Thundercats are on the move, again.
“Godzilla vs. Kong” director Adam Wingard is attached to helm a computer-animated adaptation of the beloved 1980s Rankin Bass animated series “Thundercats” for Warner Bros., from a script Wingard will write with frequent collaborator Simon Barrett (“You’re Next,” “The Guest”). Dan Lin of Rideback and Roy Lee of Vertigo, who produced Wingard’s film “Death Note,” were already attached to produce the film with a script by David Coggeshall when Wingard signed on, but Wingard and Barrett are starting fresh.
The original series, which aired from 1985 to 1989, was revived for a single season Cartoon Network in 2011, and then again in 2020 under the title “Thundercats Roar.” But as a feature film, “Thundercats” has been a tricky project to crack for the studio, which has hired a small parade of screenwriters and producers since at least 2007 to bring a movie to life. The underlying story is at once relatively simple — a team of humanoid cat-people (or cat-like humans) like Lion-O, Panthro, and Cheetara fight the evil wizard Mumm-Ra on the planet of Third Earth — and surprisingly complicated, with a mix of technological space sci-fi and swords-and-sorcery fantasy. There’s the mystical blade that holds the Eye of Thundera and the Ancient Spirits of Evil, and then antagonistic aliens like the Mutants of Plun-Darr and the Lunataks.
In an interview with Deadline, which first reported the news, Wingard made clear he is not interested in making a “Cats”-style live-action version of “Thundercats,” and wants instead to take a CGI-approach to the visuals that would embrace the “’80s aesthetic” of the original series.
“I don’t want to reinvent the way they look; I want them to look like Thundercats,” Wingard said. “I want to do a movie you’ve never seen before: A hybrid CGI film that has a hyper-real look and somehow bridges the gap between cartoon and CGI. That’s the starting point.”