Tuesday Toonsday: Get to Know the Thundercats!

thundercats

That Thundercats theme song is still in your head, isn’t it?  Well, if you want a little bit of help getting rid of it, how about you take a look at our handy, dandy character guide to occupy your mind instead?  I’m sure you remember the title felinoid heroes, but do you remember everything about them? Their weapons, abilities, and secret fears?  Fret not, fellow Thunderian!  We’ve got you covered (thanks to Wikipedia)!

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Jaga

thundercats-jagaJaga (voiced by Earl Hammond in the original series, Corey Burton in the 2011 series) is also known as “Jaga the Wise” and is based on the Jaguar. This elder warrior was once regarded as the greatest of all ThunderCats by Lion-O himself. An adviser and protector of the Lord’s family, Jaga wielded the “Sword of Omens” and was a formidable fighter in combat. After Claudus was blinded Jaga became the main guardian of the Eye of Thundera, the Sword of Omens, and the Treasure of Thundera. It was Jaga who gathered the nobles of the ThunderCats to escort Lion-O and the Eye of Thundera to safety, but did not survive the trip to Third Earth as he volunteered to pilot the damaged ship while the others slept. Because of this, Jaga died of old age. However, Jaga does reappear on Third Earth as a ghost (seen only by Lion-O at first) to guide him in his lessons and adventures. At times, he appears before the other ThunderCats as well such as when facing down Grune the Destroyer’s ghost and when the ThunderCats need to rescue their fellow Thunderians. Jaga’s physical body does reappear at one point during the original series in the episode “The Astral Prison” where he was trapped in another dimension, prompting Lion-O to travel there to rescue him from being held captive by an evil inhabitant of said dimension. His fate as a physical living entity after this was never revealed, but his spirit form continued to appear throughout the series.

thundercats-lion-oLion-O

Lion-O (voiced by Larry Kenney in the original series, Will Friedle in the 2011 series) is the leader and the hereditary “Lord of the ThunderCats.” Lion-O, based on the lion, wields the legendary Sword of Omens, which is able to fire bolts of energy and allows Lion-O to see across great distances with its power of “Sight Beyond Sight”, as well as the Claw Shield, a gauntlet that launches grappling lines from its claws. A mere child of twelve years old at the time of Thundera’s destruction, Lion-O aged to adulthood during the trip to Third Earth when his suspension capsule failed to prevent him from aging too much. Although cunning and skillful, he is truly a child in a man’s body, and throughout the series, must learn what it takes to become a true leader and gain true maturity.

In the latter half of the show’s first season, Lion-O has to put all that he has learned to use in the “Anointment Trials,” which consist of contests of strength, speed, cunning, and intelligence (this last is referred to as “mind-power” in the story arc) against each of the other ThunderCats. (Complicating matters for Lion-O is the fact that he is required to be unarmed for the contests; moreover, the other ThunderCats are not permitted to assist him. The Mutants attempt, but ultimately without success, to take advantage of this last in an effort to leave the ThunderCats leaderless). Ultimately triumphing over Mumm-Ra in a final battle (“The Trial Of Evil”) in the heart of the villain’s pyramid in which he discovers that Mumm-Ra, like any Egyptian mummy, is dependent upon his sarcophagus, Lion-O is crowned the true Lord of the ThunderCats in a grand inaugural ceremony attended by nearly every inhabitant of Third Earth. It is also hinted that he has romantic feelings for Cheetara, Willa, and Mandora.

