Defenders of the Earth: Wikis

  
  
  

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Defenders of the Earth
Defenders titles.jpg
Defenders of the Earth title screen
Genre Animated, Adventure
Format Animated series
Children's
Written by Lee Falk
Alex Raymond
Bryce Malek
Dick Robbins
Allan Cole
Evelyn Gabai
Alan Swayze
Directed by Will Meugniot
Starring Loren Lester
Buster Jones
William Callaway
Peter Renaday
Peter Mark Richman
Lou Richards
Sarah Partridge
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 65
Production
Producer(s) John Ahern
Rick Hoberg
Bill Hutten
Glenn Johnson
Tony Love
Don Sheppard
Lee Orgel
George Singer
Running time 30 mins
Broadcast
Original run September 8, 1986 – May 1, 1987
External links
Official website

Defenders of the Earth is an animated television series produced in 1986, featuring characters from three comic strips distributed by King Features SyndicateFlash Gordon, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician—battling the Flash Gordon villain Ming the Merciless in the year 2015. Supporting characters include their children Rick Gordon, Jedda Walker (daughter of the Phantom), Kshin (adopted son of Mandrake), Mandrake's assistant Lothar, and Lothar's son L.J. The show lasted for 65 episodes; there was also a short-lived comic book series published by Star Comics (an imprint of Marvel Comics). The closing credits credit Rob Walsh and Tony Pastor for the main title music, and Stan Lee for the lyrics.

Contents

Premise

The plot begins with Flash Gordon and his son Rick escaping from Ming the Merciless. Ming has exhausted all the natural resources of his home planet Mongo and has set his sights on Earth. Flash's wife (Dale Arden in the Marvel comic) is captured and Ming tries to brainwash her. She resists to the point of death.[1]

Characters

Protagonists

The Defenders of the Earth
  • Flash Gordon (voiced by Lou Richards)—Flash Gordon is the legendary space hero and leader of the Defenders of the Earth. He is an ace space fighter pilot and the father of Rick Gordon.
  • The Phantom (voiced by Peter Mark Richman)—The Phantom is the legendary "Ghost Who Walks" and his true name is Kit Walker. According to a note in the end credits, this is the 27th Phantom. This version of the Phantom is different from how he is portrayed in the comics. By chanting "By jungle law, the ghost who walks calls forth the power of ten tigers," he is temporarily given superhuman strength. In the comics, the Phantom does not have any supernatural powers. In the show his horse Hero and his wolf Devil also make brief appearances.
  • Mandrake the Magician (voiced by Peter Renaday)—Mandrake is a cultured man of mystery who has magical powers and knowledge of mysticism. He frequently uses illusions both in and out of combat to achieve his goals.
  • Lothar (voiced by Buster Jones)—He is superhumanly strong and a close friend of Mandrake. He is also portrayed as a mechanical wizard and a master tactician. The action figure's packaging bizarrely describes Lothar as a "Caribbean Ninja".
  • Richard "Rick" Gordon (voiced by Loren Lester)—Richard is an impulsive computer genius and the son of Flash Gordon. Rick, along with many of the other teenagers of the show, attended Central High located in Central City. Rick Gordon was initially intended to be Kit Walker, the son of the Phantom.
  • Lothar Junior—Short for L.J., Lothar Jr. is the street-wise martial arts expert son of Lothar, as well as Rick's best friend. In one episode, the Defenders locate a crystal which shows them their greatest desire; LJ's ambition to defeat the mighty Octon is thus revealed.
  • Jedda Walker (voiced by Sara Partridge)—Jedda is the daughter of the Phantom and displays telepathic and limited psychic powers. She has a pet black panther named Kisa. There is little-to-no mention of a maternal presence in her life, though in one episode, she becomes the resistant foster daughter of Queen Hadea. Some installments imply a romantic relationship between her and Rick Gordon. Jedda Walker was initially intended to be Jedda Gordon, daughter of Flash Gordon.
  • Kshin (voiced by Adam Carl)—Kshin is an orphaned Asian boy adopted by Mandrake, who is training him as his apprentice. As the youngster of the group, he is always trying to prove he is worthy of being a true hero. His country of origin was never specifically identified in the series. Kshin has a pet alien called Zuffy—an orphaned Zuffoid found by Rick Gordon on the planet Mongo.
  • Dynak X (voiced by Diane Pershing)—Dynak X is the central computer based in the Defenders' Headquarters, formerly Flash's wife and Rick's mother (though she is never referred to by name, it is presumed that she is Flash's longtime romantic interest Dale Arden). In the first episode, Ming the Merciless kidnaps and attempts to brainwash her to reveal Flash Gordon's location, but the enormous physical and mental anguish ends up killing her. Before she dies, however, her "essence" is saved in a crystal that is eventually used to power the Defenders' computer.

