The post that started me thinking about this is:
"As people who have seen the very early concept art know, April is depicted as being blonde. Thankfully, her hair color was changed to the more usual orange/red color that April is usually depicted with.
I have to say that making April into a 16 year old girl AND making her blonde would have made her seem too much like an entirely different character.
For some reason the fact that she's a redhead makes her feel more like April, as in all universes outside of Mirage she has reddish hair to various degrees." - Cybercubed
Okay so the original post seems harmless enough except that there isn't one things but two that people seem to have a problem with. The fact that they thought of making her blond, and the fact she is 16 in this version. What the thread seemed to be asking, at least to me, was when does the character stop being the character and become something new?
Well lets first address who April is and why she is important in the TMNT universe. April O'neil in every incarnation is one of the Turtles very first human friends. She is the link to the outside world that they can never fully be part of. Also she is the motherly figure to them. Trying to protect them as best she can from the world around them. Oh and she has an antique shop. Now that is the same over all the different versions thus far.
What is different in each version? In the Mirage comics, 4kids show, and IDW she worked for Baxter Stockmen as a lab assistant at first. Where in the Fred Wolf cartoon and the movies she was a news reporter. In the Nick show she will be 16 and in high school, past that we don't have a lot about her yet. Mirage, 4kids, and the movies she learns to fight to be able to either take part in adventures or to defend her self. FW she is the damsel in distress. Mirage and the movies she is brunette, FW an amber color, 4kids and IDW pure red.
So to start off right there, her hair has been different colors in different versions. There is no set color for her hair. And as stated in the last paragraph it depends on what version you are looking at what she does for a living. Also in the movies she seems to be in her late 20s to early 30s. Mirage she is about mid 20s, 4kids and IDW early 20s, and Nick of course she is 16. So even then her age has fluctuated. Granted those this is the biggest fluctuation.
The point of pointing all this out was to get people to think about the character across all platforms and see her in a broader light. While there are some key factors in her personality, there are also things that have changed depending on incarnation.
Does the fact she is 16 bother me? At first a little I'll be honest. To me it was taking her from being a "parent" figure and making her one of the guys. Then I realized that 4kids had done that too. They tried to make her one of the team by using her tech suaveness and having Splinter teach her the ninja arts. Once I realized that making her part of the group had been done before I could kind of dig where they were trying to go with making her younger.
Now the hair thing? That I can honestly say I could care less about. As long as they have the key things about April that have been in every universe then that is all that matters. Her being their link to the outside world, her trying to protect them in her own way from it, and being their friend regardless of them being different are what is important. Hell she could be bald for all I care.
I guess what I'm getting at it doesn't matter if some changes are made to a character as long as the heart of the character is there. After all I don't want to see the same thing over and over. If I have a favorite version I read or watch it still. DVDs and comics are great for repeat viewings. Sometimes you have to embrace change. As Splinter has said in almost all versions of TMNT, "The only constant is change."