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RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Shares 1st Look at New Character Designs

Last fall, Nickelodeon announced that that our favorite heroes-in-a-half-shell would be returning in 2018 in the new animated series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To make matters more exciting, the news included the fact that Ben Schwartz, who also voices Dewey on Disney’s Ducktales reboot, would be joining his second famous cartoon team as the voice of Leonardo. On Thursday, the network revealed the first glimpse of the sewer-dwelling crime-fighters, along with the likes of April O’Neil and Splinter. It’s the Turtles like we’ve never seen before.

Nickelodeon held a Facebook Live event to show off a brand new direction in character design for the Turtles; notably, this design features greater variety among the four brothers. This is fitting, since the team dynamics have also changed, with (a very large) Raphael now leading the brothers.

“The Turtles’ hold distinct personality traits and skills, including: Raphael, as the oldest and biggest brother, he is the leader full of enthusiasm and bravado; Leonardo, the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart; Donatello, a mechanical genius and tech wizard whose ninja skills are second only to his coding; and Michelangelo, the youngest brother, a skateboarder and artist who is wild and imaginative.”

Along with the Turtles, we also get a first look at this series’ version of April O’Neil, who is now black, and ostensibly younger than her original iteration. The show is calling April “a street savvy native New Yorker.”

One thing that hasn’t changed: Splinter is still the turtles’ sensei and father-figure. And he looks amazing.

You can see the rest of the team in our gallery below.

In addition to Schwartz as Leonardo, the cast includes Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo, Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil, and Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Splinter. WWE’s John Cena will also be voicing Baron Draxum, “an alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants.” (Good thing Raphael is so big since he has to go up against John Cena.)

The 26-episode first season, which our very own host of Talkin’ Toons and the former voice of two different Turtles, Rob Paulsen, is serving as voice coach for, will debut later this year.

And even if the Turtles look a little different than we remember them, as long as they’re being cool, rude, kicking butt, and eating lots pizza, they’ll still be the same characters we’ve always loved.

What do you think of the new art? Tell us in the comments below.

Images: Nickelodeon

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