One of the main figures in the wildly successful Thundercats cartoon from the 1980s is Cheetara. She was the only female Thundercat in the crew for the entirety of the inaugural season and was recognised for her extraordinary speed and sixth sense. It makes sense that Cheetara would continue to be unrivaled in terms of speed given that it is named after the fastest terrestrial animal.
The Thundercats’ story has been developed outside of the cartoon in the form of comics and a 2011 comic series. In one of those comics, various characters are given origin stories, giving us a completely fresh perspective on the Thundercats’ narrative. Cheetara is thankfully one of them.
As we go over the various media platforms where Cheetara has emerged and won our hearts, we will take a closer look at her character and her history in today’s video.
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Cheetara’s Backstory: Explored
Beginning on the day of Thundera’s annihilation, the animated series follows Cheetara’s adventure. However, the cartoon does not address Cheetara’s background, how she joined the Thundercats, or how she met Lion-O, Jaga, and the other members.
However, Thundercats Origins: Heroes and Villains is a comic book that addresses this. The comic is broken up into chapters, each of which is devoted to a different character. Run is for Cheetara, the second chapter.
Jaga can be seen bending from a precipice and reaching out to catch someone who is about to go over. It should be noted that this is only a vision that Cheetara is having immediately before the race.
It is the Great Race of Thundera, not just any generic race. King Claudus, the father of Lion-O, established it as an annual custom. The race winner would almost always be given a position in the King’s court. The stakes were higher this year, though, because Claudus had made a guarantee that the winner would safeguard Lion-O and receive the title of a Thundercat.
We find out for the first time that Cheetara was not born a Thunderian noblewoman. She tried her hardest to win as an amateur runner, but she was never successful. She narrowly missed the finals this time. She had no chance of winning, especially as compared to Pantara, who finished first and cleared the race without exerting any effort.
Even though she was disappointed about her poor timing, her friend soon reminded her of the time when she said that she would kill to be a part of the Royal Court. Soon, Pantara appears in front of her and asks her to set her sights on second place, as she is determined and confident about her victory. Cheetara’s friend Rexara then mentions something strange – Cheetara had zoned out at the beginning of the race, which resulted in her lacking at first. Cheetara admitted how she was daydreaming and how she would often find herself amidst daydreams, that too in weird situations. What made it crazier was the fact that sometimes these visions came true.
This clearly alludes to a special power she would be using a lot in the future and in the course of the animated series. However, the speedy future Thundercat had little knowledge of this ability.
Meanwhile, a young Lion-O undergoes sword training with Jaga over a steep cliff. He acts more confident than he needs to, but things seem to be under control.
Back at the race, Cheetara is determined to win. Even though Pantara seems to be slightly ahead of her, Cheetara tries her best to outdo everyone. Suddenly, she is hit by another one of her daydreams. She finds herself viewing the scenes from Jaga and Lion-O’s training. However, Lion-O slips off the cliff and begins to fall while Jaga reaches out his arm to grab him.
This vision is the one she had seen before, and suddenly something changes about Cheetara. Her speed increases exponentially as she calls out Lion-O’s name. In no time, she reaches the place where the young prince was training and grabs a falling Lion-O. She then returns him to Jaga who is thankful, but surprised with the situation at hand. She also realizes how her vision was true.
A confused Jaga asks her how she came to be here and she tells him about the race – the race that was seemingly a whopping fifty miles away. She tells Jaga that she had sensed the impending doom and rushed to Lion-O’s aid, when Jaga mentions how King Claudus had faith that the race would bring forth a worthy champion. However, they did not expect the champion to have the power of the sixth sense as well. Cheetara is taken aback by it, as she did not win but Jaga points out the victory ribbon she was holding. Suddenly, Cheetara realizes that she has won the race while on the way to save Lion-O and looks upwards with pride.
Cheetara In The Original Thundercats Animated Series
Cheetara is a noble from Planet Thundera. She is renowned for her speed, which takes after the cheetah. In the story, she is an ally to the protagonist Lion-O, who becomes the leader of the ThunderCats.
