NYCC 2016 TMNT Panel!
Nickelodeon and TMNT have made a tradition of coming to New York Comic Con, and this year was no exception. This time taking place on Friday at the Hammerstein Ballroom, the crowded venue witnessed some sneak peeks at some upcoming episodes, the introduction of a big crossover toy line, and a brand new TMNT music video written by Greg Cipes himself!
The panel was moderated, as usual, by the Black Nerd himself, Andre Meadows. Andre does such a great job running the show and it’s great to see him come back every year. He’s obviously a huge fan, but he’s still able to ask questions and move the panel along, all while cracking jokes with the speakers and the fans.
This years panel was attended by executive producer Ciro Nieli, voice of Donatello (and OG Raphael) Rob Paulsen, voice of Michelangelo Greg Cipes, voice of Shredder Kevin Michael Richardson, voice of Tiger Claw Eric Bauza, and the legendary Andrea Romano, the show’s voice director.
After the introductions, the audience in attendance was treated to a table reading of the upcoming episode “Rise of the Super Shredder.” Ms. Romano acted as narrator, while Ciro Nieli filled in as Baxter Stockman, and Eric Bauza pulled double duty as Tiger Claw in one scene, and Master Splinter in another. It’s so rare to see the artists themselves working on a script, and it was really fun watching them read lines, watching their hand motions and faces contort. It was especially fun seeing Ciro do his best Phil LaMarr impression, and Eric Bauza do his best Hoon Lee.
But the table reading wasn’t our only peek at the Super Shredder. No, we got to see the first clips from the episode, set to debut on November 6th. The clip showed Shredder and his minions confront Karai, who was terrified of her adopted father’s transformation. We also got to see the raw strength of Super Shredder when he takes out the Party Wagon, tossing it down the street like a toy!
We were also fortunate to get a look at two other upcoming episodes this season and the panel was very excited to announce two characters making their debut in each. The first episode features Tiger Claws origin and features the Nick TMNT debut of Alopex! Ciro explained that he was very happy to introduce Alopex because she was the first TMNT character created by Kevin Eastman in over a decade. Bringing her over from the IDW comics is a great addition and I’m looking forward to seeing her feud with Tiger Claw play out in this series!
The next episode brought back a character from the Archie published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. While the character was known as Chu Hsi, the Warrior Dragon in the comics, he was known by another name in TMNT: Tournament Fighters; Hot Head. This Hot Head is voiced by none other than Mark Hamil, a truly exciting addition to the voice cast! The clip we saw featured Tiger Claw performing an ancient ritual to summon Hot Head, in hopes of gaining power.
The surprises of the day did not end there! Greg Cipes recounted how he was inspired by the show, and on his spare time started writing music. He asked Ciro Nieli if it could be featured in the show, and when he asked for some examples, Cipes sent him over 50 songs! So a collection of them are being made into an album, and we got to see the animatic (an early animation design) music video for the first track, celebrating Ice Cream Kitty! The video is hilarious. It’s got the turtles playing instruments, ala the Coming Out of Their Shells Tour, sampling based off Ice Cream Kitty’s voice, and a big street dance off between our heroes and none other than the Shredder and the Foot Clan! I never knew I wanted to see Shredder do the Thriller dance, but I do and it’s awesome.
Finally, we got to the biggest surprise of the panel. While the TMNT/WWE crossover figures had already been announced earlier that morning, the panel audience got the full treatment, including a giveaway to some lucky cosplayers. The crowd and panel shared their reactions at the reveal of Leo as John Cena, Donatello as the Undertaker, and Mikey as Macho Man Randy Savage, but the real treat came when it was time to announce Raph’s crossover. The lights went out. Music started to swell. None other than Sting, 15 time World Champion, marched through the crowd, complete in his makeup and now signature red jacket.
As a longtime wrestling and turtle fan, it was a thrilling moment. Sting played to the crowd, “Woo”ing with glee. Sting came to the stage and greeted the other panelists before revealing the Raph as Sting figure. Before long, we had Ciro Nieli and Sting talking about their favorite wrestlers, and Sting and Rob Paulsen discussing the similarities between wrestlingand TMNT, both in their longevity and popularity, but also the impact impassioned fans can have on artists. It led to everyone on the panel thanking the fans and taking a big selfie from the stage, with the audience behind them. It was an awesome way to end the panel.
As you can see, there are fun and exciting things on the way for the TMNT community. It all starts with the release of the TMNT/WWE crossover figures and continues through November 6th, when the Super Shredder debuts! The TMNT panel has become one of my favorite traditions of NYCC. If you can get down here next year, I highly recommend it!
Also want to give a special shout out to the TMNT cosplayers I saw at NYCC this year! Check out the Shredder and April looming over the crowd at the TMNT panel, an original Baxter Stockman, and Casey Jones!
What do you think about the future of TMNT? What did you think of Super Shredder, Alopex, and Hothead! Let us know in the comments!