One of the things about imaginary worlds is that they're extremely fragile.
Worlds like Eternia, Middle-earth, and the like are usually constructed with very precarious balances of power. This is usually done for storytelling purposes, so you can have situations where the actions of a lone character can have critical, far-reaching effects. It's a useful dramatic tool. The problem, however, is this: one hard blow to such a world is sometimes enough to disrupt the balance of power completely.
...In the episode "The Dragon's Gift", Skeletor enters Palace Eternia disguised as an ambassador. He carries with him an ancient artifact which, if King Randor were to touch it, would turn the leader of Eternia to crystal. The plot is thwarted, of course, and by the end of the episode things are back to normal. But I once asked myself: What if Skeletor had been successful? And what if he had been more direct in his attack?
To my surprise, I discovered that the entire series completely unraveled; and a newer, far more intriguing series had appeared in its' place.
Another beautiful day begins on Eternia. King Randor is receiving diplomats in the Royal Court. Exposition reveals that the leaders of Eternia are planning to show a unified front and finally rid themselves of Skeletor and the Powers of Evil forever.
Suddenly one of the ambassadors is revealed to be Skeletor in disguise. He pulls out a large hatchet and cruelly axe-murders Randor, then teleports from the room. Chaos throughout the Kingdom ensues.
Prince Adam is brought forth and soon wears the crown of King. In a stirring speech, he begins expounding upon the virtues of his father's work; he takes up the Crown and vows that Skeletor shall be brought to justice.
A conversation between Teela and Man-at-Arms reveals that, in his first few weeks on the job, King Adam has been hard-pressed to keep reign over Eternia. Adam enters and confirms this, saying, "I had no idea being a King was this much work." Indeed, though Adam is doing a very capable job, he is so beset by his Kingly duties that He-Man has not been heard from in some time.
A rumor begins to go through the Palace markets that He-Man won't help good King Adam, that he doesn't like him, that he refuses to deal with him.
The anti-He-Man sentiment soon becomes so strong that, when Mount Eternia erupts and King Adam has to take control of the Palace evacuation, He-Man's name is cursed in the villages for not showing up to help.
After a time, Skeletor plans and launches a new, spirited assault upon Castle Greyskull; the Sorceress calls for help. King Adam, alone in the throne room, receives the telepathic call and lifts his sword, crying out for "the power of Greyskull".
The Palace Guards, attracted by the flashes of lightning, rush into the Throne Room in time to see He-Man standing over the smoking robes and burnt crown of the King. "He-Man has murdered our King!" they shout.
The cry is taken up by the villagers. "He-Man is a traitor! He-Man is a murderer!" Man-at-Arms takes a palace balcony and tries to calm the incited crowd, but the now-unruly mob overruns him and kills him.
Pursued by the Palace Guards, He-Man and Battle-Cat narrowly escape the Castle with their lives.
Skeletor's attack upon Greyskull continues. The Sorceress, soon realizing that He-Man is not coming, calls upon Teela to come to her rescue. Teela, in the forest nearby on a survival exercise, comes; using all her skills and the benefit of surprise, she manages to halt Skeletor's advance. She breaks his Havoc Staff, and casts the pieces into the abyss. Skeletor merely laughs. "You may have saved Greyskull this time, Captain," he sneers. "But for me, the setback is only temporary! Without a Sorceress, Greyskull's power is broken - and it's only a matter of time before I claim it as my own!" On those words he walks away, laughing.
Teela enters Greyskull, but too late - the Sorceress has been fatally injured, and lays dying. At last all secrets about Teela's birthright are laid bare. The Sorceress reveals that she, indeed, is Teela's mother; she calls upon Teela to take over the guardianship of Greyskull. Teela, in tears, agrees.
"If only... Adam were here..." the Sorceress gasps with her dying breath. "Adam... has a secret... a powerful secret to - defending Greyskull..." The Sorceress says no more.
Teela buries her mother by the shores of the Crystal Sea. Thinking Adam dead, and the secret of Greyskull buried with him, Teela vows revenge upon He-Man for Adam's murder and Duncan's death.
During this time, Skeletor is not idle. With no King, no royal family, and no Man-at-Arms or Captain of the Guards, Palace Eternia is defenseless. Skeletor's victory is swift and absolute.
