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Biker Mice From Mars Facts That Will Make You Rock And Ride

Anthropomorphic animals ruled the airwaves and the toy stores in the 1990s. Kids couldn't get enough of franchises like "SWAT Kats," "Street Sharks," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and "Biker Mice from Mars." Debuting in 1993, the latter show about three Martian mice who escape their home planet and land on Earth (specifically, the city of Chicago) revved the excitement engine of younger viewers. Throttle, Vinnie, and Modo each had a distinct and cool personality that was instantly relatable. They rode around on modified, super-fast motorbikes and could pull off the most outrageous and death-defying stunts. And they all had fantastic catch phrases such as "Let's rock and ride" and "What a rush."

The franchise was created by writer Rick Ungar, who is now best known for his political commentary career. Despite creating the concept over three decades ago, Ungar remains attached to these characters and is always more than willing to discuss them and their significance. Even though the initial series had a fine run over three years, spanning 65 episodes, "Biker Mice from Mars" is a franchise that keeps returning every so often, which is testament to its undying legacy. Let's dive into the history of this action-packed animated sci-fi series.

How the Biker Mice from Mars idea was born

The story of three motorbike-loving mice that escape their decimated home planet of Mars and crash-land in Chicago is very specific. Yes, there are common trends of heroism and adventure that form the building blocks of the series, but the concept of the characters and their backstory is a highly original premise. While Rick Ungar had much experience with animated shows and sci-fi ideas as both the head of Marvel Productions and a writer himself, he found inspiration for the Biker Mice in the real world — and in the most unexpected of places.

"My wife and I were having brunch, when all of a sudden about 25 Harleys roared up," he told the Los Angeles Times. "But you could see these guys were yuppies." Somehow, this experience kickstarted Ungar's creative juices as it went from biker wannabes to Martian mice that rode around on motorcycles. No one said the creative process is linear and rational, right? However, it's unlikely that anyone would have wanted to watch an animated series about John and Chad from accounting riding their Harley-Davidson motorcycles on weekends and drinking chai lattes.

The creators were offered an unusual amount of freedom

From the outside looking in, working on an animated series looks like the dream job for any creative individual. However, there have been many actors, writers, animators, and directors who have bemoaned the experience because of being beholden to networks and production companies, who usually have the final say over a show's direction. In the case of "Biker Mice from Mars," though, there was none of that. Instead, it was a liberating experience, as revealed by director Tom Tataranowicz.

Speaking on a Streamily stream that featured former cast members and some of the crew from the show, Tataranowicz explained how he and the team were afforded high degrees of freedom to improvise and to pitch the most outlandish of ideas, such as a Shakespeare-inspired episode in the third season titled "Rocketh and Rideth." Rick Ungar explained that this was possible because his dual role as show creator and head of the production company ensured he had no one to report to but himself. In the same stream, Ungar praised the collaboration efforts on "Biker Mice" and said that voice actor Rob Paulsen was so terrific at coming up with new lines or ideas on the spot that he wanted to give him writing credits on several episodes.

Throttle is based on the creator of the show

Much like other animated series of the time, each character on "Biker Mice from Mars" had a unique personality and specific look that would make them stand out. Fans would argue over who was the best among themselves, but there's no disputing that each had their appeal. One of the most popular characters on the show is Throttle. He's the leader of the Biker Mice and looks as cool as a mouse on a motorbike can possibly look. Throttle wears green sunglasses to protect his artificial eyes and has a glove that powers up and enhances his strikes.

In terms of his personality, Throttle is relatively laidback and nothing seems to rattle him, no matter how serious the situation or the adversary. He comes across as the murine version of Keanu Reeves, but it turns out he's actually based on the show's creator. When the well-known speaker, host, emcee and panel moderator Carol Roth put out a tweet asking people to reveal which cartoon characters they identified with most, Ungar replied: "Throttle in 'Biker Mice From Mars' ... But then, he is me!"

The difference between Biker Mice from Mars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Here's the premise: Anthropomorphic heroes with tons of personality and fighting ability band together — occasionally with their human pals — in order to put a stop to something evil, which is normally from outer space or another dimension. This is the part where everyone screams out "Cowabunga" in unison while chowing down on a slice of pepperoni pizza and dancing to Vanilla Ice. Of course, that description makes it sound like we're talking about "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." However, we could just as easily be describing "Biker Mice from Mars" — or a number of shows from the early to mid 1990s.

