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.