Kevin Michael Richardson Talks Voicing Panthro And Other Animated Series!

Kevin Michael Richardson talks about the Thundercats and his work on other animated series like Green Lantern and Ultimate Spider-Man. Plus a teaser image for Panthro's debut this Friday.

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By Mark Julian - 8/11/2011


Everyone's favorite muscle-bound, nunchaku wielding, mechanic is set to make his debut on the Thundercats this Friday. MTV caught up with Richardson to talk about his extensive voice-over work , with an emphasis on his feline counterpart.


MTV: Obviously, there was the appeal of being a big franchise character, but for you, personally, what drew you to playing Panthro?

KMR: Well, first of all, he was one of my favorite characters. I mean, I must say, I love looking at Cheetara, I think she’s really sexy and all that stuff, and Lion-O, of course, with the sword is badass. But Panthro stood out for me because he seemed like not only a strong badass, but he was kind of cool, you know? He was like the cool cat. And he drove the ThunderTank, which was badass. So just the whole idea of playing this guy was way beyond me. It’s kind of like living a dream, actually.

MTV: Obviously, there was the appeal of being a big franchise character, but for you, personally, what drew you to playing Panthro?

KMR: Well, first of all, he was one of my favorite characters. I mean, I must say, I love looking at Cheetara, I think she’s really sexy and all that stuff, and Lion-O, of course, with the sword is badass. But Panthro stood out for me because he seemed like not only a strong badass, but he was kind of cool, you know? He was like the cool cat. And he drove the ThunderTank, which was badass. So just the whole idea of playing this guy was way beyond me. It’s kind of like living a dream, actually.

MTV: What did you take away from Earle Hyman’s [original Panthro] take on the character back in the 80’s?

KMR: I tried to… well, no, I didn’t even want to try to that, actually. But what inspired me was just to respect his coolness—just keep his cool. However, this Panthro does have say, slightly more of a temper. I think he can be a little less levelheaded than usual. But he definitely has heart, and he’s definitely no b.s..

So, I really didn’t try to take anything away from the original. The only thing I wanted to do was respect that Panthro’s cool gravitas. I hope that makes some sense.


MTV: Could you tell us a little about the character’s introduction in this week’s episode?

KMR: I’m not supposed to, but he enters when they need him the most. And you’ll definitely see that ThunderTank. The episode deals with Lion-O encountering a species that only has a 24-hour lifespan. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you there, but the young one is played by Atticus [Shafer, the young star from the sitcom, The Middle]. It’s a really well-done, heartfelt episode.

And then, Panthro makes his entrance to save the day when things get really heated up, because these guys get to be really deep in the s**t there. And you’ll see that, of course, too.



MTV: And you’ve got another tough guy role in Kilowog in Green Lantern: The Animated Series.

KMR: Oh, yeah, right.

MTV: How many episodes are you guys through at this point?

KMR: We just completed the first season, so right now we’re doing ADR for that.



MTV: And what the difference in how you approached Kilowog versus how you approached Panthro?

KMR: Well, Panthro, he’s this really cool, big badass cat that lives in the jungle—he has this gravitas and he’s more like, say… he’s definitely going to have one-word answers, and he likes to be to himself. Kilowog is sort of like the “Brooklyn Brawler from Outer Space,” [laughs] if you will. But Panthro has this delivery of [puts the deep bass into his voice] “Everything’s going to be alright—listen to me and just don’t say a word. Sit tight.” Whereas Kilowog has this [adds higher pitch and a gravelly element to his voice] “Alright, guys, are we gonna do this or are we gonna take all day, or what?” You know, this big, boisterous, gravelly, rough, tough guy—he’s a drill sergeant who just, again, another no-nonsense character. He’s a little more edgy and less patient—he just wants to get things done. And he’s rough, really rough and gruff around the edges, too.

MTV: Are we going to be seeing more of the space-based action or will it be focused more on Hal on Earth? Will we be seeing a lot of your character throughout the first season?