Being a very important character, Cheetara makes her appearance in the pilot episode ‘Exodus’. She is a Thunderian noble who is fleeing her home planet, as it is on the brink of destruction. She is not alone, however, and is joined by the leader of the Thundercats, Jaga, and the other Thunderian nobles.
While in the Thunderian Royal Flag Ship, they get attacked by the barbaric creatures of Planet Plun-Darr known as the Mutants. They have their eyes on a unique relic known as the Eye of Thundera. However, their efforts are thwarted by the Thunderians, including Cheetara. But unfortunately, the attack leaves the Royal Flag Ship crippled to an extent, causing Jaga to take its reigns (even though it normally operates on autopilot while flying at the speed of light).
Cheetara, the protagonist Lion-O, and the others get encased in sleep chambers that prevent ageing, while Jaga pilots the ship to its new home planet. However, as time goes by, Jaga cannot continue with piloting the ship. So he sets it on autopilot and selects a crash course (in this case, Third Earth). Jaga passes away and the flagship lands on Third Earth, where the others come out of their sleep chambers while Lion-O reappears as a young adult instead of retaining his cub-like appearance.
And that’s basically how Cheetara ends up on Third Earth. However, the planet was far from being peaceful, as it had been overrun by the Mutants and the tyrannical sorcerer Mumm-Ra. Due to the Thundercats opposing the Mutants and Mumm-Ra, Cheetara often got involved in several fights against them.
The twenty-sixth episode of the first season, known as ‘Sixth Sense’, highlights Cheetara, as the storyline lays heavy focus on an ability unique to Cheetara – her sixth sense.
The comic showed us the power of Cheetara’s visions. However, the ability has several drawbacks, which become painfully evident in this episode. When an alien spaceship enters Third Earth’s atmosphere, its signal connects with Cheetara’s sixth sense, taking a huge toll on her body. When she collapses, Lion-O soon gets into action, as he understands the severity of the situation.
The Thundercats round up and try to get to the bottom of it. We soon find out how the spaceship is able to control Cheetara’s mind, as it has created a link with her sixth sense. The fact that it is draining her strength makes matters worse as her condition rapidly deteriorates.
She is taken back to the Cats’ Lair when Lion-O, Panthro, and Tygra leave for a place called Hook Mountain, which seems to the place of the signal’s origin.
The Mutants track down the Thundercats as well and beat them to it. Unfortunately for them, the alien ship attacks them, prompting the Mutants to remove the spaceship’s control unit. After the Thundercats catch up, they take the rest of the ship back home, where Panthro and Tygra set up a workshop to fix it. Meanwhile, Lion-O leaves to go after the Mutants.
Unfortunately for Lion-O, his mission does not work out as he is soon surrounded. Meanwhile, Cheetara learns about what is going on and insists on accompanying Panthro and Tygra to save Lion-O. Even though the plan sounds reckless at first, it all works out in the end, when Cheetara uses her sixth sense to link with the spaceship again and uses that link to fire the weapons at the Mutants.
Cheetara plays a huge role in the forty second episode of the first season – Lion O’s Anointment Second Day. This episode is dedicated to a contest that Lion-O must win to become the leader of the Thundercats… and Cheetara comes in, as Lion-O is tasked with beating her in a race. With Cheetara’s speed, it is truly impossible for anyone else to win.
This becomes clear as the race begins and Cheetara’s incredible speed gives her a massive head start. However, her ability has a drawback. She only gets her speed as a head start, after which her speed reduces and she becomes as fast as any other Thundercat.
Lion-O knew of his own limitations and Cheetara’s excellence. So, during the race, he picked a shorter but more dangerous route to outsmart her. Cheetara started off very well but was soon met by the Mutants. She took care of the situation but her head start period was over by then and Lion-O soon matched his pace with hers. As the two Thundercats ran against each other, Lion-O’s determination to win eventually outdid Cheetara’s physical abilities. Ultimately, Lion-O ended up winning and did not seem to be happy with it, since he thought that Cheetara had let him win.
