The most recent reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may not have won over every existing fan, but the re-imagining got enough right for the producers (and box office numbers) to green-light a sequel. There's no question that the producers have some work to do in overcoming the remaining skepticism, but confirmation that Bebop and Rocksteady would play a role in the sequel - possibly alongside Casey Jones - helped earn some momentum early.
Not only have the producers found a way to include fan-favorite Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, but have filled the role with Arrow star Stephen Amell - a man with plenty of experience playing a masked vigilante in a bustling metropolis.
Word of the casting comes from Variety, describing Casey Jones as both an ally to the Turtles and a love interest for April O'Neil (Megan Fox). That may not be much to go on (and is in keeping with nearly every instance of the character), but it sounds like Amell's casting as another comic crime-fighter came as a result of his chemistry with Fox, beating a number of other actors recently in contention for the part.
For the unfamiliar, Casey Jones was created for the comics as a parody of the standard 'costumed vigilante' origin story. Fed up with the crime overtaking his neighborhood, Jones slides on a hockey mask, grabs the sporting equipment nearest him, and heads out to deal with the problem in a hands-on fashion. Eventually, the stick/bat-wielding vigilante crossed paths with the Turtles (out on a similar mission), and the rest is history.
There are no more details on how Amell's version in TMNT 2 will differ from those previous, but judging by the previous film's efforts to modernize the comic style while keeping the attitude intact, it's safe to expect a more lighthearted vigilante than Starling City's 'Arrow.' The role is certainly the most high-profile Amell has landed since taking over The CW's flagship superhero TV series, meaning the fledgling franchise has no doubt added another comic book fan base to its own.
Although some details concerning the film's plot and potential title - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell - have recently been released, the exact plot or character arcs are still a mystery. Amell's casting is certainly the most notable addition yet, and with mutated/alien monsters on the way, the film's plot could be guessed at by veteran fans. Just how much the sequel draws from the alien mythology hinted at early in the development of the Ninja Turtles reboot remains to be seen.
What do you think of Stephen Amell's casting as the masked vigilante Casey Jones? Does this get you more excited for the Ninja Turtles sequel, or do you still have concerns about the direction of the rebooted series? Sound off in the comments.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell is scheduled to premiere June 3rd, 2016.
Header Fan Art: Dave Rapoza