I didn’t see the 1987 Masters of the Universe Movie (or really know anything about it, other than one was made) until probably the early 90s, when I saw it on TV. Even though I considered myself too old for toys at the time, I still felt a little affronted that the designs of the main characters had been changed so much, particularly Skeletor. Despite myself, I stayed for it and watched the whole movie. It was actually a pretty fun little film. As an adult I can appreciate the beauty of the movie designs.
Design & Development
Gwildor was designed for the movie by Claudio Mazzoli. He seems to function as an Orko-type character, but with penchant for inventions rather than wizardry. We can see a glimpse of early concept art in The Power of Grayskull documentary, where we see an older looking character with white hair:
A more developed design appears in the background of the image below, which also shows a maquette created in pre-production. You can read more about it at the excellent MOTU Movie site. The images come from Theresa Cardinali, a crew member on the film:
The final design for Gwildor as a movie character of course appears in the actual costume used by actor Billy Barty. The costume was somewhat changed compared to previous designs:
On Mattel’s side, Alan Tyler used Mazzoli’s concept (specifically the maquette version) to create the designs for the action figure:
Gwildor’s action figure was given a blue rather than a brown jacket, which recalls the color scheme of the concept illustration from the Power of Grayskull documentary. The glasses were removed from the final figure, as represented in the cross sell artwork below:
Gwildor was minimally articulated – he has no waist joint, although his feet do swivel, along with his arms and head. His Cosmic Key accessory swivels at the top. He features a great deal of sculpted detail compared to most other Masters of the Universe figures, particularly around his costume.
Gwildor was trademarked on October 7, 1986. He appeared in a number of catalog and advertisement pictures in 1987:
Gwildor came on the typical 1987 MOTU card, featuring artwork on the front by Bruce Timm. Errol McCarthy did the scene on the reverse. The example below features a sticker on the blister referencing the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, although it’s not present on every release.
Saurod, Gwildor and Blade were all packaged with the same minicomic: The Cosmic Key. The story doesn’t have anything to do with the movie, however. A cosmic force called the Evil Cloud gives Skeletor evil powers, including the ability to summon Saurod and Blade, and He-Man must call on Gwildor to stop the power of the entity.
Some versions of the minicomic actually had the Powers of Grayskull artwork on the back, which would have been the artwork on the front of the cards for He-Ro and Eldor, had they been produced:
Gwildor appears in the Summer 1987 issue of the US Masters of the Universe Magazine, where he sends a group of Tyrantisaurs Rex creatures back in time:
The same issue includes and some production shots of Gwildor in the movie:
Gwildor also appears in the Winter 1988 issues of MOTU Magazine, where he plays a decidedly Orko-like role in the royal palace:
Gwildor appears in several issues of the UK Masters of the Universe Adventure magazine:
Gwildor also appears in the November 1987 Star Comics story, The Motion Picture, based on the plot from the film. The artwork replicates the movie designs (or prototype designs) for the newly introduced characters and for Beast Man. Established characters like He-Man, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn are drawn with their classic toy looks:
Thanks to Dušan M. for the gentle reminder: Gwildor appeared frequently in the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe newspaper comic strip series and served as the royal scientist. As in his minicomic appearance, he is depicted with pink skin, although it’s much more extreme here. It’s mentioned that he comes from the Thenurian race, which is also established in the 1987 MOTU movie. Images below come from Danielle Gelehrter:
Earl Norem included Gwildor in a couple pieces for Masters of the Universe Magazine:
Gwildor in Action
Øyvind Meisfjord has kindly contributed the following images and video of Gwildor in action:
Return to Table of Contents.