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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|
|Notable aliases||Miss O'Neil|
April O'Neil is a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and all related media. In many 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 shortly after portrayed as a warrior in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic produced by Archie Comics, and afterwards had various personas in different TMNT media.
O'Neil was first represented on film in the 1987 TMNT animated series as a strong-willed reporter voiced by Renae Jacobs. She has since been played by actresses such as Judith Hoag, Paige Turco and Megan Fox.
Mirage Comics storyline
In the original Mirage Comics storyline for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, April O'Neil (who originally sported a jumpsuit) was a skilled computer programmer and assistant to villainous scientist Baxter Stockman. She helped program his Mouser robots, but after discovering Baxter was using them to burrow into bank vaults and steal, she fled his workshop. Robots chased her into the sewer, and she is promptly saved by three of the Turtles. The Turtles later successfully fended off a Mouser invasion after Baxter programmed the Mousers to attack them.
After leaving her job with Baxter, O'Neil decided to open an antique shop. The shop came under attack by The Shredder and the Foot Clan (who had come for the Turtles), and was destroyed in the ensuing battle. She and the Turtles retreated to a farm house in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she later had dreams about the Foot Clan's attack.
During the mid-90s, O'Neil became romantically involved with violent vigilante Casey Jones, and the two of them eventually adopted a child named Shadow.
- Injection crisis
In Volume 2 of the TMNT comics, O'Neil was attacked and injected by a huge robot controlled by the brain of her former boss. The attack was motivated by revenge for Oneil's escape from capture; shortly thereafter, he placed his brain in the body of a robot, and sought out the Turtles to enact revenge upon O'Neil.
It wasn't revealed until Volume 4 that, during the attack, O'Neil was injected by nanobots. The nanobots seemed to sterilize her and nearly kill her from the inside. With the help of the Utroms, the Turtles injected O'Neil with turtle versions of nanobots to stop Baxter's versions. The intervention saved O'Neil before Baxter's nanobots could reach her brainstem. Despite this, O'Neil remained sterile.
The attack put an emotional strain on O'Neil. 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 Timestress who took O'Neil back through time, it was revealed that O'Neil was really a living drawing brought to life with the help of Kirby's crystal, drawn by her father, who at the time really wanted a daughter. This was before their own biological daughter Robyn O'Neil would be born. Unlike Kirby's drawings, drawn with pencil that would vanish after a while, O'Neil's father used a pen, so it might explain why O'Neil lived past thirty without vanishing so far. Questions of realness and morality were too much. O'Neil bid farewell to Shadow and Casey and traveled to Alaska to be alone with her thoughts. Although the trip helped O'Neil cope with her demons, her eventual return to New York and her family history would go unexplored.
Fan reaction to O'Neil's origin was mixed, as many believed her normality served as a good contrast to the fantastic nature of the Turtles. To-date, no other incarnation of O'Neil has shared her origin.[when?]
- Hair color
The Mirage Studios version of O'Neil has dark brown/black hair (though early color reprints of Volume 1 depicted her hair color as red/light brown). Most future incarnations of O'Neil that came afterwards are redheads.
Archie Comics version
O'Neil also appeared in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic produced by Archie Comics, which began as re-tellings of cartoon episodes but were eventually spun off into original stories. In this series, she began as a carbon copy of her animated counterpart, but the writers developed her into a competent warrior after training with Splinter. Years earlier in the September, 1985 re-printing of issue one, Mirage Studios artist Ryan Brown depicts O'Neil as a katana wielding ninja warrior in his back cover pin-up. Because of her frequent adventures with the Turtles, she lost her job at Channel 6 and became a freelance reporter. Archie also published 2 sets of 3-part April O'Neil mini-series. In the Winter 1994 Archie Special, O'Neil was mutated into a turtle herself. This made O'Neil become the first official female turtle introduced to the series, three years before Venus de Milo's debut.
Dreamwave Productions 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 interest in journalism, an obvious homage to the 1987 cartoon.
