Back in 2009 Warner Brothers Animation and Studio 4°C Animation started development on a revamped and revived Thundercats animated series. This new series launched with an hour long special in July 2011 on the Cartoon Network. The series was very well received by critics and fans. I’m sure not everyone loved it, but it was a heck of a lot better than the movie that was in development prior where the Thundercats were a band that traveled around in a van! It was a well crafted show that showed tremendous respect to the original. The show was mapped out to run for at least three seasons.
Also in 2009 Bandai America was awarded the master toy license for ThunderCats and began work on a fairly robust toy line of figures based both on the new and classic animation that would debut in in 2011 ahead of the series.
Thundercats.org has a nice, brief history of the line:
Right out of the gate, BanDai produced a large line of action figures, vehicles, a playset, role play toys and much more. Two waves of 4″ regular and deluxe action figures were released, as well as a 6 inch line and a ThunderCats Classic line. The 4 inch scale figures and vehicles have a pretty cool feature called ThunderLynx. These figures and vehicles all have a magnet activation system, meaning they all have magnets embedded in them, which unlock and activate various features, such as sound and lights. The 6 inch line features a selection of figures from the 4 inch line, but with more points of articulation and a more detailed sculpt and paint job. The Classic line was designed to give fans the first ThunderCats action figures based on their appearance in the classic 1985 animated series. A full checklist, including product numbers and package variants, can be found here!
Unfortunately the line did not last very long. In 2012, when BanDai did not show any new items at the New York Toy Fair, rumors started spreading that the ThunderCats line was cancelled. When online retailers started to label the line as Discontinued, what many fans feared seemed to become reality: no more ThunderCats.
Cartoon Network did not make it easy for fans to watch the show. They started moving the shows timeslot and air date several times so it became harder and harder for fans to catch new episodes. Even some DVRs were not able to keep up with the changes. Still fans held on and watched as best they could, and helped each other out by recording, posting and passing around the episodes for the remainder of season one.
A few months before season one finished airing, Bandai had already gotten all the episode synopsis for the proposed season two and had a few meetings with the WB animation team to roll out what characters/vehicles they were planning and what should/could be included in the show and line beyond what they had planned for FA2012. We will pick back up with the history lesson in tomorrow’s post. Now lets look at some toys!
All this week we are bringing you the exclusive reveal of the “Lost Year” of Bandai’s Thundercats line, the 2012 expansion to their 2011 Thundercats relaunch and all the product planned and even sculpted, but never came to be. We were give exclusive access by our friend and former Thundercats line manager Amanda W to show off the blood, sweat and tears that she and her team put into the terrific line of great, but short-lived toys.
I’m going to try and mix things up this week and give you a little of the 2011 Cartoon Network products and the Classics products that they had in the works for their 2012 line.
2012 6″ Action Figures
For the new 6″ figure reveals today we have a trio that did make it out in the first year of the 4″ line. Wilykit and Wilykat were both released as 4″ scale figures in the first wave of the basic figure line and Grune was in the second assortment of deluxe figures, but here, as 6″ scale figures you have better sculpts and better articulation as well as some fun accessories. The 6″ line certainly feels incomplete without the twins.
Wiley Kit And Wiley Kat
THUNDERCATS CLASSICS 2″ BOXED SET
At the end of the original 2011 line towards the end of the run we saw a boxed set of stylized 2″ PVC figures based on the Cartoon Network animation. There was also a companion set in the works based on the classic animation that would have been awesome. I wonder who’s desk these unreleased prototypes are sitting on these days? See below for larger, more detailed images of each figure.
Those are our reveals for today. Check back each day for more exclusive reveals for AFi’s THUNDERWEEK!
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