Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Direction For The 4 Leads In Nickelodeon Animated Film: Exclusive

The Illuminerdi has an exclusive look at the four leads and what direction the characters will be going in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated feature film adaptation!
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Last summer it was reported that Paramount would be moving its next iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Well now The Illuminerdi has an exclusive break down of the four leads and what direction the characters will be going in this new adaptation!

Breaking Down the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Brothers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Toys

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles casting break down for Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello is as follows:

Leonardo (M), Age: 13-16, Any ethnicity, (V.O.) LEAD

The team leader. Leo is strictly business, all killer no filler – except when he’s boasting and describing himself with dumb phrases like “all killer no filler.” He cares about keeping the “team” on mission, and tells himself that his brothers would be lost without him. He’s not the strongest (Raph) or the smartest (Donnie), or the funniest (Mikey), but he’s the hardest working turtle boy and he’s proud of it. His brothers can get annoyed by his do-gooder attitude and the lectures that come with it, even when they know he’s right. Leo’s biggest fears are his brothers realizing that he needs them more than they need him.

Raphael (M), Age: 13-16, Any ethnicity, (V.O.) LEAD

The hot head. Raph likes to break s**t. Whether it’s with his fists or someone else’s fists as he throws them through a glass window. Ralph tends to react emotionally when he’s overwhelmed, but he’s actually super self-aware and working on it. With his hands in his pockets, crossed arms, and sullen face, he can come across as a little brooding. But beneath his impenetrable exterior is a soft, sensitive turtle boy who’s just looking for someone to open up to. Raph, who would hate ANY authority figure, resents Leo’s leadership and thinks he should be in charge. His secrete shame? He knows deep down he wouldn’t know how to lead the team if it ever came to it.

Michelangelo (M), Age: 13-16, Any ethnicity, (V.O.) LEAD

The goofball. With rare exception – takes nothing seriously. It could come across as aloofness or idiocy, but it actually comes from a place of wisdom and self-confidence. (knowing himself?) Mikey has his priorities in order, and at the top of the list is enjoying life and living in the present. He loves people and is endlessly curious, which leads to him having long conversations with complete strangers.

He’s that friend you tell your entire life story within minutes of meeting. He might not be good at martial arts training, or waking up on time, or even hygiene, but he’s an endless well of positivity that his brothers often take for granted. Mikey gets teased the most by his brothers, and even though he always laughs it off. Deep down it gets to him.

Donatello (M), Age: 13-16, Any ethnicity (V.O.) LEAD

The intellectual. Feels like he’s Matt Damon in Goodwill Hunting. He is made fun of by his brothers for being academic. They acknowledge his smarts are useful but don’t appreciate it as much as he feels he deserves. His intelligence has its downsides though. Sometimes his intellectual self-assuredness can come across as arrogance, and his extreme pragmatism sometimes reads as coldness. It’s not that he doesn’t care, his brain is just thinking so many steps ahead about such complicated stuff that he often finds himself paralyzed with indecision.

He can talk himself into something just as easily as he can talk himself out. Donnie knows he’s smart, but his secret fear he’d never admit out loud is that if he was ever around people at his level, he worries he wouldn’t be able to keep up. And if he’s not as smart as he thought… what is he?

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It seems Nickelodeon/Paramount is fully embracing the adolescent nature of these beloved characters and the story will be a true coming of age tale, as each character learns to fully come into his own, and embrace what makes them different from each other.

More Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Production Info

Comedian Seth Rogen and his partners Evan Goldberg and Jeff Weaver will produce the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film through their production company Point Grey Pictures.

“Adding Seth, Evan and James’ genius to the humor and action that’s already an integral part of TMNT is going to make this a next-level reinvention of the property. I’m looking forward to see what they do, and I know that Ramsey Naito and her team are excited to take the Nick Animation Studio into another great direction with their first-ever CG-animated theatrical.”

Brian Robbins, President, Kids & Family for ViacomCBS
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Seth Rogen
Seth Rogen is set to put his comedic stamp on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon Animation Studios.


The untitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is set to be directed by Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs. the Machines) and written by Brendan O’Brien (Neighbors). No release date is set at this time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Do you like the direction that Nickelodeon is taking the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in this animation adaptation? Do you think it will fare better than the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films from Michael Bey? Let us know what you think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the comments below and follow us on all our social media channels so you can keep up with all the exclusives that come out of The Illuminerdi!



Sean McLaughlin

Sean McLaughlin

Sean is a writer, theater director, and actor based on the Jersey Shore. He is an avid lover of all film, but Star Wars holds a special place in his heart. Sean also runs his own film blog The Dailie Talk,, which you should check out!