Thundercats Thundercats


Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Lion-O with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Thundercats

Lion-O is one of the most iconic cartoon heroes of all-time. Leader of the ThunderCats, Lion-O, even though depicted as different ages in both series, has always been a character shown to be young and green when it comes to his leadership abilities. However, he has always found his strength when it matters most. His weapon, the Sword of Omens is invaluable in his quest to lead the ThunderCats to victory.
Created by OptimusSolo on Aug 16 2011
ThunderCats (1985)
Lion-OLarry Kenney
Larry Kenney
ThunderCats (2011) (2011)
Lion-OWill Friedle
Will Friedle


As I said in the Mumm-Ra compare for some of the ThunderCats characters I will like the new version better and for others I will like the older version better. As I did, with Mumm-Ra, with Lion-O the older version takes the cake. 

First of all, Larry Kenney is a genius period. He also does a great job of showing Lion-O's youth and strength at the same time. And while in the end I liked both versions of Mumm-Ra, in this compare I really don't care for Friedle's take.

Number one, he is basically just using his normal voice, as he usually does, and number two if you listen to the clip you can see how he tries to hard to get a deep sound when he goes for the traditional, "Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats...HOOOOO!" It just sounds completely out of place compared to his normal talking voice.  I understand some people may like the younger take, but in the end Larry Kenney's is the true voice of a hero while Friedle just sounds like an everday 'Joe'.



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Lion's Edge
said at 2:07 PM on Sat May 26 2018
 1 Shout Out!
... honestly speaking, as a longtime ThunderCats fan, I... absolutely, 110% prefer Will Friedle's Lion-O here. With a heavy emphasis on comic relief roles in recent years, it became a little easy to forget Will's heroic voice and, honestly, this is the best example I've heard of it; even more so than Terry McGinnis. Will's LOVE for the franchise really showed in every single episode; his Lion-O was able to sound just as noble and heroic as it needed to when the time was right, and he demonstrated SURPRISING power when it came to the legendary battle-cry. But he also got to play so many different facets and attributes--he got to play the kindhearted, albeit awkward, prince who wanted to break down the barriers and learn more; he played the angry, vengeful son whose father's death haunted him... while, yeah the voice is "indistinct" compared to Larry's, the performance here is absolutely phenomenal; a perfect fit for the new direction of the character, and - for me - a much more three dimensional take.

Larry Kenney's take is LEGENDARY, and perfectly fits the old Lion-O design; I will not deny that. It is classic, 80s ham, but it is a charming ham; while some 80s performances (John Erwin as He-Man comes to mind) honestly... have not aged very well at all imho, there is an earnest, passionate aspect to Larry's Lion-O that remains timeless. But... that said... I just feel the performance, and character, is shallower compared to Will's. It's sometimes a little too hammy in the wrong places and there are moments he sounds somewhat samey. But he's still one of the exemplars of his era, I'd argue.

My vote is ultimately going to Will. I just... feel his Lion-O is a fuller package in all.

CASTING CALL: Ray Chase and Johnny Yong Bosch, right off the bat, would honestly be my top two... yes, generic perhaps, but in terms of bridging the 80s and reboot takes, they'd be absolutely phenomenal; their heroic voices are striking, youthful and passionate, plus time and time again, they've demonstrated POWER in their screams/shouts. Josh Keaton'd also make for a pretty good Lion-O, I think; especially for the 2011 take.

Michael Sinterniklaas, Roger Craig Smith, Micah Solusod, Robbie Daymond, Kirby Morrow and Yuri Lowenthal would all also work, I THINK. Sean Schemmel - going off of his Goku - would be my ideal pick for a more 80s-influenced take, however; balancing both the ham and comical, childlike attributes with suitable maturity when necessary... and again... DEM SCREAMS.
said at 12:45 PM on Sat May 26 2018
 2 Shout Outs!
I know this is an old wound to pick at, but man the pure seething hatred for Will here is kind of staggering lol (I'm talking about the comments, not the poll)

