Jill and I wanted to really think the villains out a bit because as we all know a hero can only be as great as his/her villain. And other than some showstopper visuals these Thundercat villains are in need of a massive makeover.
MUMM-RA: Mumm-Ra is complicated for sure. He’s got to be a damn good actor, with an element of weird cause his name is Mumm-Ra, as he transforms from a sickly looking little mummy to a great big jacked one. Garrett Dilahunt has made a career out of playing warped individuals with an air for the theatrics from Deadwood to Justified this guy plays a range of interesting people. And need I mention Javier Bardem who I think would capture the creepiness of Mumm-Ra and allow for some intriguing character development. He has also played his share of menace in big budget faire like No Country For Old Men, Skyfall and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean. And he would certainly chew the scenery well. I put three on the list but I’m thinking that Jackman may be the best choice over all. In his pre-transformation you could CGI his body like Marvel did with Chris Evans in the first Captain America. Make him look weak and frail and wrapped in cloth. Then when he transforms we see Hugh Jackman in all his muscled glory. Paint him blue and call it a day. Of course you all saw him as Wolverine in X-Men Days of Future Past, I don't think I need to say more. I really think he would bring some dimensions to Mumm-Ra as he is only a stock evil villain most of the time on the show. Let’s give him some motivation; why is he like this and what does he want? On the show he wants the Eye of Thundera (Lion-O’s sword) but later he’s just interested in killing them. Kind of boring. So let's stick with his desire for more power and The Eye of Thundera. He is already immortal thanks to the Ancient Spirits of Evil, but they also rot out his body as time goes by except when he calls forth all of their power to transform to Mumm-Ra, the ever living. The Eye of Thundera continues to give Mumm-Ra life but also restores his body. Perhaps he’s also lonely and an extreme racist and is looking to wipe out the Thundercats so he can build Third-Earth in his image, with shocker - Earth-like humans! That would be an interesting twist.
VULTUREMAN: He’s the brains behind the Mutants. He is a chemist creating potions to use to his advantage. He is also a mechanic and builds gadgets and vehicles for his team. And most importantly he is the least loyal of the Mutants as he constantly betrays his cohorts for his own gain. He’s lanky and thin and has that giant beak as well as the giant wings. Zeljko Ivanek would be a somewhat older incarnation, but this guy embodies smart and creepy and something about Vultureman demands to be creepy. Whether his misogynist creep in Big Love to his creepy ass Magister on True Blood or his whack job in the Bourne Legacy. Ivanek would bring something terrifying to screen. Clifton Collins would bring a more affable kind of edge to Vultureman. He was great in Westworld as a smart ass smuggler/bandit type. He’s a solid, oftentimes colorful character actor, who’s played everything under the sun in movies and tv like Westworld, Alias, The Blacklist and Star Trek. However I like cocky Travis Fimmel from Vikings as the best choice for the clever Vultureman. He’s got charisma and he can sell the smarts and talk his way out of things which Vultureman seems to have to constantly do.
JACKALMAN: Jackalman is the jokester of the group and considered to be the thinnest and less warrior like. He is often called a coward mostly by Slithe who seems to disdain him. Jackalman also has a habit of switching loyalties whenever it suits him but not nearly to the extent of Vultureman. Domhnall Gleason has the right build and would make a very sadistic Jackalman due to his past villain playing in Star Wars Force Awakens, and clearly he’s no slouch to the big blockbuster. Leto would also be able to bring some humor, albeit the sadistic kind, due to his run as the Joker in Suicide Squad. It's easy to see him creating some warped version of Jackalman. However, given his studious devotion to his craft he’d probably complain about screen time for his performance, which would be a fair point given that Jackalman is very much a bit player. Jay Baruchel would obviously make Jackalman more of the comic relief which could be a good thing as he would also look hilarious dressed up in Jackal fur and face. Baruchel would be the best choice honestly, he's a good actor but he can be funny. Check out Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder and This is the End for references if you need them. Also he works even better in smaller roles than lead ones.
