Sugar, spice, and everything… betrayal. That’s the news circling around Cartoon Network’s reboot of The Powerpuff Girls today, with prolific voice actor Tara Strong tweeting that the recasting of the title characters feels like “a stab in the heart.”
Strong and her stabbed heart (which is presumably huge, pink, and hypnotically pulsating) played the adorably blue-clad Bubbles on the original show, alongside Cathy Cavadini’s Blossom (“the commander and the leader,”) and E.G. Daily’s Buttercup (“the strongest fighter”). The trio portrayed the girls across 78 episodes of monkey-smashing, Emmy-winning, brightly colored action, as well as a theatrical release and two half-hour specials released in 2009 and 2014. But no more; Cartoon Network issued a press release on Monday announcing that Amanda Leighton, Kristen Li, and Natalie Palamides have taken on the roles, playing Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, respectively.
Strong made it clear that she felt no city-smashing rage toward the new cast, only sadness that she and her co-workers had not been asked to return for their iconic roles:
Part of Strong’s sense of betrayal might stem from the fact that, besides the change in voice talent, not much about the new show seems all that different or new. The radically different CGI art style that graced 2014’s Dance Pantsed special has been dropped in favor of one that’s almost identical to the original show, and voice actors Tom Kenny (the narrator/Mayor), Roger L. Jackson (Mojo Jojo) and Jennifer Hale (Ms. Keen) are expected to return (at least, according to an interview Kenny gave back in May.)
In fact, the only other notable absence in the new show’s lineup is creator Craig McCracken, who’s currently working for Disney on his show Wander Over Yonder. And while Kenny suggested in his interview that the new program had McCracken’s blessing, Strong stated on Twitter that The Powerpuff Girls wouldn’t and couldn’t be the same without him (although it’s worth noting that McCracken was also absent from Dance Pantsed, in which she appeared):
Taking McCracken’s place on the creative side of things are two Cartoon Network veterans, Nick Jennings and Bob Boyle. Boyle created Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! for the network, and also produced several seasons of Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents, on which Strong is a star. (To be fair, it’s borderline impossible to work in animation for any length of time without encountering Tara Strong and one of her 400-plus credits). Jennings, meanwhile, has served as art director on shows like Adventure Time and SpongeBob SquarePants, and will be acting as executive producer on the new show.
The new Powerpuff Girls is set to debut in 2016, teaching new lessons about friendship, betrayal, and the purifying power of gleeful violence to children everywhere. Here’s a closer look at the show’s “new-but-also-kind-of-old” animation style, with an image from the original series below for comparison.