MOTUC Bio Discussion #13 > Teela

Inspired by He-Man.org’s Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, welcome to PGPoA’s latest MOTUC Bio Discussion!

Teela® Bio

Real Name: Teela®

The adoptive daughter of Duncan™, the current Man-At-Arms®, Teela® grew up in the palace of King Randor™. Trained from an early age in the ways of battle, at age 18 she became Captain of the Guard, leading the troops of King Randor™ and acting as a de facto member of the Masters of the Universe®. She is yet to become aware of her true heritage as the magically cloned daughter of, and heir to, the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull®. She carries the Staff of Ka, which was once used by the Snake Men™ in their epic battles against the Horde and King Grayskull™ during the Great Wars. Teela® uses her magical staff to track her foes’ every move!

Portrait art source: “He-Man and the Power Sword” minicomic

First off, it’s important to note that the bizarre notion of Teela being a clone of the Sorceress comes straight out of the 1980s comic “The Tale of Teela.” While as far as I know there’s no extant evidence for it, I suspect the reason behind this comic was to explain to young fans why the Goddess in the earliest minicomics looked like their Teela figure, and why Teela then looked like the figure herself later on. The real reason, of course, is that Mattel’s original plan was for two figures, one Teela and one Goddess/Sorceress, and that’s what was given to the early comic creators. But somewhere in the production process, the official “Teela” was cancelled and the figure that was supposed to be the Goddess became Teela.

Now, all that said, most fans are far more familiar with the Filmation cartoon’s version of the story, in which Teela is simply the daughter of the Sorceress, as depicted in “Teela’s Quest.” The same concept was expanded in the Millennium cartoon, where Teela was given a father as well (the plan was to reveal her father to be Fisto, though the show was cancelled before this came about). Technically, only the Millennium version directly contradicts the minicomic; the Filmation Teela could still be a clone of the Sorceress.

Now, of the two versions, I prefer the idea of Teela being a normal daughter and not a clone. It’s a weird, unecessary concept whose ostensible original purpose–explaining some confusion resulting from the toyline’s early development process–is not present in MOTU Classics. Furthermore, the bio doesn’t even mention the involvement of Skeletor, leading one to wonder who (or what) cloned Teela from the Sorceress and why. And I reserve the right to change my mind on the cloning thing if we eventually get a good story about it.

I want to point out another thing about these bios–the inchoate sense of time and place. The bio states Teela is “yet to become aware of her true heritage.” That’s been true for both the cartoons and comics of all incarnations, so I guess we should assume that the “now” of MOTUC is taking place around the same time in He-Man’s life that the cartoons did. King Grayskull, the Goddess and Wun-Dar are in the past, and Optikk, I guess, is in the future?

The idea of Teela becoming captain of the guard at age 18 doesn’t work for me. No matter how good she is, no one should be a captain at that age unless all the other potential candidates turned it down or are dead. Even Captain Kirk was 34 when he got his own ship, and he was famed as the youngest starship captain ever. More to the point, though, neither the original Teela, nor her Filmation version, nor the Classics figure looks much like they’re 18–they look more like they’re in their mid-to-late twenties, an age where being a captain of the guard seems a bit less unlikely.

Naming the Staff of Ka and connecting it to the Snake Men is a cool idea whose time has come, but I worry we’ll never hear anything else about it. I’m less interested in who Ka is and whether the staff was wielded by, say, King Hssss–something we might learn in Hssss’s bio–as I am interested in finding out how Teela got the staff, and what it can do.

In the end, I’m not in favor of this bio. It draws on some obsolete ideas, and opens up some plot holes that might have been better left closed. The Staff of Ka stuff is interesting, though.

Comments now closed (29)

  • HATE the clone idea. The MYP cartoon set up a very bittersweet scenario where which would have been very satisfying so long as the writers bowed to fan pressure and made Man-At-Arms the father. I thought I read that MVC comics was going to reveal MaA as the father no matter what.

  • On Teela's cloning:

    Conspiracy theory from an ancient TR Contest, but gives the whole Teela cloning without Skelly's involvement a new twist…

    The Sorceress wants to rule Eternia. She's been planning it for years.