- Character background
In the 1987 TMNT animated series, April O'Neil was a television reporter for Channel 6 News. She was employed by Burne Thompson and frequently expressed disagreement with his assignments due to her headstrong nature and passion for her work. She also fell out repeatedly with Vernon Fenwick, the director/camera operator whose enormous ego compelled him to scoop O'Neil on her stories whenever possible. O'Neil was best friends with Irma, the receptionist at Channel 6. Her Channel 6 News Van was a blue van that had classic headlights and the Channel 6 News logo on each side. O'Neil could usually be found wearing a distinctive yellow jumpsuit with white boots. 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 indirect Turtle-related mishaps.
- Meeting the turtles
In the 1987 series, O'Neil was reporting a series of thefts of high-tech scientific equipment, apparently by a ninja, 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 for her. 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 provide her with the true culprits if she provided her assistance and didn't tell people about them. O'Neil quickly became the Turtles' major link to the outside world, since their unusual appearance effectively precluded them from functioning above ground without some sort of disguise.
O'Neil'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 the opinion of Burne Thompson 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 are not the criminals he is convinced they are; by the episode "Doomquest," she finally succeeds by exposing Lord Dregg's propaganda campaign and plans to take over the Earth to the public. O'Neil was frequently kidnapped by Shredder, quite often as bait in order to lure the Turtles out of hiding in order to unleash his latest attempt at destruction upon them.
O'Neil revealed her age in the Season 3 episode, "Leather Head - Terror of The Swamp". While in Florida for vacation, the Turtles meet with her, and join forces with the Punk Frogs. They find a body of water contaminated with mutagen, which makes mutants feel youthful, while physically de-aging humans into 4 year old versions of themselves. Donatello does not allow O'Neil to enter the water, to which O'Neil laments, "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"), is a detective.
O'Neil was normally portrayed as a capable independent woman. Her most important contribution to the Turtles was her experience in doing research on the Channel 6 computers and alerting the Turtles to trouble and possible case leads. Following the destruction of the Channel 6 building in the eighth season O'Neil continued to work for Channel 6, but by the ninth season, O'Neil worked freelance for reasons never specified. During these three seasons, she 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.
O'Neil was voiced by Renae Jacobs. There was also a two-part OVA series in Japan, in which O'Neil was voiced by Emi Shinohara. In the 25th Anniversary crossover movie, Turtles Forever, she was voiced by Rebecca Soler.
Jacobs tried for the role in Los Angeles in 1986 and directed through the audition by Stu Rosen. She developed her initial personification of O'Neil while preparing from the audition, having not read the comics."
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 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!’"
O'Neil got a costume change for the new incarnation of the animated series produced by 4Kids Entertainment, but 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. O'Neil makes much more use of her scientific expertise and she often uses her computer skills to aid the Turtles. This has also meant that she has developed a closer relationship to Donatello, who shares many of her interests.
In TMNT: Back to the Sewer she sometimes helps Don in collecting Splinter's data bits. O'Neil is also shown to have an attraction to Casey Jones, though their contrasting personalities often make them bicker. By the third season, the two are shown to be dating and seem to have a serious relationship. In "wedding bells and bytes" she and Jones get married. O'Neil also has developed a modest knowledge of combat skills after training with Splinter. She is also a strong boxer. Her quick thinking is often a key to the Turtles' survival. In the series TMNT: Back to the Sewers, her look is slightly changed to resemble the 2007 movie. She is voiced by Veronica Taylor.
April O'Neil is voiced by Mae Whitman in this series. The tomboyish daughter and only child of scientist, Dr. Kirby O'Neil. O'Neil is 16-years-old, one-year-older than the Turtles, but younger than in most versions, she likes to play video games and eat pizza. She lives with her aunt in the city., and wants to be re-united with her father. She is very gentle with animals as shown in episode "Monkey Brains." In "TCRI" it is revealed that the Kraang are after her.
