I hadn't seen the 1981 original until around last Christmas, and I can't exactly say I was a fan of Bubo, suspecting that he*, like the film, was given more leeway due to nostalgia. I'm not entirely sure if Bubo was the toy tie-in that Weinberg has asserted (though he certainly is now), but it does feel like he was intended strictly to modernize the appeal of swords-and-sandals fare at the time ("He's like R2-D2! But an owl! Ka-ching!").
It's a matter that people seem oddly passionate about, so now, let me ask all of you: are you pro- or anti-Bubo?
*I'll just assign a male gender to Bubo, lest all of these "it"s get out of hand.