Warner Brothers television debuted the new Thundercats animation at WonderCon, with the series creators discussing the new show. Larry Kenney, the original voice of Lion-O, was also there to represent the legacy, and he’s now playing Claudus, Lion-O’s father. I got to ask him some questions in the press room before the WonderCon panel.
CraveOnline: When did you get to see the art they were doing for the new show?
Larry Kenney: Only recently. I’ll go back to the beginning of my involvement. I think it was probably in April about a year ago that my agent called with news of a new series and that I had been invited to be part of it. Then I think it was a month or so later when I did the first episode. I did it from a studio in New York by myself over what we call ISDN line. Then the next two episodes, they flew me out to Burbank, Warner Brothers ranch and I did the next two episodes there. It’s been about a year since I first knew we were going to do it.
CraveOnline: And what do you think of the new look?
Larry Kenney: It looks fantastic. Of course it’s much more contemporary. I guess the word edgier would describe it a little bit. I know that really doesn’t tell people a lot but as I’ve told people who have asked me, usually fans of the original show, who are concerned if they’re going to like it, I think you guys all know a lot of projects from the mid-‘80s have been redone in various forms. Some of the fans of the original have not been terribly happy with some of them. It’s understandable that when there’s something from your childhood that you were a big fan of and you hear that somebody now is going to come along and remake it, it’s almost like your stuff they’re messing with. “Well, they better not mess it up.” When I was a kid, Looney Tunes and Warner Brothers cartoons were big and I remember some years back when they said they were going to remake Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny and all that, I said, “No, what’s the point of doing that? I hope they don’t screw it up.” So that’s what people are thinking now. Well, I can tell them they’re going to love the new animation. Fans of the old show are going to love it. The animation looks very good, it’s contemporary and the actors are fantastic. The most important thing is that the writers are staying true to the heart of the show, the code of Thundera, what the show was all about: Truth, justice, loyalty and honor. While it’s going to look a little different, you’re going to recognize the characters. When you see Panthro on screen, you’re going to know it’s Panthro. It’s not going to be like, “Well, who’s that supposed to be?”
CraveOnline: Where did you stand on Snarf?
Larry Kenney: [Laughs] Every change I could. You mean the “annoying” question? It’s funny, people on the internet are in different camps. Some say he’s too annoying or whatever. He was supposed to be kind of annoying. He was supposed to be that little voice of Lion-O’s conscience because when Lion-O, being a young man as he was, would slack off a little bit, Snarf’s job was to be his mentor and say, “Now Lion-O, you shouldn’t do that?” So he was a little annoying. Now from what I have read and from what the Warner Brothers people have told me, that Snarf will be less annoying and we’ll just have to wait and see, but he will be there.
CraveOnline: Have you met the new voice of Lion-O?
Larry Kenney: I have not and I was hoping I’d meet them here. I think a couple of them were going to come and something happened. They tell me just minutes ago that I will get to meet them maybe in San Diego because I can’t wait to meet them.
CraveOnline: Have you heard their recordings?
Larry Kenney: I’ve only heard the new Lion-O. He’s fantastic, Will Friedle. I have not met him but I’ve heard maybe a minute and a half of his and I’ve heard the Kit and the Kat. When I was out in L.A. to record my lines, they had already recorded some of theirs, only the first couple episodes and they played me just what they had recorded so far. They sounded great. So I hope to meet them soon, before I die.
CraveOnline: Have you ever done a WonderCon panel before?
Larry Kenney: No, this is my first time. I’ve done lots of Comic-Cons. Mostly I just sit there all weekend and sign autographs, so this is great. It’s my first chance to talk with people like you and I can’t wait to do the panel. Sometimes we do question and answer periods which I guess is what this is going to be so I have done something like this before but this is my first time in San Francisco. You can tell I’m a little raspy and gravely because I’ve just done 25 of these, but it’s fun though. I like it.