Did April from ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ change her race? Fans discuss new movie

Known as ‘Ninja Turtles’ in Spanish, since the late 1980s they have been part of popular culture and with cartoons, video games, series and ‘live action’ movies they have received many adaptations.

But with the trailer for his new animated film ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’, criticism and commentary focused on the redesign of reporter April O’Neil as a black woman.

Megan Fox as April O’Neil and the character in the new movie.

Credit: The Grosby Group // Nickelodeon Movies / Paramount Pictures

Did April O’Neil from ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ change race?

From the famous cartoon series ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ (1987–1996) the character of April O’Neil is known by most fans as a white, red-haired girl.

In most of her incarnations this design has been maintained, including her ‘live action’ appearances with Judith Hoag and Paige Turco in the 1990s, as well as Megan Fox (whom you can watch ‘Passion Play’ for free on ViX) in 2014 and 2016.

However, for the new 2023 film, the turtles’ friend is a young African-American woman and her voice actress is comedian Ayo Edebiri.

April O’Neil in her different versions.

Credit: The Grosby Group / Murakami Wolf Swenson / Mirage Studios / Image Comics / Nickelodeon Movies / Paramount Pictures

Although others celebrated it and pointed out that in reality April O’Neil when she debuted in the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ comics in the 80s was not a red-haired and white woman.

This is what April O’Neil looked like in the original ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ comics.

Credit: Mirage Studios

Fans Argue Over April O’Neil’s Design In ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’

Even those in favor of his new look have pointed out that comics co-creator Kevin Eastman based the character’s original design on his ex-girlfriend April Fisher, who was a mixed-race woman of color.

Some fans liked April O’Neil’s design.

Credit: Facebook

Even so, the discussion on social networks has been strong and there are other fans who accuse the new version as another instance of changing a famous character who is known to be redheaded and white.

They have even attacked the idea that the original April from the comics was black, because just like the creator’s ex-girlfriend, the character can be seen (in some color covers) with Asian features and light brown skin.

Criticism for April O’Neil’s design.

Credit: Twitter

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’ opens on August 4, 2023 in theaters and features the voices of Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), Micah Abbey (Donatello), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo) and Brady Noon (Raphael). ).

In addition to the participation of Jackie Chan (Splinter), Seth Rogen (Bebop), John Cena (Rocksteady), Ice Cube (Superfly), Paul Rudd (Mondo Gecko) and Giancarlo Esposito (Baxter Stockman).

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SpongeBob The yellow sponge from Bikini Bottom is not gay, even though he does belong to the LGBT+ community. This was announced by its creator Stephen Hillenburg in an interview with ‘Reuters’ back in 2002.

Credit: United Plankton Pictures/Nickelodeon Animation Studio


It turns out that SpongeBob is asexual, a characteristic that sea sponges present and Hillenburg knew perfectly well because he graduated in Natural Resources Exploration Studies, specializing in marine fauna.

Credit: United Plankton Pictures/Nickelodeon Animation Studio

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He For ‘The Powerpuff Girls’ the androgynous demon He represented one of the biggest threats thanks to his incredible powers as ‘the king of darkness’; while for the LGBT+ community he symbolizes Queer or gender fluid people.

Credit: Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network Studios


Sailor Urano and Sailor Neptune The case of the anime ‘Sailor Moon’ (1992) was very peculiar, since originally the characters Haruka (Uranus) and Michiru (Neptune) had a lesbian relationship. But that information was censored for its transmission to the West and they painted it as a family relationship, so it was said that they were cousins.

Credit: Toei Animation


Currently the ‘Sailor Moon’ license is owned by ‘Viz’, so the company released the translated and uncensored chapters in which the romance between the two Sailor warriors appears.

Credit: Toei Animation

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Unfortunately, censorship is not only imposed by television stations, the actor Elliot Page did it with himself and kept for years more than one secret that tormented him: in the end he decided to confess to his fans and tell his truth… twice.

Nickelodeon Animation Studios/Studio Mir


Korra The protagonist of the sequel ‘Avatar, the Last Airbender’ (2005) ends her own series by imagining a future alongside her best friend and partner, Asami.

Credit: Nickelodeon Animation Studios/Studio Mir


However, to achieve this, the creators of ‘The Legend of Korra’ (2012), Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, had to ask Nickelodeon for permission. Of course, the channel allowed them, although it was with certain limits, such as not showing kisses between the two (as they commented on their Tumblr profile in 2014).

Credit: Nickelodeon Animation Studios/Studio Mir

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Mr. Ratburn ‘Arthur’ was a cartoon that many generations grew up with, since it lasted 25 seasons (from 1996 to 2022). Curiously, in the episode ‘Someone special for Mr. Ratburn’, Arthur’s teacher marries the love of his life, a hamster of the same sex.

Credit: Cookie Jar Entertainment


Beto and Enrique The puppets of ‘Sesame Street’ have been in a controversy since Mark Saltzman, screenwriter for 15 years of the show (from 1981 to 1990), explained to the website ‘LGTB Queerty’ (2018) that he devised the characters as a gay couple.

Credit: Sesame Workshop


Given this revelation, the Sesame Workshop company denied via Twitter that Beto and Enrique had any sexual preference. Of course, on the Internet some fans of the program, who have grown up, agree with Saltzman and have even turned them into LGBT+ symbols.

Credit: sesame workshop

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Nickelodeon Animation Studios


Rachel Bighead Formerly known as Ralph Bighead is a transgender character from ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’; She is about a kind of toad who was a casual friend of Rocko’s and dreamed of being a cartoonist instead of working at Conglom.

Credit: Nickelodeon Animation Studios


In 2019 the sequel ‘A change of heart’ showed how in Rocko’s 20-year absence, Ralph decided to make a gender transition to “finally be happy” and changed his name to Rachel. She also owns an ice cream truck.

Credit: Joe Murray Productions

Frederator Studios/Cartoon Network Studios


Marceline In ‘Adventure Time’ (2007) the screenwriter and illustrator Rebecca Sugar sought to promote a greater representation of LGBT+ characters in cartoons, according to an interview with ‘Vanity Fair’ (2021).

Credit: Frederator Studios/Cartoon Network Studios

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Frederator Studios/Cartoon Network Studios


For this reason, the vampire Marceline was shown to be bisexual, since at the beginning she dated an immortal named Ash and at the end of the series she began a love relationship with Princess Bubblegum.

Credit: Frederator Studios/Cartoon Network Studios


Another community character that appeared in the animation was BMO, who was gender fluid.

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