TMNT Casey Jones Biography
CASEY JONES QUICK FACTS
Weapons: Baseball bats; Hockey sticks; Croquet mallets; Golf clubs
Full Name: Arnold Bernid “Casey” Jones
With New York City being overrun with thieves, murders, gang bangers, and other despicable riffraff, Arnold Bernid “Casey” Jones was growing frustrated and angry. With constant reports night after night of unknown heroes taking to the streets to stop crime in its tracks, Casey decided he had to join the cause. Donning a hockey mask and golf bag loaded with sticks, bats, and other assorted blunt objects, Casey Jones became a vigilante in his own right, and constant fights to protect his city. After meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and April O’Neil, he has allies in the war on crime, and together they will keep everyone safe from alien threats, ninja masters, and no good rotten criminals.
Raphael first met Casey Jones when the man was beating up some muggers. Disliking his anger issues (ironically), Raph tried to stop Casey, and the two began to brawl. After several fights, the two finally find common ground, and become friends. To seal the deal, Casey comes to the aid of the turtles, Splinter, and April when Shredder attacks the woman’s antique shop. Helping them escape, Casey flees with his new friends to his family’s abandoned farmhouse. One of his most poignant moments came when his temper got the best of him, and he killed a young man who attacked him. It severely damaged his relationship with April, but not so much that he wasn’t able to bounce back, mellow out, and marry the girl. Together they raised his adopted daughter Shadow, but when April left the city to do some soul searching, it was up to Casey Jones to raise his daughter until she returned.
Like many of the characters it dealt with, the 1987 animated series significantly toned down Casey’s personality, as well as his role in general. He was still a vigilante, and took on crime wherever it surfaced. But the character only appeared in five episodes during the show’s 10-year run. He barely interacted with April, he didn’t have the friendship with Raphael, and he never once removed his mask. He was a minor inclusion into the series, but fortunately that wouldn’t always be the case.
When he reappeared in the 2003 animated series, Casey Jones was very similar to his comic book counterpart. He met Raphael during a mugging, and over time he became friends with the turtle. His origin, however, was more developed than before. When his father was killed for not paying protection money to the Purple Dragons, Casey developed his hatred for crime, and the drive to be a vigilante. He fought desperately against the Purple Dragons, which ultimately led him into the turtles’ battle with Shredder and the Foot clan. Through them, he met April O’Neil, and developed feelings for her. By the end of the series, they were married. Like April, Casey was less a friend the turtles and more of an older sibling. He looked out after them, taught them about the surface world, and protected them when he could from their enemies.
Casey was absent during the first season of the 2012 animated series, but made his grand debut in season two. There, he was a high school student that needed some tutoring from April. He had an instant attraction to her, and tried his best to protect her from mutants before he knew about her training and life. He developed a strong dislike for all mutants, which is toned down some when he meets Raphael during a brawl and the two ultimately become friends. Casey hides his identity while on the surface, but doesn’t hide his feelings for April, leading to an interesting love triangle with Donatello. However, he’s proving to be just the ally the turtles needed, and he will continue to be their friend throughout the battles to come.
While only absent during the second feature film, Casey had little involvement in any of the other three. He met Raphael during a street brawl in the first movie and ultimately helped the turtles escape from the Foot; he acted as babysitter to the Japanese honor guard during the third movie; and he was April’s assistant in her antiques business in the fourth. Only in the final film was he seen fighting in any real capacity, using his signature sticks and bats to bash some Foot and aliens. Despite not being prominently featured, it was still clear that Casey Jones was a good friend and trusted ally.
Casey’s presence in the series is quite remarkable. There are very few characters across all franchises that can work like he does. He’s nonessential, a supporting character at best, and a tertiary character at worst. His inclusion isn’t vital, and his absence doesn’t prove to be harmful to the rest of the heroes. When he’s missing, he’s easily forgettable, and the average viewer and fan doesn’t even realize that anyone else could exist in a particular situation. However, when he’s around, it’s like a realization that something important really was missing. He’s always used in a way that makes him essential to that story, and then it’s hard to remember what the show was like without him. Not many characters can be so vital that they only make the show better when they’re present, even when their absence goes unnoticed.
One of Casey’s main purposes has really never been fully utilized in a way that makes a lasting impression. In most of the incarnations, Casey meets Raphael during a street brawl with thugs, and Raph stops him before he can kill anyone. The reason the turtle stops him, though, is that (ironically) he believes Casey is letting his anger get the best of him and it’ll get out of control if something isn’t done. So, Casey should have served as a way for Raphael to examine himself, and hopefully come to grips with the anger that he often allows to run amok. However, that never really happened. Any thought that that would be a way to help Raph grow and develop never took off, and amazing potential for both characters was ultimately wasted.
If there’s one hole in plot logic surrounding Casey Jones, it’s that he’s never been arrested. This is attributed to his mastery of stealth, but how is a man that wears a hockey mask and beats up criminals with bats and sticks stealthy? Stealth requires being quiet and blending into your surroundings. Casey does neither of those things. He wants thugs to know his name and his face. His signature look stands out in a crowd. More likely is that since his work takes place in the backstreets and alleys of the city’s depths, police presence isn’t prevalent, and there’s just no one around to catch him. While that does make the work more dangerous, it also means he will never have to face any legal consequences, and will be able to continue his vigilante work.
In 2011, a special short film was made called Casey Jones. It showcased Casey’s life before donning his mask, including the events that led to his inevitable role as a hero. He even had the opportunity to meet Michelangelo. The film was an excellent addition to the TMNT franchise, because it gave the character added life. None of the films in the franchise had done that, and even the comics had been silent on Casey’s origin until they adopted the story invented in the 2003 animated series. So to finally see where he came from, how he developed, and where he could go was outstanding, and certainly something everyone should watch (and perhaps something that should be developed for other characters in the franchise as well).
The one aspect that has always been present in Casey Jones is his interest in April O’Neil. The feeling is mutual, too, and she has eventually come around to loving and marrying him. It’s a good fit: They fight side-by-side, they protect each other, and their personalities mesh just well enough to form a loving, caring relationship. This time, Casey has competition from Donatello, who has his own unrequited crush on the girl. It’s an interesting twist, but one that will probably be nullified. While many people want to see Donatello and April as a couple, it’s just too unlikely that a network will allow it. More likely will be that their back-and-forth will come to a head, and April will shoot him down and end up with Casey.
Casey Jones is a character unlike any other, and as a friend and fighter, very few compare. He gives the turtles exactly what they need in a comrade, and he gives April the loving, caring, kind boyfriend/husband that the warrior woman should have in her life, and that will never change no matter how many times the story is rewritten.
In the 2012 series, Casey’s biggest fear is rats.
Casey’s catchphrase, “goongala”, comes from him trying to imitate Michelangelo’s when he met the turtles briefly at a young age, and being unable to pronounce “cowabunga”.
Casey’s signature weapon is a hockey stick, though he has no problem using anything that he can hit someone in the head with.
In 2012, Casey features battle scars from his hockey playing, including missing his front teeth.