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Friends! Brothers! 80s babies!… Carl! Lend me your ears… or eyes!
I too am, indeed, an 80s child! It was a time I cherished as a child when it came to television and cartoons even into the 90s, and if you’re a fan of the nostalgia like me, you would’ve been thinking about the possibility of seeing many of these old shows revitalized as live-action movies to today’s standards. With all of the amazing advancements in the film industry, as well as the myriad of talent, there’s no better time than now to rock the retro in Hollywood!
There are some old toons, however, that are reportedly getting the Hollywood treatment, such as He-Man, which Sony Pictures has officially green-lit, with actor Noah Centineo set to play He-Man. I would rather see my boy Kellan Lutz in the role, but I’m still getting my He-Man movie soon, so I can’t complain.
Once upon a time, a ThunderCats movie was being worked on with Chris Hemsworth rumored to be in consideration as Lion-O. Recently, Milla Jovovich expressed interest in playing Cheetara. I would totally support all of this!
This is just to name a few examples, but there are plenty of other toons from the 80s and 90s that haven’t gotten their Hollywood spotlight yet. I have quite a few favorites of my own that you may have forgotten about, and I’m gonna share them with you RIGHT NOW!!!
My name is Action, and this my wish list for the Top 10 Live-Action 80–90s Cartoon Dream Films (with Fan Castings)!
#10 – 'STREET SHARKS,' STARRING VIN DIESEL AS JOHN BOLTON/RIPSTER (VOICEOVER)
So Street Sharks is based off a toyline from the 90s (made ever-so-popular by the young and child-like Vin Diesel)!
In a nutshell, you got four teenage brothers captured by a mad scientist looking to make an army of loyal animal mutants to take over the world (typical), and as a result, these kids were experimented on and mutated in to giant humanoid sharks who, for some reason, have no problem breathing air and being out of water for extended periods of time without suffocating from their gills! Then again, it’s a 90s cartoon, so logic and physics go out the window!
The ring leader of this group is one John Bolton, the oldest and smartest of the Bolton Boys! He likes tinkering, playing pool, and motorcycles, sort of like an American Choppers version of TMNT’s Donatello! When he’s “gene-slammed” into Ripster, he becomes a great white shark, essentially the “King of Sharks” if there is one!
My only gripe with the Sharks’ transformations is that they maintained their “human teenage” voices, whereas I feel like if made by today’s standards, they should have at least a more firm, if not monstrous, voice to go along with their transformations! I mean, Ripster practically sounded like human Baxter Stockman from old-school TMNT, the sissiest shark voice possible! That just won’t do in Hollywood today!
So who do we grab to provide such a voice?! I nominate the original celebrity fanboy himself, Mr. Vin Diesel!
Street Sharks needs somebody who’s pretty “street,” and with a successful Fast and Furious series on his résumé, Vin Diesel fits that build! To be honest, given that classic gem of a video with him playing with Street Sharks toys, I can almost guarantee that Vin Diesel would jump at the opportunity to be in the movie if he was approached, and that gem combined with his assertive voice and acting credits makes him the top pick to take the spot as the leader of the Sharks! Plus, since there are four brothers, think about the one-liners he can adapt from Fast and Furious!
“Tonight, we rip… as a fam’ly!”
#9 – 'IT’S PUNKY BREWSTER,' STARRING BREANNA YDE AS PENELOPE “PUNKY” BREWSTER
Okay, so this is a cartoon based on a live-action television series starring the gorgeous Soleil Moon Frye as the pre-teen Punky Brewster, a young girl abandoned by both her parents and essentially hiding out with only her dog Brandon until she was eventually found and adopted by Henry Warnimont. Soleil reprised her role for the animated series, as did the rest of her fellow cast members! While the setting and characters are pretty much the same, the only difference between the two entities is that the animated series added one extra element—Glomer, a magical creature from the “End of the Rainbow” who has an array of powers like teleportation, flight, and transformation spells, like in the episode where he turned Punky into an adult because she was tired of being treated like a kid (mind you, she’s… 8?).
