Nickelodeon has been around for about forty years now, well before many of us knew how to even change the channel, let alone were born, yet the kid’s network as become iconic over the years for broadcasting kid friendly shows that oddly enough appeal toward all ages. Nickelodeon isn’t just a network we grew up on, but a network that our own children will grown up on as well.
While Nickelodeon has always hit the sweet spot when it comes to entertaining children, it wasn’t until the early nineties when Nickelodeon started creating their own animated shows called Nicktoons. While many of these cartoons have come and gone over the years, plenty of them had the staying power to last the past few decades and many of these characters are just as popular as ever.
Many Nicktoons, however, no longer have new episodes being developed, and while it’s fun to reminisce about the good old days of Tommy Pickles and his crew, eventually it hits you… these characters are well into adulthood now if they were actually aging! While most Nicktoons center around the lives of children the same age and demographic as their viewers, it’s fun to imagine how these characters changed… or even stayed the same over all these years. Here are 25 grown up versions of some of your favorite Nicktoon stars.
25. The Whole Gang Is Reuniting
It doesn’t look like too much has changed with this “grown up” version of Arnold and his friends, as the style closely resembles that of the show Hey Arnold! that debuted back on Nickelodeon back in 1996. While we probably won’t see these semi-adult versions of the city kids in the new Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie detailing the events of what happened to Arnold’s missing parents and serving as some much needed closure after the series’ mysterious ending, I’m still excited about seeing this show alive again. Everyone for the most part seems like they’ve kept similar styles, though it looks like Arnold ditched the sweater ending the whole shirt/skirt debacle and Gerald’s head of hair no longer resembles Marge Simpsons’. One thing is for certain, though: baggy cargo pants are definitely back in style with the kids of P.S. 118.
24. That’s Not The Little Girl I Remember…
Whether you watched Nick Jr. or not, there’s no denying the appeal of Dora the Explorer, the little girl who went on adventures with her anthropomorphic pet monkey Boots and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t familiar with the show. Despite being geared toward the under five demographic, it was hard not to fall in love with these characters. That’s why it’s so hard to imagine Dora looking so… well, adult. She’s definitely boasting a little more appeal now and dressing more provocative, while Boots on the other hand has morphed into a full on gorilla looking less cuddly than his show version. But hey, maybe this is just concept art for the upcoming live-action Dora the Explorer movie coming out in 2019. Michael Bay is rumored to be at the helm of it all. Yes, seriously.
23. He Looks Like Someone I Know…
Doug and his friends really grew into their looks once they got over that whole awkward phase they were going through in Nickelodeon’s Doug as well as Disney’s Brand Spanking New Doug which debuted as a sequel to the original series. Despite having a much more realistic exterior including some extremely tight fitting pants, the artist decided to stick with those unrealistic skin tones which were kind of a staple of the series. Their wardrobes look almost identical to that of the show but it seems like Judy is the one who has experienced a major makeover. Okay, maybe not too major, but that trenchcoat and combat boot look makes her look like she has stepped right now of a silent film version of The Matrix. But is it just me, or does Doug resemble Jimmy Hopkins from the video game Bully a little too closely?
22. We’re Glad It Ended This Way!
Admittedly, Hey Arnold! was my favorite Nicktoon growing up, so I couldn’t necessarily stop at just one piece of fan art depicting life for the football head as an adult. Arnold still looks pretty young in this picture, possibly living life in his early twenties or possibly a “college years” version of his show. The style is similar to that of the show much like the previous picture, but it’s the subject material that makes this picture so great. I wouldn’t say Arnold and Helga were necessarily a match, especially with how loony Helga was in the show, but there have been plenty of episodes showing that Helga has a soft side and was more mature than she really came off as. And who knows? Maybe she outgrew that tendency to abuse the person she likes and maybe, just maybe, there is a future for these two afterall.
21. Eat Your Heart Out, MCU
Danny Phantom didn’t really have a long life on Nickelodeon compared to the likes of Rugrats or The Fairly OddParents, but despite its relatively short life as an animated superhero show, it still garnered plenty of positive reception which lead to its own toy line, video games, and other such merchandise. But if Danny Phantom could come back as a gritty reboot starring a more adult version of the teenage superhero, would we even want it? Absolutely. In a market that has become so saturated with superhero movies, it would be interesting to see a movie that didn’t tie into the Marvel or D.C. universe, focusing on a more niche protagonist. Plus, Danny Phantom’s story is different enough that he is able to stand on his own. Not to mention, it looks like age has treated Danny Phantom well as he has become quite the silver fox.
