Masters of the Universe Has Dark Message About Death In He-Man
The Masters of the Universe: Revelation season 1 finale offered a dark message about what death means for characters in He-Man’s world. In episode 5, the Netflix series introduced Preternia into He-Man canon. It was revealed in the new cartoon that Preternia is a dimension that exists outside of Eternia, and serves as this universe’s version of the afterlife.
In previous He-Man stories, the name had very different connotations. Before Masters of the Universe: Revelation, it was understood that “Preternia” refers to an ancient period in Eternia’s history. Revelation has changed the meaning of the name by defining it as the afterlife. The series began its exploration into the concept of Preternia through the shocking return of Prince Adam, who was thought to be gone for good. Much to the surprise of Teela and everyone else, death didn’t necessarily end He-Man’s story. Following his ultimate sacrifice in the series premiere, Prince Adam found himself in Preternia alongside other former champions of Eternia, where he was allowed a chance to live out his “reward” for his heroic activities.
People like He-Man not being gone forever may be a nice thought on the surface, but it has rather bleak implications for everyone else. Based on what’s said in Revelation, Preternia is a beautiful place reserved for former champions of Eternia like He-Ro, Vikor, Wun-Dar, King Grayskull, and of course He-Man himself. It looks like the only exception to this rule is Kuduk, who was a predecessor to the Sorceress. These people were among the select few allowed to live on after death. What that means is that in He-Man’s universe, there is sadly no afterlife for any of the ordinary people living in Eternia. When they die, they don’t get to move on to a heavenly paradise, no matter how good they may have been in their lives.
This interpretation of how death works is a bit similar to Norse mythology’s Valhalla, which is typically depicted as the final destination for fallen warriors who have died in the service of their homeland. The difference here though, is that the qualifications for entering Preternia is significantly more selective since only the chosen champions are permitted entry.
This explanation for Preternia also adds to the tragic feel of Masters of the Universe: Revelation season 1’s ending. This hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, but the implication is that Prince Adam – who just gave up his spot in the afterlife – is about to die forever. Most people in Eternia wouldn’t have received that reward anyway, but He-Man had it and gave it up. Depending on what comes next, the franchise’s main protagonist could end up experiencing one of the most tragic moments the show could possibly deliver.