Well, here’s the last thing I expected to hear today: a relaunch of the 80s cartoon THUNDERCATS has just entered production, according to a press release from Warner Bros. Animation. The series is set to air exclusively on Cartoon Network and, much like CN’s previous exclusive property Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, will have a decidedly anime flair to it. The new series will be developed by Studio4ºC, the Japanese animation house previously responsible for The Animatrix, Batman: Gotham Knight and Halo Legends.
Thundercats was originally a mid 1980s animated series about a race of heroes who fled their exploding planet, Thundara, and found refuge on a seemingly deserted planet which they dubbed New Thundara. Unfortunately, the planet was already occupied by the malevolent Mumm-Ra, The Ever-Living, who constantly tried to kill the Thundercats.
Last week, former Thundercats writer Stephen Perry was found dead in Florida.
I’m not sure how I feel about a revamp of this property, to be frank. The original holds a very dear place in my heart, and I remember watching it when I was younger, but I know how these projects usually end up. Hopefully this will be one that acknowledges the legacy of the series, and tries to carry on in it’s memory, but my hopes aren’t too terribly high.
Official press release from Warner Bros. Animation follows.
Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) has begun production on ThunderCats, an all-new animated series for Cartoon Network, based upon the iconic 1980s action classic.ThunderCats is the newest series from WBA, joining Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was recently renewed for a third season, and the following forthcoming programs: The Looney Tunes Show, MAD, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated andYoung Justice. The announcement was made today by Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation.
“In addition to being Warner Bros. Animation’s first anime series, ThunderCats marks our most ambitious foray yet into fantasy,” said Register. “The realism and dynamic visual style we’ve achieved are sure to thrill viewers, and the cool weapons, vehicles and technology should help the show appeal to a diverse audience.”
The 21st century reimagining of the series marks a creative collaboration between WBA and Studio4°C, one of the most vibrant animation studios in Japan, with credits including The Animatrix, Gotham Knights and Halo Legends. WBA is working closely with Studio4°C, utilizing the latter’s expertise to give the ThunderCats characters a new cutting-edge look while remaining true to the compelling storylines and mythology of the original series.
“We at Studio4°C are excited to be in this creative partnership with Warner Bros. Animation to bring ThunderCats to life,” said Eiko Tanaka, President and CEO, Studio4°C. “This collaboration combines the strengths of our two companies — high production values and great storytelling — toward reintroducing this classic fan-favorite to a new audience.”
Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C’s use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, ThunderCats characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.
The new ThunderCats will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne – and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost — takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.
ThunderCats is executive produced by Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold). Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Wonder Woman) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender) are the producers.