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.
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.