The Shaping Staff is a first season episode of the animated television series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, produced in 1983. Written by Paul Dini, directed by Lou Kachivas. Original broadcast date: September 29, 1983.
He-Man is battling against Man-At-Arms' training equipment, but is forced to stop to attend dinner as Prince Adam. At the royal dining table, the prince is castigated for his regular late arrival. In his role as court jester, Orko performs a few underwhelming tricks, but is interrupted when an enchantress named Magestra appears in the hall. She offers to entertain the royal family, and presents the Cabinet of Wonders to them. His curiosity peaked, King Randor volunteers to step into the box; Magestra casts her magic, and when the box is opened Randor is gone. The sorceress quickly repeats the process, and Randor steps out of the box; the king invites Magestra to stay at the castle.
The king and Magestra visit the dungeon and a weakened King Randor within one of the cells. Magestra and the impostor King reveal themselves to be Evil-Lyn and Beast Man, and the witch threatens the king with the Shaping Staff, discovered by the two villains within a cave in the Crystal Sea. Evil-Lyn uses the staff to transform Randor into a goat, and then discovers an eavesdropping Orko; before the jester can warn anyone, Evil-Lyn changes him into a cricket. She then contacts Skeletor, confirming their plans to take the Royal Guard to Castle Grayskull. Disguised once more, "Randor" informs Duncan and Adam that he wants to make Castle Grayskull a part of the kingdom.
That night, Orko finds Adam and informs him of the villains' plan. Adam transforms into He-Man, confronts the duo with Battle Cat. Evil-Lyn uses the Shaping Staff to transform Teela into a frog and He-Man into an immobile golden statue, then travels to Castle Grayskull, taking them with her. At the castle, Skeletor readies his attack by creating an evil double of He-Man called Faker. When Faker calls for her, the Sorceress is suspicious, but steps outside; Evil-Lyn immediately assaults her with the Shaping Staff, transforming her partially into a tree. He-Man encourages the Sorceress through their shared telepathy, and she is able to break the spell and free He-Man from his golden prison. Faker attacks He-Man, and their duel ends with Faker tumbling into the abyss.
The Royal Guard arrive, and when Skeletor strikes down Man-At-Arms the Sorceress breaks his fall. He-Man breaks the Shaping Staff, reviving Randor, Teela, and Orko. Evil-Lyn threatens the heroes with the remaining half of the staff, but it backfires and changes her into a snakelike creature, which quickly slithers away after the retreating Skeletor.
Orko: "In today's story, you saw what happened when a stranger came to the palace. She turned out to be evil and dangerous. Of course, turning people into animals is only make-believe, but there is nothing make-believe about how dangerous some strangers can be in real life. Never accept any food or toys or money from a stranger. Don't even talk to them. And no matter what a stranger may say, never go away with them. Terrible things have happened to some kids who did. The smart thing is to just walk away, or in my case just float away."
Behind the Scenes
- Script was approved March 18, 1983 and final script revision took place July 19, 1983.
- This story was loosely based on a Filmation script premise also titled 'The Shaping Staff' in which Skeletor, disguised as a magician, making King Randor disappear.
- The character model for Magestra was designed by Gerald Forton.
- According to the script, Faker was planned to have the same blue and orange color scheme as his toy version instead of having the same colors as He-Man. This is why Skeletor says "In this dim light she'll think you're He-Man".
- The downward looking shot of the abyss surrounding Castle Grayskull is actually the background of Snake Mountain's Blood Falls minus the waterfall. It will be used as intended in The Dragon Invasion.
- The sequence of Adam preparing to transform into He-Man featuring a cross fade was used again in The Littlest Giant.
- During the opening sequence, when He-Man is fighting a Hover-Robot and a giant squid, his sword is visible hanging on his back. But when Man-At-Arms drives up in the Attak-Trak, He-Man's sword is missing.
- On the map of Castle Grayskull that 'King Randor' and 'Magestra' are looking at, Grayskull is incorrectly spelled 'Greyskull'.
- Orko is changed into a cricket by the Shaping Staff, but manages to travel from the palace dungeons to Prince Adam's bedroom to warn him. However, when Evil-Lyn confronts He-Man outside Adam's bedroom immediately thereafter, she conjures up an image of Orko the cricket back in the dungeon with King Randor the goat.
- During the fight between He-Man and Faker, in most scenes Faker does not have a scabbard or a sword on his back and He-Man does, but sometimes it's the other way around. When He-Man is hanging off the ledge, he is wearing the scabbard but it is empty. Then Faker charges at He-Man wearing the scabbard on his back, but it is gone in the next shot as Faker falls into the abyss.
- When we first see the battalion of Royal Guards flying overhead on Sky Sleds, their legs are bare. In the next shot they are wearing their familiar green leggings.
- John Erwin as He-Man/Prince Adam, Beast Man and Faker
- Alan Oppenheimer as Skeletor, Man-At-Arms and Cringer
- Linda Gary as Teela, Evil-Lyn, the Sorceress and Magestra
- Lou Scheimer (credited as Erik Gunden) as Orko and King Randor
- Jay Scheimer (uncredited) as Queen Marlena
- Big Cartoon Database
- Frank's He-Man page
- Internet Movie Database
- The TVDB
- Gallery courtesy of He-Man Reviewed
The He-Man and She-Ra Blog
- A brief review #002 - "The Shaping Staff"
- Magestra, in all her glory...
- What was Faker?
- Faker "corrected" model sheet!
- Hate this part...
- ITV edited scene (1988 rerun).
- Coloring book #7 - Faker serves Skeletor...
- Memories #20 - Drawing He-Man at school.
- ↑ The He-Man and She-Ra Blog - Faker's appearance?
- ↑ The He-Man and She-Ra Blog - Birthday Blog #2 - That's not the abyss!
- ↑ The He-Man and She-Ra Blog - Birthday Blog #3 - Greyskull?
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