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Thundercats Characters – Thundercat Names from the Original Cartoon and Toys

With the constant stream of reboots coming out every year, it’s no wonder that Cartoon Network snatched the nostalgic ThunderCats up for their newest 2019 cartoon Lion-O and the ThunderCats. In the show, Lion-O and his fellow ThunderCats must recover from a sudden escape from their homeworld Thundera on the tumultuous land of Third Earth. As the ThunderCats try to make a new home on this strange land, Lion-O must lead his people through a battle with Mumm-Ra, the tyrannical ruler of Third Earth who refuses to let any beings challenge his reign.

This classic tale of alien expatriates finding a new home has been rebooted once before in 2011, but that series was unfortunately canceled after a single season. All in all, since the original 1985 ThunderCats run, the Cats’ have had little screen time. Thus, while the image of Lion-O’s wind tousled red hair and matching red-eyed sword persists at the front of pop culture’s mind, characters like Ratar-O and Jaga have been sidelined by the sands of time.

To remind us of the lessons of friendship, respect, and justice that all the ThunderCats first taught us long ago, here’s a complete list of ThunderCats characters.

The Protagonists


ThunderCats Lion-O holding a sword
Photo credit: Flickr.com Nuno de Azevedo https://www.flickr.com/photos/exkarravelho/2675461269


The headstrong and childishly fearless Lord of the ThunderCats Characters, Lion-O is the main character of the series. During the escape flight from Thundera to Third Earth Lion-O’s suspension capsule didn’t freeze the aging of his body, making it so that he awoke as a twelve-year-old in a grown lion man’s body. Because of this, Lion-O has much to learn about being a leader over the course of the series. Viewers watched as he mentally grew from a brash yet cunning prince into a wise and realized leader through the help of his friends, the guidance of his mentors, and the constant battles he fought on Third Earth. This character growth was one that many children watching the series could aspire and relate to, and his wicked cool Sword of Omens, Eye of Thundera, and Claw Shield certainly had viewers shouting, “Whiskers!” whenever they saw him on screen.


Also known as Jaga the Wise, Jaga the jaguar is Lion-O’s most trusted mentor. Having been a Lord of the ThunderCats Characters and in possession of the Sword of Omens back in his youth, Jaga was the one who helped the royalty of Thundera escape the planet’s destruction by sacrificing himself to pilot the spaceship while everyone slept in their suspension capsules. He was obviously successful in his task but died of old age before the others awoke. However, Jaga is still present throughout the rest of the series as a ghost first only visible to Lion-O, ready to dispense advice and knowledge as the young Lion-O struggled to live up to his potential as Lord of the ThunderCats.


ThunderCat Cheetera holding a staff
Photo credit: Flickr.com SamHeartsArt https://www.flickr.com/photos/samheartsart/7409452090/in/album-72157630211256914/


Cheetara is one of the most iconic female cartoon characters from the ’80s for good reason. With super speed clocking in at 120 MPH, the mystic future-seeing abilities of her Sixth Sense, and her handy dandy bo staff that could also shoot energy beams, Cheetara is the full package warrior when she’s not being the general voice of reason within the ThunderCats Characters. In the original series her powers are capped, such as her super-speed only being sustained for short periods and her Sixth Sense showing her visions that leave her physically exhausted for hours after the fact. However, as the series progresses her abilities grow stronger and stronger, paralleling Lion-O’s growth and also providing a more than respectable role model for any viewer watching the show.


Thundercat Tygra action figure
Photo credit: Flickr.com SamHeartsArt https://www.flickr.com/photos/samheartsart/7409447338/in/album-72157630211256914/


Level-headed, quiet, and mentally focused, Tygra is both the polar opposite of Lion-O and his second in command. Despite their differences, Lion-O often turns to Tygra for counsel on the show and for good reason. Tygra is also the ThunderCat’s architect and scientist who designed all of their buildings and structures on Third Earth. He also has the ability of mind-power, which allows him to project realistic illusions into other people’s minds, although it also physically strenuous on him. Other than his mind-power, Tygra also uses bolas, or throwable whips weighed down with balls at the ends that also makes him invisible. However, while his greatest strength is his intelligence, Tygra’s greatest weakness is also his intelligence. Compared to the other ThunderCats, he is more susceptible to addiction and trickery and has low self-confidence. Despite all of these things, it’s no surprise that Tygra is Lion-O’s capable right-hand man.