20. Forget Those Awkward Junior High Years
Shows that really delved into actual teenage issues were kind of an oddity on Nickelodeon, yet shows like As Told By Ginger really showed that there was a market for serious tween “dramas” in a market flooded by slapstick comedy focused cartoons. Following closer in the shoes of Doug rather than say Hey Arnold!, As Told By Ginger focused more on the life of a teenage girl trying to make her way through middle school, and eventually high school as an awkward yet somewhat geeky teenager. What made As Told By Ginger so special is that it really captured what life was like living those years of your life and didn’t sugar coat that it could feel like hell. Yet this image of Ginger and her two best friends Dodie and Marcie show that the unpopular trio really came into their own and have left the stresses of high school drama far behind them.
19. Still Ready For Adventure After All These Years
Here is another rendition of a popular Nickelodeon show by Isaiah Stephens giving a more realistic approach to the animated style of The Wild Thornberrys. Thankfully, Nigel’s overbite is nowhere to be seen and the image focuses on the three central characters of the series, sadly missing Darwin. Eliza and Debbie look to be almost the same age in this picture. Debbie hasn’t changed too much in the grand scheme of things, but it looks like Eliza has fully adopted the whole safari look, likely wanting to follow in the footsteps of her mother and father. Strangely, enough, it doesn’t seem like they were able to civilize Donnie over the past decade or so as he seems to still be following his more primal nature, not having gotten a haircut since the show first premiered.
18. Pleasing Fanfiction Fans Everywhere
Invader Zim didn’t really get the love it deserved, being cancelled before even finishing its second season. While the series may have continued afterward in the form of graphic novels, part of the appeal of the show was the outstanding voice work of Richard Horvitz. Sadly, it managed to only reach a small demographic, but its short time on air was still special to us. Artist SnakeHands depicts these characters not only as more realistic and older, but taller as well, possibly putting an end to the whole height issue Zim had on his home planet. I can’t help but love the image of Zim and Dib passed out next to each other, two rivals being tied together by their hair by GIR. It may not be worth a whole episode, but I’d love to see these two at each other’s throats after waking up.
17. You Sure Have Gotten Taller
Remember that mediocre platformer game Tak and the Power of Juju that released for PlayStation 2 and GameCube back in 2003? Remember when someone decided that it would be a good idea to turn said mediocre game into Nickelodeon’s first CGI Nicktoon spawning a mediocre show about four years after release when it was no longer relevant? If you answered vaguely, we’re in the same boat. Tak had the misfortune of being released in a genre that had become tired by the time it hit shelves, and though the game isn’t terrible, there was little reason to make a show about it. Despite that, Nickelodeon developed a short lived series about Tak’s life as a Shaman. This depiction of Tak and Jeera offers a look at what they might look like if they were a bit older… or at the very least, with more realistic qualities.
16. They’ve Gotten A Bit More Sinister…
This image really doesn’t capture the essence of what the show ChalkZone was about, depicting a slightly darker look at what the show was all about. ChalkZone followed the tales of Rudy and his best friend Penelope, two kids who discovered a world called the Chalk Zone where they meet Snap, a human-like chalk drawing that Rudy created when he was younger. It was a pretty lighthearted show, displaying Rudy and Penny’s adventures in the Chalk Zone, but this image looks like a darker version of the show. Snap looks like the damaged superhero you’d find in a D.C. comic while Penny seems to have lost all her spunk, looking more like an apathetic teenager. Rudy on the other hand… blood dripping from his eye and mouth while holding a crowbar? I get that he’s dealt with some bullying, but this might be taking it too far.
15. Better Than The Movie Version
It’s hard to believe that Avatar: The Last Airbender was a show that debuted on Nickelodeon, let alone one that became as successful as it was. While the cartoon was a fantastic blend of American cartoons and the Japanese style of anime, it’s a show that didn’t really feel like it belonged on Nickelodeon as it followed more serious plot points such as war and politics as well as more fantastical sci-fi elements. Despite its strange departure from standard Nicktoon fare, the show was a commercial success. While Aang and Katara were fairly young benders in the series, this piece of fan art is a fantastic take on what the Avatar movie really should have looked like… but then again, you knew the Avatar movie was going to be a disaster the second you saw M. Night Shyamalan’s name in the opening credits.
