The 2000s was a great decade to grow up watching cartoons in. There was something for everyone, whether you were a fan of female-led superhero trios like the Powerpuff Girls, every day guys like Ed, Edd and Eddy or preferred your animation on the adult side with shows like South Park.
The 2000s might not have grabbed the attention in quite the same way as the 1990s when it came to animation, but the decade still boasted an impressive array of colourful characters and inventive setups that had fans coming back for more and more.
We are all a little older now, of course, but the fun and appeal of these shows remains as strong as ever. Watching these classic cartoons as an adult is an interesting experience-- you might find yourself noticing little quirks or jokes that you might have missed the first-time round.
You may even find yourself wondering what some of these characters might look like now, had they grown up.
It’s certainly a reasonable enough question to ponder but, until recently, it’s not one that had a lot of answers. That’s all changed now, of course, thanks to the emergence of some truly incredible and highly creative artists.
Ever wondered what the likes of Kim Possible, Ben 10 or the Adventure Time gang would look like as adults? Wonder no more, because here are the 16 Shocking Grown Up Versions Of Your Favorite ’00s Cartoon Characters.
16 Ash And The Pokemon Gang
IsaiahStephens has developed a pretty nifty side line in creating grown-up versions of mid-2000s cartoon characters. There are plenty to pick from online but this fully-realised adult reimagining of Ash and the Pokémon posse is among the best picks of the bunch.
It’s Stephens’ rendering of Pikachu that will probably still last in the mind longest. It’s not that the yellow Nintendo icon has grown particularly big in the time since the cartoon series, but there’s suddenly a mischievous edge to the once cute and cuddly Pikachu that suggests he’s not one to mess with.
Something really bad must have happened to the little guy in the time since. It’s a shock to see Ash as a grown man too, especially after seeing him for so long playing a young boy. Is it us or does he have something of the Ansel Elgort from Baby Driver about him?
15 The Powerpuff Girls
Hats off to artist Rickyryan for this highly imaginative and super-cool reworking of The Powerpuff Girls, who have gone from three young girls with superpowers to super-charged special ops soldiers.
Gone are Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup’s familiar crime-fighting capabilities. Now, in their place, has come high powered, state-of-the-art weaponry, some advanced aeronautic propulsion systems, and cybernetic hard suits powered by "Chemical X."
Kicking butt through a combination of long range and ballistic missiles, the grown-up Powerpuff Girls (or should that be Powerpuff Women) are like something out of Ghost In The Shell by way of the Tom Cruise favourite Edge of Tomorrow, and it’s absolute genius and massive upgrade on the original trio.
The only real shame is that it’s too late to incorporate these designs into The Powerpuff Girls reboot that arrived back in 2016.
14 Kim Possible
The Disney action adventure star has undergone quite the transformation here courtesy of LaikenDesignz, who has created a pretty provocative adult version of the kid-friendly high school student turned crime fighter.
Kim appears to have ditched the school work now, however, for a full-time role as a heroine for hire, complete with combat trousers, black tank top, utility belt, and what looks a whole lot like surgical gloves.
You can almost imagine that she’s just completed her latest mission, assassinating a major target before posing for a selfie created to confirm that the "package has been delivered."
It’s better to imagine that than to focus on some of the more gratuitous and revealing aspects of the piece. Some people have some very vivid imaginations, let’s put it that way.
13 Ed, Edd n Eddy
These three juvenile delinquents have come a long way from their snot-nosed punk days on Cartoon Network if this fine reimagining from artist Andrahilde is anything to go by.
It’s a pretty major upgrade, with those three nervous and awkward-looking teens replaced by your more familiar college bros complete with soul patches, beanie hats, and stylish-looking t-shirts.
Honestly, these guys look like they could play hacky-sack or extreme frisbee at a moment’s notice. In fact, Eddie appears like he might be playing football or something now. That said, he was always the tallest of the bunch.
Edd, meanwhile, seems to be channelling Guy Fieri with his shirt and beard combo, which is something that never came across in the cartoon. The guys can at least look forward to a one-way ticket to Flavortown.
12 Stewie Griffin and Brian from Family Guy
Seth McFarlane has given Family Guy fans plenty of glimpses of a grown-up Stewie Griffin down the years, but he’s never done anything quite like this.
Jorn-Siberian’s artwork sees Stewie and his canine accomplice Brian transformed into something altogether more dark and disturbing than anything their adventures in Quahog have ever thrown up.