After the pop culture wave of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" washed over the world, numerous clones were developed as people tried to claim a slice of that Turtlemania-sized pie. Many people viewed "Biker Mice from Mars" in the same light, seeing it as just another "TMNT" rip-off that wanted to stake a claim in the toy market and children's programming war. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 1994, Rick Ungar conceded that there were many similar elements between the shows, but there was also something important that differentiated them from each other: the writing of the episodes. Ungar said that the "TMNT" cartoon was made for children exclusively, while "Biker Mice from Mars" featured another layer of humor that allowed it to connect with adults, too. This set it apart from "TMNT" and many of the other similar shows from the time.

The real-life inspiration behind the villain of the show

Every hero needs a worthy adversary. In "Biker Mice from Mars," Throttle, Vinnie, and Modo had an impressive rogues gallery of villains, made up of the likes of Dr. Karbunkle and Greasepit. However, the big bad of the series was the menacing Lawrence Limburger. He is based in Chicago — like the Biker Mice — and runs a giant industrial corporation known as Limburger Industries. Naturally, he is dirty and wants to get his hands on all of Earth's most precious resources for nefarious purposes. Oh, and he's secretly an alien from the planet Plutark.

To keep his extraterrestrial nature a secret, Limburger wears a human rubber mask and parades around in a purple suit. Part of his master plan is to take from Earth in an effort to rebuild his planet. His schemes are often devious and mightily ambitious, but the Biker Mice foil his efforts and become the thorn in his side. In an interaction on Twitter about former President of the United States Donald Trump being utilized as a villain in a Marvel Comics storyline, "Biker Mice from Mars" creator Rick Ungar revealed an interesting titbit about Limburger's inspiration. "I've actually already done that for real," he tweeted. "The bad guy in 'Biker Mice From Mars' is an amalgam of Trump & Reagan."

Lots of Beverly Hills, 90210 actors voiced characters

The voice cast of "Biker Mice from Mars" doesn't always get the credit it deserves. The sci-fi show was brought to life brilliantly by some very talented people, and it attracted some big names from time to time (the likes of Mark Hamill and Leah Remini popped up as recurring characters). The series served as something of a "Beverly Hills, 90210" reunion, as many of the lead cast members from the popular teen drama rocked up on "Biker Mice from Mars."

Ian Ziering, who played Steve Sanders on "90210," voiced Vinnie, one of the three lead mice on the show. Brian Austin Green (David Silver) had a supporting role as Modo's nephew Rimfire, while Jason Priestley (Brandon Walsh) voiced tech guru Asphalt. Luke Perry (Dylan McKay) voiced Limburger's rival, the deliciously named Napoleon Brie, while Tori Spelling (Donna Martin) and Jennie Garth (Kelly Taylor) also had roles as Romana Parmesana and Angel Revson respectively. Securing the cast of "Beverly Hills, 90210" for "Biker Mice from Mars" was quite the coup as the drama was still going strong and pulling in the ratings at the time.

Voice actor Rob Paulsen predicted the revival

Voice actor Rob Paulsen has built up quite the résumé for himself over the years, having voiced iconic characters in numerous big shows. He did Pinky on "Pinky and the Brain," Yakko on "Animaniacs," and Donatello on the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" reboot, to name but a few. He also had the opportunity to bring several characters to life in "Biker Mice from Mars," including the sunglasses-wearing leader of the titular trio, Throttle. Speaking to ComicBook.com about shows he had worked on that could be ready for a comeback, Paulsen mentioned "Biker Mice from Mars" as one of the potential options, showering praise on the animated series and his time working on it.

"I did a show called 'Biker Mice from Mars' years ago that I thought was really fun," he said. "The three main characters were myself, Ian Ziering, who you guys know from '90210,' and Dorian Harewood. That was a pretty cool action-adventure show with some cool music. A lot of humor." Paulsen was correct to predict that "Biker Mice from Mars" could be in line for a comeback — in January 2023, ComicBook.com revealed that the multimedia company Nacelle had acquired the rights to the franchise and was planning to release a new animated series along with a tie-in toy line.

Disney+ could have streamed the show but chose not to

After Disney's acquisition of Fox, the Mouse House held the rights for the original run of "Biker Mice from Mars." Considering how popular the series was in the '90s and that nostalgic cartoons often do well on streaming platforms, many people expected "Biker Mice from Mars" to pop up on Disney+ at some point. However, the Martian mice with a penchant for motorcycles and mayhem never graced the streaming service.