Thundercat Panthro holding nunchucks
Photo credit: Flickr.com GogDog https://www.flickr.com/photos/gogdog/6042599347


Panthro comes second only to Jaga when it comes to warrior skill and aged wisdom. A formidable fighter and intelligent mechanic and pilot, Panthro comes across as one of the most capable members of the Thundercats who can build vehicles for the team, take down opponents through a combination of sheer power and cunning manipulation, and jovial attitude. However, his shortcomings come from his debilitating fear of bats and his short patience, although his short patience can be attributed to the fact that Panthro is one of the eldest Thundercats. He fights with augmented nunchucks that can spray chemicals and ball bearings as well as with the spikes on his outfits that double as projectile weapons and rappel lines. Thus, due to his strength, positivity, and intelligence, Panthro is not only feared by his enemies but respected by his peers.

WilyKit and WilyKat

WilyKit-and-WilyKat action figures on a table
Photo credit: Flickr.com BAS Photog https://www.flickr.com/photos/basknight/26883591977/


WilyKit and WilyKat are twin siblings who, unlike Lion-O, did not physically age during their escape from planet Thundera. Thus, while all three Thunderkittens matured and grew over the course of the series, Lion-O was learning how to become a great leader while WilyKit and WilyKat took a more comedic role on the sidelines. Often left out of the more dangerous ThunderCat missions, the two twins are mischief-making kids who end up having to get rescued from their various pranks and schemes than not. However, they also use their cunning ways to trick and trap the Thundercats’ enemies as well. Of the two, the older brother Kat is more cautious while younger sister Kit is more agile and adventurous, and they both use a lethal slew of special capsules, slingshots, and lariats to get out of tight situations.


Snarf and other Thundercat action figures on a table
Photo credit: Flickr.com Richard Lewis https://www.flickr.com/photos/stoic1/2741553798/


A character that was more infamous than famous, Snarf Osbert is Lion-O’s elderly nursemaid and loyal ThunderCat through and through. The true parental unit of the Thundercats, Snarf at the beginning of the series can come off as a bit of a worrywart and a nag, especially when he is complaining over being left out of the Thundercats’ missions. However, his kind heart and unexpected courage prove his place in the Thundercats team. He is small and agile, able to communicate with any animal, and especially kind to the Thunderkittens—even Lion-O. While his catchphrase of “SNARF!” might drive you insane, at the end of the day Snarf is the character that welcomes the main heroes back to home base with a meal and a smile on his face.


Potentially the only character on the show who is even more disliked than Snarf, young Snarfer is Snarf’s cheery nephew. He is a skilled technician and pilot that graduated from Snarf school and can be at turns overly excited and level-headed and cool. Despite his small amount of screen time, his small stature and loyalty to the Thundercats have helped them in at least more than one adventure.

Lynx-O, Pumyra, and Bengali

These three Thunderians are honorary Thundercats who joined the team after the original Thundercats crash-landed on Third Earth. Having missed the first ship that transported the royals off Thundera, Bengali, Lynx-O, and Pumyra managed to escape on a second ship that unfortunately crashed on a desert island far from other settlements. Although they were briefly held hostage by Mumm-Ra, the Thundercats eventually rescued them and named them honorary members of the team.


lynx-o Thundercat action figure with a green background
Photo credit: Flickr.com Fanboy30 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevedave/3969429708/


The eldest of the trio, Lynx-O is a formidable warrior forged by tragedy: right before he and the others were rescued, his eyes were blinded by intense heat and light. Thus, Lynx-O adapted to life on Third Earth through honing his other senses to the point that he can identify and attack opponents’ pressure points to immobilize them. He also uses a Sonic Reflector and a braille board to augment his abilities, allowing him to navigate a fight and a spaceship just as well as his other sighted companions.


Empathetic, agile, and knowledgeable, Pumyra is the Thundercats’ healer. Having done extensive training back on Thundera, Pumyra can heal the Thundercats with Third Earth’s vast array of medical resources. She is also able to diplomatically smooth out fights without fighting through tolerance and perspective. Although in the 2011 reboot, her character is completely revamped for the forces of evil, the original Pumyra is an essential support member of the Thundercats.


bengali action figure
Photo credit: Flickr.com Fanboy 30 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevedave/4019832912/


Bengali supports the Thundercats with his Hammer of Thundera, which can be used both as a weapon and as a mystical blacksmithing tool. The only one who can repair Lion-O’s powerful Sword of Omens, he is an indispensable unit of the Thundercats team.

