Fresh Details On The New ‘Thundercats’ Animated Series

Published 4 years ago by

thundercats logo Fresh Details On The New Thundercats Animated Series

Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Thundercats Ho!

This June, we were able to bring fans of the 80′s cartoon series Thundercats, the exciting news that Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation were teaming up to reprise the series as an, anime-style, “21st century reimagining of the classic 80s cartoon series.” New details have emerged on the series, which is due to hit the small screen next year.

MTV spoke with producer Michael Jelenic at New York Comic Con, who says he has been “a little surprised by the visceral reaction to the property.”

If there was any doubt about fan devotion to the series, it has been put into perspective for Jelenic. He recognizes what a powerful following Thundercats has – especially when compared to fan response for what he assumed was an even more popular property.

“It’s funny because I’ve been working on a lot of Batman cartoons the last couple years, and I tell people I have a new Batman cartoon coming out and they’re like, ‘Cool…’, but when I say ‘Thundercats,’ they’re like, ‘Thundercats?!?! Oh My God!’”

Fans have been anxiously awaiting a return of Lion-O and the Cats for quite some time. Rumors of a Thundercats movie have ebbed and flowed on the Internet for the last several years. One ambitious, and talented, fan went so far as to make an impressive, fake, live-action trailer.

Take a look (or another look) at the trailer below. Warning, it may make you a bit sad that his film is not currently in active production.

Jelenic theorizes that the heightened level of fan anticipation “might be because it’s the last great ’80s property that hasn’t been reinvented for this new generation. We’re trying to be respectful to the old material, but bring it into a new era. I think it will be really cool.”

People often have concerns about the changes that are made to properties that they feel an attachment to. Jelenic assures fans that: “It’s reimagined…but at the same time, we’re going to see the characters that we love.”

All of the key players, Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara, Tygra, and yes, even Snarf, will be there. As to Snarf, Jelenic confirms that “Everyone always wants to know about Snarf! He will be in it, and he will not talk. Don’t worry.”

snarf Fresh Details On The New Thundercats Animated Series

Fans have a very mixed reaction to the little cat, so Jelenic has found a solution that he hopes will satisfy the love/hate relationship that Thundercats devotees seem to have with this character.

“He won’t be going, ‘Lion-O, why don’t you do this? (in that whiny voice). We’re just having him say, ‘Snarf! Snarf!’ That’s a way to get him in the show without annoying every single person who hates him. It’s funny, because people are always like, ‘I hate Snarf! Wait. you’re not going to put him in? That’s terrible!’”

As to the more dramatic changes that will be made to the series, Jelenic assures fans that they will consist mostly of streamlining the mythos and updating the visual pallet, with a slightly “darker feel.”

“We have some great artists (on Thundercats). We’re using a very famous Japanese animation studio, Studio4C, which did The Animatrix. They’re going to have their signature stuff on it. It’s going to be pretty epic.”

Take a look at the concept art for Lion-O below:

thundercats cartoon concept Fresh Details On The New Thundercats Animated Series

Jelenic acknowledges that the changes may mean a bit of an adjustment for Thundercats fans, but feels that once they settle into it, they will enjoy the visual modifications that have been made.

“I think when people see the final character designs, people will think it’s a different take, but it will feel very familiar to the old series. The colors aren’t quite as bright as they were. It’s a little darker take, but you’ll recognize everybody.”

The Animatrix was one of the best things to come out of the Matrix franchise. These artists are sure to bring something new, and yes, a bit more modern to the Thundercats. Though the original Thundercats stands as one of the great animated series of the 80s, it will be interesting to see what these creative innovators can bring to the existing template.

As to the story, Jelenic says that:

“One thing, is that, I tried to simplify the mythology a little bit. It’s a pretty complicated back-story that borrows from a lot of other sci-fi stuff, like Superman and Star Wars. In developing this, I wanted it to be a little more simple. In the other version, there’s something like three different planets involved, and they all converge onto one planet, and nobody’s really connected. I just wanted to bring that all together.”

Simplification may be a good thing, as long as it strengthens the central characters and their relationships. The important thing for fans is to see enhancements to the world they are already committed to, rather than a degeneration of it.

From everything we have seen and read to date, it looks like this beloved series is in highly capable hands, and I, for one, very much look forward to the 2011 premiere of Thundercats.

Source: MTV

Follow me on twitter @jrothc and Screen Rant @screenrant

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. nothing touches the original series

    • i loved thunder cats as a kid and now my kids get the chance to watch a piece of animated history thats great i think its good that snarff isnt going to be talkin lol i just hope that with new animators and a new up to date look the animaters give the characters some pants or something cuz the whole underwear look is really out dated and needs to be banned in all cartoons even as a kid i didnt understand why they did that to such great characters

  2. It had the best opening credits for a cartoon EVER.

    • You ain’t just a whistling dixie! Next to GI Joe, it was the best

  3. I have very little hope for this. I hate the anime style and it’s sad that every new cartoon these days has to be in the ugly over exaggerated style. Not to mention making the story streamlined? Basically I take that to mean Less story more things blowing up.

    • I have ZERO interest in this. God, leave classic cartoons alone!!

    • umm….thundercats WAS an anime.

      • I was just about to post that.

        Daniel F,
        Did you like The Animatrix? It was done in anime.

        • While it was technically made in Japan Thundercats did not have the Anime art style not at all in fact the art was very reflective of western style art. I’m refering only to art style here.

