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Executing learned motor behaviors often requires the transformation of sensory cues into patterns of motor commands that generate appropriately timed actions. The cerebellum and thalamus are two key areas involved in shaping cortical output and movement, but the contribution of a cerebellar-thalamocortical pathway to voluntary movement initiation remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated how an auditory "go cue" transforms thalamocortical activity patterns and how these changes relate to movement initiation. Population responses in dentate/interpositus-recipient regions of motor thalamus reflect a time-locked increase in activity immediately prior to movement initiation that is temporally uncoupled from the go cue, indicative of a fixed-latency feedforward motor timing signal. Blocking cerebellar or motor thalamic output suppresses movement initiation, while stimulation triggers movements in a behavioral context-dependent manner. Our findings show how cerebellar output, via the thalamus, shapes cortical activity patterns necessary for learned context-dependent movement initiation.