thundercats-tygraTygra

Tygra (voiced by Peter Newman in the original series, Matthew Mercer in the 2011 series) is a staunch, level-headed warrior based on the tiger, Tygra is known as the ThunderCat architect and scientist. He is the one Lion-O often turns to as second-in-command and for counsel. He is responsible for the design of all of the ThunderCat structures on Third Earth — the Cat’s Lair and the Tower of Omens. He is also gifted with “mind-power” — the ability to create lifelike illusions in other people’s minds; he used this for Lion-O’s Anointment Trial, but it puts a great strain on him. He uses a whip-like bolas in combat, with which he can render himself invisible to the naked eye. In the episode “All That Glitters,” Lion-O instructs Tygra, “If I do not return, you will be the new Lord of the ThunderCats.” This verifies that indeed, Tygra is the second-in-command. Tygra’s weakness is that he is not able to swim when not invisible; also, Tygra has shown to be easily influenced by external stimuli more than any other ThunderCat (“The Garden of Delights”, “Turgamar the Tuska” and “Crystal Canyon”); he also claimed to be shy when being a kid. Patient, analytic and calm, Tygra is the most quiet ThunderCat, and usually considers every part of the problem before making a decision. Where creators Ted Wolf and Leonard Starr described Panthro’s character as being based on “strength” and Cheetara’s character as being based on “speed,” Tygra’s character was described as being based on “integrity.”

In the WildStorm/DC comic mini-series, Tygra eventually marries Cheetara and the two raise a pair of twin cubs.

thundercats-panthroPanthro

Panthro (voiced by Earle Hyman in the original series, Kevin Michael Richardson in the 2011 series) is the next noble and greatest warrior after Jaga, and based on the panther. Even though a warrior in all forms of ThunderCats martial arts fighting, Panthro has a brilliant mind, which he uses as the chief mechanic/engineer and pilot for the ThunderCats. He is also physically the strongest and is a cunning warrior in combat, relying as much on martial arts as on physical strength. With Tygra’s help, he builds all of the vehicles the ThunderCats use on Third Earth — including the ThunderTank, the Feliner and the ThunderClaw, ThunderStrike, and HoverCat. Panthro is a complex ThunderCat. On the one hand he has great passion, love of family, and life. With an infectious laugh, accompanied by a good sense of humor. On the other hand, he is a stone cold warrior. He lives by the ThunderCats warrior code. Pride, excellence, and loyalty are a hallmark of what makes Panthro tick. Because of his passion he is known to lose his patience with other ThunderCats. On the field of battle, however, he is cool, calm and collected, although he has a phobia of bats. Because of this, Panthro has gained respect both from friends and enemies alike. They respect the king, but fear the panther. In combat, he uses a pair of nunchaku with open-away cat-paws, which house several chemical spray-compounds, and objects such as ball bearings, that he can use against foes. The spikes on his chest bands can be used like projectile weapons or as rappelling lines.

thundercats-cheetaraCheetara

Cheetara (voiced by Lynne Lipton in the original series, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Grey DeLisle (young) in the 2011 series) is a female warrior, based on the cheetah. She is the only adult female ThunderCat until the later appearance of Pumyra. She is as lovely as she is brave and caring. Often a voice of reason, she is also the bearer of a budding “sixth sense,” detecting when something is unsafe or if evil is near. This precognitive sense, which Cheetara regards as a curse for the most part, also allows her to perceive visions — whether involuntary or by forcing herself — but can leave her very weak; she may require days to regain her strength. She has incredible speed, once clocked at 120 m.p.h. on a morning jog. She can maintain this speed only for brief periods, but with it, she is very fast in combat. Her weapon of choice is a bo staff that can grow or shrink to variable lengths. When not in use, it is attached to her left armband.

