Reaction : Rise of the TMNT first article

Cast for Nickelodeons Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesSince 1987 the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been going through reboots.  MWS was the first to really change the Turtles, with David Wise as the writer who had the job to make these Turtles kid friendly.  With every new incarnation of the Turtles, comes big changes.  Some changes stay, some changes are only in those incarnation of these characters.  Each ride is it’s own adventure which has it’s beginning middle and end.  As fans, the best we can do is see where the creative team takes us, and hopefully enjoy the ride.  A new ride is starting, with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

November 2nd, 2017 the voice cast and voice director for “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was released along with news about the new series.  Some changes that people were not ready for.  In 2011 the big rage was “Donatello has a crush on April” and “The Turtles have three toes” when people talked about Nickelodeon’s first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, by Ciro Nieli.  So strange news is something we can expect during these next few months of hype build up.  Here I’m going to share my thoughts on the news that’s been released so far in this article.

First onto the voice cast.  The photo of the voice actors which is going around, is all new faces to me.  This makes me happy, for the fact that I have no past judgement of them, it won’t be “I know that voice as….” this is going to be hearing, and learning them as the Turtles first.  Since I do not know their voices, I don’t know their acting skills or how I feel about them as the Turtles yet, that is okay.  It has me more excited to see what new features they bring to the table as the Turtles.   The new names attached to the Turtles are Omar Miller as Raphael, Ben Schwartz as Leonardo, Brandon Michael Smith as Michaelangelo, and Josh Brener as Donatello. 

Also joining the cast is the voice of April O’Neil, Kat Graham. I do not know anything on her work either, so no real feedback on her joining the series.  The other character announced is Splinter, voiced by Eric Bauza.  Eric is the only one of these actors that I know work from, as he was the voice of Tiger Claw and Hun in Nickelodeon’s 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  I love the idea of Eric playing Splinter, I can hear it in his voice and think he could bring forth a great Splinter.  I know that they made the right choice for this new take on Splinter, with a good strong voice.

The voice director for this series has given me high hopes for great quality in the characters.  As I trust his skills, knowledge and passion for this project.  Previously playing Raphael in the 1987 series and Donatello in the 2012 series, he know Turtles very well.  His name is Rob Paulsen, I will always see him as a great and talented voice actor, and a wonderful friend.  I am so thrilled to hear about this advance in his career, a new road for him to explore and lend his knowledge.  The producers made a fantastic choice in giving the vocal artists an informed and inspiring director.

While I’ve been very optimistic from this article that’s not to say there’s no fears going into this.  There has been rumors about the series taking different roads that I hope are not true.  One that has even been brought up slightly in this news released, “mystical”.  The rumor that I am speaking about is the Turtles having control over some powers, the rumors have come from a few different sources and while some has been denounced by Nickelodeon, I know that rumor is the one that I worry about the most.  And I will like to take a moment to explain why I hope it’s not true.

When I was a kid, all the superheroes that I watched had a gimmick.  Powers, fancy toys, or authority given to them by others.  It was not “Go out and take care of yourself” it was “Let others save you”.  I still loved these shows, I still have my collections and I still will watch anything that comes out for them.  Though, they did not inspire me.  They were only pure entertainment.  I was going through a rough time in my life, bullies and I needed an inspiration that could convince me to stand up for myself.  And the Turtles did just that, by not using magical powers and being able to win.  Not being rich, not able to get fancy toys from dropping money in the right places, and by being different needing to hide away.  I could relate to them, and thanks to the Turtles I got into Karate, the fighting stopped and I have lived a better life.

If there’s one thing I would love to stay true to the Turtles, it’s that feeling they can bring to the underdogs out there.  The people who need a hero, they can relate too.  You can’t relate to powers.  The 2014 Turtles, are already a version of the Turtles that I could never truly hold close to me.  They’re big, super strong and bullet proof.  I was so disappointed with this change, while the movies are okay.  They’re not the Turtles I can truly look up too, which is why the first three movies remain my favorites. 

Now will I hate, or protest this show if there’s powers?  No, I will not.  I will watch, and see where we are taken on this ride.  There’s still a lot of positive I’ve seen out of this, that has me curious.  I will however, on my own personal note, not be able to respect a version of the Turtles with magic on the same level as the Turtles without powers.  I hope that if there are powers, it’s not a long term story line.  Like the 2003 series was able to keep it short, explained and did not make their series around it.  Let’s see where this series takes us.

