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Masters of the Universe character
First appearance He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Created by Mattel
Voiced by Lou Scheimer
Aliases Galen Nycoff/Galen Nycroft
Gender Male
Occupation Scientist

Modulok is a fictional character in the toy line Masters of the Universe by Mattel.

The character was conceived as a multi-bodied monster who can reform himself into thousands of different shapes to confuse his enemies. He is a member of the Evil Horde, though in some cartoon appearances is seen to work for himself. He is also known for creating Multi-Bot. He is one of the few Horde figures to not wear a Horde bat emblem.

Animated series

Shortly after his figure was released, Modulok appears on the toy line's accompanying cartoon series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by Filmation. Although the Evil Horde are used as the main villains in the spin-off series She-Ra, rather than He-Man, Modulok is given the unique honor of making his debut on He-Man instead. He is introduced late in the show's second season.

Introduced in the episode "Mistaken Identity", Modulok's character is also adjusted from Mattel's concept. His personality in the mini-comics is that of a rather generic villain, so Filmation expanded his character by making him a mad scientist hell-bent on proving his scientific genius. He begins as a deranged human scientist called Galen Nycroft, imprisoned in the Royal dungeons for attempting to use his science to control all of Eternia with a mind ray. Appearing human other than his deformed, enlarged eye which resembles that of Modulok, Nycroft is unfazed by the prison guards' mockery of him and vows to escape and prove himself. He summons a bat-like aid to his side with a component needed to teleport his final invention to the prison cell. Teleporting the large machine to the cell, he steps inside, and an explosion comes from within. He steps out in the mutated form of Modulok, and uses his greatly bolstered strength to break free from the prison cell. He contacts Skeletor and offers him his services, but Skeletor rejects him describing him as a "wimp scientist" and vows to only accept Modulok into his evil crew once he has proven himself. Modulok sets out to prove himself by capturing He-Man. He fails in his scheme, as he is deceived into capturing a teenage boy who is trying to impress his girlfriend by pretending to be He-Man's secret identity.

He makes his second appearance in the episode "Happy Birthday Roboto", which presents him as a solo villain, and also states that he is the sworn enemy of Man-At-Arms even though no other episodes touch upon a rivalry between the two. Cast in the role of the main villain once more, this episode features Modulok capturing the heroic character Roboto and reprogramming him, then reviving him to carry out his own evil deeds. He proceeds to attempt a Frankenstein-like experiment on Man-At-Arms, intending to transfer his brainpower into his second head so that he can possess Man-At-Arms' scientific knowledge for himself.

A third appearance on the He-Man series, in the episode "Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere" shows Modulok in the background among Skeletor's minions, indicating that he had somehow managed to gain acceptance into Skeletor's forces. Given that this is merely a non-speaking background appearance it is not explained how or when his services had been accepted by Skeletor.

Halfway through the first season of Filmation's spin-off series, She-Ra: Princess of Power, Modulok is incorporated into the She-Ra series, the only character from either show to be transferred permanently from one to the other. This occurs in the episode "Gateway to Trouble" in which Modulok builds a device for Skeletor which can open a portal to Etheria to transport his whole army to the planet. However, Modulok is subjected to nothing but abuse and scrutiny by Skeletor, who disrespects his skills. Tired of the constant abuse, he chooses to escape from Skeletor to Etheria and pledge his services to Hordak instead. Hordak, himself a scientist, is more appreciative of Modulok's abilities and accepts his services, recruiting him as Horde scientist and using the machine in an attempt to invade Eternia. After the scheme fails, Hordak demotes Modulok to Horde cook. This episode furthers the portrayal of Modulok as a rung above most other villains, as the only villain ever to openly retaliate against Skeletor's abuse, while his statement at the end of the episode that "Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be evil" indicates a greater level of awareness of the potential consequences of his wrongdoings.

Modulok's continued story with a brief cameo in the episode "Enemy With My Face" in which he is briefly seen attempting to regain Hordak's approval in order to become Horde scientist again rather than Horde cook. Although we never see him win this position back, he is seen back in the role of Horde scientist in the episode "Just Like Me" in which he is once again the lead villain, commanding an army of Horde Troopers in an attack on a peasant village. This episode also showcases a new power for Modulok: the ability to magically transform his arms into weapons, in this case, a weapon resembling a lightsaber. This alternate kind of shape-shifting is perhaps a loose attempt to tie him in with the toy.

His next appearance is in DiTillio's "Black Snow" in which, in the role of a sole villain once again, he leads an attack on Frosta's kingdom in order to stir up war between two tribes of the icy regions of Etheria. This episode once again showcases his ability to change his arms into weapons, in this case turning his arm into a cannon, much like Hordak does regularly in the series. The episode also showcases the character of Multi-Bot, Modulok's robotic assistant.

Modulok made one more for his penultimate appearance in the episode "Darksmoke and Fire" in which he invents a rocket that sends She-Ra back in time, but this is only a cameo appearance giving little development to his character.

Modulok's final appearance is in He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special where he briefly appears as one of the warriors (Multi-Bot is used as well) who accompanies Hordak when kidnapping children. Modulok is unique among all characters in the He-Man and She-Ra cartoon series, for having his own individual storyline throughout the episodes as well as being portrayed with more character depth than many other villains.

Other media

Modulok also appears in many other MOTU story media throughout the 1980s. The UK comics published by London Editions feature him regularly, in-keeping with the cartoon by presenting him as more intelligent than the other Horde members, although his scientific abilities are rarely showcased in this medium.

The comics also feature a significantly different account of his origin. While starting off, like in the cartoon, as the human Galen Nycoff in this version he comes from a far-off planet and is a petty criminal rather than a scientist. With a timid and less-than-intimidating appearance he shocks his victims by unleashing all manner of deadly weapons on them to steal their valuables, and after being imprisoned for his crimes on Prison Star, he escapes from his cell and breaks into the prison's laboratory to formulate a potion to grant him extra physical strength. However, he is caught in the act by the Prison Star wardens, and the potion goes wrong, transforming him instead into the multi-bodied Modulok. He escapes in a shuttle pod with the wardens in hot pursuit and is rescued from them by Hordak, who promises him acceptance into the Horde if he can impress him with his powers.

He also appears in the MOTU Marvel comics in the US, but his portrayal in these is very different from any other media. Whereas he had always been seen to possess only one mind, despite his two heads, this comic series portrays him with two minds, similar to Two Bad, and much like the latter character, his heads would frequently argue with one another.