Contrary to popular belief, little orphan Punky is not a troublemaker, unlike that little asshole from Problem Child (1990)! “Hey I got an idea! Let’s drive my dad’s car into Academy Sports! *vroom* YEAH RUMSFELD!!!” However, she does have a wild imagination, loves to play and have fun, and won’t let ANYONE mess with her family or friends if she has anything to say about it!
My vision of the modern-day embodiment of Punky Brewster comes in the form of one Breanna Yde (… Eed?? Ee-dee?? Yid?? Why’d?? Yidi?? Yoda- I dunno, whatever).
16 years old as of this writing, Breanna Yee-di-dee (it’s “ee-dee,” by the way) starred in the Nickelodeon show School of Rock, a spin-off of Jack Black’s 2003 film of the same name. If you’ve ever seen this show, or even YouTubed clips of her performance in the show, you will LITERALLY see Punky Brewster! Everything about her character Tomika is the same: her personality, her bond with her friends, her tomboyish persona, everything! Even her hair in this picture screams Punky Brewster! It’s like the writers and producers were literally sitting in the staff meeting with that one guy who was too busy watching old Punky Brewster episodes!
Producer says, “Ok we need to figure out how we’re gonna write this character. Whaddya got so far, Bill?”
A confused Bill responds, “Uh, uh…," as he looks down at his YouTube app on his iPhone, “… Punky Brewster?”
With a scratch of the chin, the producer says, “… You’ve got a gift, my friend,” as Bill has now been promoted to Executive Producer!
It’s all in Breanna Yde’s memoirs! True story! Google it!
#8 – 'THE ADVENTURES OF JONNY QUEST,' STARRING LEVI MILLER AS JONNY QUEST
While Jonny Quest started out as a 60s series, The New Adventures of Jonny Quest is considered the “second season” of the original series. This second series debuted in 1986 as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera's syndication package. It’s how I first discovered Jonny Quest as a kid, not realizing at the time just how robust of a history the franchise has. Still, I enjoyed it a lot when I was able to watch it, and the adventures he and his crew went on were exciting nonetheless, so whether Hollywood decides to reboot him in memory of the original series or as a callback to the 80s show, I wanted to include him on this list.
My pick to play the titular role is Levi Miller.
This young adult actor has an impressive resumé of work. He’s had a small role in the CW series Supergirl, he portrayed Calvin in A Wrinkle in Time (2018), and played Peter Pan in the 2015 film Pan, which—fun fact—makes him technically the first male actor to play the lead role of young Peter Pan in a film if you don’t count Hook actors Robin Williams, Ryan Francis (who played teenage Pan), or Max Hoffman (who played child Pan).
Levi is no stranger to adventure or action films. Granted he’s a bit older than the character Jonny Quest, but these days, that doesn’t put off Hollywood from placing actors into roles. Perhaps an older Jonny Quest is what we need anyway, given the kind of shenanigans he and his crew are put into. Either way, Levi Miller can pull it off.
#7 – 'THE SNORKS,' STARRING TOM HOLLAND AS ALLSTAR SEAWORTHY (VOICEOVER)
I'll admit that I'm one of the few people who was more a fan of The Snorks than their spiritual predecessor The Smurfs. Maybe it was because the characters seemed more relatable to me as a kid, or maybe it was because I discovered The Snorks first and was instantly hooked.
Whichever the case, The Snorks is a forgotten gem in itself. Much like The Smurfs, it followed a society of wondrous characters with different archetypes that compliment one another for lots of possibilities for compelling stories.
At the center of this is the main character, Allstar Seaworthy, an athletic, yellow-skinned male Snork, generally considered to be the hero of the series. He is smart, brave and generous, usually serving as the leader of his gang during their various adventures. Despite his athletic persona, however, he is a nerd in his own right, having a huge interest in science and inventions.