KMR: This will definitely be “space-based”—I like that term. And you’ll definitely be seeing some Kilowog. Definitely a good amount of him, yeah. If it’s too much Kilowog, then it’s bad thing, right? So, you’ll get a nice dose of Kilowog.



MTV: And I don’t know how much you can talk about this with the show still in production, but you have the role of Robbie Robertson in the new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.

KMR: Wait, who did I play? (joking)

MTV: I saw in your credits that you played Daily Bugle employee Robbie Robertson. Was that wrong?

KMR: Oh, jeez Louise, and I forgot who I played. Yeah, I think they brought me in for—that was the name they gave me?

MTV: Yep.

KMR: Man, I don’t remember! [laughs] I remember meeting Drake [Bell, who’s playing Spider-Man and Peter Parker in the series] and recording and they had me playing one of the Wrecking Crew guys and somebody else, but I must tell you I do not remember.

MTV: Oh, wait—who are you playing in the Wrecking Crew?

KMR: Oh lord, no, I don’t. I just remember it was one big guest on there—I think it was a couple of episodes—but I did a guest. But I don’t remember, please forgive me! [laughs] I don’t remember what I played, and the sad thing is, I’ll only remember once it comes on and I hear the voice. I’ll go, “Okay, that’s the guy!” And my kids are really good at picking up the stuff that I don’t remember doing, too.

So, again, man, this is part of the problem, I guess, of doing stuff all over town, you know what I mean?


Panthro debuts on this week’s episode of ThunderCats, “Song of the Petalars," -- airing this Friday, August 12th 8:30/7:30c on Cartoon Network.

To see a clip from “Song of the Petalars," click here.



The original ThunderCats is an American animated television series that was produced by Rankin/Bass Productions (the same that created the SilverHawks, TigerSharks and The Comic Strip) debuting in 1985, based on the characters created by Tobin "Ted" Wolf. The series follows the adventures of a group of cat-like humanoid aliens. The animation was provided by Pacific Animation Corporation. Season 1 of the show aired in 1985 (65 episodes), followed by a TV movie entitled ThunderCats - HO! in 1986. Seasons 2, 3 and 4 followed a new format of twenty episodes each, starting with a five-part story; these aired from 1987 to 1988, 1988 to 1989, and 1989 to 1990, respectively.

ThunderCats (2011) is an American animated television series executive produced by Sam Register, and produced by Ethan Spaulding and Michael Jelenic and is a reboot of the the original (1985–1990) series by Tobin "Ted" Wolf. It is produced by Warner Bros. Animation with animation provided by the Japanese Studio 4°C.

The new series began with an hour-long premiere on Cartoon Network on July 29, 2011.



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Source: MTV
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9 Comments
write33 - 8/11/2011, 3:32 PM
is he sober for that interview?
Checkmate - 8/11/2011, 3:37 PM
I like Panthro in Thundercats, but those muttonchops gotta go.
kevberg - 8/11/2011, 3:59 PM
theres a quality that I cannot stand about KMR's voice. Its not a dis at him, but theres a timbre or texture that grates my nerves.

Earl Hammonds voice for Panthro was just awesome.
MaddMonkk - 8/11/2011, 4:08 PM
Isn't he the voice of Martian Manhunter in an old tv cartoon by the name of "young justice"??
foxwolf2099 - 8/11/2011, 4:46 PM
he's also Bulkhead on Transformers Prime and played the Joker in The Batman. he's actually played a ton of characters. More from http://bit.ly/n8g9rT
otusasio451 - 8/11/2011, 5:34 PM
He's probably playing Thunderball in the Wrecking Crew.
TheSoulEater - 8/12/2011, 2:07 AM
@MaddMonkk Yeah he is (that show needs to return)

and called it.
shaddowkhan - 8/17/2011, 2:06 AM
This guy is cool and all but he is getting way too much work. overexposure.
shaddowkhan - 8/17/2011, 2:06 AM
This guy is cool and all but he is getting way too much work. overexposure.

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