Well, first of all, Rob Beschizza at BoingBoing posted a link to an article titled Color Coded: Panthro, over at Color, where Monique Jones discusses the racial coding of Panthro -- why we think of him as a black guy even though he's a blue-gray cat person. Obviously Earle Hyman's mellifluous baritone does a lot of the heavy lifting, but it's not just that; it's the character design, too -- he's a different, darker color than all the other Thundercats, his features are wider, and his head's shaved.
Anyway, Beschizza's post had this at the bottom:
And I thought hey, that's a pretty good, clean rip of the extended version of Panthro's theme song; somebody must have worked hard splicing that together, and I wonder if there are any more.
I found a few others from the same poster, and by the time I got to this one
it became clear that okay, these are definitely not fan edits, they're original recordings from somewhere.
So then I found a video called Thundercats: The Official Soundtrack (linked because embedding is disabled). It's a 2008 call to action petitioning WB to release a soundtrack album, and it's got samples of a bunch of different tunes "cut from the original master tracks" to demonstrate that they're out there and all WB has to do is publish them.
So what I'd heard in those YouTube videos were, presumably, copies of those original tracks.
I poked around the Internet a bit; there's a thread on FF Shrine that links an incomplete set of the songs (plus some other stuff of questionable provenance) and discusses them in detail.
So yeah, I have a new #2 Unpublished Thundercats Thing I Want Most. (#1 is Lynne Lipton's personal videos of the recording sessions.)
Also, somebody made this fan video:
Presumably the new theme song is from the 2011 soundtrack album.
It conks out a little bit at the end, but the first 2/3 or so does a decent job of reconstruction the original intro with material from the new series.
I really wish WB saw a profit incentive to publishing stuff like this. Aside from all the other reasons the DVD sets were half-assed disappointments, I wish they could have made a deal with Lynne Lipton to include some of the videos she took of the recording sessions.
Sure, I'm not sold on the style, the tone, or the man-bun. But there really is some loving attention to detail in there. That intro is pleasingly kinetic and does a solid job of summarizing the first few episodes of TOS (and even fixes the series' greatest continuity error, "Where the fuck did Vultureman come from?"), and while, as I said, I don't love the new animation style, they've taken pains to make the character, vehicle, and location designs recognizable as the same ones from TOS. From the opening shot of Thundera to the closing seconds rotating the camera around Lion-O as he raises the sword, it's quite clear somebody paid a whole lot of attention to TOS.
I mean, I like Teen Titans Go! despite its massive departure from Teen Titans. Course, the difference between Teen Titans Go! and what we've seen of Thundercats Roar so far is that Teen Titans Go! is (1) actually funny and (2) not off-puttingly hideous.
Thundercats was always funny, but the humor came from its total lack of self-awareness; it came from the total commitment to take utterly ridiculous shit and play it as melodramatically as possible. I've seen no evidence so far that self-aware, winking-at-the-camera Thundercats can work.
All that said: boy, there's a whole lot of crazy shit there to mine. If nothing else, I look forward to what obscure details they pull out from TOS' run. Dr. Dometone and the Oceanic Plug? Captain Shiner, Captain Cracker, Hammerhand and the Berzerkers? Safari Joe and the Demolisher? The Mad Bubbler? We can take Mandora, Evil-Chaser First Class as a given, right?
Pity about the music. If they had the rights to the music from TOS, they'd have used the theme song in the opening titles. I think using new arrangements of the old songs would have fit the "we're recreating a bunch of obscure and unnecessary details in the new style" approach nicely.