A ThunderCats movie has been in the works since 2007, but now it’s a lot closer to becoming a reality. Deadline reports that Adam Wingard, whose Godzilla Vs. Kong debuts this week, is attached to direct an adaptation of the ’80s cartoon that will be “a hybrid of CGI and animation. ”
ThunderCats originally aired from 1985 to 1989. The story focused on a group of catlike humanoids who had to flee the destruction of their homeworld, Thundera. The backstory is considerably more complicated than I remember from watching the after-school cartoons: The ThunderCats were pursued by their enemies, the Mutants of Plun-Darr, who had designs on the magical Sword of Omens. The escaping ‘Cats, led by Lion-O, eventually land on Third Earth, where it turns out that Lion-O has been aging slowly during space travel, leaving him a youth in a man’s body.
The Mutants are one enemy; the extremely weird mummified sorcerer Mumm-Ra is another; there were always lots of hijinks and action, and the requisite comedic relief in the form of Snarf. (I still don’t know what Snaf is supposed to be. A squirrel-cat?)
There was another ThunderCats series in 2011, and assorted comics and videogames, but a film version never made it to the screen. In an interview, Wingard tells Deadline, “ThunderCats is a dream project for me.” The director, who will rewrite a script with Simon Barrett, explains how his obsession with ThunderCats led him to spend 10th grade writing a 272-page ThunderCats script. He continues:
Nobody on this planet knows or has thought as much about ThunderCats as I have. They gave me the reins. I saw this as an opportunity to do a new type of fantasy sci-fi spectacle film that people have never seen before. It’s got a rich mythology; the characters are fantastic. The colors. I want to do a ThunderCats film that takes you back to that ‘80s aesthetic. I don’t want to reinvent the way they look; I want them to look like ThunderCats.
Wingard is also attached to direct a sequel to the 1997 John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie Face/Off, though as he says in the interview, “I’m going to do the next available thing, quickly.” We’ll just have to see whether that’s acrobatic cat people or dramatic men swapping faces.