Home News Rob Paulsen Says Nickelodeon’s TMNT is the ‘Purest Iteration’

Rob Paulsen Says Nickelodeon’s TMNT is the ‘Purest Iteration’

by Justin W

After 30 years as a voice actor and over a decade of experience with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rob Paulsen has become one of the most important names connected to the franchise. He helped to craft the characterization of Raphael that we know and love from the original animated series and he has continued his work as Donatello in Nickelodeon’s TMNT cartoon today. His work on both versions of the Ninja Turtles has produced some rather unique interpretations of the turtles, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he recently had some interesting things to say about the franchise.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Paulsen said that Nickelodeon’s vision of the turtles was the “purest iteration to date,” stating that the show has benefited from having a cast and crew that grew up with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons and films. He went on to say the following:


“Being the original character on any show biz enterprise is a cool thing. We were there when it was a clean sheet of a paper; then, 25 years later, to get another crack at it is a cool thing in its own way, so it’s pretty difficult to choose. They both have their incredibly wonderful aspects.”


So clearly Paulsen has love and respect for both the original animated series and Nick’s interpretation, but it would appear that he prefers the newer version simply because it was made with love and an understanding of the franchise that simply didn’t exist in 1987. Heck, at that point in time, even Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird probably didn’t know exactly how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would evolve (or should we say mutate?) over the years.

Unfortunately, when asked about the original films, Paulsen didn’t seem too happy with them. Before you cry fowl, it’s important to understand why he had a slight problem with the 90’s TMNT movies. When asked about the darker tone of these projects, he had the following to say:

“Yes, it did bother me because I knew the audience was essentially kids. When I say bothered, that is with a small ‘b’. It didn’t make me go ‘Oh no!’ I knew – we all knew – the characters were the stars and there was not one 8-year-old who stood outside the movie theater who said ‘I’m not going to see this movie, Rob Paulsen is not the voice of Raph!”


When you think about the way that Rob portrays his turtles, this actually makes perfect sense. After all, his Raphael is much more reasonable than other interpretations and his Donatello is a lovestruck geek. His cartoonish outbursts are some of the best in the business, but they also serve as proof that one need not get vulgar in order to show emotion.

One could easily point out that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a dark and brooding independent comic, but when there are a lot of kids out there enjoying the franchise, it makes sense to take a more balanced approach. Although I’m sure plenty of fans disagree with Rob on this point, I doubt any of them would be upset with him for sharing his feelings on the subject. After all, he has meant so much to the Ninja Turtles universe that he is deserving of at least that much respect.

What do you think? Is Nickelodeon’s iteration of TMNT the best interpretation to date? Were the original movies too dark and violent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN November 28, 2015 - 9:18 am

I didn’t really think the 90s movies were dark at all. I thought they were the lightest tmnt movies ever. though I do agree nicks tmnt is the best series.

Tmnt rocks November 28, 2015 - 3:51 pm

I agree nickelodeon TMNT is the besttt!!!!!??

Totaldrama Icequeen November 28, 2015 - 8:40 pm

Me too

Totaldrama Icequeen November 28, 2015 - 8:38 pm

Well the first movie was a little unsettling for my taste

Totaldrama Icequeen November 28, 2015 - 8:39 pm


Serena Bergstrom December 2, 2015 - 3:26 pm

It was originally dark to begin with so I disagree and unlike so many KIDS shows theirs has a lot going on other than just pizza and surfer lingo it constantly deals with beyond child subject matter so in that sense it can help yr brain too. And honestly I was able to understand it better when I was older than 10 yrs!

NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN December 8, 2015 - 6:12 pm

true same here

Karsten Mulder December 8, 2015 - 11:26 am

when i got older : i pick the mirage en idw comic, original films first then the 4kidstoon, nicktoon. the original toon and the next mutation series last

nicole December 8, 2015 - 9:14 pm

i like Michelangelo who dose to

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