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Tri-Klops

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Tri-Klops is a character from both Mattel's toyline, Masters of the Universe and the Filmation and Mike Young Productions animated series' of the same name. He is a minion of the evil Skeletor and enemy of He-Man and the other heroes of Eternia. He wears a rotating visor helmet with three artificial eyes fixed to it, each with a special type of vision. In some media this gives him the advantage of seeing in three directions at once, while in others he sees only out of the front eye and rotates his visor depending on which type of vision he requires. The exact function of each eye varies in different versions of the franchise, although they usually are portrayed to be Distavision (the ability to see from far distances), Nightvision (the ability to see in the dark), and Gammavision (the ability to see through objects or around them); each eye also has a different optic blast.

Character history

Early mini-comics

Tri-Klops was one of the first characters to be designed for the Masters of the Universe toy line. According to the line's creator Roger Sweet, he was originally designed as a Heroic Warrior but wound up packaged with the evil characters.

The first story to feature him is the Mattel mini-comic "The Terror of Tri-Klops!", which introduces him as a near-match for He-Man in terms of strength, summoned by Skeletor when he decides he needs a warrior with strength on par with He-Man's. He is presented as a skilled hunter and swordsman, and also a handy spy given that his helmet enables him to see all around him and thus be able to spot all attacks from behind. One of his eyes possesses night vision while another possesses Distavision, enabling him to see over great distances. The third varied in different stories, sometimes said to allow him to see through solid objects, and on other occasions said to enable him to see around corners. As well as his optical abilities, Tri-Klops is also an expert swordsman, and this skill alone makes him a formidable opponent. Also to note is that in his early mini-comic appearances, the character's costume is significantly different from the familiar figure version. Many of the characters' visual details varied in the early mini-comics, but Tri-Klops is one of the most extreme cases. Although most of the Evil Warriors were presented in the mini-comics as being somewhat smarter than their later animated versions, Tri-Klops in particular is suggested to be a very cunning and formidable warrior.

Filmation cartoon series

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Tri-Klops is introduced into the toy line's accompanying cartoon series by Filmation in the pilot episode "Diamond Ray of Disappearance". This episode continues in the vein of the mini-comics by presenting Tri-Klops as an almost equal match for He-Man in strength, although this is only hinted at during a brief duel at the climax of the story. In the cartoon his eyes, which are now different shapes (circular, triangular and square) possesses the powers of Gammavision, enabling him to see around solid objects, as well as Distavision. The clicking and whirring sounds that accompany the rotation of his helmet suggests that the helmet is possibly mechanical rather than magical as the mini-comics imply. In this animated incarnation, the character is also able to fire laser beams from the front-facing eye. However, unlike the other characters from his wave (bar the seldom used Faker), Tri-Klops' appearances in the series are surprisingly sparse and he receives little in the way of character development, portrayed mostly as a generic bumbling henchman and consigned mainly to background roles. The series bible states that Tri-Klops was a crew member, named T. E. Scope, on Marlena Glenn's ship, who, along with Evil-Lyn and Beast Man, was mutated in the crash[1] though this origin was discarded for the series. His largest roles in the series come in the episodes "The Royal Cousin" and "Ordeal in the Darklands", in which he is paired alongside Evil-Lyn, although even in these episodes he is portrayed as little more than a bumbling sidekick incapable of thinking for himself. These episodes also indicate that he is a lot more loyal to Skeletor than most of his teammates. Given his lack of development, the notion of him being a match for He-Man is never built upon and he quickly fades into the background of the series, and by the time of season 2 he has been almost forgotten by the writers, though he does make one final appearance in the She-Ra episode, "Reunions". The character's voice and speech pattern varies quite significantly in different appearances, probably due in part to the character not being used often enough for a regular voice to be settled.[2]

2002 series

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Optic Blast!

is reused in the 2002 relaunch of the MOTU toy line and series. His design is slightly modified and his helmet is shown to be a cybernetic attachment, capable of firing a different-colored laser from each eye. In one episode of the cartoon, "Rise of the Snakemen, Part 1", when the helmet is melted by acid we see that his artificial eyes are wired cybernetically into his real eye sockets.

The revamped figure has a window on top of the head which tunnels light in to light up the forward facing eye (which now look like jewels). When the figure was being designed, the Four Horsemen had considered the eyes to be lit up by batteries, but this was dropped due to production budget restraints.

The cartoon gives Tri-Klops a much bigger role than the 1980s one did, and he is depicted as an irritable technologist and inventor, far removed from the original concept of the character as a more primitive warrior. He is Skeletor's main inventor and spends most time in his workshop coming up with all sorts of weapons and vehicles to aid Skeletor, one of his most notable inventions being the Doomseekers which are used to spy on He-Man and the Masters (a Doomseeker was also included with the new version of the figure). Shown to be considerably more intelligent than most of Skeletor's minions (which is more in keeping with the vintage line's original mini-comics), the cartoon also retains the portrayal of him as one of the more loyal of Skeletor's minions. However, he does finally branch out on his own and attempt to betray Skeletor in the episode "Roboto's Gambit", in which he uses his latest invention in an effort to take over Eternia for himself after the invention is rejected by Skeletor.

The cartoon's accompanying comic series gives him an origin story, which ties in with the original idea of the character as a medieval-style swordsman. He began as a noble swordsman who (bizarrely enough) wore a bandana which concealed his eyes completely, was blinded by a magic spell, and became the defender of a scientific research center. In this role he used his senses of smell and sound to fight his enemies, now wearing a helmet over his eyes in place of the bandana. Having been given this position by the building's owner, whose life he had saved, when the building came under attack by Keldor, prior to his transformation into Skeletor, the two began to battle. Keldor tricked Tri-Klops into believing the tower's owner had used the helmet to keep the spell on his sight intact for the sake of using him as his defender, and Tri-Klops helped Keldor overcome the tower. Keldor rewarded Tri-Klops by creating the mechanical visor he wears today to restore his sight, but the visor also secretly serves to keep Tri-Klops loyal to Keldor, and Tri-Klops has remained in Skeletor's services ever since, mistakenly believing that he saved his life.

Masters of the Universe Classic Series

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A line of toys that were debuted in 2008 to be sold exclusively on Mattel's collector website. Sculpted by the 4 Horsemen these toys are updated versions of everyone's favorite Masters characters. In this series Mattel takes bits & pieces from the different versions of the MOTU timeline to tell a new story. Perhaps the Ultimate Version of the tale of MOTU. This figure released in August 2009 bio on his card back read as follows:

Evil and sees everything

Real Name: Trydor Esooniux Scope™

Originally an inter-dimensional bounty hunter and tracker, Scope was recruited by Skeletor® during one of the final battles of the Great Unrest to bolster his weakened forces. As good with a blade as he is crafty, Scope took the name Tri-Klops® after an accident left him blind and he was forced to wear a tri-optic visor which granted him expanded tracking abilities including Gammavision, the ability to see around objects, Distavision, a form of Far Vision, Night Vision, and the ability to generate optic blasts. Tri-Klops® uses his three different eyes to spy for Skeletor®!

Minicomic appearances

As with Beast-Man and Mer-Man in the original mini-comics, Tri-Klops' appearances decreased as the series went on, so new characters could be showcased.

References

  1. Masters of the Universe Bible p.17
  2. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Series Guide p.14

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