We’re excited to share yet another interview following our Q&A with Brian Flynn from Super7. Highlighted in the conversation with Brian was an interesting tidbit about one fan’s actions creating a domino effect, leading to Super7 securing and rebooting the ThunderCats Classics franchise as ThunderCats Ultimates. We reached out to that fan, forum member The All American, whose actions have helped deliver us a re-dream come true.
TC.org: You’re the man known for creating the snowball effect that has resulted in ThunderCats Ultimates by Super7. Tell us how this happened.
TAA: Well, it’s a long story, but in early June 2017, Brian Flynn released a Super7 Supercast video which talked about Super7 not being able to continue Mattel’s ThunderCats Classic line. I was disappointed, but shortly afterwards realized there was still a window of opportunity. You could tell Brian still wanted it, so I knew there was still a chance Warner Bros. (WB) could be convinced to keep it going. To do that, I felt that we, the customers, had to step in to get what we wanted and relay the message to WB directly. I posted on ThunderCats.org and He-Man.org about a new Twitter campaign for #WeWantThunderCatsClassic to drum up support tagging WB. I updated it often, and there was a great response from a lot of loyal ThunderCats fans.
Not long afterwards, I visited WB’s website and discovered a licensing inquiries email address. I believe this was more of a business address, but seemed like a logical enough fit. So I emailed them presenting evidence of the fan demand. I also included a link to a petition from another fan, Jorge Pelaez, which had got over 1,100 signatures the year before, as well as several ThunderCats Classic Facebook pages and groups I’d discovered on the internet. I heard nothing back from WB, so I sent a follow-up email some weeks later, and another one after that. Nothing came back. So I sent a kindly written email to the CEO with the trail of unanswered emails. I honestly did not want to send it that high, but threw all the chips in betting the CEO cared about their customers. And I was right.
TC.org: After your contact with the president of WB, was there any response from their side about your letter?
TAA: Shortly after, I got a kind reply back from a major decision-maker there (not the CEO) to my inquiry. We corresponded and I thanked him for reaching out and provided him the same evidence (ever mounting, as this was now in August 2017). If not for this person, nothing would have progressed in my opinion.
TC.org: Shortly thereafter, Brian Flynn made a statement that somebody had reached out to the head of WB, who then contacted Super7 out of the blue to discuss continuing the line. What were you thinking then?
TAA: I was in shock a little bit, but mainly proud that we’d made a difference. I just wanted more ThunderCats, so it was done for selfish reasons, which I thankfully happen to share with thousands of other collectors, fans, and customers.
TC.org: Why was it important for you to have the line continued that Mattel had started? Is there a story behind having an incomplete line that you want to share, or are you just a completionist?
TAA: It was indeed important to me to have the same line continued. This is just my opinion, but I did not like the Bandai attempt at ThunderCats Classic years ago. I bought the Bandai Lion-O and Tygra and had instant regret. Meanwhile, I am a big-time Masters of the Universe fan and Masters of the Universe Classics collector. I have always been blown away by the Four Horsemen sculpts, and having an opportunity to finally get ThunderCats by the Four Horsemen and Mattel, in the same scale as MOTUC—it was a dream come true.
For some background, when I was a kid, I used to watch ThunderCats but had the hardest time finding and collecting the toys. I only owned Lion-O and Mumm-Ra. Panthro was my favorite character and I finally found him one day at a local department store called Caldor. We were in a rush for some reason that day, so I tried to pay for him at the jewelry counter but they couldn’t ring him up there. The regular lines were really long, so I told my mom I’ll just try to get him next time. He was gone the next time we went back, and I never saw him again. That experience kind of molded me as a collector with Panthro as the one that got away, and ThunderCats by LJN were so hard to find where I lived. It was a property I always liked but was kind of elusive. I don’t even remember seeing much of the later ThunderCats cartoon seasons; I had no idea it lasted until 1989.
So fast forward all these years later, ThunderCats Classic comes along, and I finally got a Panthro! Except suddenly we were not going to get the full team because MattyCollector ended in late 2016. It was like a cruel joke. I would not let it happen again, so I think that fire kept me going.
TC.org: How excited were you to finally see that initial tease on social media that the line was happening after the rumours at SDCC?
TAA: It was a long wait, but I was more relieved than excited. I think the true excitement will come with new wave reveals and getting them in hand. Nothing beats a Four Horsemen sculpted figure in hand. Pictures don’t do them justice.
TC.org: Did you have any idea of the effect your letter had since sending it in 2017 and Super7 hinting at acquiring the ThunderCats license at SDCC, and later confirming it in August 2019?
TAA: After two-plus years, I still didn’t 100% know, because it wasn’t official until it was official. WB did not let us down, so kudos to them—especially that executive I talked to—and Super7 for delivering.
TC.org: You have a strong following on Twitter and recently rebranded your handle to @ThunderCatsUlt. Do you believe that speaking out and fighting for ThunderCats added to WB agreeing to Super7 taking over the line?
TAA: Yes, definitely! WB was provided the evidence. Everyone who followed, retweeted, commented, or liked the Twitter page and posts, everyone who signed the petitions, everyone who joined or liked the Facebook pages, everyone who joined or liked the Instagram posts, everyone who kept support up on the fan sites like ThunderCats.org—that’s what made the difference! One person or a handful isn’t going to warrant much change, of course, but the backing of thousands? That’s hard to ignore. And there are so many passionate ThunderCats fans and collectors, they’re a beleaguered fanbase that has stayed loyal and now have the chance for the most comprehensive ThunderCats line ever. The future is very exciting.
TC.org: Now that the Thunderian battle is won, what is your next brand you plan on saving?
TAA: Haha, I don’t know, I’m kinda ready to retire from this, but I guess the thought of more cool figures pulls me back in. As I mentioned earlier, I am a huge Masters of the Universe Classics fan, so I hope Mattel keeps that line going. There is a Twitter page for MOTUC for Mattel to #ContinueMOTUC. I just want to repeat that I do these campaigns for my own selfish reasons, but I believe thousands share my same interests. These are just toys, but the kid in us can still have something positive to get excited about.