But Cheetara cleared this confusion for Lion-O and mentioned how it was his determination that resulted in his victory, especially because Cheetara could only run faster than everyone else for a brief period of time; and since she had exhausted her super speed, she was in no position to outrun Lion-O.
Season 3 Episode 9 known as ‘Telepathy Beam’ has Cheetara’s sixth sense being under attack once again as the Mutant, Vultureman, wants to destroy her confidence. At the same time, Panthro has been taken a prisoner and enslaved, and Vultureman wants to prevent Cheetara from finding out about the Mutants’ dirty laundry.
While Panthro works as a slave to upgrade the Sky Tomb, Vultureman sends visions of Panthro being stuck on various places such as Castle Plun-Darr, Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid, and Hook Mountain, to Cheetara. She reports what she sees to the others, prompting the Thundercats to search all three locations individually.
However, they all get ambushed or captured in the locations they check out, while Cheetara is on the verge of losing her mind. The wise Lynx-O suggests her to listen to her heart instead of using her mind, and she takes his advice, as he was someone who had fine-tuned all of his senses. Ultimately, Cheetara conjures a huge sphere of energy that shoots out to destroy Vultureman’s device. She then manages to free the other Thundercats.
The twelfth episode of the third season – Return of the Thundercubs, watches Cheetara get turned into a cub alongside the other Thundercats.
Mumm-Ra gets a piece of advice from the Ancient Spirits of Evil – to use Cheetara’s sixth sense and find the Treasure of Thundera.
So, when Cheetara arrives at New Thundera (that is a smaller version of the older Thundera which had exploded), Mumm-Ra drives them to the Canyon of Youth to turn them into cubs. He then disguises himself as Lion-O and asks Cheetara to use her sensory abilities to find the Treasure of Thundera.
Snarf and Lion-O, who were on Third Earth, learn that the Feliner (that is a vehicle of the Thundercats) has crashed on New Thundera. They somehow manage to get help from the Mutants to go there.
Back in New Thundera, Cheetara uses her sixth sense to find the treasure and locates part of it. She comes in contact with the Mirror of Truth, a mirror that can break disillusions and show the truth. Lion-O appears in that mirror to tell the Thundercubs to look into the mirror. The cubs soon see their adult forms and learn that the Lion-O they were in contact with was Mumm-Ra in disguise.
When the real Lion-O reaches them, he uses his Sword of Omens and the Mirror of Truth to return his friends to their original forms.
An angered Mumm-Ra transforms back into himself and fires at Lion-O. However, Cheetara uses the mirror to deflect the attack back at him, thus, winning the fight.
Her Story In The 2011 Thundercats Reboot Of The Original 1980s Television Series
2011 saw a reboot of the Thundercats animated series, where Cheetara is a cleric (an elite Thundercat who is a member of the royal guards). Besides having enormous speed, this Cheetara also excels at wielding a staff and fighting unarmed.
The storyline here boasts the same characters as the original (more or less), but is quite different from its 1985 counterpart. The 2011 Cheetara looks quite different as well, even though the design does not stray too far from the original cartoon. While the older Cheetara wore a leotard and had shoulder-length blonde hair, the newer Cheetara wears a sexy two-piece brown outfit. She has longer hair, looks younger, and is less muscular. Despite the minute changes, she still has the spots on her hair like the 1985 version.
Her face markings have also changed, but only by a bit, as it is less sharp than before.
In the cartoon, Cheetara is shown to be an orphan who joined the Clerics after coming to Thundera at a young age. During this time, she met Claudus’ adopted son Tygra for the first time, who blushed on seeing her. This would eventually go on to become a heartwarming yet complicated love story, especially with Lion-O’s involvement in creating a love triangle. What’s funny is Cheetara is very mature and can understand people’s feelings well, but she could not guess that Lion-O was in love with her.
Becoming a part of the Clerics was not easy business either and Jaga had cast her out for her lack of patience. A stubborn Cheetara promised not to leave the front door of the temple until she got a second chance. But no one took her seriously except Tygra, who was in love with her. He gave her a special flower, each petal of which had a day of life within it.