In a short time, Skeletor's allies come to the throne room to take their shares of the treasure. "After all, you would never have made it here without us," Beastman observes. Skeletor laughs in their faces and defies them, saying that if they want treasure, they should take it... if they can. He then calls in the palace guards, now under his control.
In the ensuing melee, only a few of Skeletor's henchmen survive. Webstor and Trapjaw turn once again to serve their master, while Evil-lyn, Merman and Kobra Khan narrowly escape to the safety of the Evergreen Forest.
Under Skeletor, the citizens of Eternia are quickly enslaved; only the palace guards are allowed to exist as they once did. Orko is the exception: he is allowed to do as he will, because (as Skeletor puts it) "the little rat amuses me." Orko dislikes this arrangement, but must bear it all the same: as insurance for his good conduct, Skeletor has taken Orko's magic pyramid - his only link with his native world of Trolla.
"If you behave yourself for a few hundred years," Skeletor observes, "I may give it back."
In time, He-Man returns to Greyskull with his noble cat. Expecting to find the Sorceress, he is dumbfounded to find a hostile Teela in charge of Greyskull. "You! He-Man! Murderer!" she cries out. "I'll destroy you yet!"
"Murderer? Me?" He-Man asks.
"Don't think I haven't heard about your killing King Adam," Teela shouts. "You were jealous of him! And you incited the riot that killed my father!"
"No, wait!" He-Man cries. "Adam isn't dead! I am Adam!" To prove the point, He-Man draws his sword and starts to change into Adam; Teela, thinking it to be an attack of some sort, calls upon the power of Greyskull. The Sword of Power, caught between the two opposing wills, snaps into two pieces with a burst of thunder. Adam is trapped in the body of He-Man, seemingly forever.
"You fool!" Battle-Cat yells at Teela, dragging the unconscious form of He-Man away along with the shards of the sword. "If you had any idea of the harm you've just done to Eternia..."
"Get away from here, you mangy animal," Teela shouts in reply. "You and He-Man are the only ones I hate more than Skeletor!"
On the edges of the Vine Jungle, the still-unconscious He-Man and the sleeping Battle-Cat are found by Evil-lyn and Merman. Evil-lyn wakes He-Man with a shove.
"I never thought I'd be saying this," Evil-lyn remarks, "but I want Greyskull's help! Skeletor has turned us all away, to starve and die. I would rather have King Adam on the throne than Skeletor!"
"Greyskull... won't help you," He-Man says, sitting up slowly. "I've been turned away - and the Power Sword broken. I'm an outcast from Eternia... just as you are."
This strikes a chord with Evil-lyn. They are all outcasts - caught between the terror of Greyskull on the one side, and the relentless pursuit of Skeletor's troops on the other. They should have a truce - even an alliance - as long as they are pursued, until thy can overthrow the evils which have descended on them.
To this He-Man agrees, and says that - someday - the Sword of Power will be re-forged in the furnaces of Greyskull, and justice and freedom will again return to Eternia.
FADE IN: THE FIGURE OF ADAM STRIDES FORWARD OUT OF DARKNESS Show's opening theme plays in the background. ADAM I am Adam - former king of Eternia, and keeper of the secrets of Castle Greyskull. INSERT: SHOT OF PALACE ETERNIA INSERT: SHOT OF CASTLE GREYSKULL BACK TO ADAM ADAM Fabulous secret powers were given to me, against my will, the day Sorceress Teela said: TEELA (voice-over) By the power of Greyskull! The sword lights up and breaks. Adam becomes He-Man. HE-MAN I - have - the - power! And I can't - - get - RID of it! SHOT OF HE-MAN AND BATTLE-CAT RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES TITLE-CARD: "Lou Scheimer - Executive Producer" HE-MAN (voice-over) Only three other people are willing to help us... MONTAGE OF THE THREE CHARACTERS HE-MAN (voice-over) ...Evil-lyn, Merman, and Orko! Together we try to survive against... GREYSKULL - INTERPOSE IMAGES OF TEELA, SOME PALACE GUARDS, AND SKELETOR HE-MAN ...our pursuers from Greyskull and Castle Eternia, until... THE TWO PIECES OF THE SWORD, COMING TOGETHER HE-MAN ...the Sword is Re-Forged and Justice is returned to Eternia! TITLE-CARD: "He-Man: King In Exile"