Casey Jones may not be the first character that comes to mind when one thinks of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, but the New York City vigilante is a popular character in the TMNT universe. Arrow star Stephen Amell plays the role of Casey Jones in the live-action sequel, but the character that many fans may remember from the comics and previous TMNT films will be sporting a very different look and job description in the upcoming film.
Screen Rant caught up with Amell to talk about his latest role and addressed a lot of the concerns some fans have about his different portrayal of the familiar figure. Amell didn’t shy away from the subject and explained that there is more to Casey than being a vigilante, an aspect that is explored in the film by giving him more of an origin story and motivation beyond stopping bad guys with sports equipment. Amell said:
"I think what we got to do with this Casey Jones is we got to give him a little bit of an origin story. He’s a corrections officer. That explains a lot of why he looks different than a lot of the iterations of Casey Jones that we’ve seen before. It wasn’t just, “We want him to look this way.” It was an actual decision based on the fact that he’s a corrections officer who wants to be a detective in The New York City Police Department, and so he can’t have long, scraggly hair and cutoff sleeves…yet."
Fans of the previous live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film will recall Elias Koteas' take on the character offered a more rough-and-tumble version; one with shaggy long hair and a sleeveless shirt who was more of a straight vigilante with a slight horror-movie vibe. Those films didn't offer much in the way of backstory or an arc for Jones, which is something Amell hopes will be amended here.
Still, the Arrow star is aware of the early responses to his being cast in the film, and he shows a level of understanding as to where fans are coming from. Amell’s dealt with early criticism like this before, so he knows this is just part of the process when taking on a role that diverts from the original source material.
"... that was totally fine and to be expected within the scheme of taking over a role that people have an expectation about. It was not bad at all. People hated when I was cast as Arrow. A lot. This was actually much more positive. But there is a reason why Casey looks the way that he looks. This movie for him is about his journey from, “That’s the way that I’m going to do things,” to, “Maybe I’m going to try things a different way.”
Casey Jones figures to play an important role in Out of the Shadows. The character's backstory and evolution that Amell is hinting at could go a long way in making this iteration of Casey Jones into a character deserving of the spotlight and a welcome addition to this budding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hits theaters June 3, 2016.