Cheetara fell in love with Tygra and ate those petals, once a day. However, the lack of nourishment soon took its toll on her body, causing her to pass out. On the bright side, Jaga took her in to train her.
As Cheetara grew up, Jaga became a father figure to her. She became a Cleric and was often assigned to look over Lion-O, who she considered to be quite unique and different; especially because Lion-O was so compassionate towards every species. Meanwhile, she wished to see Tygra again, who she had not met in a long time.
Cheetara took the Sword of Omens to Lion-O during his Right of Passage, a ceremony that would determine whether Lion-O was a true king or not. During this time, she met Tygra again and the two rekindled their romance. She had even kept the flower he had given her all those years ago.
She later went on to fight alongside Lion-O, Tygra, and even Panthro. With the enemy called Grune, the Thundercats had a lot on their plate, especially with the Lizard army’s attack. Panthro was held hostage while Thundera’s army had been wiped out. With Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living joining the party, the odds were not in the favor of the Thundercats. Soon, Claudus was killed and Cheetara, Jaga, Lion-O, and Tygra were captured.
What made matters worse was the fact that Jaga was dying. So, while the other Thundercats escaped, they had to leave him behind. Towards the end, Jaga entrusted the newly formed Thundercats team with finding the Book of Omens. Cheetara went on to become a guide to Lion-O while the latter had begun to catch feelings for her… all while she actually loved his adopted brother, Tygra.
And so, a new journey began. In this quest, Cheetara and the others met WilyKit and WilyKat. They later found Mumm-Ra, the Book of Omens, and learned that Jaga was still alive, since his soul was trapped inside a lamp. However, Jaga sacrificed himself after Mumm-Ra got too powerful for the Thundercats to defeat.
Soon, Lion-O united with the Book of Omens and found out about the existence of other power stones, aside from the Eye of Thundera. The Thundercats then set on a quest to find those stones and unite the various animal species in their fight against Mumm-Ra.
During one of their quests, Cheetara gains her staff, which soon becomes her weapon of choice. She also goes through a whole venture of finding the power stone, and defeating Grune and the Lizards. With such high stakes, she gives a good-luck kiss to Lion-O, which begins a new complication, as Lion-O had feelings for her. Tygra being into her also births jealousy within him, and the two brothers soon begin to fight for Cheetara. However, Cheetara loves Tygra and she comes clean to him after he confronts her. As the two Thundercats share a kiss, Lion-O watches and feels betrayed. But Cheetara never loved him that way. She was always super supportive towards Lion-O because she saw him as a younger brother.
The problems caused by their personal lives result in grave dangers when the Thundercats fall into an ambush set by Mumm-Ra and his underlings. They get captured and lose the Sword of Omens, but Lion-O manages to save the day.
Cheetara later worked alongside Panthro to teach the Thunderkittens (that is Wilykit and Wilykat) how to hunt. She taught Wilykit things like sneaking up on the prey, masking the scent, camouflaging it with the aroma of a fruit, etc. However, her strategies failed as Wilykit did not want to hurt an animal for the hunt. Her brother seemingly threw the same tantrum, prompting Cheetara and Panthro to prohibit them from sleeping in the ThunderTank unless they hunt for themselves. However, the Thunderkittens soon returned with lots of fruits.
During a separate quest, Cheetara meets Pumyra, who is another survivor of the massacre at Thundera.
Cheetara In The Wildstorm Comics
The 2002 Wildstorm Comics explore a different storyline with reference to the Thundercats. It picks up after the end of the cartoon and continues the experiences of the Thundercats, with Lion-O now finding the Book of Omens.
Here, Mumm-Ra has conquered New Thundera, while Lion-O is trapped in the Book of Omens. Cheetara gets captured by the Mutants of Planet Plun-Darr and undergoes the pain of being a captive for five years straight. She is constantly humiliated and sustains severe emotional damage from the experience.
