Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Women of Wonder! April 2024: Teela Origins (Cartoon Collection)

As another month winds down, find out who took this month's spot in the Women of Wonder series! A celebration of action, style, and proper posing!

Every month I enjoy getting to interview some of the best, most coolest heroic women of wonder. With Teela taking top spot this month, I initially went on location to Castle Grayskull for our interview and shoot, only the beloved landmark was currently undergoing renovations. Ever the consummate professional, Teela suggested we travel to a place more sparkly: the Crystal Castle. Since we both know the most powerful woman in the universe, it didn't take much to set up cameras and a snack table before we were in business!

Upon arrival it was very clear that Teela was dubbed a "warrior goddess" for a reason. Her role in the original Masters of the Universe cartoon was meant to be a combination of might and capable fighting skill, but also of beauty and style. "It was the '80s, everything was glamorous. And when I was approached with this role, I knew that it was an important opportunity. Sure the star was always going to be He-Man, but here was a chance for a woman to step into a role that was more than a love interest or damsel in distress." While some might argue these roles were not unheard of for women, the decade of excess was always about more, "It's always so funny, how someone will, as if on cue, utter out a Ripley name here or a Red Sonja name there as evidence of strong roles for women, but why stop there?"

There was no stopping her, "Of course there were some moments where I may have needed a save from He-Man, but I was also ready to do some saving too. It was about creating a quality character with dimension, beyond one note." It was this dynamic that alerted many to the potential market of fans clamoring for more, which some say eventually led to the likes of She-Ra and Golden Girl.

"Well now there's a story. Who came first, She-Ra or Golden Girl? I think we all know the answer, but the important takeaway is that everyone loves a sword wielding warrior woman." Teela tosses her head back for a laugh and I can't help but think of her own legacy in the grand scheme of things.

Did she ever think that through all these years there'd be release after release of MOTU product? "It's so funny, for the longest time I thought my legacy would remain solely from that '82 line, but the fans really wanted more. The introduction of the 200X line really reminded people what Masters of the Universe could really be about."

And that it did. The train had left the station, or so the saying goes. "While the grasshopper legs took some getting used to, I rather enjoyed what we were trying to do at the time. It all felt so fresh, our stories were given more detail, more drama. A unique action style. He-Man was in the 21st century. There was no stopping us."

It was during this time that Teela found a close friendship with villainous co-star Trap Jaw, "This is back when we all got along, before life imitated art. Evil-Lyn invited us all out to a wrap party for season 1 of the 200X series, and I was having the toughest time opening a can of nacho cheese for this dip I was trying to prepare, and Trap Jaw, in the only way he can do, ripped that darn thing open with his teeth. Cheese went everywhere. Startos tried to blame it on a failed magic trick by Orko when Lyn was demanding to know who made the mess. It was just great and really cemented the friendship between Trappy and me."

While the two would chew up their scenes together, it was personal tragedy that would lead them into their most dangerous of experiences, "Little known fact, once 200X ended, a lot of the MOTU gang had a hard time finding work. Trap Jaw fell on difficult times, he was drinking too much. Alcohol based mouth wash, nasty stuff, and it was causing rust to set in. We thought he was going to loose his lower jaw."

Teela's fighting spirit went beyond combat and lent itself to helping Trap Jaw fight his most challenging battle: himself. "Trappy's health and happiness was a huge priority. We got his jaw right again. He got into fighting shape, which all came in handy for when MOTU came back in a big way with Classics, and really the fans have grown and continued to help keep us going strong reinvention after reinvention." Some of those reinventions left some room for doubt. Upon bringing up her controversial 'Point Dread' look, Teela could only offer, "Thankfully filler eventually settles."

Which brings us to the present, looking ever so much like the past. "I feel like they finally got it right this time. Giving the fans what they have been asking for. Details that feel very current while also capturing the spirit of the classic show. It's truly such a fun time to be in this space. I'm feeling fantastic, ready to help save the universe, one toy aisle at a time!"

Truly an exciting time to be a fan of MOTU. With two new shows and lines that have debuted in recent years as well as the Origins line paying continued tribute to all things MOTU, there is a lot to choose from and brings about an excitement of change for fans, yet when I walk away from my time with Teela, it feels like we're right back to where we were when we first met, all those years ago. 


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