14. Still Kicking After All These Years
Alvin and the Chipmunks is likely Nickelodeon’s oldest cartoon characters, having debuted way back in the 1950s. Regardless, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore have had tremendous staying power over the years and while reruns of their 80s animated show ran in syndication on Nickelodeon back in the 90s, they received a whole new CGI show back in 2015 likely spinning from the success of their previous theatrical releases. This version of the Chipmunks show them a bit older, however, complete with chains and baseball cap having started a new group name called “Chiptun3 and it looks like they may have ditched their tradition of covering catchy and popular tunes from the top 40s list altogether. This is probably fair though. There was really no reason for the whole band to be centered around Alvin.
13. No More Weird Shaped Bodies
Okay, this is the last fan art image of Hey Arnold!, I swear. While other images took a look at more adult versions of Arnold and the gang with a similar art style similar to that of the shows, these kids look like they could have grown up on the block right around the corner from us. It looks like Helga attacking Arnold and calling him football head might not be a really efficient insult in this world as he has a completely normal head along with a normal sized hat to sit on top of it. Gerald’s hair is back to normal lengths, and Sid has kept his signature bad boy leather jacket style (despite not being a bad boy at all). Harold on the other hand has gotten huge, only matched in height by Stinky.
12. Happily Ever After
The Fairly Oddparents may be one of Nickelodeon’s most popular Nicktoons, staying on air for a whopping ten seasons as well as having a live action spinoff. While SpongeBob may have had more staying power overall, there is no denying Timmy Turner’s popularity. The show actually already gave us a glimpse of what Timmy Turner would look like grown up in the episode “Channel Surfers” and this fan art doesn’t deviate from the animation style of the show, but it does shed light on one important question. Who was his future self’s wife? While we got a glimpse at his kids Tommy and Tammy, his wife is never shown, but this picture suggests it is likely Tootie, despite her losing her awkward appearance. While the change in her looks might suggest it is someone else, the stylings of Tammy’s glasses suggest otherwise.
11. Even More Grown Up
You really can’t discuss Nicktoons without discussing Rugrats. It’s the show that really put Nickelodeon on the map and not only is it one of Nickelodeon’s longest lasting shows, it’s also gotten three movie treatments as well as a spinoff of the babies in their own All Grown Up! Television series. A few key characters are missing from this rendition, but it looks like Phil and Lil are as close as ever while Kimi looks like she’s about to unleash some serious martial arts. Tommy has always been the most well rounded of the bunch and still looks like he is also taking up a more hipster look while his brother Dil… well, Dil looks like he hasn’t grown up much from his personality in All Grown Up!
10. Someone Has Been Working Out
Rocket Power focused on the extreme sports antics of Reggie, Otto, Twister, and Sam who lived in the fictional town of Ocean Shores, California, making us all wish that we grew up next to a beach and that our parents allowed us to surf at eight years old alone and unsupervised by professionals. It doesn’t look like much has changed with the Rocket crew, and it looks like their active styles have served them well. I mean, look at Otto. He’s clearly gotten shredded over the years and it seems like he’d be the type to show that off. It looks like they’ve ditched all eyewear, however, most importantly for Sam as I can’t imagine the amount of glasses he’s lost over the years.
9. Are They Even Adults To Begin With?
It’s kind of hard to really tell how old SpongeBob is considering he’s… well, a sponge. Not to mention all of his underwater buddies in Bikini Bottom are an assortment of sea creatures with the exception of Sandy, so who knows what a “grown up” version of these characters would look like. With that said, it would be a disservice not to show off any SpongeBob SquarePants in this list as it is Nickelodeon’s highest rated series. This is more of a fan art piece that might show how these characters look in human form and while they’ve certainly captured the jovial nature of the characters, I have to admit that I never thought as Squidward as that old. Yet, in retrospect, he is pretty much the essence of an old man screaming at kids to get off his lawn.
8. It’s Time For An Upgrade
It’s a tale as old as time. A teenage girl wishes to live an ordinary teenage girl life, but she is tasked with the duty of defending the citizens of the world from anything that might come to harm them. Oh, and she’s also a robot. Jenny, also known as XJ-9 is the main character in My Life as a Teenage Robot, a show that mixed in random teenage drama and comedic situations with a superhero oriented theme as well. Though robots can’t necessarily grow, this more anime style version of Jenny is definitely worth looking at and I would love to see the series rebooted in this style. And who knows? Maybe Jenny’s robot exterior was destroyed and she was upgraded to a more adult looking model.
