Thundercats and Masters of the Universe are titans of cartoons. They were the first great mainstream action adventure cartoons that made us all fall in love with mystical sword-wielding, magic-conjuring worlds. The cartoons have their own tight hold of popular culture, and for years, news has spread that either one would finally be making its jump to the big screen, but nothing seems to have permanently stuck.
Thundercats and Masters of the Universe are popular for so many great reasons, but this list attempts to gather the top reasons why Thundercats/Masters of the Universe should be in the public eye as much as Star Wars, Marvel, or DC heroes are. Hopefully a brilliant team of filmmakers and talent can come together to fully realize the fantastic scope of both of these stories, and bring us the cinematic universe that we all deserve to finally see on the big screen.
So without further ado, here are the top 15 Reasons Thundercats & Masters Of The Universe Need To Be A Live-Action Movie Franchise.
15 Fantastic Heroes
Both Thundercats and Masters of the Universe have incredibly well-known heroes that symbolize everything that is important to those who attempt to be kind, just, and well-intentioned. He-Man and Lion-O are the leaders of their respective groups, and they are both brave, courageous, and strong-willed. They also have many heroic members on their teams that help in their own specific ways.
The Thundercats have Cheetara, Tygra, Panthro, Wilykit, Wilykat, and of course (unfortunately), Snarf. They each offer speed, power, brains, or annoying narration, and each serves their own purpose, while also being morally incorruptible. He-Man’s allies consist of Man-At-Arms, Teela, Battle Cat, and Stratos, and much like the Thundercats, each character has a special reason for being a part of this incredible team.
The most important aspect of building memorable characters is making sure each one can stand out on their own, and every member of both teams could easily exist outside of their main group. They are each distinguishable, beloved (except for Snarf), and relatable. These are heroes that children can aspire to be like when they’re older, and important role models are always needed in cinema, and fiction in general.
Nostalgia is always important when it comes to building a great cinematic universe. There are very few monumentally successful cinematic franchises today, and all of them are based on pre-existing, and pre-loved properties. Nostalgia is generally unquantifiable, but when it comes to bringing people to the movies, it’s something that really needs to be considered. That’s exactly why there are so many remakes, reboots, and adapted materials today.
Thundercats and Masters of the Universe were cartoons that many people, young and old, were able to enjoy when they first debuted, but they’re not really properties that exist in a large capacity today. Having these characters appear on the big screen could bring back some people who loved the series’ when they were younger, but have since have fallen out of love with or forgotten the classic cartoons. And with the aforementioned reboots and remakes taking over the silver screen, it would be great to see a franchise that isn’t running out of new ideas/material.
13 Loyal Fan Base
Building on the previous entry, there are still those of us who remember the joy that these cartoons brought to our lives, and who are anxiously awaiting their return with a big screen adaptation. There have been numerous fan petitions over the years, and because of the rabid fan base, there have even been developments towards major motion pictures, but to no avail.
It would be great to relive the glory days of these characters and their stories, and to be able to grow the fan base even further would be amazing. In a world of constantly evolving franchises in Hollywood, it only makes sense that a property like this, especially a kid-friendly property, should get its day in the sun.
Fans have, of course, been revisiting the original cartoons for years, and both of these properties have received animated reboots, but nothing has captured the magic of the original series. Hopefully a competent writer and director could bring a new generation to both Third Earth and Eternia.
12 Introduce A Younger Audience To These Worlds
The sad part about these cartoons and their legacy is that a whole generation of young children have no idea what these worlds are about. Putting these stories up on the big screen allows for a younger audience to get to know these special characters and their world.
It’s rare that even young adults remember these cartoons nowadays, but these shows are treasured for their in-depth characterizations and adventure-filled narratives that are perfect even in the modern film climate. These stories being transferred to the big screen means that an older generation that grew up with these stories on their television screens can bring their kids and/or younger siblings to the cinema to relive the greatness of both cartoons.
Seeing these films in theaters would also promote the younger audience to look up the original series’ just to consume more and more material when they’re no doubt enthralled by the scope of the narrative for both films.
11 Action Spectacle
These cartoons were first and foremost action-adventure stories. Whenever He-Man or Lion-O would go into battle, kids across the globe would pretend to be going into a war with them. With the budget and production value that modern blockbusters get, these worlds would be given real justice on the big screen.
