Leonardo is a red-eared slider turtle who was mutated to become part human. He is one of the main protagonists of the 2018 TV series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Typically wielding twin katana, he spent most of the series using a single, magic ōdachi with the ability to create portals.
While rebellious, Leonardo is the most charismatic and cunning of the Mad Dogs, to the point he's referred to as the "Face" of the team. However, he does not become the official leader until the end of the second season ("Rise"), a deviation which was a deliberate attempt by the writers to explore Leonardo's character.
Leonardo is a lean mutant red-eared turtle with lime green skin, a golden mustard-yellow plastron, and a blue-green carapace with a bright teal design. He has black eyes, red markings over his eyes and the sides of his face, yellow marks on his upper arms and thighs, three fingers on each hand and two toes on each foot.
Leo wears a blue face mask over his eyes (with long tails down to his middle back), navy blue fingerless gloves (with blue trim) that extend nearly to his elbows and matching toeless socks that rise to his mid-calf. He also wears a blue belt and strap over his right shoulder, with blue pouches on the belt and a Turtle emblem on the strap.
Leonardo is the wise guy. He’s charming and clever, and possesses a lighthearted quality that he often uses against potential enemies even as he fights them. He is prone to making jokes, sometimes at inappropriate times, and uttering one-liners which he believes they "fire up the team". While undoubtedly skilled, the turtles are sometimes annoyed at his lack of humility, making him difficult to play games with ("Lair Games")
Despite his carefree tendencies, Leonardo is capable of being both sensible and serious when the occasion demands it. When he does, as in the events of "Origami Tsunami", he uses both his charisma and his intelligence to sway his brothers into listening to him. He also knows when to step up and take charge. However, it is implied in that he may not be as confident as he appears outwardly. Such is in the episode "Minotaur Maze", where Leo doubts his mystic ability and fears that he's incapable of harnessing it properly, and also in "Portal Jacked!", where Leo's insecurities in his ability and losing his brothers are expressed. Leo is also shown to care of his brothers (and to some extent with Donnie).
Leo has been shown to be more rational and skeptical, denying the existence of things like ghosts and searching for a logical answer. He also seems to be the least naive out of his brothers, as they trusted Big Mama almost instantly, though Leonardo had his doubts on her background. Leonardo also seems to be the most exasperated by Raphael's antics, and lack of actual leadership skills. He can also be sympathetic towards other characters such as Bullhop.
Leo is known to be a compulsive liar as seen in "Flushed but Never Forgotten". He doesn't like being in trouble so he made his brothers promise not to tell Splinter about Piebald. Even willing to hurt Mikey if he tries to tell the truth to Splinter. Despite that, Leo is willing to sacrificed himself to save his family from Piebald.
Leonardo also demonstrates a talent in analytical thinking, letting his brothers and April deal with Shredder, while he and Splinter bargained with Big Mama. He cleverly planned ahead to defeat several powerful mutants, having fully expected Big Mama to double cross him in some way, surprising even Splinter himself in Many Unhappy Returns.
Like his brothers, Leonardo began his life as a baby turtle in Baron Draxum's laboratory. Wishing to make mutant soldiers, the Baron used Lou Jitsu's DNA to mutate Leonardo into an anthropomorphic Turtle. He was taken from the lab by Lou Jitsu, along with his brothers.
A red-eared slider turtle, Leonardo is quick-witted and intelligent. He uses his sharp skills to beat opponents and find shortcuts around obstacles. And he always knows the perfect time to land one of his many one-liners!
- Kenjutsu: Leonardo is a highly skilled martial artist and master swordsman. Leonardo was trained by Splinter in Japanese sword fighting. In the beginning of the seires, Leo wielded his traditional twin katana in battle, but they were broke in his first fight against Baron Draxum's Guardsmen. His skills later translated into the use of his newly acquired mystic ōdachi. He makes use of his ōdachi for skilled offense and defense, allowing him to slice through sturdy material, and enabling him to fight against powerful figures such as the Guardsmen, the Foot Brute, and Baron Draxum.
- Ninjutsu: Being raised by Splinter, Leonardo, like the rest of his brother, is skilled in the ways of ninjutsu.
- Stealth: As a practitioner of ninjutsu, Leonardo can slip and out of areas undetected.
- Ninja Mind Meld: Leo can sync with his brothers, sharing plans in seconds.
- Ninpo: By accessing the Hamato Family energy, Leonardo can unleash his mystic might.
- Weapon Creation: Using his ninpo, Leo can use random objects to create his own weapons, a pair of katana.
- Blade Teleportation: Using his sword as a point of focus, Leo can teleport himself, or anyone holding one of his swords to the location of the other.
- Portal Creation: Via his ōdachi sword, Leo can cut holes in space, allowing him to transport almost anything. Leo had trouble controlling the power of his sword when he first acquired it, often opening portals by accidents or creating ones too small to use. However, as he continued battle villainous mutants and the Foot Clan, he became more adept in using the sword's power.