Antagonists

  • Ming the Merciless (voiced by William Callaway and Ron Feinberg)—Ming is bent on world domination and operates from Ice Station Earth, his hideout located in the Arctic. This version is made more grotesque in appearance than his traditional Asian appearance to avoid racial stereotyping; a similar treatment would be used on The Mandarin in the Iron Man animated series and on Dr. No in James Bond Jr., as all three characters were given green skin and pointed ears.
    • Prince Kro-Tan (voiced by Hal Rayle)—Ming the Merciless' son.
    • Princess Castra—Ming the Merciless' daughter.
  • Octon—Octon is a metallic octopus-like machine which advises Ming the Merciless on how to conquer the Earth or defeat Flash Gordon and Co.
  • Garax—Garax is the robot leader of Ming's mechanical soldiers, the Ice warriors.
  • Mongor—Mongor is a giant serpent-like pet of Ming the Merciless.
  • Kurt Walker (voiced by William Callaway)—Under his alias "N'Dama the Weather Demon," Kurt is the older brother of the Phantom. Kurt is a character specifically created for the series, and has never appeared in a Phantom comic book or comic strip story. Indeed in the Phantom legend, the firstborn son in the Walker family is always named "Kit" and becomes the Phantom. However, Kurt does appear in issue #3 of the Marvel Comics Defenders of the Earth mini-series.
  • The Sky Band—They are one of the Phantom's oldest foes. In the series, they are space-pirates while in the comic strips, they are sky-pirates.
  • Queen Hadea—Hadea is the ruler of the Netherworld, a desolate place without sunlight. Her original character design, visible during a brief error, included a regal, golden outfit, but this was abandoned for a more domestic look featuring a casual dress. She is the latest in a dynasty of monarchs who eventually choose mates, and is served by pale, barely distinguishable humanoid creatures. Hadea possesses healing powers; when Jedda is injured in an experiment, the queen, while working with Ming, briefly captures several Defenders and offers to revive the girl in exchange for the Phantom's loyalty. Afterward, she displays a brief interest in being a mother to Jedda. An ambitious ruler, her hidden agenda is to blindside Ming, incapacitate half the Defenders, and seize the powerful Necklace of Oros. She succeeds during the first half of "The Golden Queen."

Episode titles

  1. "Escape from Mongo"
  2. "The Creation of Monitor"
  3. "A Demon in His Pocket"
  4. "A House Divided"
  5. "Bits and Chips"
  6. "The Root of Evil"
  7. "Cold War"
  8. "The Sleeper Awakers"
  9. "The Revenge of Astra"
  10. "The Hall of Wisdom"
  11. "The Mind Warriors," Part I
  12. "The Mind Warriors," Part II
  13. "The Lost Jewels of Tibet"
  14. "The Evil of Doctor Dark"
  15. "Diamonds Are Ming's Best Friends"
  16. "The Men of Frost"
  17. "Battleground"
  18. "The Panther Peril"
  19. "Fury of the Deep"
  20. "Family Reunion"
  21. "The Defense Never Rests"
  22. "Like Father, Like Daughter"
  23. "The Would Be Defender"
  24. "Doorways into Darkness"
  25. "Deal with the Devil"
  26. "Terror in Time"
  27. "Ming's Household Help"
  28. "The Starboy"
  29. "The Gods Awake"
  30. "The Ghost Walks Again"
  31. "The Book of Mysteries"
  32. "The Future Comes But Once"
  33. "Kshin and the Ghost Ship"
  34. "The Carnival of Dr. Kalihari"
  35. "The Mystery of the Book"
  36. "Flash Times Four"
  37. "The Frozen Heart"
  38. "Rick Gordon, One Man Army"
  39. "The Rites of Zesnan"
  40. "Audie the Tweak"
  41. "Return of the Sky Band"
  42. "Dracula's Potion"
  43. "One of the Guys"
  44. "100 Proof Highway"
  45. "The Time Freezer"
  46. "The Prince Makes His Move"
  47. "Prince Triumphant"
  48. "The Prince Weds"
  49. "The Prince's Royal Hunt"
  50. "The Prince Is Dethroned"
  51. "Lothar's Homecoming"
  52. "Suspended Sabotage"
  53. "The Call of the Eternals"
  54. "The Return of Doctor Dark"
  55. "The Deadliest Battle"
  56. "The Necklace of Oros"
  57. "Torn Space"
  58. "Ming Winter"
  59. "The Golden Queen," Part I
  60. "The Golden Queen," Part II
  61. "Flesh and Blood"
  62. "Drowning World"
  63. "The Adoption of Kshin"
  64. "Street Smarts"
  65. "Ming's Thunder Lizards"

