ThunderCats: All About The Live-Action Movie

By Rick Gonzales | 1 week ago

Director Adam Wingard is riding high. Godzilla vs. Kong is getting great reviews, pulling in bank at the box office, and sending his name up the ranks as one of the more highly sought-after directors. This is all good news for fans of the 1980’s animated series ThunderCats which, by the way, will be one of Wingard’s upcoming projects.


ThunderCats are the 1985 creation by Ted “Tobin” Wolf. The series was a Rankin/Bass Production that lasted four seasons. For those who recognize the name, Rankin/Bass is the duo (Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass) behind such animated holiday hits like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, The Little Drummer Boy, and The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town, just to name a few.

ThunderCats included such characters as Lion-O, Panthro, Jaga, Cheetara, Tygra, Snarf, and the twins WilyKit and WilyKat. They were cat-like humanoid creatures who lived on the dying planet Thundera. Having to find another planet to call home, the ThunderCats leave their planet in search of a new home. During this journey, their entire fleet is attacked by their enemies, the Mutants of Plun-Darr.


Most of the fleet is destroyed but the ThunderCats flagship is spared because the Mutants believe the Sword of Omens is on the ship. This sword contains the Eye of Thundera, which is the source of the ThunderCats’ power. It is this Eye that drives back the Mutants.

With damage being done to their flagship, the ThunderCats are now unable to reach their intended destination. They change course, heading for Third Earth. When they arrive from their longer than anticipated journey, their leader Jaga has perished, leaving Lion-O as their new leader.


The ThunderCats, along with friendly natives, make Third Earth their new home. But it doesn’t stay peaceful for long as the Mutants have tracked them down. There is also a new enemy waiting, calling himself Mumm-Ra. Together with the Mutants, they attempt to take the Eye as well as destroy the ThunderCats for good.


It’s nice to take on a project where one is fully invested. This is how Adam Wingard sees himself in regard to ThunderCats. Growing up, Wingard was a huge ThunderCats fan. In fact, he was such a fan that during high school he took pen to paper. “I was writing my ThunderCats screenplay through my entire 10th grade year,” he told Deadline via Looper. “And I was hand-writing it. The screenplay itself ended up being 272 pages long.” Now, Wingard gets to relive his high school dream.


thundercats cheetara and lion-o

Adam Wingard is co-writing the script with long-time writing partner Simon Barrett. However, this is not the first one for a possible ThunderCats movie. Wingard admits that he has read the unproduced scripts and that they are, in fact, not bad. They are providing him and Barrett a solid foundation for moving forward. But as he told UPROXX, they are just a foundation. “I think it’s for the best that [previous versions of ThunderCats] didn’t happen. Because I think that even the script that I read that was developed, which was in a pretty good place, I’m not going to lie, I looked at it and I was like, ‘This is actually not too bad.’ I was not expecting a lot, so there’s a lot of good foundation within that. I’m going to do a lot of different stuff to it. But I think the thing was is that it was clearly designed to be shot live-action. And so, there are certain things that when you read it, it doesn’t feel totally ThunderCats because you can tell they were thinking of the limitations of live-action cinema.”

As for Wingard and Barrett teaming up, the prolific pair’s first team-up produced the horror film A Horrible Way to Die. While that film received only mediocre reviews, the pair continued to work together. Up next was Autoerotic, this film exploring the boundaries of self-pleasure. The pair then tried their hands at a thriller with What Fun We Were Having.

adam wingard the guest

Wingard and Barrett then decided a return to their love of horror would be the smart play, so they reeled off a few in a row. They first started with You’re Next, then V/H/S, The ABCs of Death, and V/H/S/2. They then teamed up for what is their most critically successful film, Netflix’s The Guest starring Dan Stevens.

Perhaps the duos most popular film came next with their reboot of Blair Witch. Although this was the third movie in the series, the film ignored the second, Bool of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, and directly followed the events of the first film, The Blair Witch Project. In this, James, the brother of the first movie’s Heather Donahue, sees a video clip on YouTube and witnesses what he believes to be his sister, who disappeared in those woods long ago. James then heads to the woods with three of his friends to find his sister.


cats movie

One thing that Wingard hopes to avoid is comparisons with the recent Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, James Corden bomb Cats. While that movie had actors playing in cat costumes, Wingard sees his ThunderCats heavily investing in CGI effects. “Anytime I picture the ThunderCats live-action it’s basically just putting makeup on people. It just looks ridiculous,” the director explained. “It just doesn’t seem right. Because everybody, always, they think, ‘Oh, the ThunderCats, they have to look like cats.’ But if you really look at the ThunderCats, it’s not like they’re conventionally looking like a cross between cats and humans, they’re different. They’re Thundercats. They’re bigger than that and stranger than that.”

With all his cache from Godzilla vs. Kong, look for Wingard to use whatever wizardry possible to get the look he is going for.


Godzilla vs Kong

While there is no set release date, especially since Wingard and Barrett are still working on the script, Warner Bros. is behind Wingard and his vision. They obviously love what he did within the MonsterVerse and look to be handing him the keys once again to bring home his vision of Third Earth and ThunderCats.

As there is no set release date and the project is still being written, there aren’t any stars attached to the project.



Great success breeds more offers. With Wingard continuing his upwards climb, it is not known if ThunderCats will be his next project or not. At the moment, Wingard is also putting together the sequel to the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage 1997 hit Face/Off. He mentioned it when he was discussing the ThunderCats script to UPROXX. “We wrote a script, which it will be a surprise to people. It is an original script. We have an original that we want to do. Obviously, we’ve been working on Face/Off 2. We’ve been having so much fun on that. But every time we talk about ThunderCats, it’s just, we’re not even worried, because the ideas just roll like an avalanche.”

Regardless, if there is a bit longer of a delay to ThunderCats or not, the movie is coming. This is Wingard’s passion project as he told Deadline. He also explained, there is no one on the planet that knows more about or has thought as much about the ThunderCats as he has. With all the goodwill he has received from Warner Bros., this is pretty much a slam dunk.