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Zodak is a character in the Masters of the Universe mythology. He was originally developed as a redesign of the 1980s Zodac character, but has since been regarded as a distinct character in his own right. In the Masters of the Universe Classics franchise, the two are former colleagues in the Council of Elders, with Zodak adopting his name in honor of his mentor.
Zodak is a powerful, immortal Eternian, who lived through the prehistoric conflicts between the Ancients and the Snake Men. Rather than a neutral observer, Zodak is expressly opposed to the Snake Men, placing him on the side of good, although his desire for revenge undermines his intentions.
2002 SeriesWhen Zodac featured in the 2002 relaunch of the Masters of the Universe franchise, it was inevitable that complexities would arise in updating him for a modern audience. Indeed, toy sculptors the Four Horsemen originally planned a radical change for the character by making him a strange alien creature rather than a human, in an apparent effort to enhance the view of him as a universal watcher. However, when Mattel demanded racial diversity in the toy line, the Four Horsemen looked to change skin colors and, after firstly considering Stratos but deciding that Stratos' overall design did not go well with the racial change, Zodac was chosen. To avoid the spelling inconsistencies that plagued the original character, Mattel settled upon "Zodak" as the official spelling for the modern franchise.
Just as in the original line, the Zodak figure appears as a brown or bronze-skinned character and slightly darker than the action figure; for the new toyline, tribal markings were added to his arms and forehead. As Ian Richter of Mattel worked on developments for the cartoon's storyline with Mike Young Productions, it was decided to link Zodak to the planned story line for season 2, dealing with the resurrection of the Snake Men. Although Zodak had no connection with the Snake Men in the old continuity, in the new series his whole role in the show revolves around them.
Zodak appears in the contemporary series as an all-powerful and immortal warrior from Ancient times, presumably the most powerful warrior on Eternia in the present time. Having aided the Elders in the defeat of the Snake Men centuries ago, Zodak is called upon in the episode "Snake Pit" to help prevent the Snake Men from being released from their ancient prison. It is revealed in this episode that Zodak harbors a centuries-old grudge against the Snake Men after King Hiss ate his brother, Zeelahr. Presumably it was his brother's killing that convinced Zodak to give up his mortality. Zodak resides in a small wooden temple in the Mystic Mountains, where he spends most of his time in deep meditation. He refuses to let his grudge against the Snake Men die and will do everything he can until King Hiss has perished. Although this inevitably involves him aiding He-Man and the Masters from time to time, he has pledged no alliance and refuses to officially side with anyone in the battle, abiding purely by his own sense of right and wrong with little consideration for others. In season 2 it is Zodak who allows the Snake Men to be freed, placing Eternia in danger, for the sake of achieving his own revenge, which leads to a conflict between him and He-Man in the "Rise of the Snake Men" 2-parter. Zodak returns in the final episode of the series, "Awaken the Serpent", in which he finally defeats King Hiss. The whole series ends with a shot of Zodak flying off into the sky in his chair, as He-Man thanks him for winning the conflict against the Snake Men.
The intriguing use of Zodak in the contemporary series has evoked a mixed reaction among fans. Some fans are enthusiastic about the depth of his character and the intriguing psychology behind his participation in the war, while others have argued that the show treats him as too much of a hero when it was he who inflicted the Snake Men on Eternia, and should have been seen as more of a villain. Particularly notable about the new show's portrayal of Zodak is that his personality is significantly more bitter and unstable than in the old continuity, in which he is a sombre and peaceful deity-like figure who would undoubtedly never have been overcome by anger or a thirst for revenge. Whichever continuity fans prefer to follow, it is undoubtable that Zodak is one of the franchise's most mysterious and inspiring characters, and after the multitude of confusion and differing portrayals of the character, the character is left open for practically limitless interpretations in any subsequent incarnations of Masters of the Universe.
Also, Zodak seems to have a certain connection with the power of Grayskull as he is able to call upon the power of the Elders to fight King Hiss. He also seems to have known of He-Man's secret identity without ever being told in the show.