ThunderCats (2011 TV series)

Last updated
Thundercats logo 2011.png
ThunderCats logo
Based on ThunderCats
by Tobin "Ted" Wolf
Developed by Michael Jelenic
Ethan Spaulding
Written by
Directed by
Voices of
Theme music composerKevin Kliesch
(Original Theme by Bernard Hoffer and Jules Bass)
Composer(s)Kevin Kliesch
Country of originUnited States
Japan [1] (animation)
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes26 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Sam Register
  • Jeff Prezenkowski
  • For Cartoon Network:
  • Tramm Wigzell
  • Brian E.S. Jones
Producer(s)Michael Jelenic
Ethan Spaulding
Editor(s)Damon Yoches
Running time21–22 minutes approx.
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Animation
Studio 4°C
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network Cartoon Network
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original releaseJuly 29, 2011 (2011-07-29) 
June 16, 2012 (2012-06-16)
External links

ThunderCats is an animated television series, developed by Ethan Spaulding and Michael Jelenic for Cartoon Network. [2] A reboot of the original 1980s TV series of the same name (which ran from 1985 to 1989), ThunderCats was produced and developed by American studio Warner Bros. Animation and animated by Japanese studio Studio 4°C, and combined elements of western animation with Japanese anime. [1] The series began with an hour-long premiere on Cartoon Network on July 29, 2011. [3]


Following the destruction of their home, the kingdom of Thundera, the ThunderCats (a group of humanoid felidaes) are forced to roam the planet Third Earth, in order to find a way to defeat the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra, who plans on taking over the universe. Story-wise the series attempts to take a much darker and more cinematic approach than the original show, featuring a lot more focus on characterization and more sophisticated themes. [4]

Initially planned for 52 episodes, it was confirmed by ThunderCats art-director Dan Norton in early 2013 that the show had been cancelled after only one season. [5] [6] Reruns of the show later aired on Adult Swim's Toonami block along with Sym-Bionic Titan . [7] [8]


On the planet known as Third Earth, the Cats have lived and thrived for generations in the kingdom of Thundera. The Cats are led by Claudus, with his son and heir Lion-O. One night the kingdom is attacked by the Lizard army led by the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra. With them, the Lizards bring technology (a concept unfamiliar to the Cats). Because of this, Thundera is destroyed, Claudus is killed by Mumm-Ra, and the rest of the Cats are enslaved. A small band of surviving Thunderians led by Lion-O (who wields the powerful Sword of Omens) flee the destroyed city in order to seek out the Book of Omens which is said to have the knowledge needed to defeat Mumm-Ra. Once they find it, the ThunderCats realize that in order for them to defeat Mumm-Ra, they must unite all the different species living on Third Earth. The ThunderCats also discover that they have to find three stones of power which if found by Mumm-Ra will give him power to become the most powerful being in the universe.



The ThunderCats. From left to right: Tygra, WilyKit, Lion-O, WilyKat (foreground), Panthro (background), Snarf (foreground), Cheetara (background). TheThunderCats2011.jpg
The ThunderCats. From left to right: Tygra, WilyKit, Lion-O, WilyKat (foreground), Panthro (background), Snarf (foreground), Cheetara (background).

Antagonists and villains

Other characters


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired (U.S. dates) DVD and Blu-ray release date
Season premiere Season finale Title Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
1 26July 29, 2011June 16, 2012Season One • Book OneOctober 18, 2011N/AN/A
Season One • Book TwoJune 5, 2012N/AN/A
Season One • Book ThreeOctober 2, 2012N/AN/A
The Complete Series (Blu-ray)November 11, 2014N/AN/A
Shorts 1December 6, 2011N/AN/AN/AN/A


Despite being based on the original 1980s TV series, the 2011 version differs greatly from it, with many aspects of the original show's story and characters being different. [10] When comparing the original series to the 2011 reboot, producer Michael Jelenic stated that "the old show felt more like a Saturday morning animated series and this feels more like a movie". [4] Jelenic also said, that their take "is definitely darker but we've put a lot more focus on the characters and the arc, and because of that, we might have a few more sophisticated themes going on in this". [4] Michael Jelenic stated that before work even began on the series, the makers mapped out an entire beginning, middle and end for the show's storyline, which was then broken-up into 13-episode arcs. [4] Some stories from the original show were seen in these arcs. [4]

The animation for the series was done by Warner Bros. Animation and Studio 4°C. According to supervising director of Studio 4 °C, Shinichi Matsumi, they were handed the basic concepts for the show by Warner Bros. and were assigned to adjust them into the Japanese anime design. [1] Matsumi believed that they succeeded in pushing the style of anime in the show with a variety of visual elements, such as scene compositions, effects and colors, as well as the action scenes. [1] Kevin Kliesch composed the music for ThunderCats, for which he took inspiration from John Williams, James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith, among others. [11] Despite being orchestral, Kliesch also incorporated elements of electronics into the series' music. [11]


