Hot off Godzilla vs. Kong, which hits U.S. theaters and HBO Max this week, Adam Wingard has signed on to direct a Thundercats movie for Warner Bros., thus fulfilling a childhood dream.
Wingard is currently working on the script with his longtime collaborator Simon Barrett, with whom he worked on You’re Next and The Guest. The film will be a combination of CGS and animation, and it will be produced by Rideback’s Dan Lin and Vertigo’s Roy Lee, who also produced Wingard‘s Death Note adaptation.
Deadline broke the news following a wide-ranging interview with Wingard, during which he confessed to writing a 272-page screenplay by hand during his sophomore year of high school in Alabama.
“Thundercats is a dream project for me. 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,” said Wingard, who admitted he earned terrible grades that year. He also recalled being made fun of by classmates as he explained his idea for a Thundercats movie.
“I thought, am I crazy for obsessing over this, thinking it’s something you can just do? As it turns out, when you’re a kid in Alabama with no resources or connections to filmmaking, it is impossible to make a Thundercats film. But flash forward, 20 years later and here we are.”
Wingard explained that as he was wrapping Godzilla vs. Kong, he heard there was a Thundercats script out there by David Coggeshall and that it happened to be set up with his Death Note producers. He asked them if Lin and Lee if he and Barrett could rewrite the script, and they ultimately relented.
“This is a huge passion thing for me. Nobody on this planet knows or has thought as much about Thundercats as I have. They gave me the reins. I saw this as an opportunity to do a new type of fantasy sci-fi spectacle film that people have never seen before. It’s got a rich mythology; the characters are fantastic. The colors. I want to do a Thundercats film that takes you back to that ‘80s aesthetic. I don’t want to reinvent the way they look; I want them to look like Thundercats. I don’t want to do it live-action, either. I don’t want it to look like Cats, I don’t want those kinds of issues, no disrespect to that director whom I don’t mean to throw under the bus any more than everyone else has. I want to do a movie you’ve never seen before. A hybrid CGI film that has a hyperreal look and somehow bridges the gap between cartoon and CGI. That’s the starting point, and Simon Barrett and I are getting into the script now.”
I’m a big believer in the filmmaking team of Wingard and Barrett, and loved their early genre work, so here’s hoping they can translate that special sauce to this property, which I know means a lot to many people. I’ve never seen an episode of the series, but it follows an elite group of cat-like humanoid aliens known as the Thundercats who are charged with saving the inhabitants of the dying planet Dundera. It’s based on the animated TV series that ran from 1985-89 and spawned its own comic book, among other iterations.
Meanwhile, Godzilla vs Kong has already pulled in more than $123 million overseas, and though Wingard was initially irked by WarnerMedia‘s surprise decision to premiere its entire slate on HBO Max the same day as theaters, he has since come around on the idea, which is why he’s back in business with Warner Bros. on Thundercats.