April O'Neil (far right) on the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures in 1988
|First appearance||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (October 1984)|
|Created by||Kevin Eastman
|Full name||April O'Neil|
|Team affiliations||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
|Partnerships||Casey Jones (love interest/fiancee)|
|Notable aliases||Miss O'Neil
April O'Neil is a fictional character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and all related media. In all of the TMNT continuities, she is a good friend of the Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo.
She made her first appearance in the Mirage Comics storyline in 1984 as a computer programmer. She was later portrayed as a strong-willed news reporter in the Turtles' first animated series, as a warrior in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic produced by Archie Comics, and various other personas in different TMNT media.
April was voiced by Renae Jacobs in the 1987 TMNT animated series, in the 2003 TMNT animated series by Veronica Taylor, and by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the 2007 film TMNT. In the 2012 TMNT animated series, April is voiced by Mae Whitman. She has been portrayed in live-action media by Judith Hoag, Paige Turco and Megan Fox.
- 1 Comics
- 2 Animated television
- 3 Motion pictures
- 4 Video games
- 5 Action figures
- 6 References
- 7 External links
In the original Mirage Comics storyline for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O'Neil was a skilled computer programmer and assistant to a famous yet nefarious scientist Baxter Stockman. She helped program his MOUSER robots but, after discovering Baxter was using them to burrow into bank vaults, she fled his workshop. Robots chased her into the sewer where she was promptly saved by three of the Turtles. The Turtles later successfully fended off a MOUSER invasion.
After leaving her job with Baxter, April decided to open an antique shop. The shop was subsequently destroyed in a battle between the Turtles and Shredder and the Foot Clan. April and the Turtles retreated to a farm house in Northampton, Massachusetts to recover and during this time she suffered recurrent nightmares about the Foot Clan's attack.
During the mid-90s, April became romantically involved with the violent vigilante Casey Jones, and the two of them eventually adopted a child named Shadow.
- Injection crisis
In Volume 2 of the TMNT comics, April was attacked by a huge robot controlled by the brain of her former boss, Baxter Stockman, and injected with nanobots. With the help of the Utroms, the Turtles injected April with turtle versions of nanobots to stop Baxter's plan. The intervention saved April before Baxter's nanobots could reach her brain stem and kill her.
The attack rendered April sterile. To deal with the emotional strain she became a female version of Nobody, a vigilante crime fighter, until her identity was discovered by Casey Jones.
- Drawing twist
With the help of Renet, a time-traveler who took April back through time, it was revealed that April was really a living drawing brought to life with the help of Kirby's crystal. She was drawn by her father before his own biological daughter Robyn O'Neil was born. Although Kirby drew with pencil that would vanish after a while, April's father used a pen, which might explain why April lived past thirty without vanishing. Questions of realness and morality were too much for April; she bid farewell to Shadow and Casey and travelled to Alaska to be alone with her thoughts. Although the trip helped April cope with her demons and led to her eventual return to New York, her family history remained unexplored.
The Mirage Studios version of April has dark brown/black hair (though early color reprints of Volume 1 depicted her hair color as red/light brown). Most subsequent incarnations of April are redheads. In the September 1985 re-printing of issue one, artist Ryan Brown depicts April as a katana-wielding ninja warrior in his back cover pin-up.
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series produced by Archie Comics, April began as a carbon copy of her animated counterpart from the 1987 TV series, but the writers developed her into a competent warrior after training with Splinter. Because of her frequent adventures with the Turtles, she lost her job at Channel 6 and became a freelance reporter. In the winter 1994 Archie Special, April was mutated into a turtle herself. This made her the first official female turtle introduced to the series, three years before Venus de Milo's debut.
Archie also published two sets of three-part April O'Neil mini-series.
The second issue of the Dreamwave Productions series (based on the 2003 animated series) focused entirely on O'Neil, consisting of a dream sequence showing how she had been pressured into a scientific career by her family despite having an interest in journalism.
- Character background
April O'Neil was introduced as a television reporter for Channel 6 News. She had a strong nature and passion for her work, frequently expressing disagreement with her employer Burne Thompson's assignments. She also fell out repeatedly with Vernon Fenwick, the director/camera operator whose enormous ego compelled him to scoop April on her stories whenever possible. April was best friends with Irma Langinstein, the receptionist at Channel 6. She lived in an apartment in New York City, though during the course of the series she was forced to relocate several times due to a variety of Turtle-related mishaps.
