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Ben Schwartz Tops Cast of RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Ben Schwartz Tops Cast of RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Jean-Ralphio was not exactly the most dependable person on Parks and Recreation, but anyone would want actor Ben Schwartz on their team. He’s proved his worth as such a great Dewey on the DuckTales reboot, and now Nickelodeon has tapped him to join another team of classic animated adventurers: the Ninja Turtles. The network has just announced the cast of their all new animated series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Schwartz will be leading the lineup as Leonardo.

The show, described in a press release as “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,” will also include 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.

Our very own Rob Paulsen, legendary voice actor and host of our Alpha series Talkin’ Toons, has signed on to be the show’s voice director. He’s a no-brainer choice anyway, but it helps that he knows a little something about the Ninja Turtles, since he was the voice of Raphael on the original series, and Donatello on Nick’s CG-animated version of the show.

Ninja Turtles fans are in for a few notable changes in this outing, which will place Raphael, the oldest and brawniest brother, as the group’s leader instead of Leonardo. The release describes Schwartz’s take on the character as “the self-professed ‘coolest’ brother” who “possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart.” This definitely helps explain the casting.

Donatello is still a technical wizard, but he’ll be adding coding skills to his repertoire, and Michelangelo will remain the lovable wild man we’ve always known. Finally, April O’Neil will be “a street savvy native New Yorker who is always ready to join in the fun.” We’re sure some purists will be skeptical about the changes to the groups hierarchy, but considering we’re always glad to have Ben Schwartz around, this sounds like the perfect version of Leonardo for him to play.

The 26-episode first season will debut some time in 2018. What do you think about the new cast? What about the changes to the group? It would be radical if you told us your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured image: CBS Television Distribution/Viacom Media Networks/Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Images: Nickelodeon

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