James McAvoy Wants to Play Lion-O in a ‘ThunderCats’ Movie

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 23rd, 2013 at 1:44 pm,

James McAvoy Lion O ThunderCats Movie James McAvoy Wants to Play Lion O in a ThunderCats Movie

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything about a ThunderCats movie – with the last tangible information coming in the form of leaked test footage for a cancelled animated film adaptation at Warner Bros. The CGI video showcased fighting between a young as well as cocky Lion-O and a reptilian evildoer, along with the trademark ThunderCall and Sword of Omens, but  was poorly received by fans due to extremely-cartoonish animation. Since that time, Cartoon Network debuted a new ThunderCats cartoon series in 2011 – which ran for a single season before the network neglected to renew the show. At first, it was expected that the series would eventually return for season 2 but, two years later, and no further ThunderCats episodes have been planned.

Despite the numerous attempts by Hollywood to capitalize on one of the most popular kid properties from the eighties, interest is still high (at least among nostalgic young adults) to see the characters brought back in a meaningful way – especially as a modern blockbuster adventure. Professor Xavier actor James McAvoy is one such fan – who recently expressed interest in playing Lion-O for a big screen ThunderCats production.

Speaking to Total Film, McAvoy gushed about the prospect of a big budget ThunderCats movie as well as rattled off ideas for which characters should and shouldn’t be included. The actor even starts out by praising Wormy TV‘s fan-made ThunderCats movie trailer which cast Brad Pitt as Lion-O, Vin Diesel as Panthro, Hugh Jackman as Tygra, Gigi Edgley as Cheetara, and Richard Cetrone as Mummra, among others.

You can check out the aforementioned Wormy TV ThunderCats trailer followed by the full Total Film interview with McAvoy below:

After McAvoy geeks out over the fan-made trailer, interviewers press the actor for which ThunderCat he’d want to play (given the chance). McAvoy answers “maybe Tygra” before spending a lengthy amount of time discussing why he’d be honored (and excited) to portray Lion-O, a character that he teases could even be an Oscar-contending role – given the ThunderCats‘ leader is essentially a 12 year-old who suddenly finds himself in the body of a ripped, muscly, fighting man who is meant to be a king. The actor further explores his pitch by likening the Lion-O character to Charlie Seymour in Vice Versa (the 1988 Freaky Friday-like comedy starring Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage) but with superpowers and the Sword of Omens.

While some (read: many) fans will probably have a hard time picturing McAvoy (at 5-foot, 7-inches) as the heroic leader of the ThunderCats, the actor actually does have some realistic insights into how a film based on the cartoon series could work – especially when it comes to the tone. McAvoy is quick to throw ThunderCat pet/sidekick Snarf (aka Osbert) under the bus – asserting that the character will come dangerously close to Jar Jar Binks level camp should he be included in a live-action ThunderCats movie. No doubt, certain die-hard ThunderCats lovers would be upset if Snarf didn’t make the cut, but it’s easy to see what McAvoy means – especially in a movie culture where “grounded” approaches to superhero characters have generated billions at the box office around the globe.

ThunderCats Snarf Movie James McAvoy Wants to Play Lion O in a ThunderCats Movie

Still, probably the best indication of whether or not we’ll see a ThunderCats film in active development will be the success or failure of Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, scheduled for an August 8, 2014 release. The TMNT franchise has significantly more brand recognition in the current entertainment landscape, and already earned major profits in theaters during it 1990s live-action installments, meaning it’s hard to imagine producers revving up production on a new ThunderCats effort if the Ninja Turtles don’t do enormous business in 2014.


There are currently no plans for a ThunderCats film but we’ll keep you up to date if anything changes.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for updates on ThunderCats as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Total Film

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. james macavoy should be in thundercats but he should play someone else, and vin diesel could definitely pull of playing panthro since he had a good run in the Riddick film.

    • If Vin Diesel is in, I’m in. I will watch anything with him in it.
      I can’t stand the Fast and Furious movies, but I watched all 6 of them bc of Vin.

  2. They need to just leave these properties where they belong, some things are cartoons for a reason.

    • I agree. It’s like they are out get us by taking all of our great 80s & 90s cartoons, and making sh*tty movies out them. Tarnishing the franchise, and making a joke out of it.

  3. I commend Mr Mcavoy for sharing his passionate feelings about the Thundercats. I think he’s got the right attitude and experience working as an actor and with film to know what fans want from a TCAT film. Not sure if he is Lion-O but would love for him to be involved I getting this to the big screens. When you think about films like Avatar and LOTR a Tcat movie isn’t impossible to do with the right film makers.

    Cool Thundecat concept art trailer

  4. James McAvoy looks like a cross between Zach Braff and Shia LeBeuf.

  5. feel the magic, hear the roar…..

  6. James McAvoy great actor bad choice in films (in the most part) really looking forward to filth but he’s no Lion-O!

  7. This is the one 80s film I’ve been waiting for them to make. I LOVED the Thundercats as a kid, but tried going back to watch it and it was just painful. A modern take that will be less campy and more action oriented would be great. Something like Transformers 1 would be nice (but not like the sequels).


  8. It’s so unfair that this movie depends on wether the TMNT movie succeeds or fails, because they’re ruining the TMNT movie and fans don’t want to see it! If they make a Thundercats movie faithful to the original (though I agree Snarf should not make the cut) probably all the old fans would go see it!

  9. I think McAvoy could totally pull of Slithe…. He´s an awesome actor. I hope they actually do this movie.

  10. Thundercats shoulb be CGI, like AVATAR. putting real people will destroy this movie.