    -When the Council of Elders disappeared, their 'Powers' were given to the Sorceress to Protect. She was already guarding them within Greyskull.

    -She helped Man-at-Arms to keep the forces of evil on the dark hemisphere with the 'Mystic Wall'.

    -Randor was made King of Eternia because he was the one who drove the evil Keldor away. (Sorceress warned Randor about possible threats and the arrival of a Hero.)

    -The wall 'fails' and Adam is forced to become He-Man (Eternia's Superman, yet he is forced to keep his ID secret.)

    -Adam cannot tell anyone his secret (because it would put his loved ones in danger or so the Sorceress told him…) Bull***! Adam and his Family ARE Skeletor's prime target. (and Castle Greyskull.) She just doesn't want the rest of Eternia's sub-kingdoms rebelling against the main Kingdom of Eternos.

    -Teela is the Sorceress' clone. (She's planning ahead.) If her body does grow old, she's got a new one and placed in close contact with her pawn, The crown Prince of Eternos.If Teela can't charm the young prince, she'll rule Eternia by force (guiding Adam/He-Man towards her goal.)

    -Adam needs to summon the Power of Greyskull in order to become He-Man. Who is the guardian of the Power? Sorceress.

    Not only that, but Adam MUST keep the 'cowardly and useless prince' charade in order to protect He-Man's secret. In case the fall of Randor ever happens, the public's suspicion would be thrown to Adam. The Sorceress would prove Adam's innocence, but fearing anarchy a neutral party should take control of Eternia, like say… The Hero that hails from Castle Greyskull… He-Man… (not really He-Man but a 'Faker'controlled by the Sorceress…) (Man-at-Arms and Orko would have to be dealt with swiflty and efficiently in order to avoid complications.) Adam (after being 'trained' by the Sorceress) would become King. Adam will be cleared of all charges and he'll choose Teela (who will discover that the Sorceress is her 'mother' and The Sorceress would 'die'after merging her spirit with Teela's body.) as his queen, thus combining Eternos and Greyskull into one Kingdom.

    -The only threat to her would be Hordak. That's why she allowed Adora (the only other person who could be used as a pawn) to be taken. On Etheria Hordak took over the world swiftly and was planning on Returning to Eternia. Why would Sorceress send Adam with the Sword of Protection to Etheria? (It was not to recover the long lost Eternian princes.) She needed a pawn to distract Hordak from coming to Eternia. That's why Adora got better powers than Adam. (Skeletor is a pansy that even 'Burger King' Randor could take care of.)

    -Earlier I mentioned having Adam and Teela becoming the next leaders of Eternia. THe Sorceress needs Adam's bloodline becuase it can Harness the Power of Greyskull. Combining her DNA with Adam's, the future child shall be the ultimate being. (The Sorceress would discard her Teela body, once the child of Adam and Teela reaches a certain age and obtain ULTIMATE POWER… Full control of the Power of Greyskull, the knowledge on how to use it and, next in line to the throne of Eternia…)

    I don't like the "Magic cloning" it can be used on people, swords, etc…

    Staff of Ka: Who is Ka, will s/he get a figure? My unresolved elements mentioned in MOTUC bios sense is tingling!

    We will probably have to force the truth on Ka out of Lt. Spector on the matty forums… That's how we found out about Adam's Quest, etc.

  • yeah, in general, i'm against cloning in sorcery stories. it's just not done well, and it leads to odd crap like cloned sorceresses or cloned swords (how the hell does that work, BTW?)

    so here's my question… wouldn't the bio have been more compelling if teela were a doppleganger of the sorceress… like, a faker sorceress, who had been transported to eternia in a bid to replace the real sorceress, but during the scuffle, the faker sorceress got knocked out and developed amnesia. she's still have skills as an adult faker, so her making captain would be conceivable, she'd age slowly like the sorceress, so she's look 18 while in fact being like 243 or something, and then you've kept everything within the established canon, except that you're treating faker as one of a race, rather than as a single one-off man-at-popeil experiment.

    as for the staff… i can't help but wonder why you'd give the staff of an archmage to a non-magick user. like, in keeping w/ the concept of a sword and sorcery tale, artifacts of magic are usually VERY closely guarded by users of magic. (barring that they get completely lost, but the bio implies that at someone w/in the mythos knows what that staff is and what is does) that said, artifacts that served dark powers usually carry such power over and temptation is always part of the objects residual power… thus, to an untrained initiate, the staff should be constantly tempting her to do evil and learn it greater power. why would they do this to teela? and won't, when king hsss returns, this turn teela into a tailor-made snake concubine ready to churn out litters of tiny snakes at the behest of her new lord and master?

    unless…

    she were in fact a faker, and the race's natural evil impulses make them fairly immune to unnatural mental influence?

