same age and grew up together. She also briefly displays limited telepathic powers after a blood transfusion from her mother the Sorceress; the power fades as the Sorceress's blood fades away within Teela's blood.
As with the previous versions of the story, Teela was adopted by Man-At-Arms, or rather was entrusted to him by her mother the Sorceress, because her birth father, an amnesiac Eternian soldier whom the Sorceress had nursed back to health, had disappeared, having presumably died in battle. There are hints in both the episode "Out of the Past" as well as the 3rd volume episode guide of the series DVD, that Man-At-Arms is actually her biological father as well. However, it would have eventually been revealed that Duncan's brother, Fisto, was the wounded soldier. Which during some panel discussions at Power-Con years later, were said that Fisto would've been a red herring.
It was intended that Teela would learn the truth of her heritage in the third season, but the series was canceled before it could be resolved. Despite her young age, Teela is the Captain of the Palace Guard as in the original series and seen in several episodes commanding the palace soldiers.
In the MOTU comic produced at the same time, a greater emphasis is placed on Teela and Adam's friendship. Teela admits in the original mini-series that she would rather play with him, as they did as children within the palace walls, than be a soldier trained to expect war. Adam reassures her that what she does will bring that day closer, holding her hand. In the regular comic series, she becomes jealous of the attention Adam lavishes on a weak, critically injured Evil-Lyn.
In the 2002 series, Teela is voiced by Lisa Ann Beley, and she has auburn hair.