Stewie, for his part, has grown up to become a muscle-bound bald man, still travelling through time complete with ray gun in hand and his trusty hound by his side.
You can almost imagine Stewie’s English accent, which has now been transformed into something far more gritty – like the kind of Cockney gangster that pops up in Guy Ritchie movies every now and then.
Brian, for his part, doesn’t look like the kind of dog you want to go petting anytime soon either. They are a far edgier pairing.
11 Arnold And Gerald From Hey Arnold!
Plans for a possible Hey Arnold! spin-off have been in the reckoning since the early 2000s. At one point, Craig Bartlett even wrote a pilot script with Michelle Lamoreaux that they hoped would be picked up for a full series.
Titled The Patakis, the show would have featured all the same band of merry characters from the original series, except now grown-up and living their own independent lives as adults in New York.
Alas, Nickelodeon passed on the plans, meaning Atlanta artist Nuri Durr’s sketches, which can be seen on his Instagram Actionhankbeard, are probably the closest fans will get to seeing grown-up versions of Gerald and Arnold.
Durr has carved out something of a niche when it comes to creating striking grown-up versions of familiar cartoon stars like Doug, but it is his efforts on Hey Arnold! that really stick in the mind. Kudos for finding a way to update Arnold’s hair and for giving Gerald that goatee.
10 All Of The Teen Titans
Okay, so there’s not necessarily many surprises to be had from these grown-up reimaginings of the Teen Titans. After all, fans have already been treated to grown up versions of Cyborg, the Flash, Nightwing and the rest in the pages of their various DC Comics’ outings.
However, there’s still something interesting about seeing the gang grow into their Justice League counterparts in these sketches from Dahdtoudi. What’s immediately noticeable about Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy, Nightwing (or Robin), Starfire, and the Flash is just how beefed up everybody is. Have they been growing up in a gym or something?
Sure, there’s nothing particularly strange about seeing some stacked superheroes on the screen but this lot used to be little shrimps – this just isn’t fair. Starfire’s outfit is also the stuff of every teenager’s fantasy too, while Nightwing appears to be going through a Kylo Ren-style emo phase.
9 Avatar: The Last Airbender
Not to be confused with the Avatar movie, or the disastrous live-action Last Airbender movie for that matter, this inspired slice of mid-2000s Nickelodeon animation presented an Asiatic-like world full of characters capable of controlling the elements through a mix of psychokinetic power and martial arts.
Deviantart legend Moni158 spent a whole night bringing the characters from the show to life, with 12-year-old protagonist Aang making the transition from boy to man look pretty smooth.
Maintaining the show’s effective blend of anime and American cartoons, Aang definitely suits the bald look better as a grown-up than he did as a kid. Aang and Katara make for a cute couple as adults, while kudos is also warranted for Sokka’s rad beard and top knot combo. It’s a very bohemian look.
8 Finn And Jake From Adventure Time
Finn the Human and his shape-shifting canine companion Jake may have been enjoying life in the Land of Ooo for 10 seasons and well over 250 episodes on Adventure Time, but you always suspected that their luck would run out eventually-- preferably off screen.
After all, the Land of Ooo is, to all intents and purposes, a post-apocalyptic landscape, ravaged by nuclear war and populated by some pretty intense characters-- characters liable to turn on you at a moment’s notice with potentially fatal results.
From the looks of it, however, they seem to be doing alright. Created by Deviantart maestro Paintmarvels, this particular reimagining of the Adventure Time duo pays tribute to the silver age of comics and features both a beefed-up Finn and a rather terrifying Jake. Looks like they are doing okay.
7 Ginger, Dodie and Macie From As Told By Ginger
Vika8D does an amazing job of bringing the As Told By Ginger gang into 2017 with this fully-realised reimagining of Ginger Foutley, Deirdre Hortense “Dodie” Bishop, and Macie Lightfoot as fully-grown adults.
It’s a far cry from Emily Kapnek’s Nicktoons series, with each of the three characters among the most fully-realised on this list. Best of all: there’s not a skimpy outfit in sight with each of the trio presented as hyper-realistic adult incarnations of their younger cartoon alternatives.
It’s over 10 years since As Told By Ginger concluded its third and final season and a lot seems to have changed –Darren Patterson seems to have been ditched.