- Meeting the turtles
April was reporting on a series of high-tech equipment thefts when she came under attack by a gang of street punks. Thinking quickly, she managed to squeeze into a storm drain and ran from the mob until she hit a dead end. The Turtles were nearby and defeated the punks. She was taken back to their sewer lair, where they explained their origins to her. At first, she believed them to be responsible for the equipment thefts, but they agreed to help find the true culprits if she kept quiet about the Turtles' existence. April quickly became their major link to the outside world since their unusual appearance effectively precluded them from functioning above ground without some sort of disguise. To communicate with the turtles, she used a Turtlecom radio.
April's friendship with the Turtles resulted in the opportunity to film exclusive footage of their encounters with Shredder, but despite her intimate knowledge of the details of their lives, she tended to keep her professional news reports about them impersonal and mysterious. She was a vocal champion of their cause, despite Burne Thompson's opinion that the Turtles were a menace to the city, and most episodes generally showed her attempting to convince Burne and the New Yorkers that the Turtles were not criminals. By the episode "Doomquest," she finally succeeded in this by publicly exposing Lord Dregg's plans to take over the Earth via propaganda campaigns. April was frequently kidnapped by Shredder and used as bait in order to lure the Turtles out of hiding and destroy them.
April revealed her age in the Season 3 episode "Leather Head - Terror of The Swamp". In Florida on vacation, she and the Turtles found a body of water contaminated with a mutagen that made mutants feel youthful, while physically de-aging humans into four-year-old versions of themselves. Donatello did not allow April to enter the water, to which she lamented, "Oh, great! I'm doomed to be a decrepit twenty-eight-year-old hag!"
Her Aunt Agatha ("Aggie"), who appeared in the episodes "Case of the Hot Kimono" and "Sleuth on the Loose", was a detective.
April was normally portrayed as a capable and independent woman. Her most important contribution to the Turtles was her access to research via the Channel 6 computers; using this information she could alert the Turtles to trouble and possible case leads. Her blue news van had classic headlights and the Channel 6 News logo on each side. April could usually be found wearing a distinctive yellow jumpsuit with white boots. By the ninth season, April worked freelance for reasons never specified, and exchanged her yellow jumpsuit for a brown leather jacket. She continued to help the Turtles even after the defeat of Shredder and his subsequent exile to Dimension X.
April was voiced by Renae Jacobs. There was also a two-part OVA series in Japan, in which April was voiced by Emi Shinohara. In the 25th Anniversary crossover movie Turtles Forever, she was voiced by Rebecca Soler.
There was a very good character description of her, so I looked at that and I kind of built her based on me. I felt that she should be a very strong character with very good convictions, she should be a loyal friend; she should be serious about her work and she wanted to be taken seriously, not just looked at as another pretty face.
Her first day on set Stu Rosen made it clear he didn't approve of her for the role, and had waited to show her audition last, saying to her, "Every one I played, the producers said ‘No, no, no, that’s not April,’ and finally I was out of people to show them, so I pulled your audition out and played it for them and they said ‘That’s April!’"
Voiced by Veronica Taylor, April got a costume change for the new incarnation of the animated series produced by 4Kids Entertainment. However, her role was similar to that of the Mirage Studios character: again, she served as an assistant to Baxter Stockman until his Mouser experiments got out of control, and after the Turtles saved her she became a faithful friend, ally, and "big sister" to them. April made much more use of her scientific expertise and she often used her computer skills to aid the Turtles. She developed a closer relationship to Donatello, who shared many of her interests and had a crush on her. In Season 7 she sometimes helped Donatello to collect Splinter's data bits. April developed a modest knowledge of combat skills after training with Splinter. Her quick thinking was often instrumental to the Turtles' survival.
April was romantically attracted to Casey Jones, though their contrasting personalities often made them bicker. By the third season, the two seemed to have quite a serious romantic relationship. In the series finale's episode,"Wedding Bells and Bytes" she and Casey finally got married.
