Back when Nickelodeon announced a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and revealed an sneak peek at the CGI animation, there was some initial skepticism regarding the direction of this new iteration. Nevertheless, fans gave it a chance and it soon won over even the most jaded Turtle fans garnering acclaim for its aggregation of different TMNT media from the comics to the movies, yet retaining its own distinct style and tone. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and 2017 saw the end of this particular TMNT cartoon. Considering it lasted 5 seasons, that’s a pretty healthy and long run.
Fans won’t have to wait long for new TMNT cartoon, as Nickelodeon already announced a new show for 2018. Titled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this animated show will be returning to 2D animation and that’s not the only changes in store. Today Nickelodeon announced the new voice cast which includes Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo, Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil, and Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Splinter.
Perhaps most surprising is that Raphael (the one in red for those uninitiated in Turtle lore) now in the role as leader of the team as opposed to Leonardo (the blue one). Every meaningful iteration of the TMNT has done some radical departures from established continuity whether it’s the Utrom Shredder in the 2003 cartoon or the reincarnation origin in the current IDW comics. A change in leadership may be odd to old school Turtle fans, but change is a necessary part for any franchise in order to avoid stagnation.
While this is the first tour of duty with the TMNT for most of the main cast, veteran voice actor Eric Bauza who portrayed the villain Tiger Claw in the previous series is moving up as he takes on the iconic role of Master Splinter. “For the past few years I’ve had the honor of voicing Tiger Claw, an original character to the TMNT universe,” said Bauza. “Now, the honor continues as I get to voice Splinter, in the brand-new series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I couldn’t be more thankful and proud to be a part of one of the most iconic shows in animation history!” Perhaps one of the most versatile actors in the animation industry today.
Additionally, Rob Paulsen who’s no stranger to TMNT having voiced both Raphael and Donatello in two different cartoons, is also involved in Rise of TMNT but not as a voice actor. This time around, Paulsen will be behind the microphone as the voice director for the show. Paulsen, who a few months ago revealed he was batting throat cancer (thankfully he’s now recovered), has probably been an enormous part of your childhood whether you realized it or not. With the legendary Andrea Romano who voice directed the 2012 TMNT series retiring, I can’t think of a better person to take over as TMNT director.
The last few years has seen a new renaissance for the TMNT, so fans don’t have to worry about the Green Machine disappearing anytime soon.
Check out the full info below-
Nickelodeon today announced the voice cast of its all-new series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a reimagining that follows the band of brothers as they encounter new allies and villains and discover a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City. The 2D-animated series stars the voice talent of Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo and Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil. The series is set to debut in 2018 on Nickelodeon.
“This incredible roster of voice actors provides a fresh take on these globally recognized characters, and they are going to bring this version of the Turtles to life in a whole new way,” said Chris Viscardi, Senior Vice President, Production and Development, Animation. “We have reimagined the series to be filled with humor, loads of action and a dynamic look, and it’s packed with all new heroes, villains and cityscapes for the Turtles to explore.”
The highly comedic voice cast shapes the team in a fresh way and breathes new life into the characters’ distinct personalities, including: Raphael, as the oldest and physically biggest brother, he is now the leader and his enthusiasm and bravado puts him front and center for most of their bizarre adventures; Leonardo, the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart; Donatello, an unflappable mechanical genius and tech wizard whose ninja skills are second only to his coding; Michelangelo, the youngest brother, an artist and awesome skateboarder with a wild colorful, and imaginative personality; and the Turtles’ most trusted ally, April O’Neil, a street savvy native New Yorker who is always ready to join in the fun. Additionally, Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) joins the cast as Splinter, both father figure and sensei to the Turtles.
Veteran animation industry voice actor Rob Paulsen is voice directing the series. Paulsen most recently voiced Donatello in Nickelodeon’s CG-animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and voiced Raphael in the 1987 original series. With over 2,000 half-hours of animation voice-over to his credit, Paulsen’s versatility is heard in many series.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures all while enjoying their favorite slice of pizza. Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the four brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.
The new 26-episode series is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif.
Andy Suriano is an artist, illustrator and performer, and an Emmy and Annie Award-winning character designer and storyboard artist. His past credits include: Star Wars: Clone Wars, The Fairly OddParents, Duck Dodgers, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, Disney’s Mickey Mouse shorts, Samurai Jack, and The Powerpuff Girls, among others.
Ant Ward is an animator, writer and producer best known for his work as supervising producer on Penguins of Madagascar and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Emmy Award-winner was integral to developing Nickelodeon’s CG-animation pipeline.
Taimur Dar is the Digital Media Producer and Marketing Expert for the Beat. He has earned a master’s degree in marketing intelligence from Fordham University and has provided branding strategies for various companies and organizations. His name his pronounced like the first two syllables of “tomorrow” in case you were wondering.