  • It's totaly possible to Teela to become captain at the age of 18, having in mind that MOTU is set in an "ancient-like" universe.

    Alexander, the Great has become King of the Macedonians at the age of 20.

  • @dayraven: I don't think for certain that we know the staff originated from an evil being. In fact, the Royal Guard 2-pack has a snakeman head, so we know they are not all evil. At any rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the Sorceress somehow made the staff fall into Teela's hands, perhaps because she will be able to weild it powerfully when she does take up her destiny. Currently, she may be completely unaware of its true power.

  • @DiegoSanches: I suppose, although the barbaric/feudal/medieval aspects of MOTU always exist in very strange opposition to the spaceships, laser guns and androids.

    I still don't quite buy it. I have to imagine a lot of the older guards would chafe at the idea of the 18-year-old daughter of their boss being made their capain. Seems like a situation ripe for trouble. On the other hand, all the good guys in MOTU are goodie-two-shoes, so maybe the guards just accept it.

  • @Poe: Maybe she banged her way into the job. King Randor's courtesan perhaps?

  • @Poe: Think of it this way: Do the police chafe at being told what to do, or helped greatly, by Supergirl? That's how I see it.

    The Palace Guards and soldiers are, for all intents and purposes, normal men. Teela is a 'Master.' Virtually superhuman in her fighting ability. It's no shameful thing to be led by someone with that kind of ability.

    Plus, like DeigoSanches was saying – it was very common in the ancient and medieval world for promotions of military rank to be given to young people (men, of course). War was the game of young men, and it was fairly common for men to reach the rank of knighthood at 18-20 (putting them in positions of authority over much older men-at-arms and conscripted soldiers).

    As for the Staff of Ka; I like it. That thing needed some kind of backstory. Even as a kid it struck me as odd that the Snake Men were bad guys, yet Teela had a very prominent snake motif in both her headgear and weapon. Mattel needed to finally 'hang a lantern' on it, so to speak. And since she's the daughter of the Sorceress, it make sense to give her something to augment what magical power she may end up displaying.

    As for her being a clone – eh. I'm withholding judgment until we know more about it. But as a rule, I prefer to leave that Pandora's Box firmly closed, locked, and weighted to the bottom of the ocean.

    Either way, it's a good bio, and gives us some good information. The only real iffy part is the clone thing.

  • I think the word clone is tossed around alot in fiction and makes us cringe. If it just said she was magically born and didnt mention any father, maybe that would bug people a tiny bit less. Or more, I don't know.

    Check the Palace dump for the clones that didn't work out so well.

  • Dead Man Walking:
    LMAO! About time someone told the truth!

    Teela's bio is another case proving that Mattel can have best intentions but ultimately didn't understand the fanbase when it came to the bios.
    It seems as if they believed that the way to win everybody's heart was to merge literally everything into one new canon. Which in the end only makes certain bios unnecessarily confusing and, like Poe said, opens plot holes.
    I'd dare to say that except for a handful of fans, everybody would have been perfectly fine if the MotUC bio only referred to Teela as the Sorceress' daughter.
    Looking at those bios, I guess we can be glad that Mattel wasn't aware of many characters' totally different origins from European comics and audio plays. While some of those could fill holes in lesser-explored characters' bios (heck, Teela's staff already had a name in the Ladybird books), many would have caused serious headaches.

  • Terrible bio since it uses the obsolete mini-comics version of Teela's origin. They should have just used the Filmation/MYP origin. She's the result of a relationship the Sorceress had with either A) An unknown soldier or B) Man at Arms is also the biological father. Either one of those two options work for me.

