One of the most beloved 1980s cartoons is returning to television this year — but will the Cartoon Network's Thundercats reboot satisfy the rabid fans of the original? We watched a trailer and heard from the creators.
So between the brief trailer and the tons of concept art and stills they showed at the panel, we got a pretty good idea of how this new series will look. A lot of things have been amped up: Snarf is cuter, almost Pokemon-like. Lion-O is younger and a bit smaller (although he'll grow over the course of the series). Panthro, the big strong one, is a lot bigger and darker and has bigger spikes, to make him look more extreme. And Cheetara "has gotten a boob job," as original Lion-O voice Larry Kenney joked.
Cheetara is "the original Thundercats ho," Kenney added. (Kenney will be voicing Lion-O's father Claudius, but not Lion-O.)
In the trailer, we see the idyllic land of Thundera — which is no longer its own world, but just a walled city-state on Third Earth. It's the days of peace and prosperity, but the voice-over warns us that the tribulations have been prophesized. And indeed, a whole army of lizard people come to attack Thundera, with huge mecha walkers and missiles and lasers, against the Thundercats' flaming arrows. The Thundercats promise to "fight like cats," but to no avail, as we see Thundera being destroyed. Cheetara joins the fight, with lots of awesome cat-fu, and Lion-O holds his sword aloft, with lots of lightning. "Go Thundercats Go!" we are exhorted.
Among other stuff, we also learned that the Thundertank will be more awesome this time around — and we glimpsed a picture of it. The Thundertank will have new parts, new missiles to fire, and motorcycles that come off the arms and separate.
Lion-O will have a big journey to become the bigger, tougher Lion-O we remember from the original cartoon — he'll age as it goes along, and face the same leadership challenge he faced in the original series, where the other members of the group fight him to prove he can lead. The world these characters will be exploring will be a lot darker and more dangerous, and the villains will be more hardcore, promised art director Dan Norton.
Snarf will be less annoying than in the original cartoon, the producers promised — he'll still say "Snarf" a lot, but also make a lot of animal noises. He'll be like R2D2 or Chewbacca, and Lion-O will understand what he's saying even if we don't. Also, the Thunderkittens will have tails, to emphasize that they're more like actual cats and less like feline-human hybrids.
There may be some shout-outs to Silverhawks or other old Rankin/Bass shows.
Also, the producers announced two new pieces of voice casting: Clancy Brown will be voicing Grune the Destroyer. And Robin Atkins-Downs will be voicing Mumm-Ra.