Lion-O and the rest of the ThunderCats are returning to the small screen in 2011, courtesy of Cartoon Network.
If you grew up in the early 1980s, it's a safe bet that you were at least a little swept up by the mania surrounding the ThunderCats TV show. Even if you're too young to have fallen in love with the series during its original airing, you might have fallen in love with it when Cartoon Network aired it as part of it "Toonami" block from 1997 until 2002. Fans of The Cats have something new to celebrate, though, as Warner Bros. has announced that a new ThunderCats series is coming to Cartoon Network sometime next year.
The series is going to be co-produced by Studio4ºC, which has films like The Animatrix and Halo Legends in its credit lineup. If you think the new show will have an anime-oriented feeling, you're right, as Warner Bros. confirmed that it will be the company's first anime series.
The ThunderCats brand has been seeing a gradual resurgence in popularity every since it was rebroadcast on Cartoon Network, with DC Comics running a series of comic books under its Wildstorm imprint that have generally been well-received.
The last time a series reboot like this happened was also with Cartoon Network, which created its own He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series in 2002. It wasn't a perfect reincarnation, but it was a love letter to fans of the original show that many of us embraced. Here's hoping the new ThunderCats series is even better.
Warner Bro. press release is below:
Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) has begun production on ThunderCats, an all-new animated series for Cartoon Network, based upon the iconic 1980s action classic. ThunderCats is the newest series from WBA, joining Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was recently renewed for a third season, and the following forthcoming programs: The Looney Tunes Show, MAD, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Young Justice. The announcement was made today 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," said Register. "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."
The 21st century reimagining of the series marks a creative collaboration between WBA and Studio4°C, one of the most vibrant animation studios in Japan, with credits including The Animatrix, Gotham Knights and Halo Legends. WBA is working closely with Studio4°C, utilizing the latter's expertise to give the ThunderCats characters a new cutting-edge look while remaining true to the compelling storylines and mythology of the original series.
"We at Studio4°C are excited to be in this creative partnership with Warner Bros. Animation to bring ThunderCats to life," said Eiko Tanaka, President and CEO, Studio4°C. "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."
Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C's use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, ThunderCats characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.
The new ThunderCats will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O's ascension to the throne - and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost - takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.
ThunderCats is executive produced by Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold). Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Wonder Woman) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender) are the producers.