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UPDATED WITH CONFIRMATION!! Test Footage From The THUNDERCATS CGI Movie That Was Never Made??




Merrick again...

...with confirmation from multiple sources that the THUNDERCATS test footage below is, in fact, real.  

One confirmation even included the following details:   the footage you were seeing was supposed to be a convergence of realtime engines for both final rendering for a theatrical film AND to execute a game with using the same assets. 

One message, from Spitfire, says..."That's SouthLAnd/The OC's Ben McKenzie playing Lion-O"

The footage, by the way, is from Digital Domain.  So, there you have it.

Huge thanks to the nolks who got in touch with us about this...




Merrick here...


A few years ago, we learned that Warner Bros. was looking into resurrecting the 80s television cartoon THUNDERCATS as a CGI big screen adventure (details HERE and HERE).  And that was pretty much that.  No movie. Nothing.  


Then, a few weeks back, we heard THUNDERCATS would soon return to television by way of a new series set to debut on Cartoon Network - we even got a look at some art from that show (HERE).

Now, THIS piece at Flixist reveals what purports be test footage from the CGI movie adaptation first mentioned back in 2007.  To be very clear, this is for the elusive movie we originally heard about, not the upcoming Cartoon Network show. 

Something about this footage feels kinda funky to me.  I'm not emphatically stating that it isn't real, nor am I 1,000 % convinced that it is.  I'm checking with a few folks and will update if their responses permit.   The style/art  in this reel does appear to match genuine concept art from the project which THIS piece in Movieline revealed in 2009.  But that doesn't mean a great deal in the grand scheme of things.  


Back to the new Cartoon Network show.  THIS MTV report offers a few nice stills of the figures and sets from the series - they have an embed to go along with it.  


Toy News International has this video of of a toy Thundertank from the show's new action figure/playsets line (Snnnnnaaaarrrffffff!!!!!) 


Finally, here's about 13 minutes worth of video of new THUNDERCATS toys from the recent Toy Fair...



— follow Merrick on Twitter ! — 





Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 14, 2011, noon CST


    by James Westfall

    Doesn't pass the smell test. Fan-made, methinks.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:04 p.m. CST


    by dukeroberts

    That's not the Lion-O I know.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Glad that never got made...

    by Redfive!

    That was awful and did not look or feel like TCs at all.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST

    mabye its fan made

    by teddy_duchamp

    but if it is its a fan with an incredible amount of spare time on their hands. I think this would work better with live actors

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST

    wow, thats pretty badass

    by Mysterious_Volvo

    for a cartoon. like the comedy slant too.

  • Honestly, the only thing holding that back was some weird cuts and ugly shot framing, which is totally forgivable since it's only test footage. I'm totally sold on the concept, though.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    What's that music from? Sounds like some John Williams.

    by D.Vader

    Some Star Wars or some Harry Potter.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Lionel design is ass.

    by knowthyself

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    The direction here is terrible

    by D.Vader

    Very confusing series of shots. Bad editing.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:10 p.m. CST


    by Eagleone

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Maybe some Pirates of the Caribbean music thrown in too

    by D.Vader

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:12 p.m. CST

    "You gotta be kidding me!"

    by BirdieNumNum

    Lose the wisecracking and go more epic.

  • Feels a bit like the TMNT cgi film, which wasn't bad from what I'd seen.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:18 p.m. CST

    It's a cthulhu movie

    by PeanutButterSlut

    "It's a lion, it's HUGE" , "Kurt Russel if laughing". Nuff said.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:18 p.m. CST

    @ james westfall : definitely not fan-made

    by cococommander

    it might be a little rough (it is a test after all), but this clip is definitely not fan-made. that animation was mocapped and one session costs tens of thousands of dollars, way too expensive for a fan. also, the rendering, the models, the framing, etc., all professional. that being said, i`m glad it was shelved.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Really, aside from the voice acting, it was pretty shitty

    by D.Vader

    The design was okay but the characterization was lame. The villain looked good and was the better actor of the two. But the action there was just bleh. Confusing and hard to follow all over the place. Just test footage, I know. But still, bleh.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:19 p.m. CST

