LOS ANGELES — The new reboot of beloved 80s cartoon Thundercats was thrown into limbo on Monday after one of its stars, Buddy the Cat, accused studio executives of lying to him about his role.
Thundercats follows a group of “catlike humanoid aliens” who flee their dying home world, Thundera, to settle on a new planet called Third Earth. Led by the heroic Lion-O, the Thundercats encounter a dire threat on their new world — a powerful sorcerer named Mumm-Ra who commands the magic of the Ancient Spirits of Evil.
Buddy the Cat inked the deal believing he was to star as the gallant, brave and muscular hero Lion-O, his agents said. but studio executives said they’d always planned for Buddy to play the doughy and cowardly Snarf, who often serves as comic relief.
“Buddy is a leading man, er, cat,” his principle agent, Ari Gold, said. “When the producers said they loved him for the role, Buddy had no reason to believe they envisioned him as anyone other than Lion-O.”
But the studio and production team had always intended for the gray tabby cat to play Snarf, showrunner Trey Parker said.
“Buddy is the quintessential Snarf: An amusing little butterball whose silly antics bring a touch of humor to the show,” Parker said. “We needed someone believably heroic go play Lion-O, someone who is powerful and ripped. That’s why we went with Maru, the famous Youtube cat.”
Fan reaction was swift and condemnatory.
“How dare you cast anyone other than Buddy to play Lion-O, or suggest he’s not muscular and ripped enough for the role,” one angry fan said in a voicemail. “I’m totally ripp…I mean, Buddy is totally ripped! He IS Lion-O.”
Production on the new series remained stalled, with Buddy refusing to exit his trailer until the casting kerfuffle has been resolved.
“Buddy has indicated he’d compromise,” Gold said. “He’s willing to play the role of Tygra, if the producers are willing to show flexibility by making Tygra the leader of the Thundercats. The box is in their court.”