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Skeletor is the main antagonist of the 2002 cartoon He-Man and the Masters of The Universe, a reboot the original 1983 Masters of the Universe franchise.
He was once known as Keldor until he sold his soul to Hordak in exchange for more power and was transformed into Skeletor. With his newfound dark powers, Skeletor seeks to overthrow King Randor and take over Eternia for himself
In the new continuity of the 2002 animated series, Skeletor's original name is definitely Keldor, his appearance as such is shown and his exploits partially depicted. However it seems unlikely that he is related to Randor in this continuity, as he has Skeletor's blue skin and some other slightly nonhuman features whilst still Keldor. In a he-man.org interview with one of producers of the 2002 series, it is revealed that Keldor is the half brother of Randor; they have different mothers.
Skeletor was formerly a warlord known as Keldor who trained under Hordak. He gathered a small band of warriors to attack the Hall of Wisdom. They encountered resistance from Captain Randor and his officers; Keldor fought Randor personally, wielding two swords with astounding proficiency, but when Randor disarmed him, Keldor threw a vial of acid at him. Randor deflected it with his shield, and the acid splashed on Keldor's face.
Kronis called the retreat, and Evil-Lyn took Keldor to Hordak's sanctuary, where Keldor summoned Hordak to save his life. Keldor agreed to pay whatever price Hordak wished for his life, and Hordak transformed him, stripping the damaged tissues from his skull and dubbing him Skeletor; Keldor's head had been completely stripped of soft tissues, leaving only a floating skull. When Keldor saw his new appearance, he accepted his new look and laughed maniacally, the incident perhaps shattering whatever sanity he had left.
Trapped in the Dark Hemisphere by the Mystic Wall, Skeletor designed a machine that would smash it, but it needed the Coridite Crystal as a power source. When Mer-Man retrieved it, Skeletor destroyed the Mystic Wall, and returned to menacing Eternia.
Unlike this previous portrayals, Skeletor is not concerned with Castle Grayskull right away, until a giant fish-monster heads toward it and the Eternian warriors led by Man-At-Arms and He-Man stop it, forcing Skeletor to ponder what could be in that ancient pile of stones worth dying for. At the time, the Heroic Warriors seem ready and willing to let Grayskull fall, and would likely have done so, otherwise for the urging of Man-At-Arms, who had been swallowed whole by the monster. Skeletor directly attacks it with his Council of Evil: himself, Count Marzo, Evilseed, the three evil Giants and Webstor. When King Hiss and the Snake Men are freed from the Void, Hiss imprisons Skeletor, having him devoured by a giant snake, but Skeletor escapes after the Masters defeat Hiss.
Despite owing his life to Hordak, Skeletor destroys Hordak's sanctuary to prevent him from returning. At the end of the Second Season, King Hiss revives Serpos, the Serpent God, who had been transformed into Snake Mountain by the Elders; Skeletor and his minions were inside the mountain at that time. Although Serpos is defeated and restored to its Snake Mountain form. If season three of the series been produced, it would have seen Skeletor and He-Man dealing with the Horde invasion and the powerful Hordak, who it was said Skeletor would eventually have defeated.
- As with all the Mike Young Productions series' characters, Skeletor's appearance is based on his figure from the Four Horsemen-designed toyline for which the cartoon was produced to promote. Skeletor is the character that received perhaps the least-extensive redesign from his original toy/cartoon version. However, when this new design was then translated into animated form, MYP's artists usually gave him a voluminous cape; something which neither the new toy, nor the original incarnation of the character ever wore. The cape is typically adorned in situations where Skeletor chose to employ powerful magical feats, and may have been influenced by Skeletor's costume in the 1987 Masters of the Universe film. Skeletor is still commonly seen without his cape in the 2002 series while at rest or in combat situations not requiring extensive use of magic. When a later convention-exclusive figure of Keldor was made using the existing Skeletor body, a removable cloth cape was included. As the figure came with three swappable heads including his Keldor face; his burning, acid-splashed visage; and his final Skeletor head, this figure could thus be configured into a "show-accurate" caped Skeletor.