- Strength: Leonardo is the second physically strongest of the Mad Dogs. Thanks to his mutation Leonardo possesses strength greater than most humans.
- Speed: Leonardo possesses remarkable speed. His quickness and agility make him able to avoid and counter enemy attacks. Leo can also move in quick bursts of speed faster than the eye can follow. He also uses his immense speed for his swordsmanship to deliver super fast strikes. It is a possibility that he is the fastest of the four Mad Dogs.
- Cooking: It is hinted in "You Got Served" that he can also cook but it is shown that he sometimes burned the food when under pressure or it is the right amount of heat that he made from.
- Tactician: In the episode"Air Turtle", he apologized to his brothers about how bad a brother he is to them and he initiated a plan on how to defeat the New York Daves in basketball, this shows how he is capable of learning about his brothers strengths and weaknesses as well as he knows how Donnie is bad at shooting.
- Donatello: Being the middle brothers, Leo and Donnie don't always get along. With Donnie hating Leo's puns (even trying to get rid of them in "Donnie's Gifts") and crazy schemes, and Leo thinking Don needs to loosen up. That doesn't mean they don't share common ground or hate each other. It's implied they often visit Señor Hueso's Run of the Mill Pizza together. Leo cares about Donnie and shows this by teasing him.
- Baron Draxum: Leo doesn't get along with Draxum. He continues to hold a grudge against Draxum for throwing him off a roof in "Bug Busters". Nevertheless, Draxum is still the other father to Leo and his brothers, and they eventually became allies.
- Hamato Karai: After meeting her, Leo, along with his brothers spend the time with her. Leo appears to be very caring to her. He loves her very much and tries to go to her after Shredder mortally wounds her.
- Hamato Yoshi / Lou Jitsu / Splinter: Leo seems to be the one who most often gets on Splinter's bad side, leading him to constantly smack Leo in the head with his tail. Leo claims he is father's least favorite. Nevertheless, it was Leo who Splinter made the Mad Dogs' new team leader in "Rise".
- Michelangelo: They have a cool older brother and little sibling dynamic. Leo cares deeply about Mikey, when Mikey is in danger Leo's there to protect him. He does get annoyed by Mikey's competitive side and will participate if pushed too far.
- April O'Neil: They've been friends for a while (the same goes for the other brothers). Leo is concerned April may mess up when hanging out with Sunita in "Operation: Normal". By "Anatawa Hitorijanai", it was also clear that April was actually more like family to Leo's clan.
- Piebald: Piebald is technically Leo's sister, as Splinter is father to both of them. Before Piebald mutated, she was Splinter's pet goldfish, but Leo accidentally flushed her down the toilet and coerced his brothers into keeping silent about her fate. Later, Piebald mutated and secretly reunited with Splinter, and two of them schemed with Frankenfoot to play an elaborate prank on Leo and his brothers in "Flushed but Never Forgotten".
- Raphael: Raph and Leo are sometimes butting heads, whether it is over wrestling or Raph's leadership. They do team up/agree in episodes like "One Man's Junk".
Friends and allies
- Todd Capybara:
- Frankenfoot: Leo easily accepts Frankenfoot as his friend once he finds out he's Raph's friend and defends for the rest of his debut episode. Later in "Flushed but Never Forgotten", Frankenfoot secretly cooperated with Piebald and Splinter to play a prank on Leo and his brothers.
- Señor Hueso: Their friendship grew after helping each other in "Portal Jacked!" and "The Hidden City Job". Hueso calls Leo, Pepino.
- Cassandra Jones / Foot Recruit: Leo seems to have a rivalry with Foot Recruit, as seen in "Sparring Partner" and "Operation: Normal". But she became his family's ally when she finally turned against the Shredder in "Rise".
- Marcus Moncrief:
- Capitán Piel: They were initially enemies after Piel kidnapped Leo's brothers in "Portal Jacked!", but the two became allies and friends after the events of "The Hidden City Job".
- Red Fox:
- Tame simurgh: In "The Hidden City Job", Leo helped Señor Hueso and Capitán Piel tame a wild simurgh, who was thereafter their friend. Leo particularly enjoyed the sensation of being stuffed inside the simurgh's joey pouch.
- Stanley / Bullhop:
- Don Suave: Before they were introduced in "The Hidden City Job", Leo had already befriended both Señor Hueso and Capitán Piel who together comprise Don Suave as a fusion. But upon seeing him for the first time at Big Mama's auction house, Leo found himself immediately intensely attracted to Suave's masculine good looks, and Suave even advised Leo not to stare directly at him; Suave proceeded to use a mystic power weaponizing his beauty to incapacitate Big Mama and explode the heads of her mechanical guards. But even when not looking at Suave, Leo proved thoroughly infatuated with him. Later, as they headed home on their tamed simurgh, Leo sat in Suave's arms and clung to him in a continuous affectionate cuddle and nuzzle while cooing blissfully. Suave for his part was completely stoic and did not otherwise encourage Leo's affections. Leo resumed his normal friendship with Hueso and Piel after Suave unfused back into the two separate individuals.
