The premiere of the newly-rebooted ThunderCats cartoon is fast approaching, but you don’t have to wait to get a glimpse of the team in action. A 9-minute clip of the pilot has leaked onto the Internet, and you can check out this special preview now.

ThunderCats has been underway for the better part of a year, and is set to debut with a double-sized hour-long event on July 29th. The new version of the much-loved ’80s action cartoon is animated by Studio 4°C.

Fans of the original will note that the new series has a very different feel: the world is more sword-and-sorcery than space opera, and the mostly grown-up protagonists of the first cartoon have been made over into teens and twenty-somethings. The animation has the clean, deliberate lines of modern action cartoons with a more exaggerated and smooth style.

Series icons Lion-O, Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro and Mumm-Ra are in attendance, with regulars Jaga, WilyKat, WilyKit and Snarf (thankfully devoid of speech in this version) filling out the ranks.

The clip is clearly a demo reel, a series of disjointed scenes meant to show off the new character designs and action. It opens with Lion-O and Cheetara dispensing some street justice, then continues to WilyKat and WilyKit doing their best Artful Dodger impressions. Tygra educates his brother Lion-O in a competition, then meets up with Cheetara again for some weapons demonstrations that harken back to the original ThunderCats intro.

Later we get a good look at the more medieval culture of Thundara, via Lion-O’s father King Claudus (voiced by the original Lion-O Larry Kenney – a nice touch). Finally we get a good look at the Sword of Omens, as Claudus gives Lion-O a close-quarters history lesson. Unfortunately, neither hide nor hair is seen of the new intro sequence, which has some big shoes to fill.

Check out the leaked footage below:

The animation is impressive; it’s a step above most kid’s shows and rivals some authentic anime for style and pacing. While the more kid-friendly designs are sure to gain their fair share of detractors, I think they look suitably modern while working for ThunderCats‘ primary audience – kids.

ThunderCats will be getting its own panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. Be sure to check out all the news on the Screen Rant Comic-Con Page.

ThunderCats pounces onto Cartoon Network July 29th at 9pm.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

Source: SoulCulture