    holy shit

    by redkamel

    thank God that never got made. Lion-o acting and looking like Johnny Storm from the Foxs FF. Short hair and sideburns. Using the sword of omens (in sword form...) on a rock for no reason, then on a no name lizard... I know it was just a sample reel, but why not have Lion-o sneaking into Mum-Ras temple and preparing to battle.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:22 p.m. CST

    by seabiscuits

    i don't like the voice and the look of liono. just think he looks too human and the brown nose and short ears look dumb.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Snarf comes with the thundertank. And a new

    by UltraTron

    generation of children throw that part away.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:23 p.m. CST


    by F-18

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    LOL @ The WB rock formation

    by Tarantinos_Forehead

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:37 p.m. CST

    New Snarf looks like a Pokemon.

    by D.Vader

    I am okay with that.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:37 p.m. CST

    "There's that thing again"

    by D.Vader

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:38 p.m. CST

    That thing! That Mega-thing!

    by D.Vader

  • Man, that show was horrible. Just awful. Don’t tell me Voltron was that bad, too.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:43 p.m. CST

    "Hahahah. Its when WilyKat and Kit are the most helpful...

    by D.Vader


  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Yes, Voltron was that bad too

    by mistergreen

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Where is the "Real Ghostbusters" reboot?

    by NeoMyers

    All of these other 80s cartoons are coming back or have been back, Thundercats, Transformers, TMNT, etc. "The Real Ghostbusters," I'm talking Season 1 and initial syndication run, is incredible. Bring THAT back, please. But let's keep Slimer on the sidelines or in the background--he's what ruined the original.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST


    by UltraTron

    Why arn't you banned for life for all of us having to put up with d.vader cunts posting your name over and over when you were banned? Oh yeah you're just a little cunt too stupid to know not to be disrespectful in an obituary so you probably wouldn't know. Fuck you for life you stupid little cunt

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 12:59 p.m. CST


    by dopepope

    Looks on par with that, but I can't get over the short haired Liono.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST

    I'm all for a "Real Ghostbusters" reboot

    by Mike_D

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:19 p.m. CST

    First music cue is from Gladiator

    by BikerScout

    Wonder if James Cameron saw this while making Avatar. Lion-O looks like Jake Sully with Sting's Dune hairdo. In red.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Now that is a good well briefed salesman!

    by yamayama

    He's old school. He probably watched the show has a kid. I think Bandai is on to a winner there with the figures and Thundertank. Hasbro will be nervous me thinks over how cool the Thundercats gear will be to older fans. It will take away possible impulse buys from their star wars waves. To stop that leakage Hasbro needs to commission two models.A full scale Sith Interceptor thats about three quarters the size of their BMF Millenium Falcon and a issue of Juno Eclipse's ship from Force Unleashed.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Was this test footage from Avatar 2?

    by _Venkman

    I 2nd the return of Ghostbusters. I'm already watching the Clone Wars - what's another kids cartoon.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:52 p.m. CST

    The Music

    by thommcg

    Sounded like (In order); Gladiator Minority Report Pirates of the Caribbean

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    The toys are pretty cool...

    by Roketopunch

    reminds me of when I was a kid. These are actually better than the 80s TCs. I wish I was 8 again. LOL.

  • well except for the theme music.. I still love Voltrons intro and theme music always did over Golion..maybe its a cultural thing..who knows

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    hate to be a "hater"

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    but that looked like shit. First and foremost it certainly didn't feel like Thundercats. Not that I'm not up for an alternate take on the old cartoon, however almost anything but this would be better. ughhh A pussified Lion-O, videogame CG, forced shitty humor, seems like they were going to try to make thundercats "cool" & "hip" aka like everything else tries to be. If its real thank God it never went forward.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Pirates music at 1:30

    by Styrophoamicus

    Anyone else catch that? Otherwise, I kinda dug it.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST

    I'll probably get the CHEETARA figure --

    by MooseMalloy

    -- the spokesman wrongfully calls her TYGRA.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by D.Vader

    Hey nice to you see too! Never had a problem with you or any of your posts. Thought you were an upstanding dude most of the time. Dunno what I did to you to incur such ultra-wrath, but hey, to each his own.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:07 p.m. CST

    I weep for geekdom that anyone thought that looked watchable

    by IndustryKiller!

