Ever since we first got our hands on the new ThunderCats designs and the new trailer we've been just a little bit obsessed with finding out what we can about the return of one of our all-time favorite animated series! We've thoroughly analyzed the characters and the trailer over the past few weeks, so did you expect we'd do no less with the cast? With Friday's news that Emmanuelle Chriqui, best known as E's fiancée on HBO's Entourage, will be voicing Cheetara (via Collider) we now know the majority of the actors who will bring this generation's ThunderCats to life!
Earlier in the week MTV's Splashpage got wind that Panthro and Lion-O will be voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson and Will Friedle, respectively, during a FOX press event. And we've known for some time that the original Lion-O, Larry Kenney, will voice Lion-O's father Claudus in the new series and that Matthew Mercer will play Tygra thanks to Twitter and ThunderCatsLair.org.
So let's take a closer look at the cast and how they stack up:
Will Friedle as Lion-O
We'll start with the future Lord himself. Will Friedle has well over 20 years experience in VO work, and is best known for his starring role as the future Batman, Terry McGinnis, on Batman Beyond where he worked alongside the likes of Kevin Conroy, Cree Summer, and Michael Rosenbaum. He's worked on dozens of animated series and video games and provided the voice of the young Blue Beetle on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, so he's got the 'young hero just coming into his own' thing pretty down pat. Larry Kenney really defined the character in the original series so it will be tough to hear a new voice commanding "Sword of Omens, give me Sight Beyond Sight" but we're pretty confident Will is gonna nail it.
Larry Kenney as Claudus
Which segues nicely to Kenny's new role in the series as Claudus, Lion-O's father. This is just perfect casting. 25 years since the original series, Kenney's voice will bring a familiar feel to the series for old fans and he should slip seamlessly into his new part. We expect Kenney to bring the same commanding presence he did in the 80's, only this time with an air of wisdom and majesty.
Emmanuelle Chriqui as Cheetara
Emmanuelle Chriqui is the biggest question mark in the announced cast. She has almost no VO experience with the exception of a couple of cameos on Robot Chicken and American Dad, though she does have a meaty role in the upcoming Tron: Uprising animated series opposite Elijah Wood and Mandy Moore. She's portrayed a strong, confident female on Entourage, and we think she'll bring that same spirit to the ThunderCat speedster.
Kevin Michael Richardson as Panthro
Kevin Michael Richardson's resume reads like an encyclopedia of the best animated series of the past 15 years. He's had roles on Harvey Birdman, the Powerpuff Girls, Invader Zim, Voltron, Scooby Doo, Batman Beyond, Spawn, Pinky and the Brain, Star Wars Clone Wars, Justice League, Samurai Jack, Family Guy, Transformers, Afro Samurai, Wolverine and the X-Men, Foster's, The Boondocks, Ben 10, and the Simpsons to name just a few. His most recent work includes voicing J'onn J'onzz on Young Justice, Cleveland Junior on the Cleveland Show, and Kilowog in the Green Lantern video game. Panthro should be another day at the office for an actor this versatile with such incredible experience.
Matthew Mercer as Tygra
Matthew Mercer announced to his Twitter followers back in September of last year that he'd be portraying the new Tygra. While Matthew doesn't seem to have a substantial leading role to point to he does have an enormous amount of VO work in video games, including triple-A titles such as World of Warcraft, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Metal Gear Solid, and Super Street Fighter IV. His animation work includes roles on anime mega-hits Cowboy Bebop and Trigun, so he's definitely coming in with some solid cred.
Jim Meskimen as ???
Jim Meskimen is listed as a cast member on IMDB, but we haven't heard who he's playing. Jaga? Grune? Either is possible. What interests us most about Jim, however, is that he was a secondary charater designer on all 125 episodes of the original series, and didn't take to voice acting until later in his career. But for the past decade he's been racking up credits on both video games and animated series including recent work on G.I. Joe Renegades, Epic Mickey, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, CoD Black Ops, and The Boondocks. We're excited to find out who he's playing in the new series, be it a lead or a variety of secondary characters. As a character designer he knows from the heart what goes into the final design of any new character and now has the voice acting chops to truly bring them to life.
That rounds out the cast as we know it as of today. Hopefully we learn who will be playing Jaga, Grune, Mumm-Ra, Slithe, Wily Kit, Kat, and the rest of 'Cats over the coming weeks!