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|First appearance||ThunderCats Episode 2 - "The Unholy Alliance"|
|Created by||Tobin Wolf|
|Portrayed by||Earl Hammond (1985 series)
Robin Atkin Downes (2011 series)
|Title||Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living|
Mumm-Ra is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of the ThunderCats franchise. He is an undead evil sorcerer bound to the servitude of four malevolent, godlike entities known as the Ancient Spirits of Evil. Native to the planet of Third Earth, Mumm-Ra's goal is to destroy the ThunderCats and ensure his world remains under his control.
Fictional character biography
The demon sorcerer Mumm-Ra is the self-proclaimed "ever-living source of evil" on Third Earth, having powers of sorcery and an apparently unlimited lifespan. He is, in fact, a bound servant to the Ancient Spirits of Evil (represented by four anthropomorphic statues of a boar, crocodile, vulture, and ox thus resembling oversized twisted mockeries of Egyptian canopic jars, within the burial chamber of his pyramid), who provide him with increased power and virtual immortality to further his pursuit of spreading their dark influence throughout Third Earth.
Residing within the Black Pyramid amid the ruins of what appears to be an ancient Egyptian civilization, Mumm-Ra exists in a decayed, weakened form that must return to a stone sarcophagus to replenish his energy. He can summon the power to transform himself into a more vigorous and muscular form - Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living - by reciting the incantation: "Ancient Spirits of Evil, transform this decayed form to Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living!". While in this form, Mumm-Ra possesses fortification of his mystical might — casting spells, throwing energy bolts, etc. — to battle his foes. He can also alter his physical form into a variety of alter-egos to deceive his enemies.
Seemingly invincible in whatever form he chooses, Mumm-Ra appears to have a singular weakness: seeing his own hideous reflection neutralizes his ability to remain outside the Black Pyramid and forces him to withdraw there in his emaciated mummy form. However, at the beginning of the second season, the Ancient Spirits of Evil overcame this shortcoming. Mumm-Ra is a master of deception, and will use whatever means necessary to fight against the forces of good. In later episodes, while endowing Mumm-Ra with his powers, the statues of the Ancient Spirits of Evil came down from their perches, and extend their arms over him.
He uses his magic to create disguises and deceive the ThunderCats on various occasions. Among these are: Diamondfly (in the episode "Queen of Eight Legs"), Gregory Gregion ("All That Glitters"), Silky ("The Garden of Delights"), The Netherwitch ("The Astral Prison"), and Pumm-Ra (in the episode "Pumm-Ra"). He once took the form of King Arthur to acquire the legendary magic sword Excalibur, using it against the Sword of Omens.
In a few episodes, Mumm-Ra has an even more powerful form beyond "Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living" called "Mumm-Ra the All-Powerful": in this manifestation, Mumm-Ra absorbs the entire power of the Ancient Spirits of Evil to become grander in size and strength, and the design pattern on his loin cloth changes, as does his voice. This form is only presented in the series three times. In another incarnation, calling himself "Mumm-Ra the Dream Master," he is able to enter dreams to subliminally influence the ThunderCats in their sleep as a form of mind control.
Mumm-Ra is regarded as immortal, and when defeated, he simply returns to his sarcophagus. Mumm-Ra cannot be truly killed; even in cases where his body is destroyed, he will eventually be restored, as he often states: "Wherever evil exists, Mumm-Ra lives!"
Later, Mumm-Ra is shown to have a blue undead, bulldog-like companion named Ma-Mutt, capable of flight and supernatural feats of strength and speed. He is generally evil, though some episodes depict him as having sympathetic qualities. Ma-Mutt is the only living creature Mumm-Ra shows any compassion and love for - in one episode, after the machine he was using in his evil plan was destroyed, he frantically searched for Ma-Mutt, and upon finding him, apologized for being horrible to him earlier in the episode.
Fed up with Mumm-Ra's repeated failures, the Ancient Sprirts of Evil demand that he destroys the ThunderCats or else he will be exiled from Third Earth. When Mumm-Ra fails the deadline, the Ancient Spirits of Evil trap Mumm-Ra in a crystal with a miniature pyramid and cast to the farthest reaches of the universe. When the ThunderCats decide to colonize New Thundera to rebuild it, the Ancient Spirits of Evil free Mumm-Ra and rebuild his cauldron on Third Earth. In one episode, it was said that Mumm-Ra once owned the Sphere of Seti which increased his power. When he managed to recover it after it was found by Char, he planned to use it to increase his power and free himself from servitude to the Ancient Spirits of Evil. Angered at his plot as well as at his deceptive attempts to hide it, the Ancient Spirits seal off the Black Pyramid, forcing Mumm-Ra to choose between sustenance (the pyramid) or power (the sphere). Ultimately, Mumm-Ra admits that he cannot survive without the pyramid—thus he begrudgingly surrenders the sphere and once again resumes his role as a servant of the Ancient Spirits.
In the 2011 version, Mumm-Ra is an Ancient Spirit of Evil employed by the Ancient Spirits of Evil (confirmed by series Art Director Dan Norton) with changes including demon wings on his Ever-Living form, a larger body, and a weakness to intensely bright light. His ultimate goal is universal domination and enforcing his ideal order on it. When utilizing the power of the Gauntlet of Plun-Darr, Mumm-Ra's power increases and he gains a robed armored form (this continuity's equivalent to the All-Powerful form), with a skeletal mask and Egyptian headdress. In his Ever-Living form, he continues the show's trend of all characters and creatures being animals by showing traits of a leaf-nosed vampire bat.
