Prince Adam is a fictional character in the Masters of the Universe franchise and twin brother of Princess Adora. His alter ego is He-Man, the main character in the franchise. Adam is a seemingly careless and worry free prince in the eyes of the Eternian court. Most notably his parents, King Randor and Queen Marlena, and Teela, the captain of the Royal Guard, perceive him as a coward. This common misperception of Prince Adam is because whenever trouble arises on Eternia, Prince Adam makes a timely exit so that he can secretly become He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe. After Prince Adam becomes He-Man, he then has the power to defeat whatever enemy is threatening the Eternian throne or Castle Grayskull.
Oddly enough, He-Man and Prince Adam look exactly alike, with the only exception being that He-Man's skin tone is slightly more tanned with slightly darker hair color, and speaks in a deeper voice. This often brings into question why no one ever makes the connection between them.
Unlike the original series, Adam looks very different from He-Man, being noticeably shorter and younger than his alter ego, thus making any connection between the two less likely.
After this time, Adam regularly has the freedom to temporarily become He-Man whenever trouble arose. When he changes into He-Man, he also points the Sword of Power at his reluctant large green cat named Cringer, who subsequently becomes He-Man's sidekick Battle Cat. Besides Cringer, there are only three others who know the true identity of He-Man: Man-At-Arms, Orko, and the Sorceress. In the episode "Prince Adam No More", it is explained that He-Man's true identity must be kept secret because if Skeletor or other evil forces knew, then that knowledge would endanger all of those whom he loves.
Like the New Adventures series of the early 1990s, Adam is portrayed as being far younger and skinnier than his He-Man persona, again, making any association between the two less likely.
This varies from one animated series to another. In The New Adventures of He-Man, Adam is portrayed as an easy going everyman rather than a shallow, fun loving prince. In fact, Adam is shown behaving more like his alter ego He-Man, without much concern of people linking his behavior with He-Man. This could be representative of the idea of Adam as the true persona, or simply that Adam believes that since he and He-Man do not look alike, the people of Primus probably would not suspect them of being the same person. In the 2002 series, the earlier "happy-go-lucky" prince image is brought back; he goes so far as to show that initially Adam is a spoiled/carefree prince who does not think anything bad could possibly happen to him or his world. He carelessly scoffs at the Sorceress when she informs him of his destiny to become He-Man. When the reality of danger finally confronts him and endangers his father's life, Adam takes the necessary step to become He-Man. The act seems to have a maturing effect on him. Though he still retains some of his youthful naivety and continues to behave as a shallow fun lover so as not to be suspected of being He-Man (who behaves in a more mature and responsible manner than Adam), He-Man still displays Adam's sense of humor. It is shown early in the first episode following the initial pilot, The Courage of Adam, that Adam resents having to maintain a weak persona as himself. He feels that it damages his relationships with his father King Randor and with his lifelong friend/budding love interest Teela, and wishes to prove his worth beyond He-Man. In the end, he is forced to accept that he must maintain the facade for their safety.