The Turtles are up against a Kraang invasion in Friday's Season 2 finale of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." (Nickelodeon)Link
Seth Green voices Leonardo in the third season of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." (Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images)Link
Napoleon Bonafrog (Jon Heder), left, will make his debut in the third season of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." (Nickelodeon)Link
The Punk Frogs are featured in the third season of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." (Nickelodeon)Link
Seth Green, right, and his wife Clare Grant. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)Link
Fans of Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are in for an otherworldly Season 2 finale on Friday, but they won’t have to wait long for more from the mean, green fighting machines. The cartoon’s third season debuts next week, with “Robot Chicken’s” Seth Green taking over the role of the Turtles’ leader, Leonardo.
Friday’s two-hour finale pits the radical reptiles against a Kraang attempt to transform New York City into their own version of Dimension X.
Check out an exclusive clip from the episode in the video below.
After the events of the finale, the heroes in a halfshell find themselves without a master, without a home and on the run. Hero Complex readers also get a first look at Green’s performance as Leonardo in a scene from “Within the Woods,” Oct. 3’s season premiere, which sees Leo struggling with an injury and Raphael (Sean Astin) captured by a new mutant. Watch the video below.
The third season also marks the show’s introduction of several fan-favorite characters from the popular animated TV series that ran from 1987 to 1996, including Mondo Gecko (Robbie Rist) and Turtle allies the Punk Frogs, including Napoleon Bonafrog (Jon Heder). Check them out in the gallery above.
Green, a self-professed fan of Kevin Eastman’s and Peter Laird’s Ninja Turtles comics in the early 1980s, takes over the role of Leonardo from Jason Biggs. Hero Complex caught up with him to chat about his turn as the leader of the Turtles.
Hero Complex: How did you get to be a Ninja Turtle?
Seth Green: They approached me about taking over this role, and I was really excited because I’m a longtime fan of this property. I’ve already been recording for a few months.
HC: When was your first exposure to the Turtles?
SG: The black-and-white comics were the first thing that I saw, because I was into comics when I was really young. And that was the kind of property that got attention, both because it was an independent black-and-white comic and because the characters were so distinctive and unique. And also, I don’t know if you know this, but they’re ninjas, and ninjas are something that little boys get very excited about.
HC: Which turtle was your favorite when you were a kid?
SG: When I was a kid, I more related to Michelangelo, because he was kind of a spaz, and a little bit goofy, and even though he was awesome, he was like a prankster and a trickster. But now I get to play Leonardo, and Leonardo’s a very different role than Mikey. Leo, he’s the leader, so he’s got this responsibility of leading everybody and being better than them, being sharper than them, being more prepared than them, more adult than them. And you know, they’re all teenagers, so they’re very difficult to wrangle, and Leonardo has this extra burden of being the conduit between the sensei and his brothers. So he doesn’t get to fool around, he doesn’t get to enjoy himself, and there’s very rare moments where you actually see him smile or enjoy himself.
HC: When Jason Biggs left the role, was there pressure to do the same thing or take it in a new direction?
SG: Ninja Turtles is a property that’s been around almost 30 years, so almost 10 different people have played each of these roles. I think there’s a sense of responsibility to stay true to the property itself, but each actor’s gonna bring their own interpretation.
HC: So what are you bringing to it?
SG: I take this role really seriously. Leo is a complicated character, so I’m thoughtful of all angles of that in my performance.
HC: Did you have to do any research — reading comics, watching the old cartoons — when you took on the role?
SG: Hahaha … I’m well-versed in the Turtles. This is the great thing — something my wife and I share is a longtime love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The best thing for me is that her favorite is Leonardo. Like, well before this was even a possibility, I knew her favorite was Leonardo. So when this opportunity came through, I was like, this is definitely going to score me points with my wife.
HC: Do you record with the other actors, or separately?
SG: It just depends on the scheduling. They do a really great job of getting us there, if we’re in scenes together. It’s been awesome getting to record with the other guys — you get a slightly different energy. This group, everyone is so excited about doing it. We can’t believe we got this job. We all really love Turtles. We get to have fun together. And there’s this other side of it for any of us who grew up on Turtles — this is a really important mythology to pass down generationally, and so we’re in the position of giving it to this generation of kids the way it was given to us, and I love that. I love getting to be a part of passing it on, and making sure that it’s attended to correctly, that it’s of the same quality and has the same ideals that the original did, the one that I thought was so informative to me.
HC: Why do you think it has endured?
SG: The characters are super-unique in the way that they look. Ninjas are inherently exciting. And then, they’re a different kind of family. They’re all brothers, so they’re a legit family, but they work together, they play together, they depend on each other, they take care of and protect each other. All of the morality and the ideology of the show is incredibly positive and collaborative and about discipline. I think those are all things that bring truth, and it’s easier to digest those lessons when they’re given in a cartoon that feels more fun than educational. I will say this to fans of the show: I love it the way that you love it, and we are diligent about protecting it.
HC: You’ve been involved in lots of franchises that fans feel intensely devoted to. What do you get asked about the most?
SG: It’s all over the place. I’ve been at it a long time, so depending on how old someone is or where they’re from, that’s usually how I can pinpoint.
HC: So high school kids would ask you about…
SG: High school kids all saw “Scooby Doo.” So I’ve got this really weird thing where people are like, “Hey, what’s up, it’s Velma’s boyfriend!” Or they saw “Without a Paddle” when it was on cable all the time. The nice thing is that we’re finally starting to surpass the generation that believes “Entourage” was a reality show. For a minute there was this very strange thing where this clever send-up I did, this thing I thought was really funny because it was a joke, got interpreted as what a whole generation thought about me as a person. ‘Cause they didn’t know me from movies. They only knew me from “Entourage.” It’s really funny.
HC: Which people ask you about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”?
SG: “Buffy” is all over the place. Not only is it one of those things that meant a lot to people when it was happening, but because it’s available on so many streaming formats, each one of those mythologies has gotten passed around. So people seem to always be discovering it, which is exciting. There seem to be a whole crop of kids around the same age as our characters in it who are discovering it.
HC: You also voiced Howard the Duck in “Guardians of the Galaxy”…
SG: That was just because me and [director James] Gunn know each other, and he let me be part of his awesome movie, haha.
HC: It seems like you are constantly juggling four or five projects. Do you ever sleep?
SG: Well, you know, I’ve got a wide variety of interests, and I’m lucky enough at this point in my career to have all those opportunities, so I just try to put a team together so I’m not the sole person being relied upon. And then, no, I don’t get a lot of sleep.
[For the record, 7:15 a.m. Sept. 25: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Townsend Coleman is the voice of Mondo Gecko. Robbie Rist voices the character.]
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