Then again, people do drift apart from their school friends, don’t they-- who knew As Told By Ginger art could reflect the crushing inevitability of moving into adulthood?
6 The South Park Guys
Matt Stone and Trey Parker continue to pump out episode after excellent episode of South Park for Comedy Central, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t wonder what Stan, Eric, Kyle and Kenny might look like as something approaching full-grown men.
The answer, if Goodbye-tobe’s efforts are anything to go by, is something approaching Fall Out Boy rejects. Trendy headwear? Check. Gilets and body-warmers complete with "radical" stickers and badges for punk bands they probably never listen to? Check. Well-maintained hairstyles and "cool" looking t-shirts? You know it.
It might seem cruel to describe the South Park gang as rejects, but isn’t it kind of the point of the show-- to some extent at least? Perhaps that’s just us that think that then.
5 The Land Before Time Posse
Though the very first of The Land Before Time films arrived way back in 1988, it’s established fact that the bulk of the franchise's 14 movies and a TV show arrived in the 2000s – seven of them to be exact.
Once a story about young dinosaurs fleeing famine and upheaval in search of the Great Valley, an area sheltered from the devastation engulfing their natural habitat, The Land Before Time has undergone a lot of changes in the films since.
However, that’s nothing compared to the change chronicled in Zerochan923600’s artwork, which sees the gang go from super-cute dinosaurs to genuinely terrifying adult-sized cold-blooded killers.
Chomper, the one-time baby T-Rex, looks particularly threatening here, though his menace is tempered slightly by the presence of the always amenable Littlefoot. They should really be extinct anyway.
4 Phineas And Isabella From Phineas And Ferb
Proof that adulthood catches up on us all comes courtesy of artist Star-Charm’s rather magical, if slightly mundane imagining of a grown-up Phineas, complete with wife and child. It’s kind of sweet that he ended up with long-time friend and neighbour Isabella, though, especially given how much she pined after him.
However, fans must surely have hoped that he would still be kicking around with Ferb, getting up to all kinds of mischief, but this is what happens when you grow up, right? Partners and kids take priority, don’t they?
His and Isabella's child looks like a chip off the Phineas' block too. We just never pictured Phineas settling down so young. Who knew grown-up versions of your favourite cartoon characters could leave you feeling so introspective.
3 The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
On the face of it, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy always came across as, well, kind of depressing: two kids who end up gaining the Grim Reaper as a slave and eternal servant.
Fortunately, in the hands of the Cartoon Network, it’s a far lighter and more enjoyable affair on the screen with the slow-witted Billy and cynical Mandy making for the perfect combo alongside a far less fearsome Grim Reaper.
Wishfulwednesday has opted to return the duo to their gothic routes, though, with this grown up reimagining offering a far bleaker, more artful portrait of how that particular dynamic might have played out as Billy and Mandy headed into adulthood.
Where once having the Grim Reaper on standby was probably fun enough, it looks like the novelty has well and truly worn off.
2 Totally Spies
The Totally Spies trio of Sam, Alex, and Clover have totally grown up in this vivid interpretation of the Beverly Hills-based cartoon cadre. It’s the work of JosFouts and may just be the raunchiest entry on this list.
It’s a pretty major shift from the original cartoon series, with the Totally Spies gang undergoing a makeover that sees them go from cutesy superheroes to fantastical comic book-style superheroines.
Stunning and bold, these images may have been lovingly rendered but, unfortunately, they are also kind of guilty of perpetuating some pretty unrealistic standards when it comes to female beauty, even if it is just a bit of artwork.
Then again, they were well-trained super-spies living out in Beverly Hills. If these kinds of body types were going to pass for normal anywhere, it would be there.
1 Ben 10
Ben Tennyson has come a long way since that fateful day as a 10-year-old when he first discovered the Omnitrix-- well, sort of. From the looks of things, not a whole lot has changed for Ben.
He’s grown up, sure, and he’s got himself totally stacked, but did anyone expect Ben to still be doing what he was doing when he was 10? MikeBock seems to think so.
Ben looks pretty pleased with himself too, smugly displaying the Omnitrix with a half mile grin on his face, while his cousin Gwen looks on, visibly less than impressed.
What must Ben have done to generate that kind of look? Something despicable, perhaps? Okay, this is all a bit of a reach but something’s not quite right here and we need answers.
Do you know of any other fan art of your favorite '00s characters all grown up? Let us know in the comment section!
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