The character was initially presented simply as an evil demon from another dimension, and in general his origns were not as important as his evil motives. However, the introduction of Hordak as Skeletor's former teacher provided a brief glimpse into a past. Near the end of the original Masters of the Universe franchise, it was hinted that Skeletor might have once been Keldor, the brother of He-Man's father, King Randor. The development of Skeletor's backstory as a dashing, ambitious villain played heavily into his characterization in the 2002 relaunch of the franchise.
Skeletor was one of only a handful of character that carried over to The New Adventures of He-Man brand, which sent He-Man to the far future to help the Galactic Guardians save the last of humanity from the Evil Mutants. Skeletor follows his enemy, and offers his services to the Mutants simply because he must rid the universe of He-Man.
Skeletor's core personality remains the same throughout all incarnations, cruel and dominating with a hunger for power that fuels his ambition. Minor but notable differences can be found in the various Skeletors, such as The New Adventures of He-Man incarnation which was considerably more relaxed and laid back when compared to the Filmation or Mike Young ones. Often joking and taking his defeats with good mood, even having a "human" side to him in his genuine relationship with Crita and bonding with his pet Grr. Yet being just as cruel and power hungry as any other Skeletor.
The Langella incarnation was very much an evil overlord, prefering to have his minions deal with He-Man. This version showed emotions not seen in any other Skeletor, such as an poetic portion in his banter with the hero regarding lonliness.
The Filmation Skeletor showed perhaps the greatest extent of cruelty, often wreacking havoc for the sake of havoc rather than conquest. Taking great delight in tormenting his eternal nemesis whenever the oppertunity presented itself, such as the devious scheme to trick He-Man into thinking he had killed an innocent man that almost broke the hero's spirit completely.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Skeletor possesses an array of mystic powers that seem to vary depending on the whims of the particular writer using him at the time, however all portray him as an extremely powerful sorcerer with control over a vast range of dark magical powers. He also possesses considerable scientific skill, and is shown to have skill in creating various machines and devices in the Filmation and New Adventures animated series. A notable skill present in the Filmation was Skeletor's ability to instantly transport himself back to Snake Mountain, usually by saying "I'm going back to Snake Mountain"
He is usually armed with a magical weapon called the Havoc Staff; a long pole crowned with a small replica of a ram's skull and a crystal ball embedded within. He can discharge bolts of mystic force from the head of the staff, or use it as a focus for more powerful forms of magic. Sometimes Skeletor displays the ability to discharge energy from his own body, as is seen in the 1987 film where he casts lightning from his hands, and in the original animated series where he projects energy from his fingertips and even his eye sockets. In the 2002 series, his innate powers seem much more limited; though his abilities, when in conjunction with his Havoc Staff seem nearly unlimited in scope and highly potent in raw power.
In the early mini-comics, Skeletor sometimes possesses one half of the Power Sword. From this weapon he could also project magical energies. He also displays many other skills, such as the ability to teleport himself and others over vast distances, send telepathic commands to his minions, open gateways between dimensions or perform remote viewing. He has also shown himself to be a gifted swordsman. As a master of the mystic arts he is also privy to much secret knowledge about the universe.
Though mainly a sorcerer Skeletor is more than capable of physical combat, as proven in numerous encounters with He-Man.
Despite his occasional bungling actions and personality, all versions portray Skeletor as being extremely cunning and intelligent but with a sense of hubris that invariably leads to his downfall.
Also, some toy versions of Skeletor have been featured in media, showing him with new abilities:
- Battle Armor Skeletor: Skeletor wears a protective battle armor. He is seen wearing it in some UK comics by London Editions.
- Dragon Blaster Skeletor: Featured in the 1984 minicomic "Skeletor's Dragon". In addition to Skeletor's powers depicted above, he has some energy-draining chains and is aided by a little dragon who can spray a sleeping mist from its mouth.
- Terror Claws Skeletor: This version of Skeletor has claw gloves known as the terror claws. Strangely, Skeletor wears his "original" costume in all the minicomics which use the terror claws, including the Terror Claws Skeletor minicomic "The Terror Claws Strike!". In the only minicomic that shows him wearing the "terror claws" costume, "The Cosmic Key", he does not use the terror claws.
- "New Adventures" Skeletor: The Skeletor figure featured in "The New Adventures of He-Man". In the minicomics, Skeletor uses that costume after becoming a cyborg. In the TV version, he is only wearing a different costume than the "original".
- Disk of Doom Skeletor: The second "New Adventures" Skeletor version. This version first appears in the episode "Sword and Staff" and becomes the regular version of Skeletor in the series until the last episode. This Skeletor version wears a skull-shaped chest armor and a white helmet. The figure came with a disk launcher, but in the series Skeletor continued using the Havoc Staff.
- Battle Sounds Skeletor: This figure was made as a "talking" Skeletor figure for the 2002 toyline. In the TV episode "Sky War", Skeletor transforms into his "Battle Sounds" version after eating Ambrosia, a miraculous food made by the Andreenids, Buzz-Off's people. As Battle Sounds Skeletor, he is stronger and more powerful.
- Samurai Skeletor: With the power of the Legacy Stones, Skeletor transforms into his samurai version in the episode "The Mystery of Anwat Gar". This Skeletor wears samurai armor, is stronger and, fittingly, has samurai weapons.
- Battle Armor Skeletor: Skeletor dons a battle armor. In the episode "Of Machines and Men", a being called Sortech sends the battle armor to Skeletor. This is the 2003 Battle Armor Skeletor figure, and must not be confused with the 1983 Skeletor figure with the same name.