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Voice Acting

‘Powerpuff Girl’ Actress On Being Shut Out of Reboot: “A Stab in the Heart”

Yesterday Cartoon Network revealed new details about its Powerpuff Girls reboot that will debut in 2016.

In addition to unveiling a look at the updated character designs, which closely resemble the originals minus the thick outlines, the network also announced the voices of the Powerpuff Girls:

(Click to enlarge.)

Amanda Leighton?

Kristen Li?

Natalie Palamides?

If those names don’t sound familiar, it’s because Cartoon Network decided to recast all of the female leads. While Tom Kenny was able to keep his role as the Narrator/Mayor, the original voices of the Powerpuff Girls — Cathy Cavadini as Blossom, Tara Strong as Bubbles, and Elizabeth Daily as Buttercup — were discarded. The actresses were voicing the superhero trio as recently as last year when they performed in the Powerpuff Girls special Dance Pantsed.

Cartoon Network hasn’t provided a reason for why it replaced all three of the actresses, but the original cast was never contacted, according to Strong, who tweeted extensively about her disappointment and compared it to “a stab in the heart”:

Cavadini also expressed her hurt on Twitter:

As did Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily:

The decision to recast the actresses didn’t sit well with the show’s creator Craig McCracken who tweeted a quote from the show’s opening titles in support of his original casting choices:

Recasting all of the main voices of an animation franchise, while not unprecedented, is surprising for a series as well known as The Powerpuff Girls that ran for six seasons. Historically, when a voice actor establishes an iconic character in animation, they voice the character until they are either a.) dead, b.) unable to perform the character, or c.) no longer wish to perform it.

In fact, it’s considered one of the perks of being a voice actor, unlike screen actors whose physical aging may prevent them from performing a role over decades. Voice actors, on the other hand, are timeless. Take, for example, June Foray, who is 97 years old and still recognized as the official voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, a role that she originated over 55 years ago.

The new Powerpuff series’ executive and co-executive producers, Nick Jennings (Adventure Time) and Bob Boyle (Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!) respectively, have yet to explain to fans why they felt the original voices were expendable.

Cartoon Brew has reached out to the network, who has not responded as of press time. This piece will be updated if they provide a comment.

  • Like Tara, I have nothing against the new actresses. In fact, I hope they do good and I even found the new VAs twitters and warned them about the crap they might get. But I do feel for the original VAs and the show won’t be the same without them. I hope Cartoon Network responds to Cartoon Brew. I really want to know why they would do this.

    • jhalpernkitcat

      Yeah, my vendetta is more about Cartoon Network appointing new voice actresses, and not the voice actresses themselves. Strong was especially my favorite of the trio voicing the adorable Bubbles, and she will be greatly missed in this reboot, not to mention E.G. Daily’s feisty Buttercup and Catherine Cavadini’s smart and polite Blossom.

  • I know others are focusing on the voice actors not being recasted for the main roles of the Powerpuff Girls, and I fully understand that. They are those characters, hands down, and I agree with Craig.

    My main reason for not supporting this reboot was the look of the PPG. They look very lifeless and stiff for their new designs thanks to the clean up animation. What made the original PPG so full of life was the direction of making the outer lines thicker, with the details on the inside thinner. Just like if it was a comic strip.

    It made the characters stand out more, and it really made them believable as characters. Seeing the consistent and same line width of the characters for the reboot bothers me greatly, and doesn’t interest me one bit. That’s not to fully blame the fact that it is digital, as McCracken’s PPG did go digital, and it still felt fresh and amazing.

    I didn’t feel Cartoon Network delivered with the PPG special they did last time, and they certainly are not off to a great start with this reboot. Seriously, they need better imagination, they can do better than retrying ideas…lastly, why not give us the original PPG in the main line up? I’d rather see that! *drops mic*

    • I think that new designs are much better than old.
      I HATE thick lines, they make characters look like damn paper cut dolls!

  • Jose

    There goes my support for the show. I rather prefer the originals.

  • Felipe

    Seems like they just wanted young people doing the role.

  • Googamp32

    I know this may seem heartless, if not blasphemous to say, but I’m okay with getting new voices. It would be nice to have some fresh talent inject new life into the rebooted series.

    • Mordana

      You will make a fine network executive some day.

  • Princess Morbucks

    I think this reason is pretty obvious: money.

  • vincenzosz

    That one image answers all questions. The new powerpuff girls show will be targeted to tween and young teen girls, and the modern obsession with using the voice actor to help sell the series is also at work here. They have no star power, but note the new actresses are young and in the eyes of an executive “relate-able” to their young audience. Why else would they show the voice actors. Even the voice actors are hitting multiple demographics, the pretty one, the brainy one, and the ethnic one. Its sad, and transparent, but true.

    Imagine if they were to do the equivalent with the original voice cast?… especially considering all the three women are quite attractive. It would attract a whole ‘nother demographic. ….then again, I know a LOT of young guys who like Powerpuff girls, so really they would probably be appealing to the demographic they are currently ignoring for this reboot.

    • Deejay

      I agree with Vince. This isn’t about the classic tradition of one voice-one character like Mel Blanc. This is about marketing and the financial bonanza that’s going to come from merchendising the PPG to the tween girl demographic which is sorely lacking as of late.
      My heart goes out to Tara, Cathy and Elizabeth, but this is sadly how the new animation world works.

      • iSpied

        >… marketing and the financial bonanza that’s going to come from merchendising the PPG to the tween girl demographic which is sorely lacking as of late.

        I hope you’re talking about the PPG specifically, because if you somehow think tween girls aren’t being heavily marketed to around the world, (I’d go so far as to suggest they’re the number 1 target demo in nearly all cultures) you really have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • MATHM

      I agree. Cartoon Network also has youtube behind-the-scenes interviews to think about. It helps that there are kids involved.

    • astral-plane

      I’m happy that their will be new kids discovering the show, but I think they are making a mistake by isolating the original audience.

  • grainy

    Unsavory news… starting off on the wrong foot by stepping on toes.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    I was a fan of the show. Enjoyed it with my daughter when she was little.
    Although I am certain the women were fine actors I might understand why they may want to go with actual girls playing girls. Broadcast animation especially is ALL about marketing and merchandising. the shows are the commercials. They want to tie-in the relateable-to-their-demographic- actresses to the merchandising. The girls are the brand, hence no Dr. Utonium perfume or Mayor bobby pins.

    • Mike Alkire

      ” I might understand why they may want to go with actual girls playing girls”

      Fun Fact: Disney’s The Lion King was a very well received film, but it probably would have gone over even better if, instead of being voiced by human beings, they had brought in actual lions to recite the dialogue. No substitute for complete accuracy, after all. Especially when the actual faces and visual likeness of the actors are so integral to their work behind the microphone.

      ……….but no.. seriously what?

  • barney miller

    Surprised that everyone is discussing that the voices were recast and not the fact that the creator of the show, Craig McCracken, isn’t involved.

    That’s the story I want to hear.

    • He’s currently at Disney on his current show Wander Over Yonder. I am sure he’s not able to work for both networks at the same time for two different shows as a creator. Also, he left Cartoon Network on his own accord.

      • Callum

        Yeah, Craig is on a contract with Disney. So he couldn’t work on it even if he wanted to.

  • John

    I think it’s terrible that they did that, the actresses are not that old and they can still do the voices fine, I feel so bad for them, their voices were a big part of what made all three of them so endearing, I’m pretty sure once this comes on I’ll skip it, it probably won’t be as violent or filled with innuendo like the original show.

  • Karl Smith

    I’m surprised the original voice actors and even the creator himself Craig McCracken reacted to the new voice actor reveal. It’s really sad that Cartoon Network didn’t bother inviting in the original cast to voice the girls in the reboot.

    I’m not sure how it will turn out without the original creator and the original voice cast involved. But wait, Tom Kenny is coming back as the Mayor/Narrator so why can’t the three original female actresses return. It’s CN afterall, they do not care about their fans regardless. And this my friends is how you take a very popular Cartoon Network classic and destroy it by taking away the charm and cuteness.

    Cartoon Network are making a big mistake for not using the original actors and it’s going to suck. Just watch.

    • starss

      He’s Tom Kenny. He has become the “celebrity voice actor”. He has twice replaced characters who were previously voiced by veterans who can still voice them just fine and are able to work! He has starred in Hollywood movies in leads roles. He now has casting immunity and is not bogged down by the usual voice actor stigma.

