San Francisco’s WonderCon is finishing up today after a long, exciting weekend and one of the final major panels was that of Warner Bros. Animation’s much-anticipation reboot of "ThunderCats," set to air later this year on Cartoon Network.
Producers Michael Jelenic and Ethan Spaulding joined Art Director Dan Norton and voice talent Larry Kenney, who provided both the voice of the original Lion-O and will voice the character’s father, Claudius, on the new series. They kicked things off by showcasing a brand-new trailer for series. (UPDATE: You can now watch the trailer below!)
The footage begins with narration, placing the action on Third Earth and explaining that once the inhabitants lead a prosperous culture. We see the kingdom of Thundera and Claudius ruling over it. He looks a lot like Lion-O, but has a bushy red beard.
Other returning characters include shots of Jaga, Mumm-Ra and the Thundercats team, including a glimpse at WilyKat WilyKit (both of whom have tails in this version). Claudius is seen taking up the Sword of Omens and leading an attack on an invading lizard army, the new Lion-O stepping up to fight as well as the background music offered an updated score clearly reminiscent of the classic theme.
Post-footage, the panel went over a number of slides, offering comments on the updates. Though 26 episodes are guaranteed, the story has been mapped out for double that at this point and Kenney said he’d like to see the new series beat the original’s 135 episode run.
Two new voices were announced; Clancy Brown will voice Grune and Robin Atkins Downes will voice Mumm-Ra. Snarf, meanwhile, will not have a human voice but will instead talk like an animal. Comparing him to Chewbacca, it was explained by the panel that Lion-O can still hear him and audiences will definitely be able to make out the word "Snarf".
The big task for the update was to "heat everything up," something Kenney joked that he noticed in the updated Cheetara design.
"She is the original Thundercats ho," he quipped, then adding, "This isn’t being recorded, is it?"
One major departure from the original series will see everything set on Third Earth. Thundera is still a city there and will still be destroyed, but the cats’ journey will be into the wilds of the planet instead of into a new world altogether. It was also revealed that, while Lion-O has only been seen so far with his younger body, he will be aged at a specific point as the series moves on.
As for vehicles, there was much applause for a shot of the Thundertank, featuring a very similar design. It was also noted that we will see the Skycutter and many brand-new crafts.
Another interesting (albeit cryptic) remark was dropped when a fan asked about another Rankin-Bass animated property, "Silverhawks" (which Kenney also provided a voice for).
"Interesting you should say that," said Jelenic, "Keep your eye out."