I thought for what the new show was going for, Will did a fine job (even if it doesn't sound too different from his other roles) and I do respect Larry for being the original (even if his acting was prime 80s ham).
said at 10:57 AM on Thu Jun 23 2016
 1 Shout Out!
1. Will Friedle
2. Larry Kenney
said at 6:26 AM on Sun Jun 29 2014
 2 Shout Outs!
Larry fits the old Lion-O and Will Friedle fits the new Lion-O
said at 1:47 PM on Mon Oct 7 2013
Larry is really kind of over-the-top, and yet I prefer the voice to Will's rendition. Will was still good, though.
said at 9:01 PM on Sat May 25 2013
 3 Shout Outs!
It's depressing that anyone would pick Will Friedle over Larry Kenney.
said at 12:52 PM on Sun Jun 2 2013
@Fafnir Everyone is entitled to their to their own opinion. I personally think that Both of these guys are good in their own way.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 8:55 PM on Fri Aug 16 2013
@Fafnir Amen!
said at 9:35 AM on Sun Mar 3 2013
I prefer Will. Larry Kenney is good too.
said at 5:34 PM on Tue Jan 22 2013
 1 Shout Out!
I think Will Friedle is perfect for the voice of Lion-O.
said at 1:44 AM on Sun Jan 13 2013
 1 Shout Out!
For all our disagreements on whether 80's animation (or this animation, for that matter) is any good, it looks like we can at least agree on this poll, OP ;)
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 8:55 PM on Fri Aug 16 2013
@CatsTuxedo Yea, I just don't get it!
said at 10:13 PM on Thu Mar 22 2012
 6 Shout Outs!
I adore Larry Kenney as the original Lion-O, but we have to remember it was a 1980s cartoon aimed at a younger audience. Will Friedle is absoultely perfect as the new Lion-O because the show is geared toward a somewhat older 21st century audience. On top of that, "ThunderCats" is now truly an anime production, not the East/West hybrid the original series was. I've now seen enough young-adult anime to realize how much more mature the storytelling is, and how much more beautiful the animation is. Only at the end of its run did the original "ThunderCats" have any quality animation; before that, the quality varied from episode to episode...and even sometimes in the middle of an episode!
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 5:58 PM on Sat Mar 31 2012
@Lep That's better for why the new show is better then the old but not for which is the better voice
said at 1:11 AM on Sun Sep 16 2012
@Music Meister The quality of a show is often synonymous with the quality of its voice acting.
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 1:23 AM on Sun Sep 16 2012
@TheVengeanceKnight Not always but my point is this is where people discuss the voices , not the shows themselves
said at 4:28 PM on Thu Sep 20 2012
@TheVengeanceKnight I'm sorry, but I have to say that justification's getting old.

In an attempt to debunk your theory, let me bring up the case of Young Justice. Numerous factors go against the show's supposed quality: the design and animation is stiff, soulless and too arbitrarily detailed to be comfortably worked with, the story's a mess that goes everywhere and nowhere at once, the characters come off as mere pegs in an aimless story and are thus tough to really care for, the show takes itself too seriously for any real enjoyment to be felt, and most relevantly, the voice acting is barely discernible from ordinary people on the street; if you closed your eyes and listened to any one voice without any hints in the dialogue as to who it may be, I assure you you wouldn't be able to figure it out on your own.

And yet, in the Voice Compares where a Bruce Timm show isn't involved, the show constantly dominates the votes. Wanna know why that is? It's because the show's dishearteningly vast audience is so insecure in their own maturity that they can't ever bring themselves to vote for a show that doesn't make them feel smart and grown-up, regardless of the lack/absence of distinctiveness in the voice acting. If you compare YJ and the new Thundercats, you'd see that this matter is barely any different.
said at 6:39 PM on Thu Sep 20 2012
@CatsTuxedo "if you closed your eyes and listened to any one voice without any hints in the dialogue as to who it may be, I assure you you wouldn't be able to figure it out on your own."

LOL, I actually completely disagree with that. :-P
said at 2:25 PM on Mon Sep 24 2012

The animation in YJ is pretty good and the people involved in Young Justice were going for a more realistic and serious take, though, hence why the character designs and voice acting are more grounded--which there is nothing wrong with.

I also gotta side with TheVengeanceKnight that you're wrong about people not identifing voices on YJ.

