BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nickelodeon today announced the voice cast of its all-new series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a reimagining that follows the band of brothers as they encounter new allies and villains and discover a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City. The 2D-animated series stars the voice talent of Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo and Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil. The series is set to debut in 2018 on Nickelodeon.
“This incredible roster of voice actors provides a fresh take on these globally recognized characters, and they are going to bring this version of the Turtles to life in a whole new way,” said Chris Viscardi, Senior Vice President, Production and Development, Animation. “We have reimagined the series to be filled with humor, loads of action and a dynamic look, and it’s packed with all new heroes, villains and cityscapes for the Turtles to explore.”
The highly comedic voice cast shapes the team in a fresh way and breathes new life into the characters’ distinct personalities, including: Raphael, as the oldest and physically biggest brother, he is now the leader and his enthusiasm and bravado puts him front and center for most of their bizarre adventures; Leonardo, the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart; Donatello, an unflappable mechanical genius and tech wizard whose ninja skills are second only to his coding; Michelangelo, the youngest brother, an artist and awesome skateboarder with a wild colorful, and imaginative personality; and the Turtles’ most trusted ally, April O’Neil, a street savvy native New Yorker who is always ready to join in the fun. Additionally, Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) joins the cast as Splinter, both father figure and sensei to the Turtles.
Veteran animation industry voice actor Rob Paulsen is voice directing the series. Paulsen most recently voiced Donatello in Nickelodeon’s CG-animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and voiced Raphael in the 1987 original series. With over 2,000 half-hours of animation voice-over to his credit, Paulsen’s versatility is heard in many series.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures all while enjoying their favorite slice of pizza. Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the four brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.
The new 26-episode series is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif.
Andy Suriano is an artist, illustrator and performer, and an Emmy and Annie Award-winning character designer and storyboard artist. His past credits include: Star Wars: Clone Wars, The Fairly OddParents, Duck Dodgers, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, Disney’s Mickey Mouse shorts, Samurai Jack, and The Powerpuff Girls, among others.
Ant Ward is an animator, writer and producer best known for his work as supervising producer on Penguins of Madagascar and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Emmy Award-winner was integral to developing Nickelodeon’s CG-animation pipeline.
Follow @TMNT for more Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reveals and Turtle Power updates.
Considered one of the most popular kids’ television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a classic, global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It first debuted as a successful comic book series and then became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series and later spawned numerous blockbuster theatrical releases. The property is a global consumer products powerhouse, winning in every category that has hit shelves to date—with toys, apparel, video games, DVDs and more—and generating billions of dollars at retail. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been the number-one action figure for the past three years and the franchise is a previous recipient of the Toy Industry Association’s top honor for Property of the Year at the TOTY Awards.
Voice Talent Quotes
Kat Graham (April O’Neil)
“I’ve watched TMNT since I was a little girl. I’m so proud to be playing the first African-American April O’Neil. What an incredible honor for me and milestone for this iconic cartoon. I’m excited for all the adventures the Turtles and I will have!”
Omar Miller (Raphael)
“I used to sing the TMNT theme song daily on the bus on my way to elementary school and Raphael was my favorite Turtle. To get to voice this fictional character who had such a giant positive impact on my childhood is an honor. And to boot, I'm being directed by the man who voiced Raphael in my childhood.”
Ben Schwartz (Leonardo)
"I have loved TMNT ever since I was a kid. I still have the action figures and the enormous desire to eat an entire pizza in one sitting."
Josh Brener (Donatello)
“I've loved Donatello since I was old enough to love things. Even though his color was purple and he just had a stick, he was always my favorite Turtle...possibly because time is a flat circle and I somehow knew I'd one day be lucky enough to voice him. I didn't know I'd be so lucky as to do it alongside the coolest, funniest, all-around greatest non-turtle human people! Turtle Power!”
Brandon Mychal Smith (Michelangelo)
“Being granted the honor of voicing my childhood superhero and growing up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series made this opportunity that much more of a true dream come true. There is cool and then there’s this-becoming Michelangelo, which for me is absolutely out of this world, spectacularly, magnificently, groovy, cool with a splash of oooooo yeahhh!”
Eric Bauza (Splinter)
“For the past few years I’ve had the honor of voicing Tiger Claw, an original character to the TMNT universe. Now, the honor continues as I get to voice Splinter, in the brand-new series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I couldn’t be more thankful and proud to be a part of one of the most iconic shows in animation history!”
Nickelodeon, now in its 38th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).