After Godzilla vs. Kong, Adam Wingard is riding high. The massive monster brawl has been a hit with critics and fans, delivering the escapist action we’ve been craving after a year in lockdown. And now that the (literal) blockbuster is finally out, the director is looking ahead to his next movie: ThunderCats.
The 1980s fantasy/action cartoon about warrior cat people battling an evil mummy and his beast men has long been a cherished property by fans. The series has been revived for TV twice, once in 2011’s anime-influenced ThunderCats and then the more comedic ThunderCats Roar last year. But a big screen adaptation has proved tricky to get right, with several planned projects ending up stuck in development hell.
In an interview with Uproxx, though, Wingard discussed why he’ll succeed where they failed, saying:
“I think it’s for the best that [previous versions of ThunderCats] didn’t happen. Because I think that even the script that I read that was developed, which was in a pretty good place, I’m not going to lie: I looked at it and I was like, ‘This is actually not too bad.’ I was not expecting a lot, so there’s a lot of good foundation within that. I’m going to do a lot of different stuff to it. But I think the thing was is that it was clearly designed to be shot live-action. And so, there are certain things that when you read it, it doesn’t feel totally ThunderCats because you can tell they were thinking of the limitations of live-action cinema.”
Wingard’s vision is for a heavily CGI movie incorporating live-action elements, potentially motion capture that would allow the actors to perform against a blue screen and then realize Third Earth digitally. He went on to explain why he doesn’t think simply using makeup and costumes will work, stating:
“Anytime I picture the ThunderCats live-action it’s basically just putting makeup on people. It just looks ridiculous. It just doesn’t seem right. Because everybody, always, they think, ‘Oh, the ThunderCats, they have to look like cats.’ But if you really look at the ThunderCats, it’s not like they’re conventionally looking like a cross between cats and humans, they’re different. They’re Thundercats. They’re bigger than that and stranger than that.”
I agree with him, but there’s one thing that gives me some doubts about this. Is it really a good idea to make another predominantly CGI movie based on a 1980s property featuring a bunch of human/cat hybrids? I mean, I saw Cats in the theater and I’m still not fully recovered yet. Going this route would inevitably draw comparisons to that colossal flop, so I hope he knows what he’s doing.
The latest is that Wingard and his writing partner Simon Barrett are midway through a new draft of their ThunderCats script, so it could be a while before this even goes into production. But whatever the case, after the success of Godzilla vs. Kong (and his excellent previous films like You’re Next and The Guest), I’m down for anything Adam Wingard has in store.