    The only good thing to come out of that bio is the Staff of Ka thing. Where the Sorceress has the falcon as her motif, Teela has the whole snake thing going on. Why? That is pretty neat and potentially very interesting.

  • Mattel messed up when the used the word "clone". Teela isn't a clone, but a stolen portion of a god's energies.

    I like Teela being a portion of the Goddess' lifeforce storyline better. That story was VERY dark, practically a rape tale. Skeletor, the really evil bastard that he is, "assaulted" the Goddess and stole a potion of her life energies, shaping it into a child that he would have raised and married. Now the marriage part is creepy, but it's the same thing Hordak did with Adora–stealing a Child of Power to corrupt her into a servant.

    What's even crazier is that the end of that tale suggested that one day, the Goddess could decide to be whole again and take back her stolen lifeforce–which is walking around as the self aware Teela.

    I like the mini-comic story alot better than the simplistic tale of the dutiful and stoic Sorceress having Teela as a baby. Either the Sorceress was less dutiful back in the day and rebelled against the "rules" of her fate or Teela's father was one hell of a man to make her forget her duty.

  • I kind of like her origin in the newer cartoon.Being a clone/artifact seems like aping Wonder Woman.

  • @MegaGearX: 'Created with a stolen portion of a god's energies' .. is a clone. You can call it DNA or 'energy' or whatever you want. The basic premise remains the same – a clone.

    I don't think Mattel's precise wording would have made much difference in the fan reaction to it. It's a relatively unloved concept no matter how one words it.

    If Skeletor has to be involved, I'd prefer, myself, for it to be by way of casting a spell of some kind that caused the Sorceress to 'forget herself' long enough to get pregnant – the idea being Skeletor planned to steal the child thereafter. That's also practically a rape story, without the much-disliked cloning.

  • @ MegaGearX

    That story was VERY dark, practically a rape tale.

    That doesn't make necessarily make it a good story. Personal preference accepted of course.

    What’s even crazier is that the end of that tale suggested that one day, the Goddess could decide to be whole again and take back her stolen lifeforce–which is walking around as the self aware Teela.

    Which in my mind diminishes Teela as a character. I don't like that.

    I like the mini-comic story alot better than the simplistic tale of the dutiful and stoic Sorceress having Teela as a baby.

    Sometimes simplicity is good. In this case I think Teela's motuc bio is needlessly complicated by trying to use the obsolete mini-comics canon.

    Either the Sorceress was less dutiful back in the day and rebelled against the “rules” of her fate or Teela’s father was one hell of a man to make her forget her duty.

    You've seen the 200x cartoon, correct? When the Sorceress left Castle Grayskull and had her "romantic rendezvous", it was during a time of relative peace. There was no Skeletor, King Hsss, or Hordak to worry about. I don't think she was being negligent in her duties at all. The castle didn't need its guardian at the time. That was my interpretation.

  • @Dead Man Walking: just to bring you up to speed bro:

    1) the snakeman head for the eternian guards refers to an episode of the MYP cartoon wherein king hsss used the serpent ring to snakeman-ize random helpless mortals, including MAA and teela, and chief carnivus' whole village. to date, in the mythos, there are no good snake men.

    2) we do know the origin of the staff of ka "She carries the Staff of Ka, which was once used by the Snake Men™ in their epic battles against the Horde and King Grayskull™ during the Great Wars." again, to date, there are no good snake men, and every thing w/ the name "snake" or "serpent" or anything resembling those two words (like serpos or snakeface) served king hsss' goal of domination of eternia. it's not a stretch to assume that since this staff is of snake men origin, it has served evil ends… and likely will again, when the king returns to the scene in march. watch your ASSSSSSSS!!!! 🙂

    just saying dude, my earlier was intended to be funny and kind of a joke… but that doesn't mean it was uninformed.

    for the record, the egyptian concept of ka pertained to the idea of what defined life from death, and was a component of the human soul that was the breath of life. now, the snake men play pretty heavily into ideas of resurrection and life and death, as it pertains to the shedding of their skin and all. it was a motif more explored in the MYP cartoon and comics than the filmation stuff or mini-comics, but it's there. it could be appropriate to give it to a party of "the light" for a potential healing power, but again, in the motuc mythos, snake powers are evil powers. the good side has numerous other animal-themed powers.

