There are a handful of truth's that must be fulfilled in order for the modern world to keep on turning. Energy must be obtained, communication must be maintained, the populace must be disenchanted with their leaders, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles must exist in at least on iteration.

After Nickelodeon's announcement last year that their beloved TMNT series would come to an end after the fifth season, everyone knew it wouldn't be long before our favorite half-shelled heroes were back. In fact, before the series' final episode, the new show had already been announced. 

Most of us were wondering what could be done with the franchise that hadn't been done before. How could they keep the turtles fresh, appeal to kids (who, the TMNT are for, despite their darker origins), and still keep happy the generations of fans who have loved them for more than three decades?

Today's first look at the new series, entitled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, answers some of those questions. And the answer to those questions is, quite a lot actually. Traditionally, the turtles have been near identical, often only distinguished by the color of their masks. Now, however, each turtle will hail from a unique species, giving each of them a distinct look. Their weapons and their roles within the quartet have each received an upgrade as well.

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Raphael, historically a hothead who often causes more trouble than he's worth, is now the leader. His sais have been traded in for tonfas and he's modeled after a snapping turtle.

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Leonardo, no longer the leader, will play a supporting role. His twin katanas have been replaced with a single sword and is modeled after a red eared slider.

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Donnie has been changed the least (thank Krom, he's my fave). He still "does machines" and weilds a bo staff, though it's been upgraded to fit within this updated world. He's a softshell turtle, which fits his personality, I think.

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Last but certainly not least, Michelangelo is a box turtle. He's turned in his nunchaku for the similarly built kusari-fundo, a post and chain with a bladed weight at one end. No official word on if he remains a party dude.

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The supporting cast of characters remains, at least so far as Splinter and April are concerned. Both have been restyled and, if the character images are any clue, April will join the fight more directly than in some prior adaptations with what appears to be an enchanted bat. So far, we haven't a trace of Casey Jones, it's entirely possible that this time around April will be taking over teaching duties in Pain 101.

The cast includes Eric Bauza (Splinter), Josh Brener (Donatello), Omar Benson Miller (Raphael), Ben Schwartz (Leonardo), Brandon Mychal Smith (Michelangelo), Kat Graham (April) and John Cena as the villain Baron Draxum, bent on turning the world into mutants while the titular turtles discover mystic ninja abilities, become a team and a family, and balance the scales for good.

Nickelodeon has committed to at least 26 episodes of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, set to premier later this year.

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Tags: Nickelodeon , TMNT , Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , New Series , Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles