Will One of These Actresses Play April O’Neil In the Live-Action ‘Ninja Turtles’ Reboot?!

in Movies & TV

(L) Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (R) Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid

Credit: (L) Marvel Studios (R) Disney

There have been many iterations of April O’Neil over the years — the trusted sidekick to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and daring New York City news reporter. In the six TMNT films alone (though soon to be seven with the upcoming Mutant Mayhem), there are four versions; Judith Hoag, Paige Turco, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Megan Fox.

Now, Ayo Edebiri is set to play the character in the upcoming Seth Rogen-produced animated reboot. But there’s another film in the works — a live-action reboot with Michael Bay back in the producer’s chair, although it is not expected to follow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) and its sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016).

April O'Neil in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Related: First, Female Ninja Turtles, Now ‘TMNT’ Eyed For R-Rated Horror Reboot

Nothing is known about the live-action reboot from Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes, other than the fact it’s being penned by Saturday Night Live writers (and brothers) Casey Jost and Colin Jost. No directors or actors are currently attached to the project, nor is there a release window of any kind. For all we know, it could be years out.

But not to worry, because in the meantime we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) to keep us entertained, as well as a number of upcoming films heading for Paramount+, each of which will focus on villains from the TMNT universe. Whether or not these films will serve as spin-offs to Mutant Mayhem, though, remains to be seen.

April O'Neil shocked in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Related: ‘TMNT’ Sequel Kills Off Original Heroes, Officially Replaces Them With Female Turtles

But until we get a slice of some news about the live-action reboot, it’s fun to imagine who will wind up playing April O’Neil in the film. And let’s face it — where there are Ninja Turtles, you can bet your bottom slice of pizza that their red-headed news reporter friend will be there. So here are five actresses who could play April O’Neil in the live-action TMNT reboot.

1. Jenna Ortega

Jenna Ortega dancing as Wednesday Addams in 'Wednesday'
Credit: Netflix

Jenna Ortega has become a household name over the past year, in part due to her appearance in the two recent Scream films, Scream (2022) and Scream VI (2023), but largely because of the hit Netflix Addams Family spin-off series Wednesday (2022).

In that show, Ortega plays the titular Addams Family teen, who is enrolled at Nevermore Academy, a private school for supernatural outcasts, where she becomes a budding investigate journalist in an attempt to solve a spate of grisly murders.

So we see no reason why Ortega couldn’t play an actual reporter in the live-action TMNT reboot, and bring some of that dry wit and dark humor to the fold at the same time! Given Ortega’s age, however, this would need to be more of a prequel, not unlike Mutant Mayhem.

Related: 6 Actresses Who Could Play a Younger Ahsoka in the Upcoming Series

2. Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in 90s episode of 'Wandavision'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Elizabeth Olsen is a phenomenal actress, which is plain to see from her performance as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) alone. The question is, can she turn off her villain switch and become a hero again?

We think so, and we can’t think of a more perfect role than April O’Neil. Olsen is already sporting the reddish hair (from time to time at least, although she rocks it all the same). She also has a warm and sympathetic nature to her, signature traits of the Turtles’ human friend.

Related: 7 Actresses Who Could Play the Female Joker

3. Jessica Chastain as “The Last Ronin” April O’Neil

Jessica Chastain in Interstellar
Credit: Paramount Pictures / Warner Bros.

Jessica Chastain is yet another great actress, whose work has included Interstellar (2014), Molly’s Game (2017), and The Martian (2015). She’s no stranger to movies based on comic books, either, having appeared in X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019).

Chastain would make a perfect April O’Neil, and not just because of her red hair, but we can imagine her playing a slightly older version of what we’re used to seeing, and also in a darker film too, for which she’d be a great fit given her acting resume.

One adaptation that comes to mind is that of IDW Publishing’s ongoing comic book series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin” (2021), in which April O’Neil is portrayed as a hardened survivor in a futuristic and dystopian New York City.

Related: ‘TMNT’ Sequel Kills Off Original Heroes, Officially Replaces Them With Female Turtles

4. Sarah Michelle Gellar (An Existing April O’Neil)

Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Credit: 20th Century Studios

We’ve taken some liberties here, because Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) star Sarah Michelle Gellar has already played April O’Neil in the CG-animated film TMNT (2007). So seeing as she’s only voiced the character, it’s only fair she gets to play her in live action too.

Sarah Michelle Gellar would make a great live-action April O’Neil. After all, April isn’t just a damsel in distress (not always, at least), as on many occasions she’s been known to get her hands dirty and help the Turtles battle their enemies.

With Gellar’s experience in fighting the undead (we’re pretty sure Buffy also featured an alien and a mutant too), it makes sense to have her reprise her animated role in live action, and follow the likes of Star Wars‘ Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff).

Related: ‘Buffy’ Star Finally Returns to Battle Supernatural Monsters In Brand-New Trailer

5. Halle Bailey

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid 2023
Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid (2023) is yet to surface on Disney+, but whether it’s good or bad, we’ve no doubt that Halle Bailey will be phenomenal as Ariel, as the brand-new trailer suggests. Not only does she have an astounding voice, she already has a strong screen presence (she also has red hair).

But why would having a great singing voice make her a great April O’Neil? Well, it wouldn’t, but it does make us wonder if the next TMNT film would work as a musical! On a serious note, though, Halle Bailey is an up-and-comer, and a well-known role like April O’Neil would be a good step forward.

Unfortunately, Bailey has been the target of Internet trolls following her casting in The Little Mermaid reboot, much like the new iteration of April O’Neil in the upcoming Mutant Mayhem, who is African-American. Jealousy is a terrible, terrible thing.

Related: Filmmakers Call ‘The Little Mermaid’ Trailer At The Oscars “Gross” And “Depressing”

April O'Neil in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Mutant Mayhem is the seventh theatrical TMNT movie. It follows Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), TMNT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016).

Check out the brand-new trailer for Mutant Mayhem below:

Related: ‘TMNT’ Prequel Follows ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot, Replaces Beloved Heroes With Female Turtles

As per Wikipedia, here’s the official synopsis for the film:

After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtles set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a notorious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

Michelangelo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Related: What Is the New Female ‘Ninja Turtles’ Sequel About?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem stars Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), Micah Abbey (Donatello), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo), Brady Noon (Raphael), Jackie Chan (Splinter), Ayo Edebiri (April O’Neil), Seth Rogen (Bebop), John Cena (Rocksteady), Hannibal Buress (Genghis Frog), Rose Byrne (Leatherhead), Ice Cube (Superfly), Post Malone (Ray Fillet), Paul Rudd (Mondo Gecko), Maya Rudolph (Cynthia Utrom), Natasia Demetriou (Wingnut), and Giancarlo Esposito (Baxter Stockman).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) will be released in theaters on August 4, 2023.

Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem teaser
Credit: Paramount Pictures / Nickelodeon Movies (via Nickelodeon’s 2023 Kids Choice Awards, YouTube)

Related: 10 Things We Want to See in an Open-World ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Game

Who do you think should play April O’Neil in the upcoming live-action TMNT reboot? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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