Last updated

Thundercats Logo.JPG
Created by Tobin Wolf
Original work ThunderCats (1985–89)
Owner Warner Bros. (1989–present)
Print publications
Comics ThunderCats
Films and television
Animated series
Video game(s)

ThunderCats is a media franchise, featuring a fictional group of cat-like humanoid aliens. The characters were created by Tobin "Ted" Wolf and featured in an animated television series named ThunderCats, running from 1985 to 1989, which was animated by Japanese studio Pacific Animation Corporation, and co-produced by Rankin/Bass Productions. [1]


Like its predecessor Masters of the Universe , the ThunderCats franchise simultaneously launched as a line of action figures produced by LJN and a syndicated after-school weekday cartoon. [2]


The original ThunderCats show was animated in Japan while being produced, written and voice acted in the United States. [3]

The series was distributed by Rankin/Bass Productions' then parent company Telepictures, which would later merge with Lorimar Television in February 1986. [4] In January 1989, Lorimar-Telepictures was purchased by and folded into Warner Bros., whose television syndication arm would eventually assume distribution of the show; Warner Bros. has owned the rights to the series (and all Lorimar-Telepictures programming) from that point on.

Notable characters

Later adaptations


There were also several comic book series produced. A ThunderCats comic book series based on the animated series was published by Marvel Comics through its Star Comics imprint in 1985, lasting for three years and twenty-four issues. [5] During this time, a new series was published by Marvel UK consisting of 129 issues and was also published for three years. [6]

Beginning in 2002, ThunderCats titles were published by Wildstorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics (Warner Bros. corporate sibling), and included five non-canon miniseries and several one shots. [7]

In March 2012, Panini Comics began publishing a new series in the United Kingdom to tie-in with the television series of 2011, titled ThunderCats Magazine. The first issue featured a strip called Safe Haven which was written by Ferg Handley and drawn by Cosmo White. Each issue also included additional features, such as character profiles, puzzles, a reader art page and a poster.

In February 2024 Dynamite Entertainment announced plans to publish a new ThunderCats series written by Declan Shalvey and drawn by Drew Moss. [8]

Video game

A side-scrolling video game based on the series, ThunderCats: The Lost Eye of Thundera , was published in 1987.

Board game

The ThunderCats have been added to the CMON Zombicide franchise in 2022 in the fantasy universe. Three special boxes allow to play the Thundercats as well as some Mutants as heroes, while Mumm-ra appears as a necromancer and an Abomination.

Other merchandise

Items of clothing featuring the ThunderCats logo were available in the mid 1980s, and DVD boxsets releases of the original series helped new clothing products enjoy a resurgence in the mid to end of the 2000s, as nostalgia for the former children's favorite grew.[ citation needed ]


A film adaptation of the series was announced in June 2007; Aurelio Jaro was to produce a CGI animated feature film of ThunderCats, based on a script written by Paul Sopocy. Jerry O'Flaherty, veteran video game art director, had signed on to direct. The film was being produced by Spring Creek Productions. [9]

It was set for release in the summer of 2010, [10] but the movie was never greenlit, [11] and, as of 2024, has yet to be produced. Concept art for the film has also been leaked online. [11] In 2011, test footage in CGI was leaked onto YouTube. [12] In 2017, during the promotion of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter , Milla Jovovich expressed interest to portray Cheetara. [13]

In March 2021, it was announced that Warner Bros. was once more actively developing a live-action ThunderCats film with Adam Wingard set to direct the film, with a screenplay by Wingard and Simon Barrett, and Roy Lee and Dan Lin serving as producers. [14]

Television series

SeriesSeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
ThunderCats 165September 9, 1985 (1985-09-09)December 20, 1985 (1985-12-20) Syndication
225September 8, 1986 (1986-09-08)October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
320September 7, 1987 (1987-09-07)October 2, 1987 (1987-10-02)
420September 5, 1988 (1988-09-05)September 29, 1988 (1988-09-29)
ThunderCats 126July 29, 2011 (2011-07-29)June 16, 2012 (2012-06-16) Cartoon Network
ThunderCats Roar 152February 22, 2020 (2020-02-22)December 5, 2020 (2020-12-05)Cartoon Network

ThunderCats (2011 TV series)

A second television series of the same name premiered in 2011. It was initially planned to have a fifty-two episode-long first season, but it was shortened down to 26, and cancelled shortly after season one finished airing. It later had reruns on Adult Swim's Toonami block, alongside Sym-Bionic Titan .

ThunderCats Roar

A third ThunderCats cartoon, ThunderCats Roar, premiered on Cartoon Network in 2020. The show's developers are Victor Courtright and Marly Halpern-Graser. Courtright previously worked on Pickle and Peanut as a writer/storyboard artist and created the Cartoon Network Studios digital series Get 'Em Tommy!. Halpern-Graser previously worked as a writer for various DC Nation Shorts , and was co-creator of the show on Disney XD, Right Now Kapow .

ThunderCats Roar features an explicitly cartoonish art style with a more lighthearted, comedic tone than previous ThunderCats installments. The show's premise is similar to the original; the ThunderCats escape their dying homeworld Thundera, only to crash land on Third Earth, facing off against various villains and their evil overlord, Mumm-Ra. [15]

However, after airing for only one season, it received negative reception from viewers, and the show was cancelled.

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ThunderCats is an science fantasy animated television series that was produced by Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment and Leisure Concepts debuting in 1985, based on the characters created by Ted "Tobin" Wolf. The series, for which Leonard Starr was the head writer, follows the adventures of a group of catlike humanoid aliens. The animation for the episodes was provided by the Japanese studio Pacific Animation Corporation, with Masaki Iizuka as production manager. The studio was acquired in 1989 to form Walt Disney Animation Japan. Season 1 of the show aired in 1985, consisting of 65 episodes in 1986. Seasons 2, 3, and 4 each contained twenty episodes, starting with a five-part story.

Lorimar Productions, Inc., later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros., active from 1969 until 1993, when it was folded into Warner Bros. Television. It was founded by Irwin Molasky, Merv Adelson, and Lee Rich. The company's name was a portmanteau of Adelson's then wife, Lori and Palomar Airport.

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