MONKIAN: Monkian is the dimbulb of the Mutants but ironically he’s also their best guy at collecting information. He’s also physically imposing and he has a network of spies all over Third-Earth. He too can be humorous but it’s not meant to be intentional due to his massive stupidity. He’s also violent and dangerous. Someone imposing would be best for him. Now all three of these guys are physically imposing. John Cena has found a niche with comic timing from the WWE and perfected in various films like Trainwreck and Daddy’s Home, and he’s now the voice of Ferdinand in the animated movie. Bautista also has the build but he’s even funnier with his take on Drax from Guardians 1 and 2, and steals the show. In fact the more I think about it, he’s probably the best choice here as he would bring something more to the role than just a dumb Monkey Man henchman. It would be intriguing to see him as more of a smooth operator who is brilliant at fighting and a master at building a network of spies. The guy would have his hands on every piece of information imaginable except he’s not smart enough to know what to do with it himself. The guy just can’t play chess.
SLITHE: Slithe, of all the mutants, is the least humanoid and more than likely will have to be a blend of CG and prosthetic. Slithe is the leader of the mutants. He has a sarcastic personality and he enjoys shitting on his fellow mutants, especially Jackalman whom he calls a coward. He’s sadistic and extremely arrogant which gets him in trouble but he is also clever as he is usually the one devising the plan to kill the Thundercats. I think Slithe should be jealous of the Thundercats’ wealth and prestige and he covets it, and really is only interested in humiliating them and taking it. He’s kind of like Fredo from the Godfather but with more smarts and a lot more darkness. Jackie Earle Haley is a character actor that makes slimy assholes and creeps interesting; from his fantastic turns in Little Children to Rorschach in Watchman, and his nasty heartless scrooge-like businessman character Quincannon on Preacher. However the big winner in my thinking is Andy Serkis he has made a career out of his motion capture characters from Gollum in Lord of the Rings to King Kong, and recently to Caesar from the Planet of the Apes movies. It may be too close to his Gollum character but I think he would be a fantastic choice for Slithe.
GRUNE THE DESTROYER: Grune is a Thundercat from the line of Kings like Lion-O but he tried to commit a Coup and Jaga had to bring him down. He sealed him away in a pod like Kirk did to Khan on Star Trek and blasted him into space. Only problem is Grune’s pod found it’s way to Third-Earth and created some problems for the Thundercats. So in our story, I think Mumm-Ra having his difficulties defeating the Thundercats on his own, decides to use his secret weapon and the one person who has been informing him about the Thundercats, Thundera and the Eye of Thundera - Grune. Mumm-Ra found the pod years before and now that the Thundercats are here and causing him trouble he uses the mind and body of Grune to do his dirty work. So the impression I’m getting from Grune is that he’s fucking crazy. He’s a mad despot that hates Jaga for locking him away in his pod and wants to exact his revenge on Lion-O since he can’t on Jaga anymore given that he’s dead. Grune might try to infiltrate the Thundercats at first, get them to turn on each other and create problems that way. Grune would have to be fairly unique and let’s not forget balls out crazy. Lance Reddick has always been a weird looking dude, he’s all mystery and he’s got that unique voice I could totally see him manipulating Lion-O and the Thundercats and then turning the fury on them when they least expect it. He played mystery man on Lost and his Broyles on Fringe was always strange and fascinating. He played another seemingly small role in John Wick as the hotel attendant but you wanted to know more about him. I’m really leaning more and more towards him for this role - He's not an imposing guy or a big guy but it would be different for sure. He would be a reverse bad guy Panthro, without the bulging pecs. Now Kristopher Hivju would be a different version than Reddick’s as he might embody more of the character from the show. He’s big and loud and doesn’t give a fuck about anybody and will lay waste to everything if he felt like it. Hivju played a similar role to perfection on Game of Thrones as Tormund Giantsbane. There is no mystery to this guy as he is pure beserker rage. But he’s intriguing and if you balance him out a bit he could be a bit more complex than just some angry jacked up Thundercat out for revenge. But my money is on Lance Reddick.
