Cartoon Network Bringing Back the New ‘ThunderCats’ Series

According to Entertainment Weekly, your favorite cartoon of all time is coming back to TV—ThunderCats Roar will debut on Cartoon Network in 2019. Unfortunately for the traditionalists among us, the new animated series will make a strong aesthetic departure from the original, as the visual style suggests a more playful, simplified approach. Then again, this isn’t about us—ThunderCats Roar is for the children.

“I think the world that they built lends itself really well to comedy because of how silly and crazy and outlandish those ideas are and some of those settings are,” explained producer Victor Courtright. “But at the same time, it wouldn’t be ThunderCats if it didn’t have super cool action elements because that’s what people came back to. It’s very much something we want to lean on.”

Frankly, the subversion of the original tone and atmosphere of the original to something zanier and contemporary does make a bit of sense. In an era where manic, fast-paced animated comedies like Rick & Morty and Bob’s Burgers are certified classics of this generation, coming at ThunderCats Roar from a high-octane, mile-a-minute comedy is suddenly not such a bad idea.

Thankfully, Courtright maintains that those of us clamoring for that vintage ThunderCats feel won’t be left in the dust, entirely. “Every step we take towards comedy, we take two more towards really cool action scenes and explosions and lasers and action effects.” While I’d hope for this assuaging to be worded more substantially than that, let’s hope he means “atmosphere” instead of “explosions” and “campiness” instead of “lasers.”

Meanwhile, the premise sounds pretty in-tune with the ThunderCats plots we devoured with enthusiastic glee as youngins. All your favorite characters are back, from Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, and Cheetara, to Wilykat and Wilykit. After they barely escape the destruction of their homeworld, they crash land on Third Earth—where “a bizarre host of creatures and villains stand in their way, including the evil Mumm-Ra, Third Earth’s wicked ruler."

While the new comedic approach and premise sound not only tolerable but understandable, it’s the animation style that’s restricting my full-fledged excitement. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, but there was something poetic and magical about the dark, sinister atmosphere of the original, with nefarious environments and evil wizards posing fatal threats to our heroes. Hopefully, ThunderCats Roar paves its own way, entirely—and becomes a show that today’s young kids can fondly look back on in the future.

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