In this series, O'Neil befriends the Ninja Turtles after the Kraang kidnapped her father. Donatello also has a crush on her. In "Monkey Brains," Splinter discerns that O'Neil naturally has a special spiritual sensitivity and offers to train her to be a kunoichi, (a female ninja), so that she may learn to harness this spiritual sensitivity and be able to look after herself if she gets into trouble. In "Baxter's Gambit", Splinter was trying to find a weapon for April, which resulted in her getting a steel fan that Splinter was originally going to give his daughter before the Shredder killed her.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 film)
In the first TMNT motion picture, O'Neil (played by Judith Hoag) was a television reporter (though she worked for Channel 3 news in this case) working for Charles "Chuck" Pennington, and did a series of stories on mysterious thefts in New York City whose culprits vanished without a trace.
One night when leaving work, she was accosted by teenage thieves in league with the Foot Clan, but the Turtles appeared and saved her by knocking out and tying up the teens under the cover of darkness. In the aftermath O'Neil discovered and grabbed Raphael's lost sai, but Raphael soon followed her and took back the weapon and saved her again when she was attacked by a group of Foot Ninja in the Subway and punched unconscious while trying to fight them off with her purse. Unsure what to do with her, he carried her unconscious to their sewer lair. Though her fearful reaction upon seeing the Turtles and Splinter initially got the better of her, she eventually came to regard the Turtles as friends, and even allowed them to live in her apartment after the Foot Clan discovered and destroyed their sewer dwellings. Pennington fired O'Neil for a while. Also, Casey Jones develops a romantic interest in her but at first she did not feel the same for him. By the end of the film, she realizes she loves him and then kisses him.
Mirroring the Mirage Studios storyline, the Foot once again attacked the Turtles in the antique shop, prompting O'Neil, the Turtles (including a wounded Raphael), 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. During their respite, O'Neil also developed a kind of love-hate relationship with Casey Jones. She grew extremely close to the four brothers as well; Michaelangelo, who initially confessed to having a crush on O'Neil, later addressed her as "Sis," indicating the role she had come to occupy in the Turtles' family.
TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells (1990)
O'Neil also made a live-action appearance in the TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells musical tour, during which 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.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (1991)
In the second movie O'Neil 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, subsequently helping them research the company that created the ooze that transformed the Turtles into their present state.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
O'Neil appears in the 2007 CGI film voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar; following the continuity from the previous films, it appears that she and Casey Jones are living and working together in a shipping firm, engaged in a relationship. It is she who finds Leonardo in Central America at the start of the film, having been in the area seeking an artifact for Max Winters. No mention is made of her past as a journalist, but it is instead implied that she has taken up archaeology as a career.
She has taken up martial arts training from Splinter, purchasing a suit and armor from Japan and becoming skilled in the use of katana, apparently leaving behind her past as a 'damsel in distress'. This is demonstrated as O'Neil and Karai fight it out while Casey, Splinter and the turtles battle the Foot in order to save Leonardo. This appears to be corroborated in a collectible booklet packed in with her action figure for the film, which implies that she has become a master of the katana. The figure itself includes a katana, tonfa, and two shoulder armor pads; this outfit would be replicated for the film. It is also noted that in the beginning of the film, she wears something similar to Lara Croft's normal outfit.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 film)
O'Neil has appeared in most of the TMNT video games, usually as the damsel in distress who has been captured by the Shredder.
In TMNT IV: Turtles in Time for SNES, she kicks the story off with a brief report where Krang steals the Statue of Liberty and 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 no resemblance to the 1987 cartoon likeness.
In Konami's series of TMNT games based on the 2003 animated series, O'Neil resembles her cartoon counterpart. Like in the new 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, O'Neil is once again a playable character and participates in multi-player battles. O'Neil 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 O'Neil 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 O'Neil 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 O'Neil could transform into a humanoid cat (inspired by the original series episode "The Cat Woman from Channel Six").
For the new[when?] TV series, Playmates introduced two O'Neil figures; a standard sized O'Neil with bonus Mouser robots and a miniature O'Neil. There was also an O'Neil figure based on her appearance in the CGI TMNT movie, wearing her yellow ninja outfit.
- Will Arnett Joining Megan Fox in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' (Exclusive)
- "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.
- O'Neil's official profile
- 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.
- Allgame review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. URL retrieved 22nd July 2006.