- This article is about Prince Adam's distant ancestor. For Adam's son, see He-Ro, Son of He-Man.
He-Ro is the name of two fictional characters in the Masters of the Universe franchise, both linked to the main character He-Man and both achieving only a "prototype stage", until 2009, when the initial version was finally released as part of the Masters of the Universe Classics line.
The Original He-Ro
He-Ro was planned to be a new character introduction, the centerpiece of The Powers of Grayskull, a spin-off line of Mattel's Masters of the Universe toy line in 1987. The Powers of Grayskull was to be set in Eternia's prehistoric past, called "Preternia" to differentiate, and promised to reveal secrets about the source of He-Man's power, through the adventures of He-Ro, a young but powerful wizard who lived in that time. In Mattel's license guide it stated of Gray (the original alter ego for He-Ro) could, "by placing one hand over his heart & flexing the other into a muscle & saying, Magic & strength tempered by heart... I stand for peace!", he would become He-Ro of Grayskull, the Most Powerful Wizard in the Universe! However, the line was cancelled in early 1987, and none of this came to fruition. The 1987 Mattel Toy Catalog published pictures of the proposed toys from the "Powers of Grayskull" line, including an action figure of He-Ro. Three of the dinosaur toys from the line actually made it to stores, and the two "giant" action figures saw release as exclusives in Italy, but He-Ro was never released as a toy. Though much has been speculated concerning the character in the intervening years by fans of the He-Man franchise, He-Ro remains as much a mystery today as he was in 1987, when a perplexed He-Man was forced to ask, "But who is he?"
In 2009 at the San Diego Comic Con, Mattel finally released a He-Ro action figure as part of their Masters of the Universe Classics line. His bio on the back of his card read as follows:
Heroic Cosmic Warrior
Real Name: Ro
Given the sword of life by the Overlords of the timeless dimension of Trolla, Ro was told to "go forth and combat evil". During one such epic battle, he was infected with a techno organic virus by Horde Supreme and sent through a vortex to the magic planet of Eternia. Once there, he was healed by Eldor in a mystical pool which absorbed his virus. In gratitude He-Ro swore to help free Eternia from the Snake Men and Horde invaders. He defended the free people alongside the great King Grayskull. Eventually bequeathing his sword to the King upon his heroic death.
In the 2017 Masters of the Universe Classics bio for Ultimates He-Man, He-Ro is revealed as He-Man and She-Ra's ancestor, tying He-Ro back into the bloodline in Classics.
This concept is further established in the Dark Horse Character Guide & World Compendium which stated that He-Ro's son married King Grayskull and Veena's daughter. The pair begat the champion known as He-Ra. This information seemingly comes from an as-yet unreleased bio for the Serpentine King Hssss figure.
In 1987, He-Ro was planned to the prototype stage, but the line was cancelled before the toy was mass-produced.In 2009, Mattel released an action figure of He-Ro for the comptempory Masters of the Universe line. Billed as a 2009 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive, He-ro was sold in limited quantities at the con and later, at www.mattycollector.com.
In the original Powers of Grayskull story line, He-Man travels back in time to meet his ancestor who turns out to be He-Ro. However, because the 2002 MYP series firmly established King Grayskull as Adam's ancestor, He-Ro was reinvisioned slightly to make him a contemporary of King Grayskull. It was later revealed that He-Ro's son married King Grayskull and Veena's daughter, making He-Ro an ancestor of He-Man and She-Ra.
The Powers of Grayskull
The packaging of the three dinosaur toys that did see release before the line's discontinuation bore the following text:
"Travel back in time through a secret time portal--and discover the ORIGIN of THE POWERS OF GRAYSKULL! Learn how He-Man became so strong! And explore the magical world of Preternia--home of HE-RO, the Most Powerful Wizard in the Universe! Monstrous dinosaurs and fierce giants--both good and evil--struggle for control of this strange & hostile land! The dinosaurs in the time of Grayskull--Tyrantisaurus Rex, Bionatops and Turbodactyl--each possess a fantastic mechanical power! Can HE-RO master all the good magic of the Ancient Wizards, and protect future Eternia from forever falling in the claws of evil? Look For HE-RO and The Powers of Grayskull coming your way in 1987!"
This brief overview set the stage for the Powers of Grayskull storyline, and was elaborated upon in the mini-comic The Powers of Grayskull: The Legend Begins!
This book was intended to be the first of a three-part mini-comic mini-series, revealing the whole He-Ro story to the toy-buying public. However, only this first installment appeared, the last mini-comic produced.
As the story opens, the Sorceress uses the power of Central Tower to take He-Man on a fact-finding tour into Eternia's distant past. When the Sorceress and He-Man arrive, followed by Skeletor, they find King Hiss leading a Snake Men attack on a village in the hope of drawing out "The Elders", using some of the cybernetic dinosaurs to their advantage. Hiss serves an "unnamed one" and agrees to unite with Skeletor on the basis that he might be an emissary. Seeing Skeletor's interference, the Sorceress allows He-Man to enter the battle but "for reasons that will be made clear to you in the future" he had to be disguised. He finds himself overwhelmed, but then a shadowy figure appears who turns the odds with a powerful wand. The stranger then sends the Snake Men back to their base and all the time travellers home. The Sorceress describes the intervener as "the Greatest Sorcerer of all!" and He-Man is left asking "But who is he?"
Beyond this, very little information of the backstory was developed, though many fans have produced their own theories and continuations.