ThunderCats premiered on July 29, 2011 and attained a rating of 0.8, with over 2.4 million viewers. The highest rated show for that night received a 1.1, which makes the ThunderCats' 0.8 a successful showing. [12] The premiere episode of ThunderCats received very positive reviews, with some calling it "amazing" and "epic". [13] [14]

One of the things the premiere was praised for was its anime-inspired visuals. called the animation "beautiful" and "very fluid in motion", [15] while Jeff Hidek, of Star News Online , described it as "sleekier(sic) [and] edgier", than the animation of the 1980s show. [16] Brian Lowry, of Variety , also felt that the show had a "cool look". [17] Many were also happy with the changes made to the story and characters. Kenneth Carter of The Birmingham News called the story "multi-faceted", and the characters layered and flawed. [18] He also felt that the character's introductions didn't seem rushed, and that "we get a chance to get to know them a little before the action begins". [18] Edward Adams of Creative Loafing described the show as "moody and character driven, highlighting the all-too-human flaws you'd expect from an action series like this", [19] while IGN's Matt Fowler described the show's re-imagined world as "so original and strange, that even clichés tend to come across like revelations". [13]

ThunderCats was also praised for the changes it made to its source material. Jeff Hidek felt that ThunderCats "successfully echoes the fun, wonder and all-around coolness of the original characters while ditching some of the dated trappings of '80s-syndication". [16] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called the show "a rather canny rethinking of a series that probably didn't take a lot of thinking to conceive in the first place", [20] while Edward Adams also said that "where in the original series the environment was bright and colorful, in the pilot episodes [of the 2011 series], the tones are much darker". [19] Despite the changes the show made to the original TV series, many still recommended the 2011 series to fans of the original. Both Kenneth Carter and Edward Adams called the show "a pleasant surprise", [19] with Carter adding that "if you have fond memories of ThunderCats, then you’ll love what you see here". [18] Matt Fowler felt similarly, saying that "if you have an affinity for the old series, then you'll find ThunderCats somewhat entertaining". [13]

Despite the positive response, some aspects of the show were criticized. Variety's Brian Lowry felt the series was designed as a marketing ploy for a new ThunderCats toyline, and that the show "represents a throwback to the drearily toy-driven 1980s, a period that seems destined to keep returning as much out of pragmatism as nostalgia". [17]


A two-disc soundtrack album of Kevin Kleisch's music was released by La-La Land Records in October 2012, featuring suites from all but two of the episodes ("Trials of Lion-O, Part 2" and "The Pit").

Disc 1

  1. ThunderCats Main Theme - Jules Bass and Bernard Hoffer (:12)
  2. The Sword of Omens (4:58)
  3. Ancient Spirits of Evil (10:28)
  4. Ramlak Rising (9:11)
  5. Song of the Petalars (6:01)
  6. Old Friends (8:21)
  7. Journey to the Tower of Omens (6:47)
  8. Legacy (4:24)
  9. The Duelist and the Drifter (5:37)
  10. Berbils (3:13)
  11. Sight Beyond Sight (4:46)

Disc 2

  1. The Forest of Magi Oar (1:28)
  2. Into the Astral Plane (1:21)
  3. Between Brothers (6:52)
  4. New Alliances (3:45)
  5. Trials of Lion-O, Part 1 (2:52)
  6. Native Son (6:03)
  7. Survival of the Fittest (1:30)
  8. Curse of Ratilla (3:23)
  9. Birth of the Blades (2:56)
  10. The Forever Bag (2:02)
  11. Recipe for Disaster (3:01)
  12. The Soul Sever (2:30)
  13. What Lies Above, Part 1 (5:39)
  14. What Lies Above, Part 2 (6:31)


Following the end of the show's first season, ThunderCats was not immediately renewed for a second, which led to speculations that the series would be cancelled. [21] During the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, Michael Jelenic and Jeff Prezenkowski announced that ThunderCats had been put on hiatus as they had not yet received any word from Cartoon Network about the future of the series. [22] In March 2013, Dan Norton posted that further work on the series is unlikely in the near future. [23] The first season ThunderCats episodes briefly aired in the new Toonami block on Adult Swim along with Sym-Bionic Titan . [8] [24] It was confirmed by ThunderCats art-director Dan Norton in early 2013 that the show had been cancelled after only one season. [5]

Post-cancellation info

In an interview with Dan Norton, Shannon Eric Denton, and Larry Kenney at Power-Con, they mentioned that if there was a season two, it would detail Mumm-Ra's hand in the creation of the Snarfs, Slithe's history with Lynx-O (which would also explain how Slithe and the Lizards sided with Mumm-Ra), Mumm-Ra tricking the ThunderKittens into bringing the Sword of Omens to him, so that he could send them to El Dara, and Pumyra being transformed into a wicked insectoid monster on a mission to capture the ThunderCats. The name of the final stone was also revealed as the Soul Stone. [25] [26]

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