The Antagonists


mumm-ra Thundercat action figure holding a double headed sword staff
Photo credit: Flickr.com GogDog https://www.flickr.com/photos/gogdog/6024121429


The demon-priest Mumm-Ra is the main villain of the Thundercats who rules over Third Earth with his powers of sorcery and immortal lifespan. At first glance, he seems like every other exaggerated ’80s cartoon villain with his outlandish schemes that are always foiled. However, despite his magical incantations that can transform his body into anything from a bodybuilder to a silky young girl, his backstory is quite complicated. His immortal lifespan is attributed to his masters, the Ancient Spirits of Evil, who supply him with power to proselytize their dark influence over the entirety of Third Earth. Thus, while Mumm-Ra is undeniably an evil force who, given the chance to attain even greater power through the Sphere of Seti, readily accepts it, he is also essentially doomed to be pestered by his overbearing bosses for all eternity.


Shoutout to Mumm-Ra’s pet bulldog Ma-Mutt who, despite not being able to talk, can fly, grow in size, have super strength, and is more intelligent than many of Mumm-Ra’s other henchmen. His popularity is small yet, perhaps due to being an actual dog, is larger than Snarf’s fan base.

The Mutants

The Mutants are Mumm-Ra’s henchmen that hail from the plant Plun-Darr. Longtime enemies of Thundera, they indirectly caused the planet’s destruction through a series of foiled plans. Having followed the Thundercats to Third Earth, they mostly operate as Mumm-Ra’s bumbling men who occasionally display bouts of brutal power.


slythe action figure close up
Photo credit: Flickr.com B Baltimore Brown https://www.flickr.com/photos/bbaltimore/243989903/in/photostream/


Slithe (or Slythe) is the leader of Mutants and the leader of the Reptilians as he is himself a Lizard Man with fan-like, webbed ears. Slithe is brutish, rude, and sly, slurring his sibilants when speaking like the snake he is based on. He is frequently sarcastic too, vacillating between insulting his troops for making stupidly obvious comments and nagging the other Mutants when they stray from his schemes. Although arrogant and overconfident to the point of losing battles over his ego, Slithe is a strong leader who bends to no one else’s will but Mumm-Ra’s, and even that he does begrudgingly.


jackalman action figure with a club
Photo credit: Flickr.com SamHeartsArt https://www.flickr.com/photos/samheartsart/7409450600/in/album-72157630211256914/


A more cowardly member of the Mutants, Jackalman is a snidely timid follower rather than a leader in his group despite being the actual leader of the Jackalmen. Thus, while being as cunning as his namesake, the jackal, Jackalman tends to let his nerves take the best of him when it comes to fighting dangerous opponents or dealing with easily irritable bosses. He tends to side with Lizardman’s ridiculous plans to avoid negative attention, although he also occasionally gathers the courage to attain his power, such as when he assembled his army and named himself General Jackalman.


Thundercat Vultureman holding a claw weapon
Photo used with permission from https://www.lulu-berlu.com


As crafty and opportunistic as his namesake, Vultureman is the Mutants’ main mechanic and inventor. Although he creates most of the machines that the Mutants use, his work is frequently degraded and underappreciated, which drives him to take on side-jobs that divert his loyalties from the Mutants, something the other characters frequently detest.


The rat-like general of the Mutant armies, Ratar-O is considered the most conniving and evil member of the mutants. However, despite his strength and skill with the Rat’s Eye daggers, he is not the most beloved leader within the Mutants’ ranks.

The ThunderCats is a show that has withstood the tests of time and pop culture’s short-term memory. Its iconic characters, wacky plots, and strong thematic messages of friendship and justice make it a series more than deserving of a reboot.

More Characters


Voiced by Bob McFadden in the 1985 series and by Clancy Brown in the 2011 reboot, Grune is a burly Thundarian who wields an electric mace and only has one saber tusk. He was a former general who defected to Mumm-Ra’s forces in his ambitious lust for power, feeling that his skills and might were better off somewhere than with Thundera’s army. It’s revealed that he and Panthro share some history as the two warriors began their careers in Thundera’s army at roughly the same time. However, despite the comradeship he shared with Panthro and the other soldiers, Grune was disappointed at not receiving a promotion for his battle prowess.

It is during his quest with Panthro for the Book of Omens on the Third Earth that he encounters Mumm-Ra, and this encounter would lead to him leaving Thundera’s army for good after being convinced by Mumm-Ra that he could achieve his dreams for glory and power with the nefarious evil-doer. Not only would Grune become the commander of the Lizards, or known as Grune the Destroyer in the 1985 series, but he would also go on to become one of Mumm-Ra’s most trusted generals, though his unquenchable thirst for fame and power would lead to his eventual demise.


Monkian action figure holding a mace with a blue background
Photo used with permission from https://www.lulu-berlu.com


Monkian is depicted as a humanoid ape with a brutish cloak of white fur, sporting a horned helmet and wielding a club as his main weapon. There are several differences between this character in the 1985 version of the animated series as well as the 2011 reboot—in the 1985 version, he is known as Monkian, is voiced by Peter Newman, and is notably known for his reconnaissance abilities as well as his tendency to impulsively carry out frontal attacks without consideration to the Mutants’ original plan.

