Welcome back to Day 3 of THUNDERWEEK where we are taking a look at the lost year of Bandai America’s ThunderCats products that would have been released back in 2012 if the show and the line had not been cancelled. If you missed any of the previous installments you can go back and check out the Day 0 Preview, the Day 1 reveals and the Day 2 reveals. This will also help you get caught up with the story of what happened and why the line was canceled.
We’ll probably never know WHY the show was cancelled, despite the critical and fan success, but my theory on why Cartoon Network didn’t keep the show, in spite of the fact that Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network are sister companies, is that at the time, ThunderCats wasn’t an owned property for them. Cartoon Network most likely had to pay broadcast rights for the show. They would rather replace it with something they owned/had a piece of so they didn’t promote ThunderCats as much as they could have during the first season and decided to cut their losses on the second season.
The craziest thing is that even though Bandai knew that the show would not be moving forward for a second season or their 2012 line up, Cartoon Network still never confirmed to fans that it was cancelled! Some fans remained hopeful all through 2012, despite the rumors and speculation, that maybe it was just an extended hiatus and that the show would still come back. “Official” word of the cancellation didn’t come until early 2013 when series art director Dan Norton posted confirmation to the “Save ThunderCats” Facebook page.
That was the final nail in the coffin for ThunderCats the animated series.
That was some of the history of the show, now let’s talk more about the toys and get to they Day 3 reveals:
One item that was in the works for 2012 that I don’t have any images for for THUNDERWEEK was going to be the 2012 San Diego Comic Con exclusive – an 8″ ThunderCats Classic Cheetara figure. She was sculpted but got cut as well as the rest of the 2012 product because it was all part of the same tooling timeline for the fall line, albeit she would have had slightly tighter timeline to be at the con.
THE SABER TANK PLAYSET – In the first wave of Bandai’s ThunderCats line we got a REALLY impressive Tower of Omens playset along with an exclusive figure. In the 2012 line we would have gotten the Saber Tank which is a combination playset and vehicle! This set also would have come with an exclusive figure, which on this original B-sheet is shown as Lion-O but was later changed to be a translucent Ro-Bear figure. (Spoiler Alert you will see more of the Ro-Bears in tomorrow’s update). The playset had both a vehicle mode and a command center mode as well as the side treads being removable to include a small vehicle mode. All that was included as well as firing missiles and light-up feature as part of the ThunderLynx Magnet system.
SUPER COLLECTOR FIGURE – These Super Collector figures were a new sub-line that was pitched for 2012. Essentially they would have been like Bandai Japan S.I.C. (Super Imaginative Chogokin) figures with Kenji Ando (who is one of the Bandai Japan SIC designers) sculpting/designing them. Originally Bandai’s plans were to do Lion-O, Cheetara and Mumm-Ra, but then they scaled back to launch with just Lion-O.
It would have been a fascinating experiment to see figures like these at mass retail instead of having to hunt them down and pay an import fee. I would have loved to have seen where this line would have gone. The designs for the others looked great and the prototype for Lion-O looks INCREDIBLE! I have to wonder where that prototype ended up…
Sorry this update was a little late! We still have two more days of reveals and AFi’s THUNDERWEEK ahead so stay tuned and thanks to everyone for the feedback on this event week and for spreading the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram! I appreciate it!
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