7. Babies Turned Hipster
We’ve already looked at similar grown up versions in this style and Isaiah Stephens certainly wasn’t going to leave Rugrats out of the mix (And you should check out his work from some other non-Nickelodeon shows as well). It’s kind of hard to imagine Tommy Pickles and his crew growing up to be fashion savvy hipsters, but here they are. Unlike the last piece of fan art we looked at featuring Dil, he certainly seems like he’s gotten more mature over the past decade or so. Phil and Lil still like to color coordinate outfits after all these years, but it looks like Lil grew out of her tomboy phase. The real question is whether or not Angelica or Cindy are still squaring off to see who the biggest diva is.
6. Guess They Learned Something In That School After All
AAAHH! Real Monsters was one of the more peculiar shows featured in the nineties. Rather than focusing on the day to day lives of either human or anthropomorphic characters, this show followed the adventures of three student monsters named Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina dealing with the regular struggles of school, but with the twist being their primary objective was to learn how to scare humans. While depicted as monsters, none of the three were really that scary and seemed more like the cuddly kind of monsters. Despite that, this image shows them what they might look like if they ever graduated school, becoming the nightmarish monsters they were meant to be. Whether they’ve grown much is hard to say, but they’ve definitely matured to their full potential.
5. Smarter Than Ever
Jimmy Neutron is a character that has a somewhat odd history as far as Nicktoons are concerned. You might remember him from some animated shorts that aired on Nickelodeon leading up to his theatrical debut Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, which was so successful that it lead to him getting his own actual show on Nickelodeon called The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. I was never much a fan of the show, but boy, do I miss his now defunct attraction at Universal Studios which featured a wide cast of Nicktoon characters (though its age was sadly showing). In this picture, it looks like Jimmy’s body thankfully caught up in size to the head resting on his shoulders, though his forehead never took a dip in size unfortunately. I guess you’ve got to store all that information somewhere.
4. Still Riding On Adventure
There are a few variants of Reggie, Otto, Twister, and Sam in adult form from Rocket Power floating around online, and even though we took a look at an earlier one, this version looks like they might be even older and have acquired a little more edge than before. Whether it is the tattoos or dreads, they certainly have a more mature presence than they did in the animated series. Despite their outward appearance, it doesn’t look like much has changed with the crew considering Reggie’s skateboard in hand and the video camera in Twister’s. Though I couldn’t help but notice the rosary Twister was wearing around his neck, finally answering the question as to what Twister’s religious practices were (I’m just kidding, I’m pretty sure no one cared).
3. Hopefully They Don’t Lose Their Children Every Episode…
Now this is how you do grown up versions of Nicktoon characters! While the style very much captures what the show looked like, you have to give artist emeline729 credit for creating so many new characters to fit into each of their adult lives. Not only did she create spouses for most of the Rugrats, she also fit in versions of their own rugrats as well. Each of them is teeming with personality, many of which you can see were adopted from their parents. It’s the small details like realizing that Phil and Lil both have their own set of twins or the fact that Tommy has another child on the way. While I’m certainly wondering why Kimi doesn’t have a husband or wife by her side (which is probably too sad a story too bare), it’s a neat concept seeing her brother Chuckie married to once bully Angelica Pickles. But hey, it could happen.
2. An Alternate Future
Oh, Timmy Turner, what happened to you? We’ve already looked at what Timmy Turner looks like with his future wife and children in a previous picture and since that depiction of him is pretty much canon to the show, we likely won’t be seeing this version of Timmy in a rebooted The Fairly OddParents anytime soon. It looks like his parents’ neglect finally got the best of him, however, as he’s turned toward all sorts of body modifications including nose and lip rings, tattoos across his whole body, and ear gauges that look like they could open a portal to another dimension. He certainly doesn’t look like he’s in the right state of mind, either, making us wonder if Wanda and Cosmo were ever real to begin with.
1. They Still Haven’t Gotten “Adulting” Quite Right
This falls under the category as to whether or not these are really “grown up” versions of these popular Nicktoon characters, but the somewhat disturbing style alone make me feel like this type of animation wouldn’t fly on Nickelodeon considering Rocko’s Modern Life’s already somewhat suggestive and mature show. Despite that, while the show followed the lives of adult characters, you never really got a sense that Rocko, Heffer, or Filburt were actually well adjusted adults as they typically behaved more like rambunctious teenagers. Either way, I’m not sure I could have handled the show in this style as it looks like Filburt is about to croak any minute while Heffer has the eyes of a killer. Then again, Rocko always would have been better off with some different friends.
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