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We’ve seen a lot of April O’Neil, the plucky TV reporter and sidekick of the turtles, over  the years in all the live-action versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the announcement of Megan Fox as the newest one makes us rethink the character just a little. Sure, a woman who hangs out with giant turtle vigilantes has to be tough, but a babe? For those of us who grew up with the 1980s cartoons, April was one of the guys, so a woman like Megan Fox is hardly the first one who would come to mind.

The potential for turning the character into a sex symbol is more than a little unnerving, but it is also a sign of something else unnerving. Clearly this is something being made for adults who grew up on the old cartoons, not for the kids watching the cartoons now.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s being made for teenage boys, obviously. So what this means is yes, we can expect a Transformers version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Michael Bay.

But as far as Megan Fox in the role specifically, the credibility issue is always an important one here, as those of us who remember Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in The World Is Not Enough can tell you.  Okay, Megan Fox can kick butt well enough, but is she an investigative reporter?

The truth is, well-intentioned as she was, April could tend to be a bit of an old-school “ditzy girl reporter” as opposed to a serious journalist.  I mean, we’re talking about a woman who chased human-sized talking turtles into the sewer and then hanging out with them.  This is not Katie Couric here. So yeah, Fox is definitely credible in the role as it seems likely to take shape.

There’s also the question of casting a big-name star in a role that, while important, isn’t necessarily the lead. Does this mean a more April-centered movie? While the 1990 movie did start out from her perspective, it moved on pretty quickly. Do we really want more April and less Splinter, or less of the actual turtles?

Obviously, the answer to that is no.  We can only hope that, if nothing else, we’ll see more stunt casting in other important roles.  (Ken Watanabe from Inception as Shredder, anyone?)  But back to Megan Fox.  It could be nice to see April played up as an action hero, or at least an action sidekick, in her own right.  After all, there were even points in the comics where April trained with the Turtles.  So, again, for that, they got the right person.

The other thing, of course, is that April’s supposed to be likeable.  Tough she can do, but being the endearing, sympathetic audience stand-in is pretty different from the other parts Megan Fox has done.  So, can the leading lady from Jonah Hex pull this off? If your response to that is “leading lady from what now?”, well, that’s really my point.  On the other hand, maybe this is what Fox needs to recover from the likes of Jonah Hex.  Hey, if Josh Brolin can move on from that stinker, so can she.

So maybe the Transformers comparison is a little unfair.  After all, The Avengers was also an action franchise aimed at teenagers and teens-at-heart, and that one worked out reasonably well.  Which makes me think: if Scarlett Johanssen were to play April, that would be awesome.  She would at least be closer to being a redhead, which April has always been. So there’s definitely hope for this movie.  I’ll feel better once we see more casting news, though.  Bets on Splinter?