  • My question is what happened to the Captain of the Guard that Teela replaced? It wasn't Man-At-Arms unless that was a fact mistakenly left out of his bio. Was he killed in battle? Did he retire? Was he removed for disgracing the King? This is a nice tidbit ripe for explanation in a future bio.

  • I've got a love/indifference relationship with the MYP continuity. Most things they did really don't make a lot of difference to me, but the few things they did that I actively like I REALLY like. The Sorceress' story is one of those things. The notion of this woman overstepping the bounds she agreed to live by, actually attempting to have a family and then losing it, then being forced to deny those relationships that she did not apparently have the right to form in the first place due to her Grayskulleric "duties"…pretty heady stuff.

    I really prefer to think that Duncan is Teela's true father, and that the Sorceress cannot tell him again due to her duties…her reach exceeding her grasp and all that…the best she can do to salvage what she has done is put the two of them together in what they believe is a foster relationship.

    As far as the clone thing…I found the story fascinating as a kid, and still do…but it is not something I would use in my personal continuity, and I really don't think it has a place in cannon.

    Staff of Ka…Snake Men…hoo, boy. OK, obviously charms, tokens, totems and all that good stuff is VERY important in MOTU, starting with the Power Sword. Again in MYP, it seemed heavily implied that even powerful magicians like Evil-Lyn may not have NEEDED their staves and the like, but the objects somehow augmented their abilities, or at least made casting "easier". This was even more explicit with Count Marzo, who for all intents and purposes did not seem to have any power of his own (excepting high level fighting skills, at least by my interpretation), but relied entirely on his apparently enormously powerful amulet for spellmaking (although evidently no one else could tap the amulet's power on their own, natch). Anyway, yeah…I've never given Teela's staff a great deal of thought, but if it is a powerful magical artifact (what ISN'T a powerful magical artifact on Eternia, for heaven's sake?), I think it would be safe to assume that is was given to her in order to develop an affinity between item and bearer even though the bearer does not currently tap the object's or her own (entirely unproven in any version of the mythology that I know of) magical abilities. A investment for the possible future, if you will.

    Though, to be fair, she did use it as a flashlight in MYP. 😉

  • @Damien:

    We only started calling Teela a clone when Mattel did. "Clone" is usually associated with some genetic experiment and has negative connotations associated with it. You're right, it's semantics. Mattel probably did this to avoid the whole unpopular "Fisto as the father" idea from MYP. Instead of Teela having a mysterious father, now it's no father at all.

    @ Thrawn: How does Teela coming from the Goddess diminishes her as a character anymore than being her daughter does? She doesn't act like the Goddess or knows her origins just like the Filmation Teela.

  • @Dark Angel: you know what's oddly not a magical artifact on eternia? he-man's axe. and yes, in one sense, it could diminish the importance of the power sword BUT despite the overwhelming cool of the power sword (and the power) he still carries the axe too… whether mattel knows this or not, the axe overshadows the sword anyway.

    to put this another way, if you owned a superleggera, that would get you a lot of attention. if you left it parked in the driveway and rode a vespa everywhere you went, ALL your neighbors would be discussing this bizarre occurence, and they'd all be asking the same thing… what's so cool about the vespa?

  • @MegaGearX: I think what Thrawn is saying, and I'd somewhat agree, is that the very idea of being a 'clone' diminishes the character by making them not truly their own person. She's, essentially, a flawed carbon copy of the original. Whereas a person born of two parents is, to ut it simply, unique, a person formed wholesprung from the essence of one character is not unique. By that logic, it also diminishes the Goddess.

    It's like having two He-Mans running around. Even if one is just a clone of Adam unable to transform – it still diminishes the uniqueness of the character.

    For what it's worth, I think in my MOTU, Duncan will be Teela's father, but not actually know it, and will actually believe himself to be just a foster-parent. That works well for me.

  • I guess in this day and age of sheep and bad sci-fi/horror movies, when I hear the word clone it automatically brings to mind gene splicing and test tube babies. One could be magically cloned, but I agree that it somehow takes away from Teela. I'd prefer that she was conceived the good old fashioned way. I think Sorceress as her mother and as Man-At-Arms being her real dad; I think that’s my favorite origin. I wasn’t a fan of the notion that Fisto was her father/Duncan’s brother. I could even live with an “immaculate conception” story too. This bio just seems to be all muddled up.