It would be an impressive moment seeing He-Man and his team, or the Thundercats themselves mowing through horde after horde of Skeletor or Mumm-Ra’s armies. The CGI would also come in handy when recreating the characters themselves, especially due to the fact that the Thundercats are, well... cats.
With much larger/looming stakes than the show ever presented our heroes with in the cartoons, the filmmaking team behind both of these pictures would have a field day prepping these epic action set pieces. With the right battle choreography and computer-generated work, these fights could be as grand as any Avengers, Justice League, or Middle Earth battle.
10 Worlds Full Of Fun
Fun is the magic word when it comes to cinematic universes. Fun is what keeps an audience entertained enough to watch heroes and villains battle against each other for movie after movie. A good time in the theater is its own reward, and both Thundercats and Masters of the Universe offer their own fair share of intriguing and entertaining adventures. There shouldn’t be too much build-up before these two worlds eventually collide, perhaps just a movie a piece, but when they eventually do, having the film be a swashbuckling team-up adventure film would certainly make the plot feel earned and get people going back to the theater on multiple occasions to see these teams battle together.
These cartoons also don’t have quite the amount of clout that DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings do, but they do offer the same type of structural archetypes that made each of these film universes successful (or soon to be successful) in their own right.
9 Would Offer Something New
When an average audience member thinks of the term "cinematic universe", they think of the big ones; Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and all of these films have their own discernible similarities and differences. Luckily for the Thundercats/Masters of the Universe crossover, both of these cartoons offer something fundamentally different than what’s offered in the big three.
Thundercats is as much a story about protecting those you love, and the world itself as it is about action, and He-Man is equally about respect for those around you. These films, much like the original G.I. Joe series, were made for children. Each episode taught a specific and important lesson to its younger viewers, and sometimes in mainstream media today, it can be a little tough to gleam relevant lessons from our entertainment.
Maybe a film that were a little more kid-friendly and on the nose with its message could help younger kids today, with their own array of modern problems. Sometimes it takes a team of cats or a battle against a skeleton monster to get kids to pay attention to a larger message.
8 Future Solo Films
The best part of both of these classic cartoon’s teams is that each individual member is interesting enough, or could be written well enough to warrant their own solo adventure. The two main heroes could get their own separate films, but it could be interesting to see a coming of age type story like the one introduced in the Thundercats animated reboot.
Seeing Lion-O and Tygra go head to head to see who deserves the throne could be a very intriguing introduction to the Thundercats mythos. Cheetara is also a strong, independent female character, and her backstory is also very interesting.
He-Man, of course, could get his own film setting up his personal backstory, and both main villains, Mumm-Ra and Skeletor could also get their own solo ventures to set up their reasons for taking on both teams. The vast number of possibilities for spinoffs films for these two franchises it what makes their big-screen jump so logical.
7 Filmmakers Could Apply Their Own Visual Style
The best directors are the ones who are easily identified by their distinct filming style. It’s not hard to tell Fincher apart from Scott, Kubrick apart from Hitchcock, and Spielberg apart from Bay, and that’s because each filmmaker has completely cornered the market on their own personal style (good or Bay).
The Thundercats and MOTU movies could live or die by their visual style, so it would be great to get a visionary like Ridley Scott or James Cameron involved to really make these stories stand on their own. And though he isn’t necessarily looked on with overall praise, Snyder could make some great looking action set pieces with these characters.
Both of these worlds would also have to distinguish themselves visually from the Marvel Universe, the DC Universe, and the Star Wars Universe, and having a director with a distinct visual palette could achieve that (except for Snyder, which would just look like the DCEU).
6 Exceptional Villains
Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, Thundercats and Masters of the Universe really only have two major, important villains; Mumm-Ra and Skeletor. Having singular and intimidating villains across a multitude of films definitely worked for both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and if there are any global criticisms of the Marvel Universe, it’s that Thanos has basically just been sitting in a chair for 42 films in a row.
Of course, casting would be an integral part of whether or not these villains work, but having them come to blows after a few films with our heroes is what gets viewers interested in these stories. It’s also worth noting that with advances in CG technology, an experienced filmmaking team could really make both of these villains extremely terrifying. These two villains could easily anchor both of these franchises and separate them from the other successful franchises.