She was not alone in this, however, as Tygra was a victim of this as well. He was tortured and forced to design for Mumm-Ra during his tenure while Cheetara was often at the receiving end of severe humiliation. All of these are quite dark for what is supposed to be a kid’s cartoon.
After Mumm-Ra was overthrown, Tygra helped Cheetara deal with her trauma. The two later got into a relationship and even became parents to Thunderkittens.
What Makes Cheetara So Powerful?
As a warrior and a member of the Thundercats, it is no surprise that Cheetara is extremely powerful. And her highest selling point is her speed.
Super speed is, in fact, one of the most versatile powers one can have. Look at Flash, that man can create vortexes, vacuums, natural calamities, and even alter time. Sure, Cheetara cannot do all that, but that does not stop her from using her super speed to the fullest. She can evade and dodge attacks better than anyone else. Literally, here mere jogging speed clocks in thirty seconds per mile. That is quite insane.
Meanwhile, her top speed can be sustained for two miles, before it comes down to that of any other Thundercat. These abilities, punched with her unique sixth sense, make her a terrible foe to stand against.
She can look into the past, present, and future and find out what is going on. As cool as this ability is, it can, unfortunately, become too taxing for her, both mentally and physically. The visions would initially come and go at odd times, but Cheetara eventually got better control of them.
Apart from these power amps, Cheetara excels at using her staff as a weapon. The staff she used in the first cartoon could expand and contract. It could also shoot beams, while the new staff can grow tree roots while being able to extend like the previous one.
Other than that, the 2011 Cheetara is also great at fighting unarmed and is a magician.
Interesting Facts About Cheetara That You Should Know
For those who have mainly watched the 1985 cartoon, certain tidbits such as her romance with Tygra, the love triangle with Lion-O, her life before knowing Jaga, and her story in 2011 Thundercats may surprise people.
Cheetara’s Provocative Visual
Several fans have mentioned how the 2011 cartoon objectified her. Even though she is an anthropomorphic character, Cheetara is depicted in a very attractive manner. Artist Ed Benes, who drew her in the cartoon, is known for depicting his female characters suggestively and Cheetara has been no exception.
During one of the scenes from her time as a slave, there is a portrayal of Cheetara being locked up in chains while her clothes are torn just enough to hide her modesty.
Her Voice Actor Being Lynne Lipton
Even more popular voice actors often voice several popular cartoon characters… and Lynne Lipton is one such person, since she is acclaimed not just for her portrayal of Cheetara but also for her works in American films, television, and theatre. What makes her even cooler is the fact that Lipton voiced every female character who made their appearance in the first season on the 1985 Thundercats. Yes, Cheetara, WilyKit, Mandora, Ro-Bear-Belle, and Willa were all voiced by the same person.
Cheetara’s Popularity With Celebrities
Resident Evil Actress Milla Jovovich wanted to play the role of Cheetara if there were ever to be a live-action version of Thundercats. This should not come off as a surprise, as several celebrities are fans of the cartoons – there is literally a musician named Thundercat who is inspired by this incredible show.
Other than that, several fans have envisioned Margot Robbie playing the character.
Kids Have Been Named After Cheetara
It is not uncommon for millennial parents to name their children after their favorite fictional characters. Hermione from Harry Potter and Daenerys from Game of Thrones are the first two names that come to mind.
However, several kids in the 1980s were named after Cheetara. As cool as this may sound, the kids might resent the name later, as this is common among kids named after fictional characters.
Cheetara As Bengali’s Mother
We already know that the 2011 cartoon has kept several of the characters from the original, while changing the storyline. In this new storyline, the blacksmith Bengali was supposed to be Cheetara’s son.
Art director Dan Norton mentioned this during a podcast. This can be attributed to the two characters having similar designs in the original series. However, the ship harboring this idea did not sail.
The original Thundercats went on from 1985 to 1989, over a course of four seasons. It took almost twenty-two years for a reboot and not too long ago, 2020 experienced another reboot. However, apart from the first series, the others did not last long.
Even though media does not need to be dragged out, we would love to get more intel and tea on some of our favorite characters, and, for many of us, Cheetara tops that list.