In contrast, the 2011 reboot is voiced by Robin Atkin Downes and the character is renamed as Addicus. Instead of bearing traits more similar to his churlish 1985 counterpart, Addicus has shown to extremely resourceful when compared to the other ThunderCats characters, defeating characters such as Cheetara with ease. Not much is given about Addicus’ past except for his grudge against the Bird Nation due to a botched execution; in one episode he comments about making a last meal of them, and while gorillas, in reality, don’t eat meat, it may be a reference to the rare meat-snacking habits of chimpanzees.


The 2011 reboot’s version of Jackalman, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, Kaynar has a similar look as a devilish-appearing jackal humanoid who wields a halberd. However, compared to his 1985 version, who was well-known for being the comic relief, Kaynar is considered the psychopath general of Mumm-Ra’s elite. He often breaks out into maniacal laughter and in one episode claims that he hears voices in his head. He is also judged for his sanity (or lack of) by even the more brutish members of Mumm-Ra’s inner circle, such as Addicus. However, despite being mentally unstable, Kaynar has excellent fighting abilities and paired with his sense of smell, the general is even able to spot out Tygra in invisible mode.

In terms of his past, not much is revealed for Kaynar’s origins except he was incarcerated and brutally murdered his fellow inmates. His penchant for quenching his bloodthirst is both in a grudging sense and literal; not only did he enjoy taking care of his prison guards but he also suggested straight-up eating the ThunderCats to Slithe when they were captured by the Mutants.


Another twist on the 1985’s cast of characters, Vultaire is the 2011 reboot’s version of Vultureman. Voiced by Michael McKean and sporting a purple kilt and wings, the only similarities that Vultaire and Vultureman have are the swaths of brown feathers covering their shoulders and being knowledgeable in general. While Vultureman is a skilled pilot and serves as the techie among Mumm-Ra’s generals, often creating many inventions to benefit a battle’s tide to Mumm-Ra’s favor, Vultaire is the prefect of a floating city called Avista, which is home to the Bird Race.

A distinctive trait that Vultaire has is his arrogance—while Vultaire does have a lot of knowledge concerning the history of the world below his floating city and comes off as a generous, refined host, it is his arrogance which makes him believe that the technology of Avista will be able to prevent Mumm-Ra from harming the city. However, Vultaire is also ambitious and ultimately a coward, so it’s no surprise that in the 2011 reboot, Vultaire joins forces with Mumma-Ra after seeing the evil overlord destroy an entire fleet.

Ancient Spirits of Evil

Not only just the source of his powers, but the Ancient Spirits of Evil are also the eternal masters of Mumm-Ra. While not much is known in relation to the origins of the Ancient Spirits of Evil, they play a large role in the ThunderCats cartoon, specifically in possessing a blacksmith and forcing the blacksmith to forge the Sword of Plun-Darr. This would later lead to the forging of its counterpart: The Sword of Omens.

The Ancient Spirits of Evil would also be the main cause of destruction for the Tiger Clan; the only Thundarian race to worship Mumm-Ra, the Tiger Clan are exiled and struck with an unstoppable plague. In a bid to heal his people, the leader of the Tiger Clan, Javan, signs a pact with the spirits—the death of his son Tygra for the clan’s release from the plague. However, unable to kill his son, Javan sends Tygra back to Thundera and the Ancient Spirits of Evil not only wipe out the Tiger Clan with the plague but also trap their spirits as demons.

Typically, the Ancient Spirits of Evil are depicted as a shadowy outline, represented by four different animals. In the 1985 series, the animals are a boar, a crocodile, a bull, and a vulture. However, in the 2011 reboot, all the animals are replaced except for the vulture, making the line-up a lizard, an ape, a jackal, and a vulture. The 2011 version is most likely a reference to Mumm-Ra’s chosen generals.


thundercats berbil action figure on a table with a blue background
Photo used with permission from https://www.lulu-berlu.com


Unique among the ThunderCats characters, the Berbils are bear-like robots who can turn themselves into fast-moving balls. The Berbils is a tech-savvy race that was preyed upon by a slaver named Conquedor. Despite being peaceful and not having much self-defense skills, the Berbils with the help of the ThunderCats managed to defeat the slaver and restore peace to their kind. The Berbils would also help out the ThunderCats from time to time, such as by assisting in the fixing of floating city Avista after it crashes from its run-in with Mumm-Ra and his forces.

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