Ever since Nickelodeon announced that their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series would be coming to an end, fans have been eagerly awaiting a glimpse at the next iteration of our heroes in a half shell. Although we have learned a lot about Rise of the TMNT in the last few months, details on the actual character designs were sparse. That all changed today when Nick decided to host an awesome live event unveiling the first official character art from the new cartoon.
As you can see, the creators behind Rise of the TMNT have chosen to go with a very stylized approach. Sharp-eyed fans may note a bit of a nod to the artistic style that most viewers are familiar seeing from shows like Samurai Jack. Each character has very angular features with sharp and defined outlines. Although there are a few differences here and there, these turtles look very much like the heroes we remember from past cartoons, comic books and movies.
During the event, creators Andy Suriano and Ant Ward joined with Rob Paulsen to reveal key details about Rise of the TMNT. One of the most interesting revelations came when they announced that all four turtles would be a different breed. As Suriano pointed out, this allows them to give specific characteristics to each turtle which reflect the actions and behaviors of the breed they represent. For instance, Michelangelo is going to be a box turtle with the ability to hide his body in his shell.
In addition to the turtles, we also got the chance to see both April O’Neil and Master Splinter. Although the fans had questions about April’s bat, I’m personally very happy to see a version of her that is ready to kick butt from the get go. When it comes to Splinter, it’s clear that they’ve taken an entirely different approach with the character. During the live event, Eric Bauza provided a taste of what his Splinter sounds like to go with the artwork. All I can say is he had me in stitches with just one off-the-cuff line.
If you’re still feeling unsure about Rise of the TMNT, just know that you are not alone. Although there was a lot of positive feedback throughout the live reveal, several fans were either frustrated or unhappy with what they were seeing. Ultimately, I feel like we need to wait this one out and see what Nickelodeon produces later this fall. Everyone attached to this show is incredibly talented, and I’ve got to believe that they know what they are doing.
This may be a wildly different take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. If past iterations have taught us anything, it is that there are several different versions of the turtles spread across several different dimensions. In other words, there is no one “correct” version of our half-shelled heroes, and this is just what they happen to look like in one specific dimension. By the way, this also means that there’s always a chance we’ll see previous versions of the turtles make a comeback in a crossover episode!
Say what you will, but I am personally very impressed with this character art. I’m also impressed that our own Machelle Noel managed to answer one of the toughest trivia questions asked during the event! Even though she was a bit nervous during some of the games they played, Machelle definitely held her own and we’re proud to count her as one of the crew. If you want to see what she was up to with Andre Meadows of Black Nerd Comedy, make sure to go back and watch the full event on Facebook while it’s still available!