DVD release

Roughly two decades after production was completed, the series was released around the world on DVD, featuring various episodes and packaging depending on region. The US release includes interviews with story editor Bryce Malek, writer David Wise, and artist Michael Swanigan—each of whom reflect on various points of the creative process, including the origins of the characters, legal issues surrounding the properties, controversial content, and ways in which the production differed from others of its time.

Force Entertainment has released the series in Australia:

  • Defenders of Earth (6-disc set)

The first episode appears on the BCI Eclipse DVD releases for:

  • Animated All-Stars collection
  • The New Adventures of Flash Gordon: The Complete Series

BCI has also released the first of two 5-Disc sets that will cover the entire series:

  • Defenders of the Earth—Complete Series Volume 1 (5-Discs) 33 Episodes[2][3]
  • Defenders of the Earth—Complete Series Volume 2 (5-Discs) 32 Episodes (April 3, 2007)[3][4]

Selected episodes are available in the UK, in compilations including:
Hollywood DVD LTD

  • Defenders Of The Earth—The Story Begins

Delta Music PLC

  • Defenders of the Earth vol 1
  • Defenders of the Earth vol 2
  • Defenders of the Earth vol 3
    • The above volumes include three episodes each, covering the first eight episodes of the series and the series finale, "Ming's Thunder Lizards".
  • Defenders of the Earth Movie—"The Book of Mysteries"
    • "The Book of Mysteries" combines episodes 31-35
  • Defenders of the Earth Movie—"Prince Kro-Tan"
    • "Prince of Kro-Tan" combines episodes 46-50
  • Defenders of the Earth Movie—"Necklace Of Oros"
    • "Necklace of Oros" combines episodes 56-60

Other media

Screenshot of Defenders of the Earth video game for the SAM Coupé home computer.

In 1987, Star Comics (Marvel Comics' children's imprint) published a comic book series which only lasted four issues. It was written by Stan Lee (#1) and Michael Higgins (#2-4) with art by Alex Saviuk. The last issue featured a "next issue" caption but, #5 was never published.

There have been DOE-related books, including The Creation of Monitor, A House Divided, The Sun-Stealers and Computer Checkmate.

A line of action figures produced by Galoob included Flash Gordon, Mandrake, Lothar, the Phantom, Ming and Garax.[5]

A video game for home computers was also made. It featured the various heroes from the series on a quest to defeat Ming.

A parody, called Protectors of the Earth, is made up of comic strip characters Rex Morgan, Mary Worth, Garfield, and Mark Trail. [6]

The Robot Chicken episode "Werewolf Vs. Unicorn" parodied the series with Flash Gordon, the Phantom and Mandrake posing as the neighborhood watch.[7]

References

  1. ^ McLean, James (4-10-2007). "Flash in the Pan: Defenders Fails to Ignite". toonzone.net. http://news.toonzone.net/articles/16399/flash-in-the-pan-defenders-fails-to-ignite. Retrieved 12-29-2009.  
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ [6]

External links








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