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"John Blackstar, astronaut -- is swept through a black hole -- into an ancient alien universe. Trapped on the planet Sagar, Blackstar is rescued by the tiny Trobbit people. In turn he joins their fight for freedom against the cruel Overlord -- who rules by the might of the PowerStar. The PowerStar is split into the PowerSword -- and the StarSword. And so, with StarSword in hand, Blackstar, together with his allies, sets out to save the planet Sagar. This is his destiny.""I am John Blackstar."
Blackstar is a 1981 fantasy-adventure cartoon from Filmation. A precursor to the far more successful He-Man (only 12 episodes were produced), Blackstar followed the adventures of an Earthly astronaut, the eponymous John Blackstar, and his "allies": Klone, the elf-like ShapeShifter; Mara, the lavender-skinned Magical Girl; Warlock, his dragon-like Cool Steed; and the Trobbits, seven magenta-skinned little men who tended the Sagar tree on which the planet's environment depended -- Balkar, their magical leader; the speechless Poulo; Carpo; Gossamer, who flew by means of his huge ears; Burbil; Rif, who talked like Walter Brennan and whose hat was permanently afire; and Terra. All these were in rebellion against the Overlord and his allies, such as the sorcerous Vizier, a horde of dinosaur-shaped stone robots, the Lavaloks, and a series of one-shot villains such as Kadray, the "Time-Lord" (no, not that one).
Interestingly, the eponymous hero was designed as an African-American (this was in keeping with Filmation's predilection for socially positive messages in its shows), but was subsequently changed to a deeply tanned Caucasian. It has been asserted that this was done at the behest of the network, but Filmation producer Lou Scheimer has disclaimed all memory of any such directive. Many fans assume that Blackstar is a Native American, but there is no mention of this in the original series, and he differs somewhat in appearance from Filmation's later Native American hero, Bravestarr.
Should not be confused AT ALL with the Soul Eater character. Nor should he be confused with BlackStar, the hip-hop group consisting of Talib Kwali and Yasiin Bey.
Blackstar provide examples of:
- Ambiguously Brown: As mentioned above, Blackstar was originally going to be African-American, but ended up just sort of brownish with straight hair. Fanon holds that he's Native American.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Averted, amazingly enough for a Filmation series from the Eighties. Any moral lessons are left implicit in the stories themselves.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Sagar tree is the source of magical fruits and nuts that somehow support the entire population of the planet. Many episodes involved the Overlord making some kind of attack on the tree.
- Bifurcated Weapon: The StarSword, wielded by Blackstar, and the Overlord's PowerSword, are the split-off sections of the PowerStar.
- Captain Ersatz: The "Trobbits" were at one and the same time expies of Peyo's Smurfs, JRR Tolkien's hobbits, and Disney's Seven Dwarfs.
- Deadpan Snarker: What Blackstar is supposed to be.
- Ear Wings: Gossamer
- Enemy Mine: In "The Overlord's Big Spell" (see Evil Is Not a Toy, below).
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Overlord
- Evil Is Not a Toy: As the Overlord finds in "The Overlord's Big Spell", when he summons the demonic appearing Brelarand to destroy the rebels -- which of course fails spectacularly and leads to an Enemy Mine with Blackstar.
- Evil Overlord: He was even named "The Overlord".
- Evil Knockoff: In the episode "Tree of Evil", an evil tree makes evil copies of the Trobbits, Klone, and Blackstar himself.
- Expository Theme Song: At least, expository opening narration.
- Expy: Blackstar may be an expy of Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars, who is also a Fish Out of Water on an alien world and is also said to have superstrength as a result of his terrestrial origin.
- Another (probably) completely unintentional one: as he explains in his Opening Narration, an astronaut named John is swept through a hole in space into a distant part of the universe filled with strange alien beings, some of whom become his allies. Almost from the moment he arrives, he's pursued by a cruel commander who wants him and/or his MacGuffin. Sound familiar?
- Since this is Filmation, Blackstar's premise shows a lot of influence from their earlier adaptation of Flash Gordon. It also presages their later He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in many ways.
- Fan Service: Like many of Filmation's series, Blackstar was replete with muscular heroes and busty heroines.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: On one episode, Mara toasts Blackstar; Klone is quick to point out that the toast in question is made in "clear, cool spring water." Festive.
- The Future: Blackstar comes from a future Earth which has developed interplanetary flight. In "Space Wrecked," we learn that Earth has an entire fleet of spacecraft, and has developed a time-traveling space-ship as well.
- Giant Flyer: The Air Whales of Anchar, in their eponymous episode
- Hot Amazon: Storm in "The Lord of Time"
- Heel Face Turn: The Emerald Knight in "The Quest"; Lilah in "The Air Whales of Anchar"
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Allan Oppenheimer is Overlord, who is pretty much Skeletor's precursor, also voiced by Oppenheimer.
- Blackstar himself is voiced by George Di Cenzo, who would go on to voice Bow and Hordak in She-Ra: Princess of Power.
- Hurricane of Puns: Many of Blackstar's combats seemed to be accompanied by these.
- I Choose to Stay: In the last episode, a rescue ship from Earth (piloted by Blackstar's beautiful girlfriend, no less) navigates the black hole, finds John Blackstar on Sagar, and offers to take him home. He very nearly takes her up on it, but he finally decides that he's too important to the natives' rebellion against the Overlord, and he chooses to stay. The last scene is her returning to Earth, and sending a message ahead that she wants to come back with proper military forces to help John defeat the Overlord.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The StarSword/PowerSword.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Warlock
- La Résistance: Blackstar and his allies.
- Loin Cloth: Blackstar
- MacGuffin: The PowerStar; the Sagar Tree
- Magical Girl: Mara; Amber in "City of the Ancient Ones"
- Mecha-Mooks: The Lavaloks
- Name's the Same: Gossamer is not a giant red-furred tooth in tennis shoes. And it's Balkar, not Belkar.
- Off-Model: In "The Zombie Masters," Blackstar, Balkar, Rif, and and guest-star Prince Dal disguise themselves as zombies by covering themselves with mud. Somehow the mud covers even the flame on Rif's hat.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Delilah the Dryad, in "Tree of Evil".
- Our Gryphons Are Different: Klone becomes one in "Tree of Evil".
- Our Indians Are Different: Though it is nowhere stated in the original series, many fans consider Blackstar a Native American.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The Vampire-Men in "The Air Whales of Anchar".
- Pure Magic Being: Mara -- when the Overlord uses a spell to leach all the magic out of Sagar, Mara's life-force grows weaker and weaker as it is drained away.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: The Emerald Knight in "The Quest".
- Samus Is a Girl: The Emerald Knight
- Scenery Porn: Used for the infamous "Filmation pan", one of Filmation's favorite methods of avoiding new animation.
- Small Annoying Creature: The Trobbits; Delilah the Dryad, in "Tree of Evil".
- Soul Power: In "The Zombie Masters", Shaldemar uses this in conjunction with a Soul Jar to turn people into zombies.
- Stock Footage
- Stripperific: Most of the women's outfits -- Mara's is typical.
- Super Strength: Blackstar is stated to possess this, though the show offers rather slim evidence of it.
- The Voiceless: Poulo
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Klone
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Blackstar
- ↑ the first of several