With the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series wrapping up after five seasons, Nickelodeon is going to give the pizza-loving ninja reptiles another shot with a reboot! The new series, titled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is set to shift back to the franchise’s 2D-animated roots, as well as providing a brand new voice cast, which Nickelodeon has just announced (via The Hollywood Reporter).
So who do we have to fill in the turtles’ shells? Firstly, we have Josh Brener (the DuckTales reboot) to voice Donatello, the mech-tech genius of the four brothers. Omar Miller (Ballers) will voice Raphael, the biggest brother in size and the leader. Ben Schwartz (also from the DuckTales reboot) takes on Leonardo, the self-proclaimed “coolest” of the brothers. And finally, there’s Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re the Worst) as Michelangelo, who is the youngest, yet imaginative brother.
No Turtles incarnation is complete without the regular allies, however. On the turtle’s side, we have street-wise New Yorker April O’Neil (voiced by Swiss pop singer Kat Graham), and wise sensei Splinter (voiced by Eric Bauza). Bauza previously voiced Tiger Claw, Hun, and the Fulci Twins in the 2012 CGI series.
Set to begin with 26 episodes in 2018, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will serve as a 2D-animated retelling of the heroes in the half shell, where they encounter new friends and foes, and discovered an unexplored mystical world under the New York City streets.
Chris Viscardi, Nickelodeon’s senior VP production and development for animation, stated that: “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. 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.”
Another noteworthy aspect of this reboot is that it will be directed by veteran voice actor Rob Paulsen. Paulsen should indeed be a familiar name to Turtles fans since he voiced Raphael in the original 1987 series and Donatello in the 2012 series. Andy Suriano (character designer of Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer of the 2012 Turtles series) will serve as co-producers.
As a big Turtles fan, Omar Miller (Raphael) said: “I used to sing the TMNT theme song daily on the bus on my way to elementary school and Raphael was my favorite Turtle. To get to voice this fictional character who had such a giant positive impact on my childhood is an honor. And to boot, I’m being directed by the man who voiced Raphael in my childhood.”
For me personally, I haven’t seen much Turtles-related stuff, though I am curious to explore the franchise more if I get time. As for Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’ll be interesting to see how this reboot will be played out in 2D animation, which I think could have a stylised Samurai Jack-like look since we have Andy Suriano as co-producer. Hopefully, we’ll get more details on the reboot when the new year arrives.