Centuries prior to the new series, Mumm-Ra used advanced technology and magic at his disposal to enslave the ancestors of the ThunderCats and the Animals into serving him so he would gather the Four Powerstones (the War Stone, the Tech Stone, the Spirit Stone, and the Soul Stone) from various planets to place on the Sword of Plun-Darr, a weapon forged from a star he had collapse at the cost of the entire Plun-Darr galaxy. But managing to take the War Stone (which would become the Eye of Thundera) while staging a rebellion with the Animals' help, the ThunderCat Leo defeats Mumm-Ra and strips him of the other Powerstones. But when Mumm-Ra's pyramid spacecraft was pulled into Third Earth's atmosphere, Mumm-Ra entered his tomb to bide his time for everyone else to die in the resulting crash. However, the controls were smashed and Mumm-Ra was trapped within his pyramid as the stones and survivors spread across Third Earth.
Many centuries later, Mumm-Ra used Grune to release him from his prison and masterminded Thundera's downfall. With the aid of Grune and Slythe, Mumm-Ra not only plans to obtain the Eye of Thundera, but to regain the other three Powerstones in order to get to the Sword of Plundarr and the remaining stones. Mumm-Ra also resurrected Pumyra to serve him and planted her amongst the Thunderian slaves. After Grune ends up trapped in the Astral Plane, Mumm-Ra has Slithe recruit the homicidal Addicus and sociopathic Kaynar to not only restore the Lizard army morale and punish any who quit, but also increase their numbers with members of the new generals' respective races. Later, through a calculated scheme involving the reveal of his agent Pumyra, Mumm-Ra regains the Sword of Plun-Darr (along with his All-Powerful form) and the Tech Stone while gaining a new ally in Vultaire. The series, had it not been cancelled, would presumably have followed Mumm-Ra's search for the final Stone, the Soul Stone.
Powers and abilities
An absolute master of magic, Mumm-Ra possesses nearly unlimited knowledge of mystical arts from all corners of the universe. As such, he can summon their use to assist him in almost any manner he chooses. Such as electrokinesis, levitation, necromancy, alchemy, shapeshifting, temporal manipulation, teleportation, psychokinesis, transfiguration, mind control, astral projection, scrying, and so on.
While in the form of Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living, he becomes a conduit for the Ancient Spirits of Evil; such that he can amplify his aforementioned abilities to a nearly cosmic scale, gain superhuman strength, as well as retain his undead status despite the passage of time or any injuries sustained. The price of this power however, is extremely limited stamina: once Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living has surpassed a given threshold of energy-expenditure, he must revert to his mummified form, and enter his sarcophagus to rejuvenate himself. Also, Mumm-Ra's power in his Ever-Living form is directly linked to the condition of both his sarcophagus and the Ancient Spirits' four statues within his pyramid; should any of them be harmed or destroyed, his power weakens immediately and considerably.
In the 2011 show, Mumm-Ra's Ever-Living form similarly amplifies his already formidable mystic powers, while not seeming to have any definite limit as to how long he can maintain this form. Once he recovers the Gauntlet of Plun-Darr (the precursor to the Gauntlet of Omens, Lion-O's gauntlet), he is able to use a double-edged sword decorated with bat wings and a ring where the Eye of Thundera could fit. He can use the gauntlet in his Ever-Living form so as to achieve an All-Powerful form (or a form analogous to the 1980s version) which increases his power further, allowing his double-edged sword to become a dual-bladed scimitar. However, this form can only be achieved if he has two or more of the Powerstones in his possession. If his Powerstones are stripped from his gauntlet while in his All-Powerful form, Mumm-Ra reverts to his skinny, mummified self.
Mumm-Ra has been generally well received by the public and fans alike. Viewers have noted the character for his notoriously frightening appearance and deep, raspy voice. In addition, Mumm-Ra is also praised for being much more competent than other famous cartoon villains from the 1980s; such as Skeletor of Masters of the Universe fame.
WatchMojo.com placed Mumm-Ra 5th place in their "Top 10 Television Cartoon Villains" list, stating that he was the most memorable character in the ThunderCats series. Labeling him as "a bad guy that audiences could actually fear".
In popular culture
- Mumm-Ra was the name of a British indie band named after the cartoon character.
- Mumm-Ra appeared in different episodes of Robot Chicken voiced by Donald Faison.
- Mumm-Ra appears in the Family Guy episode "The Man with Two Brians". When Brian Griffin is living with Cleveland Brown, Cleveland insists on walking Brian on a leash while he uses the bathroom. Mumm-Ra then appears, looking into his cauldron, and says, "I'm watching you make stool!"
- Mumm-Ra is referenced in rapper Lakutis' song "Mumra".
- Mumm-Ra is referenced in rapper Lupe Fiasco's verse in Kanye West's song "Touch The Sky".
- Mumm-Ra is mimicked in the movie "Daemonium: Soldier of the underworld", as the Ancient Demon, Rufus.
- Mumm-Ra is mentioned on Aesop Rock's track titled "Terra".
- "Robin Atkin Downes Talks "Mumm-Ra"". MTV. Geek-news.mtv.com. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "Thunder Thursdays: Know Your ThunderCats!". IGN. Retrieved 2011-07-31.
- "Top 10 Television Cartoon Villains". Youtube.com. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Natives Of The Third Earth - Mumm-Ra". Gigwise.com. Retrieved 2011-09-04.