HOLLYWOOD — On June 3, Time Warner announced that Warner Brothers Animation (WBA) has begun producing a new take on the 1980’s animated hit series “ThunderCats,” which is to air in 2011 on Cartoon Network.
The announcement of the new series, based on the hugely popular original classic, (which made its debut in 1985), was made by Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation.
“In addition to being Warner Bros. Animation’s first anime series,”˜ThunderCats’ marks our most ambitious foray yet into fantasy,” Register stated in a press release. “The realism and dynamic visual style we’ve achieved are sure to thrill viewers, and the cool weapons, vehicles and technology should help the show appeal to a diverse audience.”
WBA is working closely with Studio4â—¦C, an animation studio in Japan, to lend a new cutting-edge look to the ThunderCats characters while retaining the original’s compelling storylines and mythology. The new series, which will be created with an anime-style animation and look, is intended to appeal to viewers who had grown up on the show and loved the characters all their lives, as well as to younger fans and viewers new to the franchise.
“We at Studio4â—¦C are excited to be in this creative partnership with Warner Bros. Animation to bring ”˜ThunderCats’ to life,” Eiko Tanaka, President and CEO of Studio4â—¦C, stated. “This collaboration combines the strengths of our two companies — high production values and great storytelling — toward reintroducing this classic fan-favorite to a new audience.”
“ThunderCats” was originally produced by Rankin/Bass Productions, the same company that created the “Silverhawks,” “Tigersharks” and “The Comic Strip,” based on characters created by Tobin “Ted” Wolf, and featuring iconic cat-like heroes like “Cheetara,” “Tygra,” “Panthro,” the “Thunderkittens”: “Wilykit” and “Wilykat,” and last but not least, the team’s courageous and shockingly gorgeous young leader, “Lion-O.”
The synopsis of the cartoon, developed in conjunction with psychological consultant Dr. Robert Kuisis, features the ThunderCats’ escape from their condemned planet “Thundera,” to their adopted home planet, “Third Earth,” where they battle a variety of villains determined to possess the source of the ThunderCats’ power, the “Sword of Omens,” and develop alliances with some of the inhabitants of their mystic new home. Led by their fiery-maned prince, the ThunderCats fight to continue to spread the ThunderCats’ “code of Thundera,” known as “justice, truth, honor, and loyalty.” Kuisis’s editing of the episodes’ storylines had lent to the show’s special themes and unique essence, which centered around critical life lessons and the coming-of-ageand development of a young man, (Lion-O, the show’s main character), in turn providing young viewers with important morals and values.
The cartoon was originally distributed by Telepictures Corporation, which eventually merged with Lorimar Productions. Towards the end of 1988,Lorimar-Telepictures was purchased by Warner Brothers, whose television syndication arm would later assume the show’s distribution. Warner Brothers, a producer of film and television entertainment, is a subsidiary of Time Warner, and was founded in Hollywood in 1918. Its headquarters are based in Burbank. Since 1990, Warner Brothers Animation’s main focus has been on the production of television and feature animation of other properties, and has been particularly renowned for producing those associated with Time Warner’s “DC Comics” publications.
A fan-based movie trailer of the ThunderCats, featuring Hollywood actors such as Vin Diesel (Panthro), Hugh Jackman (Tygra) and Brad Pitt (Lion-O), is available at dorkdimension.com/2008/12/thundercats-fan-trailer.html.
Larry Kenny, the original voice actor of “Lion-O,” has confirmed on his Facebook page that he will be voicing Lion-O’s father “Claudis” in the new ThunderCats series.
Kenney posted on his Facebook page, “Great news huh? I’m playing Claudus, father of Lion-O. Recorded his first episode yesterday.”