Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Voice Cast Announced & Worrisome Changes


     Yesterday, Nickelodeon announced the voice cast for their upcoming 26 episode 2D re-imagining of the TMNT series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

     The cast all sounds pretty good so far.  We'll be getting Omar Miller as Raphael, Ben Schwartz as Leonardo, Josh Brener as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith as Michelangelo, Kat Graham as April O’Neil, and lastly TMNT vet Eric Bauza as Splinter.  I'm particularly pumped for Brandon Mychal Smith's Michelangelo, and curious to hear Bauza as Splinter after he voiced Nickelodeon's current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Tiger Claw.

     And with the cast comes the official plot summary:
     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.

     Now comes the parts that worry me.  With the re-imagining of the Turtles, comes the changes.  With all iterations some changes can be great, and there shouldn't really be problems with those, but there are always some that don't really quite make sense.  Such is the case with the fact they are seemingly altering a piece of the brothers' foundation of their relationships. That part is a little irksome to say the least.
     While Michelangelo, Donatello, Splinter, and April all remain in their archetypal roles, Leonardo and Raphael are apparently being swapped which makes little sense. 
     From Nickelodeon's source article, they say, "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." 
     What bothers me is the fact that Nickelodeon is completely changing the foundation of these two.  Since the beginning, I've always seen all four brothers as representing very distinct archetypes, and with the alteration of two, that changes the team's entire dynamic.  Raph has been the fire of passionate emotion, Leo was the more level-headed water, constantly flowing and seeking a true balance, Don was the stable Earthly, logical mind, Mikey is the airy heart, wild and free- and Splinter connected them all as the spiritual core. 
     Think of how these fundamental character principles effect the group's relationships- and for a great reference, look at how Avatar: The Last Airbender uses the same core ideas with their own characters as elemental Benders.  This shift will put the emotion in the role of leader instead of the less turbulent flowing of water and that goes against, not just the TMNT's own history and precedent, but flies in the face of mythological/archetypal basis- Raph's pure emotion shouldn't rule, in the same way that Mikey's heart or Donatello's pure logic shouldn't lead the team.  It'd be the equivalent of having an instinctually Id driven person, without the guidance of the Super Ego (Leo), balancing the pure unconscious (Mike), Id (Raph), and rational Ego (Don).  This is something that will eat at the back of my mind for a while, and is definitely something more for me to ruminate on to possibly flesh out more and explain better.

     As a lifelong Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, but I'm going to be very, VERY skeptical going in to the show.

     Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is set to premiere in 2018 on Nickelodeon.

     For related posts [ TMNT ]

     Source [ Nickelodeon ]

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