Does that character archetype sound familiar? Doesn't it sound like Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, a character currently played phenomenally by Tom Holland?!
Tom needs no introduction at this point. He's currently killing it in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but he's not such a new face to acting like people think.
His very first role was actually a voiceover role in the dubbed Studio Ghibli film The Secret World of Arrietty (2010). He's already done quite a bit of voiceover work thus far, and he'll be doing more voiceover work soon as Jip in The Voyage of Dr. Doolittle (2020) and as Ian Lightfoot in Onward (2020). He can do fun family roles AND he can do nerdy roles. He's perfect for Allstar.
Despite being such a fan of The Snorks, I had to rank this one fairly low only because I fear that IF the show gets turned into a movie, it may meet the same fate as The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks did with their execution, which would suuuuuuuck! They still deserve a live-action adaptation. I just hope it's done properly.
#6 – 'RAINBOW BRITE,' STARRING BELLA ROSE AS RAINBOW BRITE
The 80s were a simple time. There were cartoons for boys, and there were cartoons for girls. Rainbow Brite was one of those cartoons geared toward young girls; however, I DID NOT CARE! I watched a lot of Rainbow Brite back in the day, and I am not sorry!
This 1984 series is about a young girl named Wisp, who was brought to a desolate land with the mission to bring color to the world by locating the Sphere of Light. She meets her friends along the way, like the sprite named Twink and her talking horse Slarlite, before finding the Color Belt and rescuing the Color Kids, thus taking her place as Rainbow Brite and taking charge of bringing color to the universe with the Color Kids.
Maybe I loved this series so much because of the fun characters in the show and the unique premise. There was even a decent amount of action in the series, which was amplified during the short-lived 2014 Hallmark animated reboot with Emily Osment in the title role, and when Rainbow Brite fought in that series, BOY did she go hard!
But I digress. My pick to play Rainbow Brite is Isabella “Bella” Rose!
Bella Rose is an Australian dancer and actress, 12 years old as of this writing. Her acting resumé is mostly short films, but you may have seen her in Aquaman (2018) as one of Arthur Curry’s classmates. I recommend visiting Bella's IMDB page, which has her full resumé and video clips showing what she’s capable of. If you see her at her best, you’ll probably agree that she has the chops for a role like Rainbow Brite, which can be a real breakout performance for her in the mainstream.
I also can’t get over the fact that she literally has Rainbow Brite’s face! Her hair, her chin, her dimples, even HER EYES scream Rainbow Brite! I’m actually crossing my fingers now and hoping this happens!
#5 – 'VOLTRON,' STARRING RYAN HIGA AS KEITH KOGANE
I can appreciate movies like Pacific Rim (2013) for finally bringing us to an age where live-action mech movies are possible! This gives me hope for a live-action Voltron now!
There have been several incarnations of Voltron, but probably the most famous would be Voltron: Defender of the Universe from 1984, which features the Lion team with five mech lions coming together to form Voltron. This team is led by Keith Kogane, whose character has changed in various ways over the decades with different Voltron adaptations, but if anything has stayed the same about him, it’s that he’s a dedicated leader with a down-to-earth attitude who is pretty much the glue that holds his team together.
I actually want to nominate a YouTuber to this role. His name is Ryan Higa, a comedian and actor known for his YouTube channel nigahiga.
Ryan Higa is hilarious to watch. His skits on his YouTube channel portray his range of acting and performing, showing he can play a variety of different character archetypes. I pick him to play Keith Kogane because regardless of which version of Keith that Hollywood would decide to adapt, Ryan Higa can play it. Having that kind of charisma and range is always a good commodity for any production studio.
If you haven't already, check out Ryan's YouTube channel and enjoy his product. You'll become a fan quick!
#4 – 'G-FORCE: GUARDIANS OF SPACE,' STARRING DYLAN MINNETTE AS ACE GOODHEART, A.K.A. KEN THE EAGLE
So I’ll level with you on this one. G-Force: Guardians of Space is technically a Japanese series originally known as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, but adapted to a Western series with Western character names. The main premise of the series, however, remains the same, so if you were a fan of Voltron back in the day, you likely would’ve been a fan of G-Force.
