Behind the New Thundercats Cartoon
For those of you who read my popular "80's Cartoon Explosion", then you should be aware that I briefly mentioned the possibility of a "Thundercats" movie on the horizon. Unfortunately, due to various production delays, it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. However, fear not folks, as fans will be treated to the next best thing....a new animated series featuring the classic 80's cartoon characters. Hooray! Well, not really, as I was kind of skeptical about the new movie anyway. However, I think a new revamped TV series could work if handled properly. Yes, I know that might make me sound like a giant hypocrite, but please hear me out on this before judgment.
A few years ago back in 2002, He-Man was revamped in a new cartoon series on Cartoon Network. Granted, the original 80's version was a bit cheesy, and too goofy to really ever be taken seriously for today's audiences. However, the new cartoon series that was made revamped a lot of the obvious flaws of the original series. For one, Prince Adam and He-Man did not look almost exactly the freaking same; with minor details aside. If anything, Prince Adam was reinvented as a young cocky sixteen year old boy, who had more of a skateboarders thin build rather than a muscular physique similar to his counterpart; like the original series. This change alone was done to establish more believability with modern audiences that He-Man and Prince Adam were not the same person.
Another thing that was tweaked a bit was the origin of Skeletor, and his minions. Unlike the original series, where fans had to literally find out his origins later on in the series, the new animated show in 2002 gave us a full detailed origin story right off the bat. Not only that, but it also made his villains much more menacing to where he didn't simply overpower them with sheer strength. Overall, the new He-Man show did take some liberties with the original mythology of the characters, but the changes they made only made it better; while keeping in touch with the events of the original series. What does that have to do with the new upcoming "Thundercats" cartoon? Well a lot actually, as I'll get into that right now.
As I said earlier, this could present an opportunity to retell a faithful adaption of the original "Thundercats" show; while improving on some of the earlier mistakes of the original to make it better. And, from various research, it looks like they're prepared to do just that. Take the character, Tigra, for instance. According to various sources, Tigra was deemed by many fans to be the most uninteresting character of the show, so creators of the new series have given him a revamped back story; in an effort to make the much more interesting. Lion-O and Tigra are now brothers in this revamped reboot of the series; along with some character redesigns to many of the key characters.
Tigra for instance is redesigned with more of a military type attire, while Panthero's costume changes from that of resembling a badly designed S&M nunchuck carrying guy to a now samurai stoic figure. Cheetara is redesigned to have more of a messenger/scout type of appearance, which makes sense due to her speed, as well as a emphasis on her...well..*ahem*...never mind. Moving on from here, the thunder kittens are obviously made to look a bit more younger, and have more of a mischievous look about them; similar to that of pick pockets. Then we get to Lion-O, who from what I can gather, looks to be designed to be a bit younger in the series. Not only that, but the new costume he wears resembles that more of a warrior type figure. Again, all these new character designs are significant, but they create a whole new outlook on the established characters.
Another notable change, they've made thus far is that Panthero will be a bit older, as well. Although this might anger a lot of die hard fans of the series with these changes, it doesn't necessarily mean the new show won't be faithful to the original story in many ways.
Take the new "He-Man" show for instance, as I mentioned earlier. Sure, there was quite a few changes to the original "He-Man" mythology, but the show was still surprisingly faithful to the original version. Therefore, it's fairly possible that this new interpretation of the "Thundercats" story could end up the same way. Granted, this is a different franchise, but Cartoon Network usually runs pretty good quality action TV series geared towards audiences of all ages. Therefore, it's safe to say "Thundercats" is in fairly good hands.
As of right now, Cartoon Network has been fairly secretive about what other changes they've made to improve on the original mythology, but it should be interesting to see how it turns out. One thing that is certain is that the marketing for the new show has already gone into production, to where parents can expect to hear their children clamoring for the latest toys and games based on these characters coming soon.
Thundercats Trailer for 2011 series
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