One of the common threads in today’s reboots, remakes, and re-imaginings of classic brands, franchises, series and properties, is that they get quite “creative” when it comes to casting or depicting iconic characters for today’s markets. One such creative casting measure comes in the form of the upcoming animated reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles called Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will feature a black actress in the role of April O’Neil.
According to Slash Film, actress Kat Graham will take on the iconic role of the feisty New York news reporter, April O’Neil. Her character is described in the show as the following…
“April O’Neil, the Turtles’ most trusted ally, as a street savvy native New Yorker who is always ready to join in the fun.”
Given that Graham is voicing O’Neil, it’s not readily apparent if the show is quite as Slash Film states by saying that this will be TMNT’s first “black” April O’Neil… we’ll have to wait to see how they depict her before jumping the gun. There have been race swaps when it comes to voice acting, with actresses like Laura Bailey playing the African mercenary, Nadine, in Uncharted 4. Terrence C. Carson voiced Kratos in the original God of War. And Rosario Dawson voiced Wonder Woman in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. So it’s not uncommon to have different people voicing characters of different races.
However, it does seem pretty clear that with a black actress in the role and the entertainment industry’s current bent on pretending to be “Progressive”, it’s not a stretch to think that they could race-swap the typical yellow jumpsuit-wearing, fiery redhead from the original into the more “Progressive” depiction of April O’Neil for today’s audience. It would definitely be an even deeper departure from having the raven-haired Megan Fox playing as April in Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot.
Even though information is thin on the series – other than that they’ve switched up the turtles so that Raphael is now the leader instead of Leonardo – many of the fans of the original aren’t entirely happy with the idea that they appear to be replacing the iconic April O’Neil with the Liberal-friendly depiction. It would seem especially odd if April happens to be black with the very Irish O’Neil as a last name. I’m curious if they would even bother to explain that away in the show?
Many commenters didn’t hold out much hope that this Disney-rendition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will turn out decent, but we’ll wait to see what the first screenshots (or trailer) looks like to get an idea as to whether or not the SJWs have fully taken over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… even more so than what they did with the live-action reboot films.