Just when I thought Wildstorm gave Snarf the worst treatment. Seriously, read Hammerhand’s Revenge sometime. It’s not a good Thundercats story, but it’s a fair story in general.
Information is out now on the new version of Thundercats. Larry Kenney, the original voice of Lion-O, will play his father Claudius. (Considering in the original he dies rather quick that’s only a mild shout-out.) I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of the new look of the characters.
They look pretty good, even if Lion-O looks a bit younger. I hope I’m wrong but from this image it does look like everyone but Panthro are in their teens. I do notice that the Wilykat and Wilykit are missing. This concerns me as well. But what about loyal Snarf? Surely, he’s getting a cool make-over. Even the Thundertank is getting an upgrade.
I don’t think it’s better than the new tank, but it’s not worse, just different. Wait, what’s that in the corner?
Seriously? That’s the new Snarf?
Yes folks, and it only gets worse for the little guy. In an interview with MTV’s Splash Page, producer Michael Jelenic gave us the lowdown on the new series.
“We have some great artists [on ‘Thundercats’],” said Jelenic. “We’re using a very famous Japanese animation studio, Studio4C, which did ‘The Animatrix.’ They’re going to have their signature stuff on it. It’s going to be pretty epic.”
The Animatrix was done by a few different groups as I recall, so I wonder which segment or segments they did? Still, it’s been written for American audiences (the original also used a Japanese animation studio), so what’s the story about?
“One thing is that I tried to simplify the mythology a little bit,” he said. “It’s a pretty complicated backstory that borrows from a lot of other sci-fi stuff, like Superman and Star Wars. In developing this, I wanted it to be a little more simple. In the other version, there’s something like three different planets involved, and they all converge onto one planet, and nobody’s really connected. I just wanted to bring that all together.”
“It’s reimagined in that way, but at the same time, we’re going to see the characters that we love,” he promised.
So he’s toning down the science fiction angles? How is that going to work? The original story was about a group of refuges from a dying planet trying to survive on a strange, new world. It was only later that Thundera was restored and the Thundercats divided their attention between their homeworld and Third Earth. What’s getting chopped out? No more Ro-Bear Berbils? No Warrior Maidens? What else are we losing? There’s no mention of Wilykat and Wilykit in the interview, which makes me wish I had a chance to talk to him. However, there is Snarf.
“Everyone always wants to know about Snarf,” he laughed. “He will be in it, and he will not talk. Don’t worry.”
“He won’t be going, ‘Lion-O, why don’t you do this?'” said Jelenic, imitating the character’s familiar whine. “We just having him say, ‘Snarf! Snarf!’ That’s a way to get him in the show without annoying every single person who hates him. It’s funny, because people are always like, ‘I hate Snarf! Wait. you’re not going to put him in? That’s terrible!'”
Wow, way to NOT pay attention. Snarf was a complainer at first. He was supposed to be young Lion-O’s caretaker and when the Lord of the Thundercats was artificially aged (without going too far into backstory), Snarf was out of a job. (At least after Lion-O’s maturity finally caught up enough with his physical age.)
However, Snarf would later find a use to the team, and this is what certain people (Wildstorm writers!) seem to forget. He became the cook. He acted almost as ambassador to the Third Earth natives. He once RESCUED ALL THE THUNDERCATS FROM MUMM-RA’S FORTRESS JUST BY BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ANIMALS! And if you saw the episode, it was totally believable! He didn’t just complain all the time! There’s even a comment on Snarf in the episode summary article I just linked to. (Emphasis mine.)
The character of Snarf is a subject of debate amongst fans of ThunderCats and of 1980s animation in general. Many fans feel that Snarf as a character weakened the integrity of the action-adventure show by being present as a “bumbling sidekick” type character, played for comic relief and as such an annoying distraction. However, whilst these arguments bear an element of validity, the most notable thing about Snarf is that he is actually a break from the norm, in the sense that many diminutive characters that appear in 1980s animation are actually placed there as the “kid character”, a foil through which the series’ hero(es) can espouse that particular episode’s moral lesson, the character of Orko from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe being one such example. Where Snarf is a deviation from this is that, in his instance, the roles are reversed, with Snarf many times playing the wise elder to the impetuous young Lion-O, and whilst Snarf can appear slightly cowardly, this tends to stem from an awareness of his physical weakness rather than through actual cowardice, with Snarf’s bravery in battle showcased several times throughout the series. As such, these character traits make an episode like “Snarf Takes Up the Challenge” feel very credible, and a natural realisation of character development employed throughout the series.
Now, as one commenter stated elsewhere, he’s becoming Pikachu, just saying his name and doing what for the team? For the record, Jelenic, I never hated Snarf because he grew out of the role of “mascot” and became a real character. Now you’re going to de-evolve that character into a pet? The show itself may not suck, but it doesn’t sound like the spirit of the original is going to be there.
This is why I hate re-imaginings! Snarf deserves better. And where ARE the Thunderkittens?
- EXCLUSIVE: ‘Thundercats’ Producer On Redesigning The Cast, Absent Characters, Tygra’s Whip, More… (splashpage.mtv.com)
- High Resolution Images of the New THUNDERCATS Toys; Plus Our First Look at the New Snarf (collider.com)
OK, the first article claims that we will see Wilykat & Wilykit, and also takes a shot at Tygra. Will I have to talk about that in the future? The second is where I got the images from.