thundercats-wilykat-wilykitWilyKit and WilyKat

WilyKit (voiced by Lynne Lipton in original series, Madeleine Hall in the 2011 series) and WilyKat (voiced by Peter Newman in original series, Eamon Pirruccello in the 2011 series) are twin siblings, Kat being the older brother and Kit as the younger sister where both of them are based on the wildcat; they are jointly referred to as “ThunderKittens” by the other characters, although technically they are older than Lion-O. They are the mischief-makers, and often have their own lessons to learn alongside Lion-O while they live on Third Earth, where they frequently use tricks and traps to combat evil. Kit is the more adventurous, while the older Kat usually errs on the side of caution. Kit also appears to be the more agile, and at times, she employs a rolling-attack against the enemy. Their agility is often displayed when they ride their “space boards” — specially designed flying devices shaped like Earth surfboards that can carry them over long distances. Each uses special capsules, balls and other gimmick weapons carried in pouches and on their belts. They sometimes use slingshots to fire these at the Mutants or other foes. They also carry trick lariats, with which they can either tangle and ensnare foes, or use to pull themselves out of danger. In the first episode, they appeared to be slightly older than Lion-O, but when they went into suspended animation, they did not age as far in their suspension capsules as Lion-O did in his.

thundercats-snarfSnarf

Snarf (voiced by Bob McFadden in the original series, Satomi Kōrogi in the 2011 series) is an elder Snarf, properly known by his name Osbert, which he hates. Snarf served as a nursemaid and protector for Lion-O when he was a boy. After Lion-O grew up, Snarf found that often Lion-O did not want to have him “mothering” or protecting him. Still, Snarf has remained loyal to Lion-O and the other ThunderCats. At times, he does come through in a pinch with an idea and takes action when it is needed. Despite his age, he does keep up with the others. Even though not a fighter by skill or nature, Snarf is very agile (he boasts he can outplay anyone at tailbail or kick-the-bucket). He also can communicate with other animals on Third Earth to enlist their help in his tasks, and once even tricked the Ancient Spirits of Evil into giving him a power-up to become a being called Snarf-Ra.

thundercats - mumm-raMumm-Ra

Mumm-Ra (voiced by Earl Hammond in the original series, Robin Atkin Downes in the 2011 series) – The chief villain and antagonist of the ThunderCats, the demon-priest Mumm-Ra is the self-proclaimed “ever-living source of evil” on Third Earth, having powers of sorcery and an apparently unlimited lifespan. He is in fact a servant to the Ancient Spirits of Evil who provide him with increased power and virtual immortality to further his pursuit of spreading their dark influence throughout Third Earth.

Residing within the Black Pyramid amid the ruins of what appears to be an ancient Egyptian civilization, Mumm-Ra exists in a decayed, weakened mummified form that must return to a stone sarcophagus to replenish his energy. He can transform himself into a far more vigorous and muscular form – Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living – by reciting the incantation: “Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form… to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!” While in this form, Mumm-Ra possesses fortification of his mystical might — casting spells, throwing energy bolts, etc. — to battle his foes. He can also alter his physical form into a variety of alter-egos to deceive his enemies.

Seemingly invincible in whatever form he chooses, Mumm-Ra appears to have a singular weakness: seeing his own hideous reflection neutralizes his ability to remain outside the Black Pyramid and forces him to withdraw there in his emaciated mummy form. However, at the beginning of the second season, the Ancient Spirits of Evil revoked this shortcoming. Mumm-Ra is a master of deception, and will use whatever means necessary to fight against the forces of good. In later episodes, while endowing Mumm-Ra with his powers, the statues of the Ancient Spirits of Evil came down from their perches to extend their arms over him.

He uses his magic to create disguises and deceive the ThunderCats on various occasions. Among these are: Diamondfly (in the episode “Queen of Eight Legs”), Gregory Gregion (“All That Glitters”), Silky (“The Garden of Delights”), The Netherwitch (“The Astral Prison”), and Pumm-Ra (in the episode “Pumm-Ra”). He once took the form of King Arthur to acquire the legendary magic sword Excalibur, using it against the Sword of Omens.

thundercats-mumm-raIn a few episodes, Mumm-Ra has an even more powerful form beyond “Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living” called “Mumm-Ra the All-Powerful”. In this manifestation, Mumm-Ra absorbs the entire power of the Ancient Spirits of Evil to become grander in size and strength, and the design pattern on his loin cloth changes, as does his voice. This form is only presented in the series three times. In another incarnation, invoking “the Ancient Spirits of the Dream World” to transform himself into “Mumm-Ra the Dream Master”, he is able to enter dreams to subliminally influence the ThunderCats in their sleep as a form of mind control.

