ByCraig Patrick Arnott, writer at
I'm currently studying a degree for Film Production and Cinematography.
Craig Patrick Arnott

We have seen many popular 1980's cartoons already turned into live-action adaptions, from Transformers to G.I Joe to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Yogi Bear. But the 80's was a golden decade for animated series and many iconic shows have yet to be given the live-action treatment. Here is a list of some serious contenders that could become popular live-action franchises to join the shows that have already been reinvented.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold

Series Premise.

The series follows Esteban who joins Mendoza and his associates Sancho and Pedro in a search for one of The Seven Cities of Gold. They are joined in their quest by an Incan girl named Zia and Tao the last descendant of the sunken empire of Mu. Esteban longs to find his father on their travels and the group discover many lost treasures along the way including, Solaris (a solar power ship), The Golden Condor and the solar-powered Ornithopter which was a mechanical bird. They also encounter many ancient civilizations on their journey which include the Maya, Inca and Olmecs.

Original Air Date: June 29, 1982 – June 7, 1983

Number of Episodes: 39

Why a Live-Actions Version?

Unlike many of the already adapted series this one would be unique in the fact it is an adventure series over a comedy or superhero series. It would also be a chance for them to portray multiple cultures and historic facts and myths in a live-action movie. It was also one of the few shows that did not have a clear target gender as both boys and girls in the 80's loved the series.

Dungeons & Dragons

Series Premise.

Pulled from their world through a Theme Park ride Hank, Eric, Diana, Presto, Sheila and Bobby find themselves in the realm of Dungeons & Dragons. Joined by the young unicorn Uni and guided by the Dungeon Master who grants them magical items turning them into Hank the Ranger, Eric the Cavalier, Diana the Acrobat, Presto the Magician, Sheila the Thief and Bobby the Barbarian. They are constantly under threat from Venger the Force of Evil and Tiamat a fearsome female five headed dragon as they travel across the land in search of a way home.

Original Air Date: September 17, 1983 – December 7, 1985

Number of Episodes: 27

Why a Live-Actions Version?

There have been Dungeons & Dragons live-action movies but they were not remakes of the 1980's animated series. The animated series offered viewers the chance to see people pulled into the unknown, so they are discovering the magics of this world at the same time as the viewer. Filled with mythology and magic, a live-action adaption could be the next big fantasy film hit.


Series Premise.

Their home planet of Thundera is destroyed and the last remaining Thundarians known as ThunderCats look for a new home. Arriving on Third Earth Lion-O leads Cheetara, Panthro, Tyrgra, WilyKit, WilyKat and Snarf in creating a new home forming allies and foes from the natives of the planet. The evil Mumm-Ra recruits the Mutants to help him gain control of the Eye of Thundera and rid Third Earth of the Thundercats so evil may continue to rule over the land.

Original Air Date: January 23, 1985 – September 29, 1989

Number of Episodes: 130

Why a Live-Actions Version?

Thundercats is perhaps the second best known and remembered series of the 80's behind Transformers. They had a new animated series only a few years ago that was highly popular yet cancelled for no foreseeable reason after its first season, not to mention the live-action movie that was planned and then indefinitely shelved. The simple reason why this should see a live-action adaption is simply due to the crime of it not having had one already.


Series Premise.

Twin sister of He-Man, She-Ra leads the Great Rebellion against the evil Hordak and his Evil Horde who rules Etheria with a tyrannical rule. With her trusted steed Swift Wind, the magical Sword of Protection and her trusted friends She-Ra fights to restore her honor after having been a member of the Horde of Evil before being freed and joining the good fight.

Original Air Date: September 9, 1985 – December 2, 1987

Number of Episodes: 93

Why a Live-Actions Version?

With their being dozens of male led superhero movies She-Ra could be a serious contender for a female led superhero movie that is not originated from either Marvel or DC. The film could easily come before of after a modern day live-action He-Man series, but would probably work better spinning off from He-Man modern day live-action film. Either way it would be a chance to see a strong sword swinging woman in the spotlight, breaking us away from the super powered heroics we see so often today.


Series Premise.

M.A.S.K (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) is a special task force who continue to try and stop the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem) in an ongoing battle. Both M.A.S.K and V.E.N.O.M use an arsenal of transforming vehicles to fight their battles allowing the pilot more diversity in their battle utilizing various terrains.

Original Air Date: September 16, 1985 – November 28, 1986

Number of Episodes: 75

Why a Live-Actions Version?

With the popularity of both The Fast and Furious franchise and the Transformers franchise, M.A.S.K could be the next big high-speed thriller. Imagine a pair of street cars racing along in a battle with one turning into a boat and the other suddenly turning into a jet allowing the battle to continue on and over the sea. It could have great potential in fueling any vehicle enthusiasts fantasies of the high revs and vehicle combos they could imagine.

G-Force: Guardians of Space

Series Premise.

The evil galactic tyrant Galactor and Computor use waves of androids and giant machines in an attempt to conquer the Earth. G-Force is created to protect the planet consisting of five teenager who are willing to lay down their lives to protect their home. With their mighty ship, personalized vehicles and weapons they fight the good fight and stop Galactor at every given chance.

Original Air Date: 1987

Number of Episodes: 85

Why a Live-Actions Version?

G-Force gave western audiences their first glimpse at a superhero team made of teenager who transform to fight evil. Sound familiar? Well it is a very similar format to Power Rangers. With a large blockbuster in the works for Power Rangers, why not G-Force at the same time as a rival film? The Japanese counterpart Battle of the Planets did see a live-action movie adaption only a few years ago, so the suits are ready to use if a deal can be made.

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light

Series Premise.

On the planet Prysmos, an advanced society where all electronics have failed, the people are forced to rely on the old magics. Consisting of two groups of knights, the Spectral Knights and the Darkling Lords. Everyone who wishes to gain magic is invited to a competition by the wizard, Merklynn. After surviving traps, dangerous creatures, and each other, survivors on both sides are rewarded. Winners are embued with a unique magical animal totem by Merklyn who decides on the animal based on their personalities. This allows the user to tap into magics and transform into their chosen animal.

Original Air Date: September 21, 1987 – December 14, 1987

Number of Episodes: 13

Why a Live-Actions Version?

While the series did not last longer than one series, the general premise is extremely interesting. The idea of a society ran by magic over science is something not often shown. While we have hundreds of movies based on characters using magic, they tend to exist in a world where science does not seem to exist. With special effects being able to do all sort now, the right script, cast and crew could see this show become a popular live-action movie.


Which would you want remade into a live-action movie the most?


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