The series is about a team of five young superheroes who are essentially intergalactic protectors, all themed to various birds. Their leader is Ken the Eagle, renamed to Ace Goodheart for the American adaptation. The character, much like Voltron’s Keith Kogane, is a strong leader who’s the anchor for his team. Ace, much like his teammates, is also an expert at hand-to-hand combat, and WILL throw down if he has to.
I haven’t followed much of Dylan Minnette’s work, to be honest, but from what I have seen, I think he can do the job well.
The earliest I remember seeing Dylan in film is the horror film Let Me In (2010), where he played a bully named Kenny. He’s also played 16-year-old Henry Wheeler in Labor Day (2013) and Zach Cooper in Goosebumps (2015). He’s at the right median age at 22 years old as of this writing, he has a good slender, muscular build, and seems to have the acting chops to transition into a role like Ace Goodheart, and he’ll have an ensemble of fellow actors as G-Force members to support him on-screen, so I think he’ll do well.
And I know what you’re probably thinking: “But Action, Ken the Eagle is Japanese! WTF, bro?!” I know, I know! KEN is Japanese, but we’re talking about Ace Goodheart, the AMERICAN version. It seems only fitting to get Western actors to play a movie that covers the Western adaptation. “It’s fine, Morty. Don’t even trip, dawg.”
… He does look like an older Morty, doesn’t he?
#3 – 'SILVERHAWKS,' STARRING ANDREW LINCOLN AS QUICKSILVER
I… LOVE… SilverHawks! I had the toys and followed the series for almost its entire run!
The show was made by the same studio that brought us ThunderCats, making it the space-age equivalent, even technically existing in the same universe since one of the characters had a brief cameo in the 2011 ThunderCats reboot. Unfortunately, SilverHawks didn’t have the same popularity as its spiritual predecessor, and has pretty much become a forgotten gem. Thankfully, according to the rumor mill, there are people who want to reboot the franchise as a live-action film, but nothing is official as far as I know.
That’s where THIS fan casting comes in!
Quick disclaimer: this is actually NOT my personal fan cast. This casting came from an article written by Howie Decker, Chief Blogger and Editor of a website called Under Scoop Fire. In his article, Howie fan casts the entire cast of SilverHawks, and every single entry is an amazing pick! My personal favorite of his picks is Andrew Lincoln as the SilverHawks’ leader, Quicksilver!
Fans of The Walking Dead should be VERY familiar with Andrew Lincoln for his role as no-nonsense Sheriff Rick Grimes. Andrew practically commands the screen, yet also portrays a sense of humanity and drama with his acting. I see where @HowardTheDeck is coming with this casting. In his words, “… Andrew Lincoln has proven he has the ability to play a character who leads a group, and he’s got the look. He’d bring in a legion of dedicated sci-fi fans as the main star of this movie.” I wholeheartedly agree, Howie!
Please check out his SilverHawks article sometime. He makes amazing cases for all of the celebrities, and actually has me excited for his concept if it were to come to fruition. I really hope somebody in Hollywood read it!
#2 – 'CAPTAIN PLANET AND THE PLANETEERS,' STARRING CHRIS PRATT AS CAPTAIN PLANET
You know, part of me really feels like Captain Planet is LONG overdue for any form of live-action rendition outside of ever-so-popular Don Cheadle portrayal, so I think it’s time he was brought back from retro limbo!
The environment’s mightiest champion is summoned when the five chosen teens, the multicultural team known as the Planeteers, combine their elemental powers to summon Captain Planet in a blast of mullet glory more epic than Ifrit from Final Fantasy VII, and when he shows up, you know you pretty much lost, because he will completely embarrass you all while smiling at you, and laughing at you, and cracking jokes at you all while flying around with the wind flowing through that glorious mullet like a superhuman Herbal Essence commercial!
