BATMAN BEYOND's Friedle Voices Lion-O in New THUNDERCATS
Will Friedle Brings Lion-O to Life
Will Friedle — you may know him as Terry McGinnis on Batman Beyond or Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World — is the voice of lead character Lion-O, and with a new episode airing tonight, talked with Newsarama about his own past as a Thundercats fan, why the time is right for a new series, and reuniting with legendary voice director Andrea Romano.
Will Friedle: I was a huge fan . I was 8 years old when Thundercats came out, so exactly my age demographic. I always say that the original Thundercats was made for me.
I had my plastic Sword of Omens, and I've said this to people before and it's absolutely true, I still know where to put the cushions on my couch in the house I grew up in to make my ThunderTank. Or if I was feeling particularly bad that day, it would be a Cobra H.I.S.S., but that was few and far between.
Nrama: So from your perspective as both a fan and the lead voice actor, why do you think now is the right time to revisit these characters and concepts?
Friedle: I don't know why now is the right time, it just seems to be. I think it's been 20, 25 years, the characters are still vibrant, and still iconic, and I think enough time has passed now to where some of the original fans might have accepted a new version a little bit easier than had they done it five years after the show had ended.
Hopefully, so far, it's been working. We seem to have gotten some great reviews, and people seem to like the show, so we're all very excited.
Nrama: Yeah, and unlike a lot of the other '80s properties, there really hasn't been any updated Thundercats material until this series.
Nrama: Reviving a beloved franchise like this is always a tricky proposition, because the original fans often have very particular ideas of what made them like the shows in the first place. But with one episode aired at this point, the reaction for this has seemed to be pretty positive. Have you monitored that response at all from fans?
Nrama: You're in the lead role here, and the lead role comic book fans know you best from is, of course, Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond. How does your approach to Lion-O compare to Terry?
Friedle: I think Terry had a much darker side to him, whereas Lion-O, especially in the first 35 minutes of the pilot, was really kind of the happy go-lucky kid. If memory serves, the first time we ever meet Terry, he's in a fist fight in gym class, whereas Lion-O is more of the type of guy who wants to make everything better, and is a prince, but wide-eyed, and still believing in fantasy, and still believing that there's this mythical tech out there.
Nrama: And Thundercats is also reuniting you with legendary voice director Andrea Romano, who you worked with on Batman Beyond.
Friedle: I've worked with Andrea for probably the last 15 years, and this is probably the 10th or 11th project we've worked together on. She's incredible. Knows actors, knows animation, knows what is expected, and man, she can really pull it out of us.
Friedle: No. Not at all. Totally out of left field.
I had assumed that if the business would still have me — because it's a very fickle business — that I would be a sitcom actor for my whole life. And then I hit about 30, and I just couldn't do it anymore. Just really wasn't feeling the vibe of the on-camera work.FACEBOOK and TWITTER!