A reboot of the popular '90s animated series SWAT Kats is in the works from the show's creators. Christian and Yvon Tremblay are collaborating with India's Toonz Media Group for SWAT-KATS Revolution. The new series is billed as being for kids in the age range of 5-11 years old featuring new characters fighting alongside our heroes Razor and T-Bone. KidScreen reports SWAT-KATS Revolution is already in pre-production for global distribution through Toonz. The company has a new international linear kids channel to help air its back catalog of content.
Hanna-Barbera Cartoons produced the original SWAT Kats animated series, which ran for two seasons from 1993-1994. Razor and T-Bone are residents of Megakat City, where they use their junkyard as a base of operations. They fight crime in a fighter jet, which will also get a redesign in SWAT-KATS Revolution.
Mukund Cairae, the former Zee Entertainment Enterprises executive, was hired as president of Toonz Media Networks last year. Cairae is responsible for running the new international linear kids channel. The Toonz Media Networks president cites a competitive advantage since companies like Disney and ViacomCBS are closing their linear networks in favor of focusing on streaming services. The opening launches will come in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the MENA region.
"We're bringing our shows wherever there's a content gulf, and with animation, which travels easily internationally and crosses cultural barriers, there's a lot of potential for us to grow," Cairae said.
SWAT Kats has the distinction of being the top animated syndicated show in 1994. Even with its immense popularity, Ted Turner allegedly wanted to tone down the amount of violence in the animated shows that aired on TBS, leading to SWAT Kats' cancellation.
"We have more cartoons than anybody: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, the Smurfs, Scooby-Doo. They're nonviolent. We don't have to worry that we're encouraging kids to kill each other – like some of the other cartoon programs do," Turner said at 1995's Variety/Wertheim Schroder Big Picture Media Conference in New York City.
However, the Tremblay Brothers said Turner's statements were misunderstood, and he was referring to more adult-oriented animated shows like Beavis & Butthead. Executives at Hanna-Barbera reportedly took the statements as a strict "anti-violence" policy. A revival was in the works back in 2015 via a Kickstarter campaign. Christian Tremblay said Warner Bros. had an interest in seeing SWAT Kats return on the Boomerang network, but it never moved far enough of the food chain to get an official greenlight.
"It has been a long time coming to provide an update on Swat-Kats Revolution, we sincerely apologize. I hope this update will bring you comfort that the efforts to bring back SK is very much alive and we are actively pushing to make it happen...For us the challenge is not IF a new series will be produced, but WHEN will it be done...," Christian Tremblay said in a 2020 Kickstarter update. "So we encountered roadblocks after roadblocks: Hulu passed, Netflix passed, Warner Bros passed. Amazon was not really the place for it and changed its animated content approach. A fairly important movie producer wanted to bring Swat-Kats to Netflix, where he has an output deal, but ultimately, the deal did not make sense for us. I can't count the number of potential business investors we met, trips we did, meetings we held. There have been many opportunities we believed were very promising (with some very important mini Major studios, among others), and we hold on to those opportunities to bring some good news, only to fall apart. Some additional difficulties were unexpected, such as the movie CATS! (Anthropomorphic cats), and a major box office disaster, ridiculed by everyone, let's just say that we had to let the dust clear on this one before we could even approach anyone in the industry, so they could not make any types of similarities between the two properties...this is a Hollywood mindset; when something bombs at the box office it becomes radioactive...We are more motivated than ever before. We have seen and encountered roadblocks in the past but we are resilient. It's not the 100's of NO that count, its the one Yes that allows everything to fall into place. We will make SK happen, no matter how hard or how long it takes."
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