Casey asked Nieli and Auman about the finale of season 2. One thing Nieli always wanted to do was pay homage to the Leonardo one-shot from the Mirage TMNT comics, which they did with his valiant losing battle against Shredder’s forces in the two-part episode. The panel then ran a clip of the reveal that April’s friend Irma was simply a robotic disguise for Kraang Subprime, who was voiced by Gilbert Gottfried. Auman asked the audience if they were disturbed by the reveal and if they wanted Irma back, but then followed up with a good-natured tease that “it’s not gonna happen”. Cipes was asked if he was aware that there were fans shipping “Irmangelo”, to which the amused actor replied “I do now!” Casey then remarked that they’d be “serving him up some love in the future” and panel displayed its first reveal of new character appearing in the third season. Renet, a “Time Master in training”, will be voiced by Ashley Johnson.
It was then time for the traditional advance look at things to come in the season. First up was conceptual artwork for costumes the Turtles will don during their time in the woods. Nieli explained that the TMNT will undergo a spirit quest as part of their effort to “basically retrain and recenter themselves as ninjas” before returning to New York to take New York from the Kraang. Each costume is something each turtle made himself, and is representative of their “power element”. An entire episode is dedicated to their spirit quest, and the audience was treated to an animatic clip from it where the each turtle ends up facing one of their past adversaries during their spirit quest. The clip reveals Michelangelo matched up against Rahzar, Raphael encountering Fish Face and Donatello taking on Tiger Claw. Yet another animatic clip revealed another new character in Hun, reimagined here as a slender young man but no less of a fierce fighter. In the clip Casey Jones tries to take him on, only to be methodically and brutally thrashed by a stoic Hun with little effort. For all his poise Hun apparently isn’t above a haughty taunt, as he finishes his display by extending his arm and giving Casey a thumbs down sign.
Another upcoming episode will include a “Speed Demon” character that ends up possessing Donatello, causing him to take on an outrageous appearance that the panel offered an advance look at as well. Nieli said the idea of it was to do a “60’s-inspired racing episode” and called it an “ambitious and cinematic” endeavor. After the reveal of the Speed Demon Donatello design the audience was shown another animatic clip that revealed the addition of two more villains to the show that long-time TMNT fans are thoroughly familiar with: Rocksteady and Bebop. In the animatic clip Shredder punishes Ivan Steranko and Anton Zeck for past transgressions by having them thrown into a vat of mutagen, transforming them into the iconic mutatedÂ Rhinoceros and Warthog. After this the panel screened the episode “Buried Secrets”, which is described as the season’s “Halloween episode”. Fans can look forward to a significant guest starring role played by Renee Jacobs, the original voice of April O’Neil from the 1980s TMNT cartoon.
After the episode screening, there was time for a Q&A session. In regard to how Seth Green came to voice Leonardo, Nieli said that Greg Cipes had pushed hard for him and that after a brief conversation with Green, it was decided he would work out and he apparently didn’t even have to do a reading for the part. The panel was also asked about action figures for Karai, which were affirmed to be coming. Greg Cipes was asked about how he pulls off different characters that can range from being zen-like to energetic and animated, to which he replied that these personalities are simply different aspects of himself. Another question asked how the creators decide what to reference and pay homage. Auman says that they try to take the coolest elements of the past that they like past and try to blend it into the show, making “iconic moments live again in our series”. One specific example Auman named was Leonardo recovering in the bathub, a moment from the Mirage comics that was also adapted for the 1990 film. Nieli remarked that “…you keep the mentality that you’re always a student so you’re always loving something, so you bring that into what you do.” For an example, Nieli is constantly buying music and that ends up influencing some of the tunes that end up in the show. For the final question a fan asked about the origins of Michelangelo’s “Booyakasha!” catchphrase, leading to Cipes retelling his story about how he improvised it himself on the fly while they were pondering something new for Michelangelo to say as a follow-up to the “Cowabunga!” phrase from the 90s.