April O'Neil is voiced by Mae Whitman in the 2012 computer-animated series. The tomboyish daughter and only child of scientist Dr. Kirby O'Neil, April is sixteen years old; much younger than most other versions of the character who appeared as a young adult in her twenties. She likes to play video games and eat pizza. She is very gentle with animals, as shown in the episode "Monkey Brains." April lives with her aunt in the city and wants to be reunited with her father, who was captured by the Kraang. In "TCRI", it is revealed that the Kraang are after April as well. April befriends the Ninja Turtles after the Kraang kidnap her father, and Donatello develops a crush on her.
In "Monkey Brains," Splinter discerns that April has a natural spiritual sensitivity and offers to train her to be a kunoichi (a female ninja) so she may learn to harness her natural fighting abilities and defend herself. In "Baxter's Gambit", Splinter gives April a steel fan that was originally meant for his own daughter before the Shredder adopted her as this series' version of Karai. In "The Kraang Conspiracy", April's telepathic powers are revealed to be a by-product of her genetics: she is in fact a half-human/half-Kraang hybrid. In "The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman" it is revealed that she is immune to mutagen; due to her half-Kraang nature.
During the second season, April has a falling out with the Turtles after a scuffle with the Kraang results in the accidental mutation of her father. She begins to tutor Casey Jones in trigonometry so he can stay on the hockey team. Casey takes to April immediately and calls her "Red". After the pair is saved by the Turtles twice, April decides to forgive the turtles and repair her friendship with them, culminating in Donatello managing to perfect a small sample of retro-mutagen that is used to cure her father, Kirby, and return him to normal.
When the Kraang had mounted a massively full-scale invasion on New York City, resulting in the Turtles being forced to retreat after Leonardo is badly injured and Splinter is lost in a sewer, April takes the Turtles and Casey to her old family farmhouse to recuperate. During this time, which took four whole months, they had encountered a Kraang duplicate of April's long-lost mother that tried to gain her trust and love so that it could abduct her and take her to the Kraang. The Kraang-human hybrid was later overpowered by a terrified April's inherent and unusually strong psionic abilities. At one point, she capable of levitating several cards in midair telekinetically. Later, when the turtles' were trapped within their own nightmares, April had utilized her exceptional telepathic abilities to wake them up. Upon returning to New York, April had used her stronger telepathy to restore Splinter's human mind and memories of his former life as Hamato Yoshi.
After her father, Kirby, was saved from Dimension X and reverted to normal again, she happily hugged him. Later, she and her dad went to help the people of New York City recuperate from the Kraang's invasion by passing out warm soup. Before the Kraang were all transported back to their home world of Dimension X, April assisted in fixing up the turtles' dilapidated home in the Manhattan sewers.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 film)
In the first live-action TMNT film, April (played by Judith Hoag) was a television reporter working for Channel 3 news under Charles "Chuck" Pennington, doing an investigative series on mysterious thefts in New York City whose culprits vanished without a trace.
One night while leaving work, she was accosted by teenage thieves in league with the Foot Clan, but the Turtles appeared and saved her under the cover of darkness. In the aftermath April discovered and grabbed Raphael's lost sai; Raphael soon followed her to retrieve the weapon and saved her again when she was attacked by a group of Foot Ninja in the subway. During the attack April was knocked unconscious while trying to fight them off with her purse. Unsure what to do with her, Raphael carried her to the Turtles' sewer lair. Though afraid at first, she eventually came to regard the Turtles and Splinter as friends, even letting them stay in her apartment after the Foot Clan discovered and destroyed their sewer dwellings.
Mirroring the Mirage Studios storyline, April was fired from her news job and the Foot once again attacked the Turtles in the antique shop, prompting April, the Turtles, and Casey Jones to retreat to her family's farmhouse in Northampton, Massachusetts. She kept a journal documenting their forced sabbatical in addition to drawing sketches of the Turtles. She grew extremely close to the four brothers: Michelangelo, who initially confessed to having a crush on April, later addressed her as "Sis," indicating the role she had come to occupy in the Turtles' family. During their respite, April also developed a kind of love-hate relationship with Casey Jones. By the end of the film, she accepts her attraction to him and in the aftermath of Shredder's defeat as well as getting her job back (she had been fired earlier in the film), April asks Casey for a kiss.
TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells (1990)
April made a live-action appearance in the TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells musical tour. Her role was to incite the live audience to interact with the stage performers and encourage the Turtles when needed. She was played by Sherie Rene Scott.
In the second live-action movie April was played by Paige Turco. She provided the Turtles and Splinter with a place to stay after the destruction of their lair in the previous film, and helped them research the company responsible for the mutagen that transformed the Turtles into their present state.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
April was voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the 2007 CGI film. Following the continuity from the previous films, it appeared that she and Casey Jones were engaged in a genuinely close romance, living together in Casey's apartment, and working for a shipping firm. She found Leonardo in Central America at the start of the film while seeking an artifact for Max Winters. No mention was made of her past as a journalist; instead, she now appeared to be involved in archaeology.
April took up several forms of ninjitsu training from Splinter, purchasing a black-and-yellow jumpsuit of armor from Japan, and becoming quite skilled in the use of a katana. She demonstrated these astounding combative skills in a one-on-one fight with the far more experienced ninja Karai. A collectible booklet packed in with her action figure for the film implied that she had become a master of the katana. The figure itself included a katana, tonfa, and two shoulder armored pads; this outfit was replicated for the film.
In the film's alternate ending, Casey proposes marriage to April and she accepts. This scene is absent from the final cut of the movie but can be found on the DVD.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 film)
April appears in the reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox playing the role. During the film, it is revealed that not only was April's father involved in the creation of the turtles as his experiments created the mutagen that turned them into what they are now, but that the young April was responsible for the Turtles and Splinter escaping the destruction of the lab where they were created when she released them into the sewers after the lab was destroyed by her father to prevent Shredder and Eric Sacks getting access to the mutagen.
April has appeared in most of the TMNT video games, usually as the damsel in distress who has been captured by Shredder.
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, she kicks the story off with a brief report where Krang steals the Statue of Liberty and later appears in the game ending. She also appears onscreen in the SNES version to encourage the Turtles to fight when the player characters are idle. She also appears as a playable character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters for Sega Genesis, where her game character bears little resemblance to the 1987 cartoon likeness.
In Konami's series of TMNT games based on the 2003 animated series, April resembles her cartoon counterpart. Like in the 2003 show, she is no longer a mere damsel-in-distress but often shows up in various cutscenes to give advice and advance the plot of the game. In TMNT: Mutant Melee, April is once again a playable character and participates in multi-player battles. April is a playable character in Ubisoft's TMNT: Smash-Up.
In the TMNT toy lines produced by Playmates Toys, April O'Neil has appeared in several action figure incarnations.
An alternate version was released in 1990, with a head sculpt closer to her cartoon incarnation, orange boots, and further modification. Another variation was released in 1993 packaged exclusively with the Channel 6 Newsman vehicle. this April had the same sculpt of the '90 release although her jumpsuit is green and the boots yellow. At one stage, a 13" version was slated for production to accompany the other similar-sized figures, but was never produced.
Other notable April figures include the 1992 version, dubbed simply "April," with purple accents on her jumpsuit; "April, the Ravishing Reporter," which was the first such figure to feature rooted hair; "April, the Ninja Newscaster," who came with one of each of the Turtles' signature weapons; and "Mutatin' April," part of the Mutations assortment in which April could transform into a humanoid cat (inspired by the original series episode "The Cat Woman from Channel Six").
For the 2003 TV series, Playmates introduced two O'Neil figures; a standard sized April with bonus Mouser robots and a miniature April. There was also an April figure based on her appearance in the CGI TMNT movie, wearing her yellow ninja outfit.
- Eastman, Kevin and Peter Laird. IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #11. Jun 5, 2011, IDW.
- "TMNT Community Site - April O'Neil Biography". TMNT Community Site. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- "Chatting with April O’Neil – An Interview With Renae Jacobs". TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.com. April 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- King, Susan (1991-03-30). "Paige Turco Moves From a Soap to Become the Ninja Turtles' Friend". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Wilmington, Michael (1993-03-22). "No Spark in Samurai-Style 'Ninja Turtles'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
- Will Arnett Joining Megan Fox in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' (Exclusive)
- Allgame review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 22nd July 2006.