The other changes brought up that has people’s attention is the description of the Turtles.  I will like to go over some of these changes, as it seems to be the thing most of my friends are talking about.  “Leonardo” and “Raphael” are the highlighted Turtles with changes.  “Raphael, the oldest and physically biggest brother who is now the Turtles’ leader” and “Leonardo the self-professed “coolest” brother”. 

This makes it so Leonardo and Raphael are trading places.  A new twist for this series, that some are not thrilled with.  I am interested, Raphael is finally getting his dream.  He’s going to be the leader.  The song from 1990, “Turtle Power” was the first official released areas of the Turtles, to call Raphael the “Leader of the group”.   While the original cartoon did name Leonardo the leader in the theme song, he was mostly known in the early days as the unofficial leader.  I have not been enjoying all the Leonardo, being the official leader stuff that started with the 2007 movie.  For me, it doesn’t matter who leads the Turtles as each Turtle has an interesting take on it.  And it feels forced when they focus on who’s the leader.

Examples of forced areas that Leo had to be the leader in the original toon was “Take me to your leader”, where each of the other Turtles tries to lead.  And of course things go wrong with them.  The 2007 Movie, where they were not even allowed to fight without Leo there… which felt weird for Splinter to enforce that rule since the Turtles do solo missions all the time.  And some episodes in the 2012 series like “New Girl in Town” where Leonardo handed the leadership to Raphael, and things just fell apart around Raph to force the fact that ‘Leo is the born leader’.  Which gets me, because Raph learns in Season 1, that he does not want to be the leader.  Though in Season 2, he needs to learn the lesson to respect Leonardo again in “Follow the Leader”. 

My biggest hope about this change in leadership is that the big fights between Leonardo and Raphael is not going to touch this new series.  That Leonardo is grown up enough, that does not fall right into the Raph mode and show a lack of respect towards his ‘leader’.  Use this opportunity to give us a new tack on their relationship.  This could be a very interesting ride, so I am going to sit back and give it a chance.

Donatello’s description does not give us much to go off of for anything new.  They say he’s the “unflappable mechanical genius and tech wizard”.  I wish they gave us a little more on him, so I could say something other than… Don sounds like Don.  The 2012 series just left off as having Don a strong and loved character by a lot of fans.  His romance going with April, kept him a fan favorite.  To go from being the highlighted Turtle to just given is normal description, leaves me wondering what new flair they’re going to give for him. 

Michelangelo has aimed to please.  As anyone who knows me has picked up, he is my overall favorite Turtle.  He was the first Turtle I ever really noticed, he became my favorite Turtle after the first episode I saw of the series.  And even though he does not hold me in every creation of the Turtles, like the Next Mutation, he remains the Turtle I respond to the most.  In the Nickelodeon 2012 series I enjoyed Michelangelo’s personality to a point, he was however not the Mikey I fan.   There was something important missing from him, which brings excitement to me as I read his description for the new series. “The youngest brother who is an artist and awesome skateboarder with a wild, colorful and imaginative personality.”

I personally love that description of Michelangelo.  An artist.  This has been touched in the past with Mikey in the Archie Comics, a writer in the Image Comics and so on.  He’s got a very creative side and I love when people bring that forward.  I really hope to see Mikey’s personality shine more in this version of Michelangelo.  Being the creative, passionate but lazy brother.  Avoiding responsibility not because he can’t do it, because he doesn’t want the pressure.  Best displayed in the 2003 series so far.

So there we have some of my hopes, my fears, with examples of where I’m coming from.  Though all of this, is thinking too much about it.  As really, it’s not our job to think.  It’s our job to sit back and see where they go.  Take the ride for whatever it is.  The pressure is not on us, the pressure is on the co-executive producers Ant Ward and Andy Suriano.  These guys are putting something together, with characters they love.  By doing so they’re being judged by the fans, fast and hard.  It’s a hard spot to sit in, as you can never please every fan.  Both of these men have worked with TMNT before, so try not to be too hard on them.  At least give their show a chance, take their ride and see if it’s a trip you want to stick around for.

2018 is around the corner.  Another new adventure for us fans to take.  Another peek into the massive amount of universes that the TMNT exist in.  A road to bring in new fans, to the fandom.  A new line of toys for collectors to seek out.  With new talent sharing their take on the Turtles. 

I will watch as the news pours out between now and the release of the series.  And when it does come to TV, I will be sitting there.  Hopefully with a pizza and friends.  Fully ready to take on the load of emotions, joy and fear, head on.  As I believe they got a great team behind the show, working to bring us something that they’re proud of.  The most we can do, is give it a try.

What is your take on the news?  Excited?  Scared?  Please Share below. 



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