NewsTV/Cartoon News

New Information About Rise of the TMNT Reveals Raph is the New Leader

It’s been several months since we first heard about Rise of the TMNT, but we haven’t received much of any information about the 2D animated series since it was announced. Thankfully, Nickelodeon has finally decided to reveal some additional details about the cartoon. In particular, we now know the voice actors who will be playing all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Although you may not be familiar with some of these actors, something tells me that you’ll be happy about who they chose to direct the team.

Our heroes in a half shell will be voiced by Omar Miller (Raphael), Ben Schwartz (Leonardo), Josh Brener (Donatello), and Brandon Mychal Smith (Michelangelo). Additionally, Nickelodeon has revealed that Kat Graham will play the role of April O’Neil while Eric Bauza returns to play the character of Splinter. Although you may not be familiar with some of these actors, it’s worth noting that they all have plenty of experience and they will be directed by none other than Rob Paulsen.

That’s right, instead of providing his voice to yet another TMNT series (which could still be possible), Paulsen will actually be providing direction to this relatively young group of voice actors. Unfortunately, the rest of the information provided by Nickelodeon is somewhat troubling. In particular, long time fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be disappointed to hear that Rise of the TMNT will apparently change some of the key characteristics of Leonardo and Raphael.

This is the voice cast for Rise of the TMNT. Image Source: Nickelodeon.
This is the voice cast for Rise of the TMNT. Image Source: Nickelodeon.

According to the press release from Nickelodeon, Raphael will become the leader of the group. While Michelangelo and Donatello remain largely unchanged, Leonardo has been described as “the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother.” In other words, it would appear that they may be changing the roles of Raphael and Leonardo. Although it’s entirely possible that the person writing this press release made a mistake, we should probably be prepared for the potential that this alteration will actually happen.

If there’s anything the fans know about this franchise, it is that Leonardo leads and Raphael is “cool, but rude.” The history of arguments and fights between Leo and Raph is so entrenched in TMNT history that flipping the script seems absolutely ridiculous. This potential change to the formula is very disconcerting, but I am definitely happy to see that Eric Bauza and Rob Paulsen will be returning for yet another iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Say what you will about the voice actors they chose, but I’m personally just hoping that Nickelodeon accidentally misrepresented the characters in this press release. We’ll let you know if Nick releases any corrections that might clear this up.

Are you impressed with this voice acting cast? Are you worried about the potential change in leadership between Leonardo and Raphael? Share your thoughts about this Rise of the TMNT press release either in the comments below or on Facebook/Twitter.

The Author

Justin W

Justin W

My name is Justin Wren and I love to write about the TMNT! I've been a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan since the late 80's. Back then, I would watch the original animated series and play with the Playmates toys all the time. I have been following the boys ever since I was a kid, and I'm very happy to see them back in the limelight after all these years. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a member of the team on this awesome TMNT Fan Site!

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  • Jewelwriter Moonstar

    Get the explosives ready, this might blow up in someone’s face.

    • Totaldrama Icequeen

      Lol 😂

      • Jewelwriter Moonstar

        This bomb of a reveal has been set. Tick-tock.

        • Totaldrama Icequeen


  • Mitch Fletcher

    I’m hyped. I’m so, so, SO. FREAKIN’. HYPED.

  • Totaldrama Icequeen

    I’m curious about the change in leadership between Raph and Leo. But I’m thrilled that Rob Paulsen is voice directing

  • Robby Bevard

    Good, Leo has always been a terrible leader and has always been awful about actually *leading* and getting his brothers to listen to him, and just argues with them and expects to be obeyed without reason in basically every single iteration of the franchise. I’d be perfectly fine with Raph being the leader to shake up the 30 years of status quo a little.

    But given that they also describe Leo as the “cool” one, it probably is just a typo. Though Raph hasn’t been the “cool” one since the 80’s show, he’s more been the “angry” one typically, since he and Mikey were a bit similar in the 80’s series so they diverged them a bit more.


    personally, i’m not concerned about the leadership change. i think it could be really cool to see raph as leader. the thing that bothers me is leo being the cool one. Im really really happy Rob Paulsen is still on board!!!! I CANT WAIT MY HYPE KEEPS BUILDING

  • BirdLady12

    Hmmm….I actually don’t mind the idea of Raph being the leader, and I’m a big Leo fan! It could be interesting, and it sounds like he still has elements of his usual impulsive, hotheaded personality. It also seems that Don and Mikey should be true to character.
    Leo, however… depends. I’m pretty worried about him, actually. The description makes him sound like somebody who is totally full of himself, which really doesn’t sound like most versions of Leo. Unless, they have some sort of plan for major character development with him maturing and learning humility. That could be OK. Now, I’m not entirely opposed to Leo being more laidback at all. For example, the 90s movie version of Leo definitely had a very playful side ,and he’s one of my favorite versions of the character. I just hope they keep Leo’s spiritual side as well. We’ll just have to wait and see.