Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Panel with Kevin Eastman and Rich Magallanes


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman and Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Animation, Current Series, Rich Magallanes were on the main stage offering Turtles fans a slew of information and answering questions on their upcoming new series.

Rich Magallanes appeared to be full of information, but was careful not to give away any massive spoilers, talking endlessly (and rather enthusiastically) about the new series. “We wanna keep it as real as possible and at the same time make it fantastic,” said Rich. “The thing that makes it so popular is the characters themselves. They’re so easy to work with.” Set in New York, Rich mentioned that they’re “incorporating New York as much as we can” and that it was just “as much a character itself.”

When asked if they had any favourite Turtle, Rich asked, “Do we have any Mikey fans out there?” He was greeted with a massive cheer!

“My favourite is Raphael,” said Kevin.

They revealed that the show will have a focus on sibling rivalry. “They’re brothers. They’re still learning about themselves,” said Rich. Though that’s not to say that the series will turn into a soap opera, for there will be a lot of action. “We wanted to incorporate more of the Ninjutsu, so more Ninja,” said Rich. “We wanted to make use of the shadows and alleyways, because it’s all about being a Ninja.”

On revealing the cast, Leonardo is voiced by Jason Biggs, Raphael by Sean Astin, Donatello by Rob Paulsen and Michelangelo by Greg Cipes. “The cast is spot on,” said Kevin.

In regards to the additional characters in the series; with the Turtles’ sensei Splinter, Rich said, “We made him more agile, more younger.” April O’Neil is also younger so that she’s more in line with the Turtles’ age, with Rich describing her as “rebellious” and “kick-ass.” And of course there is their nemesis Shredder, whom Rich revealed is “out for Splinter from episode one.”

“We’re definitely creating some new guys and bringing back some old ones as well,” said Rich when asked about the possibility of bringing back well-known characters in the Turtles universe. Someone brought up whether Casey Jones would be in the new series. “These are characters we’re still playing with,” said Rich, “so we’re contemplating it.” Rich then asked, “Do you want Casey Jones?” The response was a huge cheer. When asked if Bebop and Rocksteady would return, Rich revealed, “We’re not doing Bebop and Rocksteady, but we do have characters that will take their role.”

Visitors to the panel were treated to an exclusive never-before-seen trailer to the show. “The visuals here will blow your mind,” said Rich.

Kevin also agreed, saying, “The animation quality is spectacular.” It certainly looked that way, as it began with the awesome foursome surrounded by footsoliders before getting down to action. The fluidity of the animation (particularly on the big screen) also helped convey the “CG meets anime” look that they’re promoting.

After that they then revealed ‘Donnie inspired vehicles’, these being a Stealth Cycle (think the Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy) and the Shellraiser, this being the new Turtles van.

Then came a question about the upcoming Michael Bay film, Ninja Turtles. Set to be released in 2013, the film has already generated a bit of controversy after he planned to have the Turtles as aliens, instead of mutants. Kevin remained positive about the film, saying, “Everything 100% resonates. It’s a long ways to run yet.” Apart from the characters, the film doesn’t have any connection to the new series. “He wants to do a bit of a reboot,” said Kevin on Bay’s film, “and I think that’s fantastic.”

Given the amount of merchandise that has been spawned from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, the final question came from a young boy asking, “When will the new toys be released?”

“August for the US,” said Rich, though when thinking as to when they might arrive for the UK, he speculated that they could hit the shelves in January 2013.

All of the attendees at the panel were given Turtles sparkling water (!), a Turtles headband (in one of four colours) and a Turtles comic book!

The all-new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series is set to premiere on Nickelodeon UK later this autumn. 

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