Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles delivered one of the most fun-filled high-energy panels at New York Comic Con. The voice actors where all larger than life and perfect representations of their characters. Each actor was asked about how they were introduced to TMNT.
Kat Graham (April O’Neil) said that she had watched the series growing up and hoped to bring a fierce and funny side to the character of April.
Omar Miller (Raph), made a joke about how actors are in a profession of rejection. He was surprised that he had gotten the role of Raphael, and even more excited that Raph would serve as team leader for the first time in Turtles’ history.
Brandon Mychal Smith (Mikey) shared an anecdote about how his Mom sent him a video of when he was a kid dressed as a Ninja Turtle for Halloween. However, Smith’s younger self had made the mistake of dressing as Donatello and not Mikey, the actor’s current role.
Josh Brener (Donnie), as Donnie’s voice actor, was quick to come to the defense of his character. This spawned a comedic back and forth rivalry for the rest of the panel and reflected the dynamic of the actors animated counterparts.
Next we were shown a sneak peek at the upcoming episode, “The Longest Fight,” where Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche (Pinky and the Brain) reunited behind the mic as the two members of the Foot Clan.
After the clip co-producers Andy Suriano and Ant Ward were asked about their take on TMNT. Following up Nickelodeon’s successful CG Turtles series, both producers agreed that they wanted to bring the characters back into the realm of 2D animation. While the previous TMNT focused on science-fiction, Rise of TMNT would delve into the idea of the Mystic Ninja and other Japanese folklore.
Ward described walking with his kid who pointed to a sewer cap and asked “Are the Turtles down there?” Then he thought what if there was something hidden in all of the nooks and crannies of New York? What if there was a magical world in all of the places a kid would want to explore? That is how the idea of the hidden world beneath the city came about.
When asked about animation style influences the producers mentioned franco-belgian comics, 70’s science-fantasy films, as well as anime like Dead Leaves and Mind Game. The shows’ animation direction pulls the best parts from anime studios such as Studio Trigger, Gainax and Studio 4°C.
The panel opened up to take questions from the audience and during the last question the mic cut out on a little boy. Immediately Brener dashed off the stage and offered his mic to the kid. There was much applause for Brener’s kindness followed by a hushed pause as everyone waited to hear the boy’s question.
Boy: Where’s the Shredder? Every other Ninja Turtle cartoon has Shredder in it!
Brener: [Taking the mic back] I immediately regret my decision.
[The whole crowd burst out laughing]
The co-producers acknowledged that everyone has a favorite character from the Turtles’ franchise and that they are open to including anyone so long as it can be done organically. But as for right now the focus is on exploring new characters and a new side to the Turtles universe.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premiered on Monday, Sept. 17, on Nickelodeon. New season one episodes will continue to air throughout 2018. Viewers can visit the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles page on Nick.com and Facebook for more information and follow @TMNT everywhere else for Turtle Power updates.