    What painfully cheesy, silly crap. I loved the 80's TV show, but I recognize it for what it is, and somehow this looks cheesier and more annoying than anything they did back then. People will enjoy anything you slap a childhood property logo on. Sad.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Too bad it wasn't proiduced by MGM

    by cookylamoo

    Leo the Lion would have been a great opening.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:32 p.m. CST


    by CountOrlok

    Lionel makes trains. Lion-O is the Thundercat leader. Please turn in your geek card.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Liono's design definitely underwhelms

    by Bass Ackwards

    But I didn't think it was horrible, especially being only test footage. Also, the final shot gave me a good laugh.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Not a fan video...

    by zinc_chameleon

    Because I'm in the Blender free-software camp, and that would have taken a hobbyists months to finish. The rigging alone would be someone's full-time job. Most likely a demo reel...

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Some of the music was definitely from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


    So that rules out it being made in 2007.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Ok, Lion-O making the guy his 'puppet bitch' was hilarious!

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    I hate to be a wet-blanket but any CGI incarnation of TC would have humor. What Lion-O did was exactly what is shown in kids movie today. I don't think its fan-made because it didn't go hard with the TC theme that we seen in the cartoons. This was a test footage put together by someone who knows the real end of movie business. In otherwords, he left geek shit at home! No fan-made vid would have done that.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 5:50 p.m. CST

    was actually pretty funny

    by MurderMostFowl

    I could see that getting made into something better at some point. Bad idea to have gone all CGI though... that was just begging to be done by real actors. I still think the fake Thundercats trailer with Brad Pitt as LionO and Vin Deisel as Panthro was pure awesomeness. That's the movie we should have gotten

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:21 p.m. CST

    Looks legit

    by Super Joker

    But also awful. Really crap trailer.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Thundercats made Masters of the Universe look like Shakespeare.

    by Hesiod2k7

    I'm glad someone figured out that spending $150 million making a CGI Thundercraps movie would have been a massive flop.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:37 p.m. CST

    How about a Bionic Man movie instead?

    by Hesiod2k7

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Rather see a Hong Kong Phooey movie than Thundercraps

    by Hesiod2k7

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 6:47 p.m. CST


    by IamHERE

    It seems the fact that this was a test reel has been lost on the many idiots who visit this site. Of course everything looked like crap it wasnt finished. It was a proposal to see if it could be made, much like the mortal kombat video with michael Jai White. I personally enjoyed it and the ending was pretty funny.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:09 p.m. CST

    A perfect example of rose-coloured glasses.

    by Nomoredirtyanything

    I loved this when I was a kid. It was terribly depressing to realise just how pitiful a cartoon it really was. Thundercats Sucks.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Concept art

    by Bobthegrinch

    Seemed to match the Lion-o shown in the animation pretty closely to me. As much as the Captain America concept art matched the real costume anyway. I loved Thundercats as a kid and thought that was okay. That said, Thundercats is for kids and I'd expect any update or new version to be aimed at kids. If I didn't like it but kids loved it, I wouldn't bitch. Like another talkbacker said, watching the old show now it doesn't work as an adult viewer. I'm still fond of it for the hours of childhood joy it gave me.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:39 p.m. CST

    The music at the beginning...

    by Kevinicus

    is clearly from Avatar.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 7:40 p.m. CST

    to be more specific

    by Kevinicus

    It's the music right after Sully gives his speech and all the Navi go jump on their dragons.

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:12 p.m. CST

    I'd Rent/Buy it Probably

    by Autodidact

    Looks alright for test footage. Although if that's supposed to be Lion-O I think his original character design would work okay in CGI no?

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 8:56 p.m. CST

    That was ALL KINDS OF SHIT!

    by Jaster

    It was hard shit, runny shit, smelly shit and shit with corn in it. MY GOD that was fucking abysmal! I just want to scrub that memory away now!

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:30 p.m. CST

    No Wonder

    by D o o d

    it didn't get greenlit! At most that was daytime tv!

