Anthony Mackie Wants To Play Panthro In ThunderCats Movie

A ThunderCats movie is something fans have been clamoring for since the original series ended in 1989, and now The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie is throwing his hat into the ring to play one of the series' most popular characters. During an appearance at Fan Expo New Orleans last weekend, Mackie told fans that he would love to play Panthro in a prospective ThunderCats adaptation. The comic, which ran from 1985 until 1999 and then had a 2011 revival, centers a group of cat-like humanoid aliens from the planet Thundera who flee their dying world, and then have ot make an emergency landing on Earth after being attacked by a group of mutants from the planet Plun-Darr.

The series has more than a passing resemblance to the basic plot of Transformers, with the heroic aliens making friends with humanity while their nemeses see Earth's natives as an obstacle to obliterating their foes. It also, inevitably, drew comparisons to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, with a number of animal-like characters and a heroic leader who wields a magical sword. 

"I pre-existed the whole Pokemon, anime [craze]," Mackie told an audience during his spotlight panel. "I wasn't into comic books, any of that stuff. So I was a big ThunderCats fan. My goal, when they make the ThunderCats movie, is that I want to be the blue dude. What's his name? Panthro! That's what I want to be when I grow up. If Kelsey Grammer can be Beast, I want to be Panthro. Both of us can be blue."

You can see him discussing it below.

While the ThunderCats characters were aliens with animal-like features, Panthro has traditionally been voiced by Black actors. Earle Hyman, also known for his work on The Cosby Show and on stage, voiced the character in the original iteration. The 2011 version starred Kevin Michael Richardson as Panthro.

In March of 2021, news broke that Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard would direct a ThunderCats movie for producer Michael Bay. The animated series, originally developed by Rankin-Bass, will reportedly serve as a "jumping-off point" for the movie, but the new adaptation will forge its own path.

"ThunderCats is a dream project for me," WIngard said at the time. "When I was in high school, I was obsessed with it. You'd think at that point, I was a little too old, that my years of obsession with ThunderCats would be when I was six years old. My real obsession with ThunderCats came in high school, the pinnacle of me deciding I wanted to be a filmmaker, and pushing in that direction…I actually spent most of my 10th grade year, I completely blew it. I didn't pay attention in school, made terrible grades. And the reason? I was writing my ThunderCats screenplay through my entire tenth grade year. And I was hand writing it. The screenplay itself ended up being 272 pages long. I still have it."

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Briefly, rumors circulated that Lion-O would be played by Ryan Reynolds, but those rumors were quickly squashed. One person who is involved is writer Simon Barrett, who is bullish about the movie's potential.

"I will say this, our ThunderCats adaptation is going to be really, really cool. I don't think people are at all prepared for how long Adam Wingard has spent thinking about ThunderCats," Barrett recently told ComicBook.com. "They are not ready for Adam's ThunderCats movie. It is going to destroy."