The next Generation of Animation starts Tomorrow at 8PM on Cartoon Network. With Korra on the heels, this show got a year and a half to prove itself.
And from the first episode (if rumors are to be true) Nick Better Bring some big ass kitchen sinks. The Pilot may be the best in all of TV in the last 5 years, and the best one in almost 20 years for animation in the States or anywhere else.
Thanks to NeoGaf for some of the help:
So what is ThunderCats? ThunderCats was a cartoon created, by Ted "Tobin" Wolf, in 1985 which depicted the adventures of a group of anthropomorphic feline creatures. The whole series spanned 130 episodes and one TV movie in four seasons. It gained a following with action figures, comic books, clothes, board games, and a video game. It's heralded by many to be a cult classic; IGN rated it the 49th Best Animated TV Show. If you grew up during the mid 80's/90's and loved animation, there's no way you couldn't have heard of the series. Quite possibly the story could have been forgotten, but the characters themselves are iconic.
That's all good and all, but why are we here? Warner Bros. Animation is producing a new ThunderCats animated series and it is airing on Cartoon Network in August 2011! It is a complete reboot of the 1985 series. Japanese animation studio Studio 4°C will be handling the animation. Sam Register (known for work in Teen Titans, Ben 10), the Executive Vice President of Warner Bros. Animation, will be the Executive Producer and will be getting help from people like Ethan Spaulding (known for work in Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series) and Michael Jelenic (known for work in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) in producing the series. According to the studio, this reboot will appeal to both new and old fans of the series. The cartoon aims to paint the story in a darker tone than the original series as well as fleshing out the characters from the original series.
The series begins with an hour long series premiere July 29th, 2011 at 8:00PM EST on Cartoon Network! It is a weekly release, it will continue next week at 8:00PM EST but in a 30 minute episode.
The original story saw a group of humanoid felines fleeing from their home world of Thundera. This group of felines were known as the ThunderCats, seemingly high ranked officials from Thundera. The ThunderCats were in possession of the Sword of Omens, an almighty weapon that possessed the Eye of Thundera which harbored the power of all the ThunderCats. Due to an incoming attack by creatures wanting the sword, the ThunderCats had to change their course and travel to Third Earth. Once on Third Earth, the ThunderCats met a few friends and with their help were able to construct a type of headquarters for themselves. Things were not serene for too long for evil creatures in search of the Eye of Thundera arrived on the scene and the ThunderCats stood in defense so that the Eye of Thundera wasn't lost and the world that they lived in was not ruled by an unwanted force.
How does this new story differentiate to the old? The characters of the story are indeed younger, so the new story actually depicts life on Third Earth which the viewer did not see properly until later in the old series. Third Earth is under attack and the ThunderCats must band together on a quest to find a secret tome, the Book of Omens. The Book of Omens is the host to all of the secrets of the ThunderCats and a source of immeasurable power.
LION-O: A 'not-yet' hero trying to learn his place.
1985 Voice Actor: Larry Kenney
2011 Voice Actor: Will Freidle
Bio: In the old ThunderCats' pilot episode, we see Lion-O as a boy not ready for the powers that were to be bestowed onto him. He goes through a process of aging which results being a boy in a grown man's body. In the new series, the creators decided to leave Lion-O as a young boy with conflicts about being the fabled Lord of the ThunderCats. Although he makes poor decisions and may be brash, the young Lion-O will do whatever it takes to defend his homeland and his loved ones from harm. Lion-O is tasked with locating the Book of Omens, to learn more about Thundercat technology so they have a chance to fight back against the invading reptiles.
TYGRA: Wiser, faster, stronger, yet in the shadow of the heir.
1985 Voice Actor: Peter Newman
2011 Voice Actor: Matthew Mercer
Bio: Tygra did not have much of a personality in the original ThunderCats series. He was the eldest ThunderCat and was known for being an expert analyst. Lion-O often came to Tygra for assistance as a warrior in second command. In the new series, Tygra is not the eldest ThunderCat and happens to be Lion-O's older adopted brother. While Tygra is stronger, faster, and wiser than Lion-O, he cannot be king due to Tygra not being blood related to Lion-O; most of the people under the ThunderCats rule believe that Tygra should be the true ruler and don't have any faith in Lion-O, but such a thing could never happen. Tygra resents Lion-O for this reason, but he does care for his little brother.
CHEETARA: Beautiful, but cunning.