          No I did not watch animatrix and I wouldn’t bother my self with it ever the art is classic ugly anime style IMO and I’m not even a matrix fan.

          • Youre Wrong Daniel. The Art Style WAS Anime… a lot of anime is western influnced. It wasnt typical generic anime style. Many other japanese shows had very similar art style. Transformers, Thundercats, and even GI Joe were heavily anime in style. Just because they didnt have SUPER over exaggerated expressions doesnt make it not anime.

            And if you Didnt watch Animatrix and call the art style ugly, then youre missing out, because many different studios collabirated on that.

            And please tell me all these so called new cartoons with this so called Anime style that are ugly? I bet they are still terrible cartoons at its core.

  4. Hope this works Thundercats was one of the best cartoons ever!!!!

  5. What you guys have to understand is that we loved this series when we were kids and now they are trying to bring it to a new generation. The same as they did with Masters of the Universe. Personally I loved what they did with Masters. I think they are also testing to see if there is a real market for a movie. If the kids don’t care then it will not get made. I am sure it would make pretty good money off of older fans of the show, but as your previous posts prove… some people are set in their ways and hard to please. I am looking forward to a new cartoon series and hope they see fit to finally make a movie out of this. I am also waiting on Silver Hawks. They did run back to back.

    • I like that a lot of these studios are trying to revive the shows from my childhood. I cringe at the current Saturday morning line-up. They don’t make cartoons like they use to. It’s cool that kids are able to grow up with a lot of the same characters I loved when I was a kid. Of course they have to make some changes though. Things have changed drastically from the 80′s and these shows have to reflect that. 80′s animation and story elements won’t hold up at all in the current generation.

  6. From what (granted, very little) I’ve seen and heard about this re-imagining/-launch/whatever, I’m extremely excited. I loved the original “Thundercats”, but the animation IS a bit dated. As for the storyline, the mythology of the series, I’m okay with them tweaking that, as I very much enjoyed the redo (2002) of the “Masters of the Universe” cartoon and toyline which actually fleshed out the characters quite well. I can’t wait for this new “Thundercats”.

  7. This is pretty exciting stuff. I thought the 2002 Masters out did anything from the 80′s Masters. The stories were better, as was the animation (time did that), on the whole the mythos made it more interesting.

    I am stoked for this and hope it’s good.


  9. QUESTION# What was Liono’s comment when he saw a street hooker? answer: thundercats! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!LMAO!

  10. They would have been better off leaving Snarf out of it completely, or just having him be the pet cat. LOL. He’s the Jar Jar of Thundercats!! :P

  11. Ok, scrub everything…I want this film, but with THAT trailer being the real thing! lol…how can you get a better cast?

  12. why did they stop saturday morning cartoons i remember looking forward to those and would fight to get the TV guide the friday before the new toon season?

  13. So sick of everything going anime . whats wrong with the original western style of animation? and WTF!Ban the way they dress? are you like 13 years old? Sadly the original cartoonist drew thundercats was murdered 5 months ago,but geez there’s plenty of great american artist out there…

    • WHat cartoons would these be? And AGAIN.. Thundercats WAS ANIME!!! Not all anime has pointy chins, and saucer sized eyes… And Im just talking trhe art design… the animation was PURE Anime in the 80s…. You think the Thundercats intro was Western???? The fight scenes??? The effects??????? None of that was western… more than half the cartoons of the 80s were anime studios hired by the west, OR a partnership between a Western and Eastern company, yet still drawn and animated in Japan.

  14. Thundercats reborn? I’m very curious how it will be received by the original TC fans (80s TC fans).

    I hope they don;t make the same mistake like they did with Inspector Gadget,draining it till its dead and burried.

    I can only say that nothing can compete with the oldschool TC from the 80s.

  15. i grew up with western animation and thundercats was my favorite cartoon. i’d love to see it manga style as i love the style of anime. if you really love cartoons you like all styles of animation. ps keep snarf even if hes irritating, theres always got to be one hasnt there?

    • Thundercats wasnt “western” animation… take a look at the credits at the end of each episode next time, and look at the names of teh animators.

  16. Yah too bad the animation looks like complete crap. The original series the cats actually looked like…Oh I don’t know….FELINES. This new one they look like standard people with prosthetics glued on. ears, eyes, coloring. BAM DONE. Seriously this is more generic animation from Cartoon Network and is anyone really surprised anymore? OK actually I am kinda surprised. I thought they would do a better job with the characters. Heck the bloody Sword of Omens looks puny compared to the original that had some girth to it. Seriously the last animation that I was remotely impressed with was GI Joe Resolute.

  17. Man I hope someone else reads this because you ALL suck! Snarf IS Thundercats.(PERIOD) They all would have died from the BEGINNING if it wasn’t for ol’ Snarfy. He always whines…grant it he’s an old guy, but when the “you know what” hits the fan and Slythe and Mum Ra are about to slit all of the pretty little ‘Cats throats Snarf ALWAYS steps up like a true hero…the only REAL hero on the planet and somehow gets Jackass-o, oh I mean Lion-o, out of the frying pan. You KNOW he’s a master of sarcastic comedy and a total riot and this poseur has some nerve to down play his role…whatever.

  18. Hello , my name is Patrick Rockey and I’m 32 years old . And I’ve been a Thundercats fan since I was 2 years old . The creators of the Thundercats animated series should add Bengali , Lynx-O & Pumyra to the mix .