- Big Mama: In "Bug Busters", Leo was the only one of the brothers to intuit that Big Mama was actually evil before she betrayed them. Later in "Many Unhappy Returns", Leo very shrewdly outwitted Big Mama at her own game, even predicting the ways that she would alter the terms of their agreement.
- Foot Clan:
- Ghostbear: Leo accidentally defeated Ghostbear and broke his undefeated streak.
- Mezmer-Ron / Hypno-Potamus:
- Warren Stone: Leo never remembers who Warren Stone is, but once sliced him in half in a panic.
- Rupert Swaggart / Meat Sweats:
- "Dude, you gotta make it to rehearsal." - After Donatello's failed masquerade.
- "Soooo... You guys from Jersey?" - When faced with the just-transformed Jogger Guys.
- "You had to ruin Cannonball Day." - Before his Katanas were destroyed.
- "Get- me- off- this- ride!" - Falling into the portal created by his sword.
- "You'd think as a birthday bot- you'd be a little more chill at a birthday party." - While fighting Albearto
- "And who doesn't love my one-liners- they fire up the team, right guys?" - During Donnie's Gifts.
- "Okay which one of you made Raph angry?" - Shell in a Cell
- "¡Vamonos, hermanos!" - Hot Soup: The Game
- "Why do you always make us dress up as old ladies?" - To Donnie during Operation: Normal
- "Time to go to obedience school." - Mascot Melee
- "Wow you guys are handsome." - To Don Suave in The Hidden City Job
Notes and trivia
- Unlike previous incarnations, this version of Leonardo is the rebel and self-proclaimed coolest turtle instead of Raphael, who takes over as both the oldest and, until the Season 2 finale, the leader of the team.
- Since he doesn't start the series as the leader, Leo is more laid-back and less responsible than his past incarnations.
- Leo also isn't the oldest turtle in Rise, like in previous incarnations. Instead, he is now the middle and second oldest turtle before Donatello.
- Donatello's fourth-wall-breaking joke about Leonardo "sell[ing] the least action figures" is a nod to Leo traditionally being the least popular turtle in the franchise, despite his position on the team. Writers have elaborated he is difficult to write for, which contributed to the decision to heavily tweak his character for this version.
- Leon's red and yellow stripes are also found on actual red-eared slider turtles.
- Leo is constantly creating catchphrases for the group to use.
- Aside from being the most laid back brother, Leonardo has a more protective relationship with Michelangelo and takes him under his wing compared to previous incarnations.
- According to a behind the scenes video, Leo's main flaw as a potential leader was lacking maturity as he is more interested in enjoying life, a trait he ironically shares with this series' version of Splinter.
- A running gag with Leo is that he is constantly seen dabbing.
- Señor Hueso's nickname for Leo, "Pepino," means "cucumber" in Spanish.
- At multiple times in the series, there have been subtle references that Leo has an interest to men.
- In the episode "Many Unhappy Returns", when Leo was proposing Splinter's Battle Nexus fight to Big Mama, and he proposed that Splinter fight the Kraken and the brawny Evil Six in the arena, Leo proposed that the Evil Six be armored up, manhandling and slapping the muscles of one of them as he spoke.
- In the episode "The Hidden City Job":
- There is one scene at the Hidden City docks where Leo, Señor Hueso and Capitán Piel are walking along a street and talking. In one shot, as Hueso and Piel were talking, Leo silently turned his head to gawk in awe at a particularly brawny Yōkai pirate walking past, then takes a moment to stare at the pirate's rear before returning his attention to his companions' chat.
- The most blatant example was later in the same episode. (See Don Suave's entry in the friends and allies section for details.)
- According on Raph, whenever Leo says "indubitably" he is up to something.
Hobbies and skills
- Leo has an interest in basketball as seen in "Hypno! Part Deux" and "Late Fee". This is confirmed in "Air Turtle".
- As shown in "Hypno! Part Deux" Leo has an interest in stage/performance magic. This is confirmed in "The Clothes Don't Make the Turtle", where he is seen gushing about the Magic Town House.
- Leo knows some Spanish.
- Leo have been shown to cook as seen in "Bullhop" and "You Got Served". His skill varies, as he is shown to cook some beautiful dishes, but he still burns toast.
- Leo has been the Lair Games champion five times in a row.
- Leonardo (Rise of the TMNT)/Gallery
- Leonardo (Rise of the TMNT)/Animations
- Leonardo (Rise of the TMNT)/Appearances