Many fans wondered if the franchise had somehow been excluded from the Disney deal, but that wasn't the case. In a now-deleted tweet (via StreamClues), Rick Ungar confirmed that Disney had the rights to the first 65 episodes of the show and could have shown the cartoon if it wanted to. He added that he was unsure of the reason for the streaming service not showing the series. Of course, the rights have now been picked up by Nacelle.

Biker Mice from Mars is technically part of the Marvel and Disney universes

While the premise of "Biker Mice from Mars" might sound a bit out-there on paper, you can easily imagine them slotting into the cosmic side of the Marvel universe, teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy or duking it out with Thanos. Technically, this could have happened, since "Biker Mice from Mars" was made by Marvel Productions, with the legendary Stan Lee serving as an executive producer of the show. The Marvel connection wasn't only on the TV show, though, as the franchise expanded into the comic book arena as well. The "Biker Mice from Mars" comic book series was short-lived, only receiving three issues, but it was published by Marvel Comics.

There was even the possibility that the Martian mice could have interacted with the likes of Darkwing Duck in the Disney Universe, too, since Disney acquired Fox Kids Worldwide (which included Marvel Productions) in 2001, per the Los Angeles Times. Of course, Disney would go on to obtain Marvel Entertainment years later, so there were numerous opportunities for Throttle, Modo and Vinnie to cross over with other properties and characters. Sadly, we never got to see this, but who knows what the future holds for the franchise.

It's Rick Ungar's favorite creation

In the early '90s, Rick Ungar was one of the key people responsible for the birth of the many popular animated shows that changed the landscape of children's TV. He served as the president of Marvel Productions while simultaneously heading New World Family Filmworks and New World Action Animation. In this important position, Ungar oversaw the rise of recognizable series such as "X-Men: The Animated Series," "Iron Man," "Fantastic Four," "The Incredible Hulk," and even the live-action shoe "Mutant X."

As a writer and creator, Ungar developed the likes of "Legend of the Dragon" and "Zorro: Generation Z." However, for Ungar, the Martian mice still hold the top spot in his heart. When asked by Newsmax about his favorite superhero characters, he said, "That's easy. 'Biker Mice from Mars.' These characters, which I created so many years ago, changed my life and made a lot of things possible for me."

The series was revived in 2006

In 2005, news broke that work had commenced on a new season of "Biker Mice from Mars." Rick Ungar had started a new company called Brentwood Television Funnies and cut a deal with the London-based Criterion Licensing to create 26 new episodes, which would become Season 4 of the show and take place in the same continuity as the original storyline. The plan was for the new season to arrive in 2006. At the same time, a new batch of toys and a video game were planned to accompany the revival.

As per the initial plan, "Biker Mice from Mars" Season 4 landed in 2006 — but only in the United Kingdom. The new episodes only aired on Fox in the United States and other territories two years later, per AWN. Despite the return of the original cast to voice the Martian mice and new exciting storylines to continue their rollicking adventures, the fourth season of the cartoon didn't whip audiences into the same kind of frenzy as it had a decade earlier, slipping under many people's radars for the most part. The staggered release of the show around the globe is unlikely to have helped matters much.

Fans want the reboot to take them back to the Golden Age of kids cartoons

With popular '90s animated series such as "Animaniacs" and "ReBoot" returning to the small screen decades after they first aired, rumors of a possible "Biker Mice from Mars" revival started to do the rounds, too. In 2020, Rob Paulsen revealed to ComicBook.com he had heard the murmurs of a reboot as well. Yet, with TV networks and streaming services undergoing massive upheavals featuring mergers, cancellations, and budget cuts in the years thereafter, no further news of the three rodents with attitude surfaced — until January 2023.

ComicBook.com published the news that Nacelle had secured the rights to "Biker Mice from Mars." Plans for the franchise included a new expansive toyline as well as a modern animated series. Speaking about the acquisition, Nacelle CEO Brian Volk-Weiss said the Martian mice would complement and slot in with the other brands the company had obtained, such as "Robo Force." The reaction online was positive, with fans of the original '90s show begging Nacelle to recapture the magic. "Please please PLEASE for all that's holy do NOT go with the 2006 Sequel/Reboot/Whatever version," one Twitter user said. "Give us back the OG 1993-1996 Biker Mice from Mars art style, humor, seriousness, and charm."