Meet the first African-American April in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first look

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Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Nickelodeon will offer up a new animated series about the crime-fighting crew with emerging ninja powers later this year. Right now, though, you can get a peek at the characters who are voiced by some familiar names — and they come with a few twists...

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) stars as April O’Neil; Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) plays Donatello; Omar Miller (Ballers) voices Raphael; Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) is Michelangelo; and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) stars as Leonardo. In addition, Eric Bauza plays Splinter and John Cena voices villain Baron Draxum, an alchemist warrior mutant who aims to transform all humans into mutants.

April O'Neil

The first animated African-American April O'Neil — a savvy New Yorker and first human ally of the turtles — is played by Kat Graham. There is some ambiguity about April's origins, but her portrayal in this cartoon marks a departure from depicitions in animation and live-action features. For more on April's original incarnation, click here.


Soft-shell turtle and tech hero Donatello (Josh Brener) rocks a tech-bo staff and impressive coding skills.


Leonardo (Ben Schwartz) is a red-eared slider who boasts "irreverent charm and a rebel heart." Weapon of choice: ōdachi sword.


Box turtle/skateboarder/artist Michelangelo (Brandon Mychal Smith) is the youngest brother — and dangerous with a kusari-fundo.


Raphael (Omar Miller) is now the leader and oldest brother, a snapping turtle who brandishes twin tonfas as his weapons.


Splinter (Eric Bauza) is part father figure, all sensei to the turtles.