I'm sorry, but times have chages and animation, like toher media has changed with it; what worked in the 80s doesn't really work now and voice acting is among that.
said at 7:10 PM on Mon Sep 24 2012
@CatsTuxedo And just because you disagree with what others think are ideal voices is no reason to accuse them of being "insecure in their own maturity".
Tashi rose
said at 1:13 PM on Wed Mar 21 2012
Larry Kenney baby! He will always have that Thundercat magic..
said at 5:20 AM on Thu Dec 15 2011
 1 Shout Out!
Friedle. Always love hearing a familiar voice. =)
said at 12:57 AM on Mon Oct 3 2011
Wow they're tied at 23
said at 12:34 AM on Wed Sep 28 2011
 1 Shout Out!
I think Will was a good choice for the new version of Lion-O but how the hell is Larry not far ahead in the votes?! He was an amazing Lion-O, the original, that voice is just apart of the character. As much as i've come to really like the new Thundercats, to me the original will always have that special something that i loved so much as a kid. Larry's voice should be Iconic in this role. It's sad that the new voice actors are getting all the votes. I dont think the new ones are bad or anything, i do love the acting they are putting into the revamped characters. But I dont understand how they're all winning. Maybe people just they hear the over the top acting and think its too much? When really they aren't overacting, its just the 80s style so it wouldn't be fair to judge them on that. Oh well, each to their own i guess. Larry will always be the best Lion-O in my opinion.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 7:49 PM on Sun Oct 2 2011
@AshytaFang It is sad - I hate the fact that 99% of the people just vote ALL the new series or ALL the old series and can't separate the actual Voices and the Acting.

To me the ones from the Old series that were better were Lion-O (by far), Panthro (pretty close), Jaga (pretty close) and Mumm-Ra (by far)

The new ones that are better are Tygra (pretty close), and Cheetara (big time on Cheetara)
said at 1:07 AM on Mon Oct 10 2011
@OptimusSolo I agree with you on all of those, the new Cheetara was better and I think Tygra close too, but I had to go with the new guy on him.