ANCIENT SPIRITS OF EVIL: Ok this one could be considered a stretch but after extensive research in the lore of Thundercats the Ancients Spirits is actually a sentient entity separate from Mumm-Ra. I had no idea this was so. Therefore it may be a good idea to put a voice to the evil spirits that embody this decayed form to roid out into Mumm-Ra the EVER LIVING! Personally I think Keith David would kill this in his sleep. The actor is supreme in his live action roles already but that distinctive voice has given depth to animated and live action roles alike. Most recently his turn as the voice of Solivar on the Flash was distinctive, his bit roles on Justice League and various Spider-Man animated shows are always welcomed. Of course his biggest and best voice over was HBO’s Spawn which is precisely why if you are going to have the Ancient Spirits of Evil speak, it’s gotta be Keith David and no one else.
LUNA, LEADER OF THE LUNATAKS: Ok so I’m going to go a different route with Luna as she is diminutive and looks sort of like an Orc with horns. I think we can keep the sadistic authoritarian personality but put her in a different body. Or we can say that she is using that fabulous magic belt of her Grandmother’s to make her bigger in stature and more alluring. She’s interesting as she is not really a fan of working with Mumm-Ra and in some ways she’s just as devious or more. She’s kind of like a female version of the Joker. Unpredictable and out to get what she wants for her fellow Lunataks. I chose two solid actresses for this and they both would bring different things to the role. Rooney Mara can play up the psychotic I believe. From her roles in Girl With a Dragon Tattoo to her dual identity role in Side Effects, she could really generate some crazy needed for this role. Natalie Dormer is beautiful and she can play master schemer just as well as anyone from her role in Game of Thrones. I really like her for this. Especially if you let her go crazy with it.
Directors for Thundercats: After all this wonderful casting for the Thundercats and the Mutants this whole thing won’t amount to a hill a beans if you don’t have a competent director who can balance the weird with the mainstream, the comedy with the drama, and make an effective sci-fi action fantasy film that would put all others to shame. Now to chose a few names here and I think they are all worthy in their own way but as they say in Highlander, “there can be only one!” First up is Duncan Jones, the son of the late David Bowie. He has still a ways to go to build his portfolio but he’s got some solid hits in there. Source Code is one of my favorites. It keeps the intrigue going throughout as it feels like a darker version of Groundhog’s Day. He got good performances from his leads Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga. He’s also got a fun little movie starring Sam Rockwell called Moon. His one wrinkle in all of this is Warcraft. Now I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment directly on it but it certainly tanked at the BO and probably put a dent in his rise. He may have some difficulties when the budget gets high which would prove difficult for a film like Thundercats, but he has an unswerving ability to get solid actors in weird situations where they shine. Up next is Peter Jackson, Mr. Lord of the Rings himself. What can I say, the guy would probably make the most realistic cat people on the planet with method actors in those roles. Buuut he did do those Hobbit movies which were not as good and he tends to make things overly long and overly serious. Could miss some of the fun. However we would need Freightners and Dead Alive Peter Jackson to inject some good old fashioned fun to it. Another solid get would be Patty Jenkins, who does fall into the Duncan Jones territory as she does not have a catalog of films to reference but she did just kick the summer’s ass with Wonder Woman. This proves she can handle character, story and a big budget in the heart of Summer and be successful which is honestly more than can be said about Duncan Jones. Now Matthew Vaughn, this guy is a stud, he hasn’t directed a bad movie in my book yet which is pretty stunning. Seriously from his first awesome film Layer Cake to Kingsman I’ve truly enjoyed all of his films. He can go hard R in Kingsman and Kick-Ass or he could make a solid actioner with the ability to world build in X-Men: First Class or a bit of romance and humor in Stardust. Seriously don’t knock the Stardust. Of anyone, he would probably be the most commercial, but he would also be able to knock out of the park the difficulties we discussed earlier. I’m going with Vaughn.