We've seen "ThunderCats" character designs, "ThunderCats" toys, and even a trailer for the upcoming reboot of the "ThunderCats" animated series, but one thing we haven't heard much about so far is the voice cast — specifically, the actors voicing key players like Lion-O and his grizzled mentor, Panthro.
When MTV News spoke with "The Cleveland Show" cast member Kevin Michael Richardson during a recent Fox press event, the accomplished voice actor ran through a list of some of his upcoming projects and one particular title caught our ear: "ThunderCats." Asked about the project, the actor revealed that he's voicing the nunchuk-wielding veteran, Panthro, and dropped the name of the actor voicing Lion-O, too.
"I love Panthro, so to play him, yeah I'm very very happy," Richardson told MTV News. "The state of the art animation they have today is... That's exactly what it is — state of the art."
It's worth noting up front that Richardson seemed a little uncertain of some elements related to the new "ThunderCats" series, as he mentions that the show will debut "next Fall" instead of its current 2011 premiere. So none of this is officially official until we get word from Warner Bros.
While he couldn't reveal the full cast of actors voicing characters in the series, he did drop one big casting note: the actor voicing Lion-O.
"The cast is fantastic," he said. "Will Friedle as Lion-O and some other people who I want to keep anonymous at the moment. It's up to the times, it's a lot cooler, it's going to move a little faster, and the special effects and the direction and the acting are just superb."
Probably best known to cartoon fans as the voice of "Batman Beyond" hero Terry McGinnis, actor Will Friedle rose to fame in the live-action television world on "Boy Meets World," playing elder brother Eric Matthews. Friedle also provided the voice of Jaime Reyes, a.k.a. Blue Beetle, on the animated series "Batman: The Brave and the Bold."
Of course, there's been no official word on the casting, so Richardson could be referring to another actor entirely — but given Friedle's pre-existing connection with Warner Bros. projects, it makes sense that he'd be chosen for the role.
If everything goes through as indicated here, Richardson and Friedle will join original Lion-O voice actor Larry Kenney on the "ThunderCats" cast. Kenney previously revealed that he'll provide the voice for Lion-O's father, Claudius.
In the end, Richardson admitted that even he was a little skeptical when plans were announced for a reboot of the beloved 1980s "ThunderCats" cartoon. The time he's spent on the project so far has erased those worries, though.
"I must tell you, I love the original, and if it ain't broke don't fix it," he said. "But from what I've worked on already, I'm very impressed."
"My favorite part is the 'Thunder... Thunder... THUNDER!" he said, mimicking the iconic "ThunderCats" call to arms.
Calls to Warner Bros. Animation and Will Friedle's reps for comment and/or confirmation were not returned at press time.
Keep it locked to MTV Splash Page for more "ThunderCats" news, interviews, and exclusives as we get closer to the series premiere!