It’s an amazing time to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fan. The comics are going on strong, the dudes are teaming up with Batman to fight gnarly adventures in Gotham, and the latest animated iteration of the Turtles is keeping the legacy alive on Nickelodeon. And starting today, to show appreciation for Turtle fans across the generations, Nickelodeon is launching “Total Turtles Fandemonium.” To celebrate, both Nick and Nicktoons will air episodes of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles each day this week through Friday (April 14th). Total Turtles Fandemonium features original footage of Turtles fans of all ages showing their love for the fearsome foursome at events like VidCon and San Diego Comic Con, along with videos of the voice cast and content from YouTuber Alex Wassabi. Then, ultimate fan weekend kicks off with an all-new Rise episode, “Sparring Partner,” on Saturday, 4/13, at 9:30 a.m. (ET/PT) followed by day-long marathons of Rise episodes Saturday and Sunday.
Catch a clip of the new episode below:
THE BEAT had the good fortune of taking some time to chat with Omar Miller, the voice of Raphael in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Miller, a fan of the original animated series, proudly wears his love of all things Turltles for all to see.
AJ FROST: Dude, the Turtles are back and just as frenetic and vibrant as ever. With the new show on the air for the last several months now, what have your feelings been so far? Has fan reaction met your expectations?
OMAR MILLER: Full blown, right?! I love seeing the show. It’s truly been a surreal experience. My interaction with the fans has primarily been via the internet or at conventions and the intensity and passion of the fans is undeniable and inspirational to be honest. #TurtleNation rolls deep.
FROST: Can you tell me the challenges of playing Raphael, who in this incarnation is not the bruiser and existential loner of the group, but the leader who is still learning his way? How do these tweaks to Raphael allow you to give him a special twist that fans haven’t seen before?
MILLER: Great observation. Basically, it allows me to have the latitude to fail as Raph. He’a getting his game together and it feels more like an origins story than any other version of the TMNT that we’ve seen. And often times failing is funny and/or informative for where we’re going.
FROST: What is your personal experience with the Turtle franchise? Have you been a fan from the beginning? What are your earliest memories of the TMNT?
MILLER: I’m old enough to remember when the original TMNT debuted on TV. I am the OG target audience! I was such a TMNT fanatic that I used to sing the theme song on the bus on the way to elementary school.
FROST: Have you read the comics?
MILLER: I have not. I was never much of a comic book guy.
FROST: Have to ask this: Rob Paulsen, the original Raphael, is now the voice director for the new show. What pieces of advice did he have (if any) that allowed you to embody this role but make it totally unique and your own?
MILLER: He is so wonderful and encouraging. We couldn’t have a better director in my opinion. He told me to trust my instincts as an actor and has allowed improvisation which along with his brilliant talent as an actor has really made me more comfortable tackling such an iconic character.
FROST: Every fan has a Turtle show they can call their own. What do you think “Rise” does that makes it completely unique in the TMNT pantheon? And how does it feel to be a part of this beloved franchise/phenomenon?
MILLER: Rise is totally now. It has jokes and situations that could never have happened when I was a kid like selfies, social media for the Turtles, etc…I think the relevancy and diversity are really landing with the audience as well. And the original elements of having the Turtles learn who they want to become and their purpose is huge!!
FROST: What is next for you, as Raph, but also as Omar?
MILLER: Transitioning from the Mad Dogs to the TMNT with my brothers for Raph and more good living for Omar. I’m about to start filming season five of Baller$ and am always bumping my gums on my sports podcast “The O-Zone.”
Episodes of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are currently airing on Nick. Learn more on the official Nickelodeon website.
AJ Frost is an editor/writer based out of Phoenix, AZ.