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:37 p.m. CST

    ROTFL @mr spork

    by blackflowerX

    I have to go see that on you tube again LOL

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:38 p.m. CST

    hesiod2k7 ...No , we need a BIONIC 6 movie!!!

    by blackflowerX

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 9:38 p.m. CST


    by blackflowerX

  • Feb. 14, 2011, 10:03 p.m. CST


    by DigitalBeachWar

    That was fucking awful. Bad design. Bad writing. Gross.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:23 a.m. CST

    I'd say it's fan made...

    by justmyluck

    ...due to the over-editing, Saturday morning script and and passable CGI. Not saying the CGI isn't well-done, it's just not at the level of a pro FX house, IMO.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:43 a.m. CST

    the Suit

    by killianx

    Listening to that suit talk about the Toy Line kills it for me for some reason.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Ok,why the fuck DIDNT THEY MAKE THIS.....

    by frank

    I swear to GOD,hollywood is run by untrained monkeys

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Assuming it's real we now know why the movie wasn't made.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    That is the biggest turd I've ever seen. Forgetting for a minute it's test CGI everything else, the dialogue, the action, Lion-O's dum attitude....they all suck.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Other than...

    by BeyondStatic

    ...looking more plastic than Cartoon Network's 'Clone Wars', and terrible, disorienting editing, and writing that leaves me wanting... a better writer, and music cues from 'Pirates of the Caribbean,'... other than all that, they could have maybe made this for a tiny DVD profit. Too bad the most exciting part of this was the 2D Logo teaser.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 8:49 a.m. CST

    So..Lion-O was a douchebag?

    by FleshMachine


  • Feb. 15, 2011, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Teaser with temp track

    by CreamCheeseAlchemist

    I would say it errs on the side of serviceable when it should be exciting. My knowledge of the show gave me a sense of where they were going with this in terms of Lion-o but I strongly suspect it would leave most in the dark. And you've got cat people. They don't need to pick their clothes from banana republic. It's an alternate world. What matters is characters you can relate to, understand or get curious about.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 12:24 p.m. CST

    So Goofy!

    by hallmitchell

    Even in test footage please treat it with respect. Lion O didn't even look like a lion. Too human!

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Fan made?

    by hallmitchell

    I don't think so. Not with that level of background environment. Some hardware has gone into that.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 12:25 p.m. CST

    CGI movie.

    by hallmitchell

    If done properly could be very badass. That wasn't done properly.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 12:43 p.m. CST


    by cole

    He didn't have his glove and his sword is supposed to be short until he gives the Thundercats call...... Two things I doubt a studio would miss when trying to pitch a multi-million dollar deal. Does make me wanna see some new Thundercats though.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Loved Those Toys Though...

    by Grimmjow Jeagerjaques

    The CGI test footage was OK. The whole "you're my puppet bitch now part" was hilarious. That toy line is going to fucking sick. It looks like a lot of effort was made to make something really cool. Makes the wait for the new show all that much harder. Here's hoping for a trailer at Comic-Con.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 3:08 p.m. CST

    Parts of this look ok

    by Smack_Teddy

    better than i expected anyway

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Why did he lick him?

    by JackieJokeman

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:49 p.m. CST

    they eat them afterwards i guess

    by Smack_Teddy

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    or hope, because that would be pretty cool

    by Smack_Teddy

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Real-time game engine used by Digital Domain...

    by justmyluck what duped me. This is why I didn't think the trailer had the polish of a pro FX house. My comments on the editing and crappy script still stand.

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Harland Williams is Lion-O

    by Mostasteless

  • Feb. 15, 2011, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Thundercats, not yet....

    by Cursum Perficio

    please please please powers-that-be, don't give up on a thundercats movie....mix of live action and cgi (duh)'s who you'll cast: Taylor Lautner will be Lion-o, Patrick Wilson as Tygra, Vin Diesel can play Panthro, Scarlett Johansson and her breasticles for the role of Cheetara, Snarf will be voiced by Steve Carrell, Jaga played by Max Von Sydow, and up and coming children actors for wiley kit and wiley kat...and Gary Oldman as Mumm-ra....okay I figured it for you, now you have two years tops to make it....I'm waiting...still waiting.....also, it should be rated R or NC-17......and cancel that crap coming to tv, we don't need a new interpretation of the original correct version, you may go now

  • Feb. 16, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST

    voltron is actually much worse

    by Monolith_Jones

    Don't watch it now if you have fond memories of it. At least thundercats has that great credit sequence.