Thundercats was one of the most popular animated series of the 1980s. When it first hit television screens in 1985 it introduced children to a futuristic world where monsters and aliens roamed. There were 130 episodes spread over four series; it was actually due to be broadcast from 1982 but behind the scene problems delayed things for three years. It also came along with a set of action figures that were almost as popular as the TV series; these figures followed closely what was happening in the TV show.

LJN was the toy company charged with producing the Thundercats action figures. Every character from the show was represented with a five inch toy. By the time this line had reached its end there were 37 different toys available. Some of the characters who ended up in the toy range only had minor parts in the television series and the bad guys were represented along with the Thundercats. Each figure came with special battle-matic abilities that allowed them to perform fighting actions.This would most usually involve pressing a button and the figure would move its arm.

As well as the action figures LJN also produced plenty of accessories. The most important of these was the Cat’s lair; this was where the figure could retire to when they weren’t busy fighting the bad guys. Many of the other vehicles seen in the Thundercats TV series were also reproduced as toys.

LJN finished producing new Thundercats action figures in 1987. There had been plans for a final set of figures; these appeared in the LJN catalogue but were never put on the market. In 2009 a company called Hard Hero was given permission to reproduce the Thundercats so it will be interesting to see if they can manage to recreate a bit of a revival.

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Storyline

The Thudercats are an alien race that looks like a mix between humans and cats. They come from the planet Thundera, but this planet is dying. The rulers know that they need to escape so they gather some of the most important Thundera citizens and send them off in spaceships in search of a new home; as they are leaving Thundera explodes.

The fleeing spaceships are spotted by the Mutants of Plun Darr; these are the sworn enemies of the inhabitants of Thundera. The mutants decide to attack the spaceships and destroy them all except for one ship; this ship is spared because the mutants believe it contains the Sword of Omens. This weapon is very valuable to the mutants because it contains the Eye of Thundera and is extremely powerful. The one ship and its inhabitants are allowed to escape; on board is the Lord of Thundercats.

Eventually the spacecraft makes it safely to the Third Earth a few years later. The Thundercats set about creating a Cat’s Lair; they receive help from some of the friendly locals on the Third Earth. They have only just started settling into their new home when they are discovered once again by the Mutants of Plun Darr. They do battle but this draws the attention of a sleeping demon called Mumm-Raa. He realizes the power of the Eye of Thundera and immediately sides with the mutants in a quest to obtain the sword. The Thundercat series follows the attempts of the mutants and Mumm-Raw to get the sword and the Thundercats attempts to stop them.

The Good Guys

Here are some of the most important good guys in Thundercats.

Lion-O is the leader of the Thundercats and the holder of the Sword of Omens. He originally comes from Thundera but when his planet is destroyed he flees with some of his fellow Thunderians to the Third Earth. His sword gives him a lot of power because it contains the Eye of Thundera; this powerful force is desired by his enemies the Mutants of Plun Darr and the evil Mumm-Raw. He and his fellow exiles must protect the power from ever falling into the hands of their enemies.

Tygra is Lion-O’s second in command and the person he turns to when he needs advice. Tygra is a fantastic scientist and architect and it was him who designed the Cat’s Lair and other important buildings on Third Earth. He also has special mental paranormal powers that sometimes come in useful.

Cheetara is the main female hero in the Thundercats. She has special intuition that allows her to sniff out when trouble is on the way. As well as having the ability to use her sixth sense she can also run incredibly fast, and there are few who can beat her when she is fighting with her bo staff. She is secretely in love with Lion-O.

Jaga is the oldest member of the Thundercats who was once a great warrior but is now relied on more for his wisdom. He died on the trip to Third Earth and can now only appear in Spirit form. He occasionally appears when Lion-O needs some important advice.

Panthro is the most experienced member of the group and is also responsible for piloting their craft. He is the person who takes the plans developed by Tygra and actually turns them into something concrete.

Snarf looks like a cat and also comes from the planet Thundera; he is a different species than the Thundercats. He has been looking after Lion-O since all his life and continues to do this on Thundera.

The Bad Guys

One of the main villains in Thundercats is Mumm-Ra who looks like a mummy; although he can sometimes change his form. He is the most evil force on the Third Earth and is immortal. This demon sorcerer has a lot of magical power which has been given to him by ancient evil spirits. In order to stay powerful Mumm-Ra must spend a lot of time sleeping in a stone sarcophagus. His major weakness is that he can’t stand to see his own image. When he found out that the Thundercats had landed on the Third Earth he joined forces with the Mutants of Plun-Darr to get his hands on the Eye of Thundera which is in their possession.

The Mutants of Plun-Darr have been enemies of the Thundercats for centuries. It was they who were responsible for the destruction of the Thundercat’s home planet Thundera. The Mutants have followed the Thunderians to Third Earth because they also want to get their hands on the Eye of Thundera. They crashed their spacecraft on the planet and are now forced to follow the orders of Mumm-Ra.

Lunataks want to take over Third Earth and they dislike Mumm-Ra as much as they hate the Thundercats. Like the mutants, they also come from the planet of Plun-Darr and had once been imprisoned by Mumm-Ra when they went against him. He allowed them to be free on condition that they help him defeat the Thundercats; they broke the deal and continue their mission to take over Third Earth.

Hammerhead controls a gang of pirates known as the Beserkers. Hammerhead was once fully under the power of Mumm-Ra, but he managed to break the spell. He now only takes care of his own interests. All the members of the Beserkers have cybernetic bodies that make them very powerful.