5 Many Great Canon Stories
From the original cartoon shows to the many comic story lines that followed, both of these original properties have a cavalcade of incredible stories over the years. It’s important for a filmmaker to take liberties when it comes to established properties, but it’s also crucial to stick to some of the core properties that make original material so intriguing.
The original cartoon episodes of Thundercats and MOTU usually saw these characters dealing with threats and concerns that could be resolved within a single 30-minute episode, and that type of format obviously doesn’t work for a full-scale movie. Luckily, many of the comics and even the reboots of these individual cartoons have offered larger story arcs, and were less concerned with wrapping up the story with a neat little bow after 30 minutes. Meeting somewhere in the middle of 30 episode arcs, 12 issue runs, or 30 minute episodes seems to be the answer for finding a compelling narrative that can work in two and a half hours.
4 Crossover Already Exists In The Comics
DC Comics currently publishes its own He-Man/Thundercats crossover comic, and it’s already taken some pretty major departures from the canonical material presented in the original cartoons. One big change that the comics made was killing off He-Man.
That’s right, the leader of the Masters of the Universe was killed off during the crossover run. It’s common practice in comic runs to kill off major characters to bring about drastic change for both the characters and the overall narrative that the comic writers are running with. The crossover has even gained some pretty impressive praise from fans and critics alike, and it seems like the current run could easily either inspire or carry over to the film adaptation of these two cartoon adventures.
It’s also worth noting that the two worlds appearing side by side in comics successfully means that their future film crossover is certainly shaping up to be an outstanding transfer.
3 Steps Have Already Been Taken Towards Both Individual Films
For years now, Hollywood has attempted, time and time again, to adapt these cartoon properties to the big screen, to obviously no avail. Thundercats seemed to have the most recent progress made, with a fully animated film being on hold since 2010. Concept art from this film even leaked onto the internet a few months back.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has also been stuck in development hell for the better half of two decades, as studio after studio has attempted to buy the rights to the property and properly adapt it. Luckily for us, it seems that Hollywood was waiting for technology to catch up before attempting to bring these worlds to light, but unluckily for us, no filmmaking team seems confident enough to tackle two properties.
Hopefully this trend is discontinued soon and some filmmaker will take a risk on these properties. There are many directors out there that live for these kinds of stories with incredible scope of narrative, so it’s merely a matter of time before one of them takes a crack at either of these films.
2 Actors Already Interested
Actors have already thrown their proverbial hats in the ring for both of these cartoon to film adaptations, and now we’re just waiting for a filmmaker to actually, well, film it.
Kellan Lutz has been associated with casting calls for He-Man for years, and as recently as a couple months ago, Milla Jovovich stated that she would love to play Cheetara in a live action adaptation. There was even an entire rumored cast list for the Thundercats film a few months back that saw Milla’s name pop up. The other names on the list include Chris Hemsworth for Lion-O (great casting if true), Sir Ian McKellen as Mumm-Ra, Michael Jai White as Panthro, and Hugh Jackman as Tygra. That’s a pretty impressive list if it actually turns out to be true, and here’s hoping that if they already have a cast like this in mind, they also have a director with the right amount of clout to helm such a giant picture.
1 Room For Years Of Development/Stories
As previously mentioned on this list, both Thundercats and Masters of the Universe have years of amazing stories in their back catalogues, and filmmakers would easily be able to cherry-pick the best of the best for the film adaptations. And with years of material comes potential years of cinematic universe buildin, especially given that most films take years of pre/post development.
Both He-Man and Thundercats could potentially go on for a decade of live-action movie franchises before really hitting their stride. This, of course, is all depending on the overall quality of the individual films that come out, seeing as no audience ever wants to sit through a decade worth of mediocre films in an already established universe. Cinematic universe building is difficult - Marvel has nearly perfected the formula, and many other properties are left playing catch up. If a Thundercats or He-Man film were to come out, it would have to really stun audiences with its first few offerings. Here’s hoping that audiences would want to spend years with these incredible characters as well.
Would you like to see Thundercats and Master of the Universe on the big screen? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!