There are so many retro cartoons that remain beloved by their many fans. So many continue to be rediscovered while others have become somewhat forgotten by most. You know the best way to revive these epic shows? Give them a big screen adaptation and pull out all the stops.
We’ve pulled together six retro cartoons that should get a shot at the silver screen. Take a look!
Disney made this surprisingly mature show in the wake of the success of Batman: The Animated Series. The concept revolves around a group of creatures who turn to stone during the day and protect their city at night. It’d be great to see this idea turned into a big budget live-action adaptation. And since Disney now owns Marvel, there is no reason that Gargoyles couldn’t somehow be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The idea of a bunch of gargoyles flying around and helping out Spider-Man is too good to pass up.
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
This short-lived series took place in a technologically advanced city that was populated by anthropomorphized cats. Numerous monsters and scientific mishaps would plague the city, and it was up to the jet-flying vigilantes known as the SWAT Kats to save the day. With so many animated feature films aimed at younger kids, it’d be cool to see SWAT Kats get the same treatment but with a little more edge than your usual theatrical kiddie fare. Imagine the team behind How to Train Your Dragon tackling the aerial combat of this show!
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
One of the most popular superheroes of the early ’90s was the environmental protector Captain Planet. Along with the Planeteers, he would fight against villains who purposefully would damage the ecosystem for their own heinous profit. Unless you include the hilarious Funny or Die video, there hasn’t been a live-action take on Captain Planet and the Planeteers that has captured the over-the-top adventures of these characters. The message of protecting nature never goes out of style and it’d be cool to see a big budget superhero movie use its influence to do some real-world good.
When talking about classic cartoons, you have to mention Jonny Quest. The landmark Hanna-Barbera series captured the kind of pulpy adventure we got tons of in the ’30s and ’40s. What would be great is if they made a Jonny Quest film but set it in the time it was made. Really stress the kind of retro-future vision the show’s science fiction would showcase. Also, give us young kids who could basically be the stars of their own Indiana Jones-type escapade. We need more kid movies that have a real sense of peril to them. Jonny Quest is the perfect venue for that.
The ’80s were the heyday of fantasy cartoons and one of the biggest was ThunderCats. The adventures of Lion-O and his friends captured the imaginations of children around the globe. How has there not been a big screen version of this classic cartoon? It’s understandable that doing a proper blockbuster version of ThunderCats wasn’t feasible before special effects could give us faithful versions of the characters. But, with makeup and digital characters looking better than ever, the time is ripe to put this u[ on a bigger canvas. And if it gets a new generation to discover the original cartoon, then it’s a double success.
Most people became familiar with the character of Space Ghost through the satirical talk show cartoon Space Ghost Coast to Coast. While that show is admittedly very funny, it’s a shame that people have written off the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon character and his universe. Filled with unique villains and an entire galaxy to explore, Space Ghost was a wonderful blend of science-fiction and superhero action. Recapturing that original cartoon’s tone with big budget scale and splendor would help show that this property is more than the parody it spawned.
If you’d like to know about some other retro cartoons, check out this extensive history of anime and its journey to America.