  • Jordan Oliver

    Eh, it’s a reboot; it’s fine to try something new with the performances. I’ll give it a watch too see how it is.

  • Harrison

    I can understand why they would get new actresses to voice them, but this doesn’t make these changes much easier to accept. Poor Tara, Bubbles was one of her most favorite roles.

  • What I find interesting is that Tara Strong knew about the recasting and responded about it MONTHS ago on Twitter:


    Why is she responding to it now as if it’s something she just found out about?

    • Fried

      Because her and everyone else who responded to the case going “That’s upsetting, original voices forever! But no offense to the new girls” are shockingly unprofessional people despite being in the industry for many years.

      Honestly, I find what they and Craig + Lauren tweeted more unprofessional than anything CN did.

  • Michel Van

    First CN drop the original voices and cast young nobodies
    Next CN reveal the Animation, what gonna be CGI Flash animation
    Then making additional changes like giving ms Bellum a Face ?
    and claimed it’s Non plus ultra and enrage fans even more…

    Why do i have this qualm that PPG 2016 end up like PPG Z
    That Anime version aimed for tween and young teen girls
    what was shut down after 52 episodes…

    • starss

      We don’t know yet how the animation is going to move. We only have 1 drawing of the characters’ still heads.

      And BTW, only 52?! 52 is perfect for a show. Animated shows would be LUCKY to have 52 episodes!! I worked on an animated show that had 52 episodes and we never complained!

  • I don’t really care if they casted new voices for the powerpuff girls even it was one of the bigest shows from my childhood. What I do care about, and makes me even a little mad is that they casted new voices without even asking the original voice actresses if they would want to reprise it. I mean espacially Tara Strong in this case, she is just such a dedicated voice actress, i love her in everything she does.
    She voiced some of the best cartoons ever, Timmy from Fairly Odd Parents, Angel from Lilo and Stitch, Plum from Bravest Warriors, Ben from Ben10, Truffles from Chowder, …

  • Mike Alkire

    “I might watch it out of curiosity to give it a chance. I tried to do
    that with the Sailor Moon anime reboot, but gave up on it pretty

    Ironic, considering the situation is reversed with that. The original Sailor Moon anime had absolutely no involvement from the original Manga author and is common knowledge that she rather disliked it, due to it following VERY LITTLE of her comic story. Sailor Moon Crystal, on the other hand was done with her full support as well as was an intention to more faithfully adapt the original manga with designs closer to the creators original designs as well, of which she signed on for.

    Until Sailor Moon Crystal was quickly and openly mocked for it’s cheap animation and plethora of horribly off model drawings, and amateurish errors and mistakes. Although if one is going to use the reasoning that Sailor Moon Crystal failed due to lack of creator input or because it “changed from the original”, then don’t. Because that’s not even close to being the case or the right reason.

    • DinosaurPrince

      You are stawmaning this person. They never said, or implied any of that.

  • Mike Alkire

    So, you’re basing your opinion on how well the drawings are going to be able to move without seeing how well the drawings are actually going to be able to move.

    Please tell me you have a better reason or some more coherent logic to back up your disdain than THIS. Because your statement literally makes ZERO sense right now.

  • Jestersmiles
    • Hey! Don’t you dare to insult CN, which gave me a show that made me cry – Steven Universe!

  • J.S

    I’m pretty sure they will also ask Seth Rogen to voice Mojo Mojo.

    • starss

      It’s confirmed that his original voice actor is returning.

  • mick

    I read it too quick, did they say that? That’s awful. I hope all their knitwear goes bobbly

  • mick

    I know of some people whose voices sound good and are really close to the originals. In fact, as luck has it, they’re using the original vocal chords.

    ‘Oh maaaaaan I love that bread, it tastes great’
    ‘You want this loaf?
    ‘yes, give me the one next to it’
    ‘but it’s different’
    ‘yeah but it’s really close’

  • WN

    I am guessing its got nothing to do with anything but money. Why pay seasoned voice actors when you can get younger ones that are likely cheaper, no?

  • Guest

    Something seems vaguely sexist about this decision. The male VA keeps his roles, but all the main female characters are recast?