  • @Damien:

    You know something ironic? Mini-comic Teela ISN'T destined to be the next Goddess, while Filmation Teela IS. Mini-comic Teela, although she is a copy of the Goddess, is ultimately free to do something different with her existence.

  • @Damien: "That’s also practically a rape story, without the much-disliked cloning."

    Well, just as long as it's still a rape story. ^_~

    I prefer to think that the Sorceress was a lonely old lady, and she built a little wooden puppet girl to keep her company. One day, the Goddess came to Castle Greyskull and brought the wooden girl to life. Her curse, though, is that every time she lies, her Staff of Ka grows, and her head turns into a giant snake. There's a whole long story where she gets eaten by a Gigantasaurus, but that's neither here nor there.

  • As time moves along, my initial impression that the MOTUC story is being made up as it goes has been reinforced again and again. Though I despise his methods and seeming desire to destroy the Star Wars universe through overexposure, George Lucas has managed to control the continuity of his intellectual property (thankfully with help from people who care), unlike what I think I'm seeing here. I'm not as schooled about the behind-the-scenes machinations of the MOTUC world as many collectors, but does anyone know who the hell is responsible for writing these bios?

    With other IPs expanded through comics, movies, TV shows, et al, we can point to the individual(s) responsible for taking the story in whatever directions it goes, and therefore heap praise or pissiness. But who's at the helm of this ship? It would be nice to exert a little fan pressure in focused ways when incongruities pop up, rather than just spinning wheels on discussion boards. Maybe even have the writers participate in give-and-take. Do they appear at Matty's panels at SDCC or other conventions?

    I get the distinct impression that more study and consultation about Teela's bio, and any of them, really, was done by you folks on this page than in Mattel's office.

    For me, the bios and fiction are relatively unimportant, but they clearly matter to a great many, who should probably be treated with a bit more respect.

  • @Damien:

    Teela is not diminished by the Goddess/Sorceress because they are two different characters (i.e., The Goddess/Sorceress isn't a warrior, doesn't command guards, isn't acrobatic, doesn't train with Adam or try to bust his balls). If Teela did the exact same things as the Sorceress or vice versa, then I'd understand.

  • @ Thrawn: How does Teela coming from the Goddess diminishes her as a character anymore than being her daughter does? She doesn’t act like the Goddess or knows her origins just like the Filmation Teela.

    It's not the fact that she's a clone. In Star Wars Boba Fett is a clone of Jango Fett and I thought the way it was portrayed gave him quite a bit of pathos to work with.

    What I dislike about the mini-comic origin is what you directly stated here:

    What’s even crazier is that the end of that tale suggested that one day, the Goddess could decide to be whole again and take back her stolen lifeforce–which is walking around as the self aware Teela.

    Teela was a clone in that story. So what? She was her own person with her own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. That alone doesn't diminish her. Again see Boba/Jango.

    It's the idea that in this particular story the Goddess could decide to just reabsorb her "lifeforce" if she chose to. Teela's not really a person, or even a true clone in the scientific sense. She's just a separated portion of the goddess that's become selfaware.

    I find that to be diminishing, as the entire mess could simply be avoided by having the Sorceress have an affair with Man at Arms or some other unknown soldier. I feel that adds pathos and some tragedy to both characters where the clone crap doesn't.

    Now that's only my opinion. I'm fine with anyone liking that version of Teela. Having this discussion is fun for me.

    Damien wrote:

    I think what Thrawn is saying, and I’d somewhat agree, is that the very idea of being a ‘clone’ diminishes the character by making them not truly their own person. She’s, essentially, a flawed carbon copy of the original. Whereas a person born of two parents is, to ut it simply, unique, a person formed wholesprung from the essence of one character is not unique.

    To a small extent, yes. Clones can be done really well, but in the case of how it's presented with Teela, I really find it diminishing to her, and it casts a potentially malevolent light on the Goddess.

    I don't like it at all.

    @ Dark Angel

    That's an interesting take on the charms and totems in motu.

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