Nicklelodeon’s 2012 reboot of the half-shell heroes wasn’t just the best incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever seen on a TV screen…it was one of the best cartoon shows ever made, period. It was funny, the action scenes gave films such as the Raid a run for their money and the stories were the perfect mix of new ideas and reverence for what had come before.
Those are some big shells for the next evolution of the ninjutsu terrapins to fill, as 2018 will see a new take on the iconic heroes emerge from the shadows in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Nicklelodeon’s approach this time since they bought the franchise for all of the monies back in 2009? A radical reimagining of the shinobi quartet, as this new team led by Raphael find themselves battling all manner of mutant and Foot clan threats in New York City.
Here’s a look at the new character designs below, with descriptions from EW:
Raphael is now the leader and oldest brother, a snapping turtle who brandishes twin tonfas as his weapons.
Soft-shell turtle and tech hero Donatello rocks a tech-bo staff and impressive coding skills.
Leonardo is a red-eared slider who boasts “irreverent charm and a rebel heart.” Weapon of choice: ōdachi sword.
Box turtle/skateboarder/artist Michelangelo is the youngest brother — and dangerous with a kusari-fundo.
The first animated African-American April O’Neil — a savvy New Yorker and first human ally of the turtles — is played by Kat Graham. There is some ambiguity about April’s origins, but her portrayal in this cartoon marks a departure from depictions in animation and live-action features.
Splinter is part father figure, all sensei to the turtles.
I kind of like these designs. They’re most likely aimed at a younger demographic, but they feel fresh, charming and exciting. The final proof will be seen in how well the actual animation holds up, but I’m excited to see the Turtles evolve for a new generation. That’s always been a signature of the franchise, as each animated incarnation has been a sign of the times that it was produced in.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be out later this year, and stars Josh Brener, Omar Miller, Brandon Mychal Smith and Ben Schwartz as Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo, with Kat Graham voicing April O’Neil. Booyakasha.
Last Updated: February 2, 2018