    • astral-plane

      I agree. That was the first thing I noticed. I knew in live action younger actresses are often favored over older women, but it’s sad that this is happening in voice acting as well. Male actors are valued for their experience (which we are always gaining) while female actresses are valued for their youth (which we are constantly losing).

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Back in the Golden Age of animation, the film itself was what they were selling to put bums in the seat. The demographic, if they even thought in those terms, was general. Blanc specifically was a well known star infront of the camera and radio too. While there was spin off merchandise like Mickey Mouse Watches and trains, that residual went back into the films. Today the film or show exists to sell the merchandise. It is the tail that wags the dog and informs EVERY decision a studio makes today.

  • Tre

    So if you love your job then one day walk in to find that someone younger and more importantly cheaper is doing it for you without you being informed or given the chance to keep said job, wouldn’t you be pretty pissed at first too?

    • cookiedough

      You missed the “as completely not out of work and reputable voice actresses”. I can understand them being upset initially, but seriously, they’re not hurting for work. Give these young girls a chance at a career.

      • Kyle_Maloney

        So give the a chance on an original show, or new characters on a revival.

    • Fried

      It’s more like, if you loved a job you had 20 years ago then you find out someone younger has taken your place when the job opened up.

      Nobody stole anyone’s existing job, they haven’t been PPG for a long, long time (Aside from two specials since the series has ended).

  • Felix Sputnik

    CN do like to keep their workforce unsettled.
    While working for them in London I would return from lunch about once a month to find all my stuff moved to a different desk on the other side of the office. That would happen to everyone in the creative team.
    Seems to be company policy…
    It’s new that they move you out of the room though…

  • Tre

    The way I look at it, they could have looked worse. Powerpuff Girls Z, anyone?

  • starss

    There were people who thought the design of the ORIGINAL show looked stiff. Then the show aired, and it was highly successful!

  • Thannia Blanchet

    Voices are very important. I can’t stand the newest Fairly Oddparents episodes in latin american spanish because they changed Cosmo’s voice, for example. People didn’t like the latest Dragon Ball Z version because it had different voices, it just feels odd.

    • Well, i loved original japanese dub of DBZ, because Mr. Satan is voiced by same voice actor as Joseph Jostar from recent Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

  • Paul Jones

    If they wanted to save money, why didn’t they just outsource the voice work to Vancouver? That way, we’d end up with three NEW ingredients: the women who voice Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

  • cartoonguy

    On the one hand, this stinks for the original voice actresses. On the other hand, how many times have the Ninja Turtles been recast, without the originals being considered? In that case, I think Rob Paulsen asked Barry Gordon for his okay before taking over Donatello. And Kevin Conroy was not involved in Batman: The Brave and The Bold (beyond a single episode) This kind of stuff happens when dealing with shows based on intellectual property owned by a corporation, which is what the Powerpuff Girls are. It’s 100% a business decision, nothing less or more.

  • Jon Chirst


  • Remember when Cartoon Network attempted to replace the voice actresses with more popular ones back in 2002 during the production of the PPG movie? Huh…

  • Banana Splits

    It’s not surprising. Cartoon Network is a terrible network for doing JUST THIS type of thing to many of their shows. Take Totally Spies for example, the show saw widespread success internationally. CN adopted it in 2003 during its second season and once it became so successful they decided to cheapen it by losing a few original voice actors and replacing with Canadian actors. The storylines became less fluid and lackluster as a result. However, something was done right because the series lasted 6 seasons with a movie — no doubt this was due to international success.

    Hopefully, CN sees the errors of their ways and reunites the original cast.

  • Steven Bowser

    I’m glad that they were supportive of these new actresses, because how can you not be. We wish the best for them. But it seems like what made them so upset was that the network didn’t even say “hey, we love you and respect your work, but we have a different plan.”

  • This is a Reboot, an alternate universe, not a continuation!
    That’s why it has different voice actors!
    Also, i’ve watched PPG in Russian dub, and i prefer our, native voices.
    And we Russians never freak out from a change of voices! Like, we had a 90’s Spiderman the animated series dub, and first seasons it was a complete dub, but for next ones we got a background voice acting. But nobody cared, as we still loved the show.