1985 Voice Actor: Lynne Lipton
2011 Voice Actor: Emmanuelle Chriqui
Bio: Cheetara, the sole female in this group of heroes was often the voice of reason in the group. She was also the fastest of them all, which carries over to the new series. In the new series, Cheetara is the last living Cleric trained by Jaga the wise. Cheetara is actually assigned to be Lion-O's bodyguard. She is a powerful magician and the fastest cat in all of Thundera. There exists a sort of love triangle between Lion-O, Tygra, and Cheetara in the new series which did not exist in the old series.
PANTHRO: Solid rock of guidance when all is lost.
1985 Voice Actor: Earle Hyman
2011 Voice Actor: Kevin Michael Richardson
Bio: Don't let Panthro's gruff exterior fool you: whilst he is monstrous in the battle field, he does have a big heart outside of it. He also known to work with his hands; in the old series Tygra would often make plans for a certain machine and Panthro would build it. Panthro is very similar to his old series iteration in the new series. Unlike the other ThunderCats, Panthro has apparently seen technology outside of the kingdom unlike the rest of the main heroes and knows a thing-or-two around them.
WILYKIT AND WILYKAT: The young are our future.
1985 Voice Actors: Peter Newman (WilyKit) and Lynne Lipton (WilyKat)
2011 Voice Actors: ???
Bio: The youngest of the heroes, the ThunderKittens were known for their mischievous antics. WilyKit (the male) is the more bold while WilyKit (the female) is the more cautious of the two. WilyKat and WilyKit are street urchins in the new series that end up joining Lion-O on his quest for the Book. Their real goal however is to find a fabled hidden city of riches. WilyKit has a special musical instrument that she plays that can put people into a brief trance (which they use to rob unsuspecting people).
1985 Voice Actor: Bob McFadden
2011 Voice Actor: ???
Bio: Osbert, otherwise known as Snarf was Lion-O's guardian in the old series. When Lion-O suddenly grew up, Snarf's services were no longer needed but the old Snarf remained loyal to Lion-O and did what he could to help and/or get in the way. Not much is known about the new Snarf, but he is shown with WilyKit and WilyKat in a promotional picture and he is seen with Lion-O in a trailer. Snarf does not speak in the new incarnation of ThunderCats; he just makes cat noises and is more like a pet this time, albeit a smart pet.
CLAUDUS: The Lord who will do anything for his people.
1985 Voice Actor: ???
2011 Voice Actor: Larry Kenney
Bio: Claudus is Lion-O's father and the current Lord of the ThunderCats. Strong but caring, Claudus does whatever it takes to defend his people.
JAGA: The wise man who knows it all.
1985 Voice Actor: Earl Hammond
2011 Voice Actor: Corey Burton
Bio: Jaga the Wise is a cleric once heralded as the strongest of all the ThunderCats. He was the former wielder of the Sword of Omens in the old series. All we know about him in the new series is that he is a strong magician who pretty much plays the same role as his old series iteration but he also mentored Cheetara in the arts of magic.
GRUNE: Former hero, current destroyer.
1985 Voice Actor: Bob McFadden
2011 Voice Actor: Clancy Brown
Bio: Once an honorable warrior and comrade to such fighters as Claudus and Jaga, Grune was filled with a lust for power. It was so strong that he fought against Jaga for the Eye of Thundera, though Grune ultimately lost and was banished for his misdeeds. Grune made his way to Third Earth and began terrorizing the people there to quench his power hungry thirst until he was ultimately sealed by the natives. Unfortunately such a seal was broken and Grune returned to his terrorizing ways. Grune's status is unknown in the new series, but one can assume that he plays the same role.
SLITHE: Calculating and cold blooded.
1985 Voice Actor: Bob McFadden
2011 Voice Actor: Dee Bradley Baker
Bio: Slithe is the leader of the reptiles. Although barbaric and impatient, he does possess some wit that he uses to his advantage in the battlefield.
MUMM-RA: The evil that stands in the way.
1985 Voice Actor: Earl Hammond
2011 Voice Actor: Robin Atkin Downes
Bio: The very "essence of evil." Seeking power, Mumm-Ra will do whatever it takes to acquire the Eye of Thundera to rule over the world. The new series iteration of Mumm-Ra is identical to his old iteration. Mumm-Ra is an expert of magic and in fact happens to be seemingly immortal!
So now the next generation of animation begins - truly. Korra is a year away and yet - its seems these two series are destined to clash and make better the way for both genres...