Adam Wingard is riding high right now. His latest film Godzilla V Kong is crushing box office totals overseas, and it’s preparing to open pandemic big here in the states this weekend. Folks at the WB must like what they hear because they just promoted Wingard from Kaiju to Thundercats. How well does Wingard fit the Thundercats template and does this mean the project will even get off the ground?
Thundercats first aired in 1985 and ran for three years. It created a cult following as strong as any 80s franchise. With the strong resurgence of 80’s properties, Thundercats remains at the top of fan lists for franchises that need to be revived. In 2011 creators attempted to revive the cartoon with an anime that reinvented the Thundercats story. Fans largely loved the new series, but poor toy sales brought an unjust end to the new series. We will not speak of the shit attempt recently cancelled because it was…well…shit.
Ever since the franchise only exists in limbo and rumor with other franchises like He-Man, Dark Crystal, Flash (although this one seems to be moving), and others.
From Kaiju to Thundercats – Is Wingard a Good Fit?
Many of the franchises in limbo get directors and then lose them. Writers rewrite the rewrite that was rewritten with the last rewrite. These films never seem to gain any traction in moving towards reality, but this may be different as Wingard sports a decades old love of the franchise. In an interview with Deadline he had the following to say:
When I was in high school, I was obsessed with it. You’d think at that point, I was a little too old, that my years of obsession with ThunderCats would be when I was six years old. My real obsession with ThunderCats came in high school, the pinnacle of me deciding I wanted to be a filmmaker, and pushing in that direction…I actually spent most of my 10th grade year, I completely blew it. I didn’t pay attention in school, made terrible grades. And the reason? I was writing my ThunderCats screenplay through my entire tenth grade year.Adam Wingard, Deadline interview
As If He Needed To Show More Passion
So to say Thundercats is a Wingard passion would be an understatement. GvK and Thundercats don’t exactly translate from one franchise to another, so it’s a mystery how this project will look if completed. He goes on to describe how he will do the movie, and it may not be how you think:
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. I don’t want to do it live action, either. I don’t want it to look like Cats, I don’t want those kinds of issues — no disrespect to that director, whom I don’t mean to throw under the bus any more than everyone else has. 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.Adam Wingard, Deadline Interview
From Kaiju to Thundercats – Can This Succeed?
So those hoping for a live action remake, this will not be it. Does it being non-live action relegate it to the backseat as a kids’ movie? If good, will it gain the respect it deserves, or will people brush it off as another cartoon? I’d prefer live action, but let’s hope this version can reinvigorate the franchise.
Can this project actually succeed, though? Like I stated already, this franchise exists with the other franchises that never seem to reach production status. The Dark Crystal movie had a script, director, and preproduction art before being shelved. The anime remake died because execs were too greedy for toy sales. They refused to give it time to grow.
After the debacle called Cats, I can see why creators would shy away from a live action remake. Any comparison to the disastrous Broadway incantation would be the kiss of death, but I fear a CGI/animated remake takes the awe out of the production. It could make it easier for studio execs to pull the plug if they don’t like what they see. It also seems like movie goers might give a live action Thundercats a chance if the reviews are good, but many will not try it simply because its a ‘kids cartoon’.
May Jaga guide Wingard in the months ahead.