The Turtles return to their 2D animated roots (with some modern flourishes thrown in for good measure) in the trailer for Nickelodeon's cartoon series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Voice directed by Rob Paul - the voice actor of Raphael in the 1980s TMNT cartoon series and Donatello in the computer-animated TMNT show that aired from 2012-17 on Nickelodeon - Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a re-imagining and reboot of the larger TMNT IP on the small screen. And did we mention, John Cena is voicing the show's big bad, a not-so-lovely fellow named Baron Draxum?
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles double-downs on the "mutant" aspect of the property by pitting the famous four Turtles that protect New York City against a variety of "absurd mutants [and] bizarre villains" (as the synopsis puts it). The reptilian brothers will be joined on their adventures by April O'Neil (Kat Graham) - who, as she was the Mirage comics that started it all, is a young black woman native to NYC - and, of course, their rat sensei/father figure, Splinter (Eric Bauza). Nickelodeon debuted the show's trailer during its San Diego Comic-Con 2018 panel today and has now dropped the preview online, for everyone to watch.
Among other things, the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer offers a sneak peek of the voices for the respective Turtles. Their ranks include Ben Schwartz as red-eared slider turtle Leo(nardo), Josh Brener as soft-shell turtle Donnie, Brandon Mychal Smith as box turtle Mikey, and Omar Miller as the jagged-shelled snapping turtle Raph. These descriptions are reflected in the Turtles' redesigned physical appearances here, which are meant to reflect not only their differences in species, but (more metaphorically) their unique traits and personalities, too.
In addition to the expected montage of clips from the show, this trailer includes a sneak peek scene from the series proper (one that features Yellow Submarine and Pulp Fiction references, no less). As this trailer illustrates, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is going to feature a lot of mutated baddies that are either brand-new or that few TMNT fans have probably even heard of. Here's the full list of villains on the TV series that have been announced so far, along with the big names supplying their voices:
The line-up of guest stars voicing these new mutants and bizarre villains includes: Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) as Big Mama, a gigantic spider mutant; John Michael Higgins (Pitch Perfect) as Warren Stone, a former news anchor turned mutant earthworm; Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Albearto, a singing, birthday-loving rampaging robot; Sam Richardson and Tim Simons (Veep) as Muninn and Huginn, gargoyles who are never far from their master, Baron Draxum; John Rotten Lydon (Public Image Ltd ‘PiL’ and Sex Pistols) as Meat Sweats, a power-hungry mutant pig; Rhys Darby (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) as Hypno-Potamus, a mutant magician/hippo; and Jorge Gutierrez (El Tigre) as Ghostbear, a human pro-wrestler champion with a taste for cheating.
Clearly, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is aiming to put a genuinely fresh spin on the TMNT property with its animation style and character designs, while at the same time carrying over the brand's hallmarks (pop culture gags and silly antics mixed with slick martial arts action) and even nodding to the franchise's earliest days, with aspects like the show's iteration of April. Credit where credit is due: however successful (or not successful) the show ends up being, it's making a real effort to not merely rehash what TMNT cartoon series past have done. And if the TV show endears a new generation of kids to the Turtles (like those that came before them), well then, mission accomplished.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres later this year on Monday, September 17 on Nickelodeon. Those who would like a sneak peek can also tune in for the episode "Mystic Mayhem", which airs this Friday, July 20 at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.