When Nickelodeon announced that they would be cancelling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and replacing it with a new 2D animated series, a lot of fans were left bewildered. Thankfully, we have since discovered that none other than Rob Paulsen will be the voice director for Rise of the TMNT, providing advice and tips to the young actors who will portray our heroes in a half shell. Despite his years of experience as a voice actor, this will be his first time directing other artists. Paulsen recently opened up about his experience during an interview with FanSided, explaining that he has actually had a lot of fun in his new role.
“In January of this year, the folks at Nickelodeon came to me and said this is the last year of the current iteration of the show — we were hoping for a five-year run and we got that. They said there’s a new one coming, another 2D version similar to the one you did 25, 30 years ago, and have you ever thought of directing? And I said well no, but I think it would be a cool thing to try.
It turns out the reason they asked was my friend Tom Kenny, who’s the voice of SpongeBob, has been directing their show for a couple years and it’s turned out quite well for obvious reasons. Tom knows the crew, he knows the vibe and all that.
I said let’s give it a shot. Let’s give ourselves a probation period for both sides of the equation because if I wasn’t their cup of tea, I didn’t want them to feel beholden to me. That certainly hasn’t been my area of expertise and these guys who are now creating this new version of the show have a very high bar, because the one they just finished up has been really successful.
I was like, let me make sure you’re comfortable after the first half dozen, and frankly myself as well. If it’s something that I just don’t like, then I don’t want to waste your time or mine, and it’s not worth anyone spending money to keep it going. It turned out to be just the opposite. I loved it. Apparently they’re happy, so we’re 10 to 12 episodes into the new version that will begin in September of next year, and it’s an absolute blast.”
As you can probably tell, it seems like Paulsen is having a lot of fun in this role. In addition to expressing appreciation for this interesting opportunity, he also revealed a detail about Rise of the TMNT that Nickelodeon had not yet officially announced – the release date. Although it’s not exactly a surprise, it looks like we can expect to see the latest iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in September of 2018. In addition to this information, Rob would also let a few more details slip through the cracks later in the interview.
“Myself and Maurice LaMarche, they brought us in to do a couple bad guys. I called Maurice and he was very sweet, he’s one of my dearest friends in the whole world. He goes congratulations man, you’re going to be directing! I have all these friends coming to work on the show and they are very gracious, very congratulatory, very supportive and utterly willing to listen to what I say because they know that’s my job now.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Paulsen once worked with Maurice LaMarche on Pinky and the Brain. LaMarche has also worked on cartoons such as Futurama and Hey Arnold, so it’s safe to say that he has plenty of experience as a voice actor. I’m sure I speak for most people in saying that I can’t wait to see which roles they’ve given to LaMarche and Paulsen. When he says “a couple of bad guys,” it makes me wonder if he’s talking about Bebop and Rocksteady. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see that two industry veterans are going to be involved with Rise of the TMNT.
Sadly, Nickelodeon is still in that stage of production where they aren’t revealing too many details about the series just yet. We’ll no doubt discover more as the release date grows near, but until then we’ll have to rely on interviews such as this to find out what the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is going to look like.