Matt Reinhardt, 29 of Poughkeepsie, NY, a lifetime fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was in line for the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Turtles panel for well more than an hour before it started.
“I need to find out what happens in Season 4,” said Reinhardt. “Season 3 ended on a cliff-hanger, and it’s kind of just like now what happens?”
So, at New York Comic Con 2015, head producer of the show Ciro Nieli took the Main Stage with head writer Brandon Auman and the voices behind Splinter (Hoon Lee), Leonardo (Seth Green), Donatello (Rob Paulsen), Michaelangelo (Greg Cipes), and Tiger Claw (Eric Bauza) to discuss just that. Not only did they touch on the controversial ending to Season 3, though. They also brought to light things that fans can look forward to in Season 4, a few exclusive sneak peeks, and just what exactly the Turtles mean to them.
With a flood of angry and confused TMNT fans in the audience, Nieli knew that the panel needed to start with his explanation as to why (SPOILER ALERT) Master Splinter was killed by Shredder in the season finale. Before he could speak, though, Lee stepped up to the microphone to give his take on his character taking the fall.
“I’ve always loved that they keep the stakes very real,” said Lee. “These characters, quite literally, live by the sword and die by the sword, so I thought from a story standpoint, it was fantastic.”
Of course, he later joked that he was now out of a job… Or is he?
In a surprise turn-of-events, Nieli informed the fans that, not only would he be presenting never-before-seen screenshots of new characters to premiere throughout the upcoming season, but also that he would be debuting the season’s first episode at the panel. So, after seeing new animations for the characters Sal Commander (Keith David), Wyrm (Dwight Schultz) and Krang (Pat Fraley), fans were delighted to watch their beloved Turtles on two massive projection screens, one on each side of the stage.
After learning that Mikey still loves his pizza, Casey Jones still loves to fight, and maybe Master Splinter isn’t so dead after all, Green explained what a joy it was for him to spend his first season portraying the man – or amphibians – behind the blue mask. He compared the way he felt about playing the character to the way the fans feel about watching him.
“Everybody making the show is in it the exact same way,” Green said. “We all have the same amount of elation and joy.”
Paulsen, who has been the voice behind Donatello since the 1980’s, added some insight to just how important it is to him to continue providing the voice to the half-shell heroes’ resident brainiac.
“I think due to the instantaneous nature of social media now, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are even bigger than they were when I started,” he said, “and I think that the Turtles have meant so much to so many people, and now those people get to share it with their kids.”
Though Paulsen has worked with so many different interpretations of the Turtles, it’s easy to see how passionate he is about the current product. Be it in a live-action movie, a comic book or an animated series, the Turtles are a mainstay in pop culture. After all, like Nieli said, “green looks good on anything.”
Season 4 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuts on Nickelodeon on Sunday, October 25 at 11AM.
Want to don the mask and shell like your favorite Turtles? Check out the selection of TMNT costumes and accessories at Costume SuperCenter!
*All images courtesy of Corianne Egan