On the other hand Mumm-Ra, Lion-O and Jaga should have been a no brainer. They were amazing in the old series! Panthro too, i liked his old voice more, but the new guy didn't do a bad job so i can see why people might vote for him. Still, It's just so aggravating, i bet half of them haven't even seen more than a few episodes from the old show
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 12:33 AM on Tue Oct 11 2011
@AshytaFang No they probably havent, they are just voting on the current more popular voice actors without actually judging the performances and the sounds.
said at 6:02 PM on Mon Feb 27 2012
@OptimusSolo As you mentioned, it's really because I don't like the '80s cheesiness of Larry's performance even if it was the style, but my vote goes to Friedle. It's hard to tell the actual quality of the acting when you have that '80s style of acting so I can't really judge Larry on any objective level and Friedle's is easily quite solid for the new take on the character.
said at 11:59 AM on Wed Aug 31 2011
I like Friedle better, even as a kid I thought Kenney's voice was a bit annoying at times. Don't get me wrong he's a great lion-o but I prefer Friedle.
said at 2:55 AM on Tue Aug 30 2011
 1 Shout Out!
Larry Kenney's voice is better than Will Friedle's voice. I don't think Will's voice does the Lion-O character any justice. :(
said at 8:31 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
 2 Shout Outs!
I think Friedle's voice works better for the character in the modern series in that he sounds more natural. Kenney's voice worked better in the 80s series, which was more camp anyway, and went with a slightly different direction with this character, and he really just used a typical hero voice. They both work well, but I guess I prefer Friedle a tad better.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 11:19 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@PurpleWarrior13 You are crazy!! J/K!!
said at 12:00 PM on Wed Aug 31 2011
@PurpleWarrior13T That's just how I feel, I wish I could rephrase what I said to what you said.
said at 7:39 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
 3 Shout Outs!
I'm split. Kenny's take on the character works better on the campy version of the show back in the 90s. Friedle works better in this more dramatic show. And as different from his normal voice is when he yells, I love it. Heck, it's more powerful and passionate than Kenny's (not that his was bad). In my opinion, I loved Kenny a lot better as Claudus. His voice suits the king pretty well. But, with that said, they're both fantastic. They would feel out of place if they were switched around.
said at 7:40 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@ConfusedPhantom And when I mean switched around, I mean the shows (considering on tone and stuff).
said at 7:44 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@ConfusedPhantom It was the 80's not the 90'S
said at 7:45 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@pete My bad. Dunno what I was thinking when I slapped 90s there.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 11:19 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@ConfusedPhantom I couldn't disagree more about the power and passion because it is much more evident in Kenney's voice!
said at 8:53 PM on Wed Aug 17 2011
@OptimusSolo I don't find it all that powerful, but the passion is there. But, eh, as I said, I enjoyed his Lion-O for what it is. His Claudus was just much better for me is all.
said at 7:02 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
 1 Shout Out!
Nostalgia much? Friedle is excellent from an acting standpoint, whereas Larry, bless his heart, just sounds cheesy. I'll give him credit, he was a LOT better as Claudus in the new series.
said at 7:33 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@SpiderDreamer You shouldn't forget that a LOT of shows back in the day were probably meant to be cheesy, so for what it's worth, cheesiness never belonged right nowadays, but it did in the past... Optimus told me that, anyway. But really, I love Larry's Lion-O with a passion, but I kinda agree on your opinion.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 7:37 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@Ninjaman15 I agree that its not just about the voice but about the acting...but did you honestly just call Friedle an excellent actor?
said at 7:51 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@OptimusSolo ...Yeah? He is. He's done great work on shows like Batman Beyond, Kim Possible, and Brave and the Bold, and he's doing great work on Thundercats.
said at 7:53 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@Ninjaman15 See, I don't know if they were MEANT to be cheesy or not, but the fact remains that I personally can't watch shows like Thundercats, the original Transformers, or G.I. Joe without succumbing to unintentional hilarity within 5 minutes of starting an episode.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 11:20 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@SpiderDreamer Wow, that amazes me. I can't watch much of Thundercats or He-Man nowadays but Transformers and G.I. Joe I have no problem watching now.
said at 9:29 PM on Sun Dec 18 2011
@SpiderDreamer +1
said at 6:09 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
I like Friedle making his voice sound different for the yell and he did a good job. I'll give him the vote to be fair. Also is it me or does Larry Kenney look like Peter Cullen?
said at 6:26 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@pete I'd say just barely
said at 7:45 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@Smarttamarr94 Well maybe I need a picture of the two of them next to each other.
said at 7:59 PM on Thu Aug 18 2011
@pete That could work
said at 5:58 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
i must say, the character representations are too different, i cant have a vote.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 4:37 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
 1 Shout Out!
Larry is much more heroic-sounding. Will sounds a little too young.
said at 10:15 PM on Thu Mar 22 2012

Will may sound a little young, but that's the idea because Lion-O is a teen in this new version. But he sounds no less heroic than the original Lion-O did.
said at 3:46 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
I can agree to how Will sounds like an everyday 'Joe', but it really doesn't mean I have no dislike for him, either. When I first heard about the remake and then saw some promotional clips and stuff, I was a bit skeptical on the character development, but then the staff working on the new Lion-O has promised that he will age, so maybe Friedle will have a little more freedom as time passes... And as for the rest of the remake so far, it's pretty good. That epic slogan of Lion-O's is out of place, I can see how, but sometimes, do I really care? Lion-O is still "Lion-O", and sometimes change is good, sometimes it's not... Change on the remake is alright for me, and not the other way around.

But really, all true praise should go out to Larry, since he is a staple VA of the series, and I'm at least glad he voiced Claudus, the father of Lion-O and Tygra in the remake, who really should've been killed off in a more convincing way... Just really? Mumm-Ra disguised himself as Panthro, who truly appeared at the end of episode 4, and then murdered Claudus like it was absolutely nothing. Better yet, I wanted to hear Larry Kenney a lot more, just when his character was getting great.

Overall, no harshness to Friedle, but I slightly prefer Larry.
OptimusSolo (Admin)
said at 3:54 PM on Tue Aug 16 2011
@Ninjaman15 Well, put man.
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Who do you think has been the best from these Lion-O voice actors?
Larry Kenney
Will Friedle