And do you know who would absolutely have the most fun in a role like this?! FREAKIN’ CHRIS PRATT, THAT’S WHO!!!
Chris has pretty much become a breakout star in Hollywood these days with film credits like Star-Lord in The Marvel Cinematic Universe (2014 – present), Owen Grady in the Jurassic World films, and Joshua Faraday in The Magnificent Seven (2016), all of which have had incredible success in the box office! Plus, he’s got the right build, the natural charisma and smile, and the child-like nature that would fit CP’s character! There’s no doubt that it would work phenomenally!
Now I can't help but wonder: "Can Chris Pratt rock a glorious mullet?" …Um, YES!!!
Before I get to my #1 pick, here are some HONORABLE MENTIONS!
HONORABLE MENTION – 'MIGHTY MAX,' STARRING JACOB LOFLAND AS MAX
OWEN BRIGGS – LITTLE ACCIDENTS (2014)
ARIS JONES – MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRAILS (2015)
HONORABLE MENTION – 'M.A.S.K.,' STARRING ADAM “EDGE” COPELAND AS MATT TRAKKER
EDGE – WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT (1996-2012) (RETIRED)
DWIGHT HENDRICKSON – HAVEN (2011-2015)
CO-HOST, THE EDGE & CHRISTIAN SHOW – (2016-PRESENT)
HONORABLE MENTION – 'BRAVESTARR,' STARRING ADAM BEACH AS MARSHALL BRAVESTARR
SQUANTO – SQUANTO: A WARRIOR’S TALE (1994)
KICKIN’ WING – JOE DIRT (2001)
CHRISTOPHER WEISS/SLIPKNOT – SUICIDE SQUAD (2016)
#1 – 'SHE-RA: PRINCESS OF POWER,' STARRING KATIE CASSIDY AS PRINCESS ADORA/SHE-RA
Yes, we have a very well-made reboot from Netflix called She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, but with a He-Man movie in the works, I'm hoping She-Ra isn't too far behind!
Here we have He-Man’s separated-at-birth twin sister, Princess Adora of Etheria, who was granted the Sword of Protection when reunited with her twin brother. Unlike He-Man’s Sword of Power, the Sword of Protection is very versatile, as it can morph into a number of forms and allows She-Ra to visually communicate directly with The Sorceress like a wicked Greyskull Skype app!
Aside from that, the twins’ powers are considered to be comparable to one another; however, while He-Man’s more prone to being a passive fighter and use his strength for god-like feats (like chucking Eternia’s moon back into orbit with his bare hands), She-Ra often takes the more direct approach with hand-to-hand combat, and she’s also not afraid to spit flirtatious banter to trip up her enemies. I’m more of a He-Man guy personally, but I enjoyed the She-Ra cartoon just as much, especially whenever He-Man visited her on Etheria! Look up the episode “S2-E20: Sweet Bee’s Home,” where He-Man gets hit on by a couple of She-Ra’s smoking-hot lady friends! PRICELESS!
But I digress! Here, we have a young lady named Katie Cassidy!
Nerd-fans may popularly know her as Black Canary on the CW series Arrow! Immediately, we can attribute a talent for superhero action, and since Canary’s character can also be spit banter along with serious in-your-face combat, those qualities can apply directly to She-Ra perfectly!
If I might also add, look at Katie! I mean… she literally LOOKS like Adora/She-Ra! My followers know I don’t throw the word “perfect” around all too often, but Katie Cassidy as She-Ra is… perfection! Her look, her age range (32 years old as of this writing), the natural blonde hair, the action exposure, the superhero credit… hell, even her cheekbones look like She-Ra’s!
I’m serious! You can’t get any more perfect than that! “DEM CHEEKBONES, THO!”
And that's it! What are your thoughts on my picks? What old school toons would you like to see adapted to film, and who would you like to see starring in them?
That's My Story, and I'm Stickin' to It!