Mumm-Ra is regarded as immortal, and when defeated, he simply returns to his sarcophagus. Mumm-Ra cannot be truly killed; even in cases where his body is destroyed, he will eventually be restored, as he often states: “Wherever evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!”

In later episodes, when the Ancient Spirits of Evil were increasingly disappointed with Mumm-Ra’s repeated failures, they demanded he destroy the ThunderCats or else he would be forcefully removed. They dimensionally banish Ma-Mutt as an example. When Mumm-Ra fails, the Ancient Spirits of Evil trap him within a planar crystal and cast him away from Third Earth. When the ThunderCats decide to colonize New Thundera to rebuild it, the Ancient Spirits of Evil free Mumm-Ra and rebuild his pyramid there. In one episode, it was said that Mumm-Ra once owned the Sphere of Seti which increased his power. When he managed to recover it after it was found by Char, he planned to use it to increase his power and free himself from servitude to Ancient Spirits of Evil. Angered at his plot as well as at his deceptive attempts to hide it, the Ancient Spirits seal off the Black Pyramid, forcing Mumm-Ra to choose between sustenance (the pyramid) or power (the sphere). Ultimately, Mumm-Ra admits that he cannot survive without the pyramid—thus he begrudgingly surrenders the sphere and once again becomes the slave of the Ancient Spirits.

An absolute master of magic, Mumm-Ra possesses nearly unlimited knowledge of, and experience with, numerous mystical arts from all corners of the universe. He has such mystic talents as flight by self-levitation, necromancy, alchemy, transmogrification, temporal manipulation, teleportation, psychokinesis, mind control, astral projection, scrying, and energy blasts. While in the form of Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living, he becomes a conduit for the Ancient Spirits of Evil; such that he can amplify his aforementioned abilities to a nearly cosmic scale, gain super-human strength, as well as retain his undead status despite the passage of time or any injuries sustained. The price of this power, however, is extremely limited stamina: once Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living has surpassed a given threshold, he must revert to his mummified form and enter his sarcophagus to rejuvenate himself. Also, Mumm-Ra’s power in his Ever-Living form is directly linked to the condition of both his sarcophagus and the Ancient Spirits’ four statues within his pyramid. Should any of them be harmed or destroyed, his power weakens immediately and considerably.

thundercats-slitheSlithe

Slithe/Slythe (voiced by Bob McFadden in the 1985 series, Dee Bradley Baker in the 2011 series) is the brutish leader of the Reptilians (referred to as Lizards in 2011 series), a race of Lizard Men. Although he lacks sophistication, his intuitive cunning is considerable. Domineering and impatient, Slithe often must browbeat the other Mutants into going along with his plans. Unlike Jackalman and Monkian (whose appearances are identical to other mutants of their kind), Slithe stands out from other Reptilians because of his ears and broader build. He pilots the Nosediver. Slithe served as Rataro’s cook earlier in his career, and he retains a discriminating palate.

thundercats-jackalmanJackalman

Jackalman (voiced by Larry Kenney in the 1985 series, Dee Bradley Baker in the 2011 series) is a cautious and distrustful coward who leads the Jackalmen, a race of humanoidjackals. Though he is one to take any advantage presented to him, Jackalman often sides with Slythe to keep from being the scapegoat when plans fail. He also pilots a Skycutter.

thundercats-monkianMonkian

Monkian (voiced by Peter Newman in the 1985 series, Robin Atkin Downes in the 2011 series) is a shifty no-good eavesdropper who is the excitable leader of the Simians(referred to as Monkeys in the 2011 series), a race of Ape Men. He often plays the role of scout for the Mutants, and is frequently the first to run from danger. Monkian typically uses his flail and projectile-firing shield when in combat. He pilots one of the Skycutters.

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