'Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Creators Talk Season 2, New Toys And New Splinter [Interview]

During their Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel for the Television Critics Association, Nickelodeon announced they had already greenlit a second season of the new series. That was before a sneak preview of the show and its official premiere on Nickelodeon.

Now, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres today on Nickelodeon with brand new designs for the turtles, new villains and even new music. The line-up is still classic, though: Donatello (Josh Brener), Michelangelo (Brandon Mychal Smith), Leonardo (Ben Schwartz) and Raphael (Josh Brener) team up with April O'Neill (Kat Graham) and their mentor Splinter (Eric Bauza).

After the TCA panel, executive producers Andy Suriano and Ant Ward hung around to talk with /Film a bit more about their plans for a second season, the new toys based on their new designs, Splinter's reinvented role, and the Pinky and the Brain reunion on their show.

Was this the first you heard you were getting a second season?

Suriano: We've known for a while.

Ward: We started working on it a while ago.

Suriano: A month ago [from July] at least. It's been such an honor that it hasn't aired yet. We haven't even done the sneak peak.

Ward: The network were really excited about the episodes that were coming in. An episode takes about a year from start to completion so we're still in the writing process and the post process at the same time.

Suriano: The animation that they're doing overseas at Flying Bark is next level stuff.

Now that you have two seasons, do you think down the road you might start introducing traditional TMNT characters like Shredder?

Ward: You know, we have the saying you never know who's going to turn up. If there's an organic place that fits within the world we've created, then we're not closed-minded to the possibilities of some old favorites, but it has to feel right.

Suriano: Nickelodeon's never said, "Hey, you have to do this" or "You have to do that." There's never a mandate to change up the turtles or do anything like that. It all just felt organic. We felt like now is the time to shake things up and do some fun stuff as creators. We want to just keep challenging ourselves.

Ward: The amazing thing about the media landscape we live in today is all of those previous incarnations are still available. 

Are there any more villains you're waiting to unveil?

Ward: I think we did a big announcement at Comic-Con. That's virtually everybody.

Suriano: Well, we have some secrets down the line we can't reveal now. It's gonna be fun.

Ward: The big announcement was definitely Comic-Con. That's pretty much our ensemble of rogues.

Suriano: John Michael Higgins is Warren Stone. Muninn is Sam Richardson.

Ward: Tim Simons.

Suriano: We have Maurice [LaMarche] and Rob Paulsen from Pinky and the Brain are reuniting for the Foot Clan.

Ward: There's two Pinky and the Brain like Foot Clan members. It's pretty fun.

But not actually Pinky and the Brain?

Suriano: Not the actual Pinky and the Brain but the actual actors who portrayed them. That's magic in the booth. You have Maurice LaMarche and Paulsen together. It's incredible.

Are they doing a toy line based on these designs?

Suriano: Oh yeah. We left them in the green room but the toys are awesome. Playmates Toys who's had the franchise.

Ward: Since '87.

Suriano: They are continuing with it. My greatest joy is watching our designs realized in 3D. It's really fun. My kids get to play with them. That's the best part of it. We both have two boys so we get the toys, they get to play with the toys. It's super fun.

Did you just turn over the designs to them and watch the magic happen?

Ward: There's back and forth.

Suriano: We're super involved with it. Again, we're very, very lucky that we're able give notes.

Ward: It's very collaborative.

Suriano: Just like everything with this process from the voiceover stuff to animation to background design, the writing. Everything we do is very collaborative.

Does Splinter get involved in the action?

Suriano: Splinter is very involved in the action. He probably has the most interesting story arc of the first season.

Ward: There's more to the rat man.

Suriano: So far, any animosity towards any of the redesigns might be towards Splinter but there's more than meets the eye with that.

How is he different than previous incarnations?

Ward: He's from Cyberton. No, at the end of the day he's a very loving father who is put in a very precarious predicament.

Suriano: A single dad to four rowdy teenagers.