Cowabunga, indeed. The turtles are back and better than ever. With the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles upon us thanks to their new show at Nickelodeon, a new generation of pizza-chomping, ninja-stomping kids is about to learn about some classically named mutant reptiles.
After debuting a trailer and a theme song, all that was left for the show was to introduce the cast and show some action from this jacked, angular iteration of TMNT. At their presentation at San Diego Comic-Con, that’s exactly what they did -- with one evil announcement in particular dominating the day.
The panel included the full voice cast of the heroes in a half shell -- Omar Miller (Raph), Ben Schwartz (Leo), Josh Brener (Donnie), and Brandon Smith (Mikey) -- and their friends -- a fully costumed Kat Graham (April) and the incredible Eric Bauza (Splinter). Co-executive producers Andy Suriano and Ant Ward were also in attendence, joining Rob Paulsen, the voice of every single one of your favorite animated characters (seriously -- the guy has almost 500 acting credits), who is also featured on the team as their voice director. But you're not here to be dazzled by voice acting legends, you want details about this new spin on the turtles.
According to Graham, she wanted to bring fierceness and sass to April's character so that "the girls feel like they have some representation" even though it's a cartoon about four dude turtles whooping up on baddies. Brener described Paulsen's role as like The Giver, being the inter-generational link for the TMNT lore, as the actors all confirmed that they all felt free to play around with the voices and find their own take on the classic characters -- with even Splinter getting a little wacky.
Something else a little different is the weaponry used by the turtles. No longer the standard katana, bo staff, sai, and nunchaku, this iteration of turtles are getting a bit more fantastical in their combat abilities: with the arsenal adding a whole new swath of Japanese-influenced murder sticks. But more exciting are the villains they'll be whacking with them.
And holy shell, is this cast stacked. John Cena, Lena Headey, Johnny Rotten, Rhys Darby, John Michael Higgens, and more are coming to the upcoming season as baddies. Headey plays Big Mama, a crime boss akin to Kingpin, said Suriano, while Rotten plays a character named...Meat Sweats. Yuck. I can't wait.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres this September.