Both Upcoming TMNT Movie Reboots Explained
Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will not have to wait much longer for a new TMNT movie. New York’s own Heroes in a Half-Shell are coming back to the theaters in two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboots, as well as spin-offs involving villains. Despite having gone six years without appearing on the big screen after the underwhelming results of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the Ninja Turtles remain a strong brand whether in animated series, comics, or toys. The fact that not even a failed movie has stopped Paramount from green-lighting two new Ninja Turtles movie options is a testament to the sheer strength of the IP.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ cinematic history goes back to 1990 with New Line’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which had two sequels. In 2007 the CG-animated TMNT landed, followed seven years later by another live-action production. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, produced by Michael Bay and starring big names such as Megan Fox and Will Arnett, reinvigorated the ninja-turtles cinematic legacy. The sequel, however, did less than half as much as its predecessor and put the Paramount franchise on hold. There have been animated TMNT movies in the interim, most recently the 2022 Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie on Netflix. Seth Rogen is taking the helm for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem reboot, and a new live-action TMNT movie is also planned. With two new TMNT movie options now on the way, it looks like that wait for another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is finally over.
Seth Rogen’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
The next new TMNT movie comes from Seth Rogen in 2023, titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. In June 2021, Seth Rogen used his Twitter account to confirm that he would be producing a new TMNT movie that’s CG animated. The unusual announcement (in the form of a sketchbook) revealed some of Rogen’s early ideas for his version of the Ninja Turtles and also indicated an August 2023 release date for the film. After Paramount pulled the original date forward by a week, the movie is currently set to release on August 4, 2023. Bad Neighbors’ Brendan O’Brien will write the film, with The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ Jeff Rowe serving as the director.
While not much is known about new TMNT movie, Seth Rogen’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is expected to focus on the “Teenage” side of the characters rather than the “Mutant Ninja” aspect, diverging from the Michael Bay films’ approach. Rogen has indicated that Mutant Mayhem will be a coming-of-age story, and subsequent tweets have also confirmed he’s looking to cast teenagers as Leo, Raph, Mikey, and Donatello (a franchise first). Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is excited about Rogen’s take. Speaking at SDCC 2022 (via IGN), Eastman spilled that he was a “big fan” of Seth Rogen’s movies. Eastman is particularly happy that Rogen seems to be respecting the Teenage element of the Ninja Turtles, especially since they were only 15 in the original comics.
Seth Rogen’s New TMNT Movie Will Be Deeply Personal
Seth Rogen’s new TMNT movie is reportedly a very personal project for the actor/comedian. Growing up, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of Rogen’s cartoon staples, alongside other famous Saturday morning shows like Darkwing Duck. In an interview with The AV Club, Seth Rogen went into detail as to why the project is so personal to him. Really honing in on the “teenage” aspect of the title, the Pineapple Express actor had this to say, “It’s a teenage movie, we’re putting a lot of our own feelings — of awkwardness and insecurity and a desire to belong and be accepted and all that — into the movie.” Actor Seth Rogen went on to discuss that he and the rest of the production team found an avenue that makes them “care” about the film and its teenage characters. The new TMNT movie will explore more growing-up territory than previous Ninja Turtles products, barring the comic The Last Ronin, which has its own merits in terms of being nuanced.
There Are Plans For Spin-Offs Based On TMNT Villains
The new TMNT movie is planned as a forerunner for multiple TMNT spin-offs based on the various members of the Turtles’ very well-populated rogues’ gallery. From obvious choices like Shredder and Kang to fan favorites like Bebop and Rocksteady, most of the TMNT villains have ambiguous yet intriguing Saturday Morning Cartoon backstories that present near-blank canvases ripe for adaptation. Baxter Stockman, for example, is a scientist who’s turned into a mutant fly by Kang in the cartoons. While this was an obvious parody of David Cronenberg’s The Fly in the 1987 cartoon, in the 2020s, it opens the door for a movie that nods to Hammer Horror body transformation flicks and weird science genre tropes. That’s just one example, too. As creators plan to explore the wealth of lesser-known TMNT characters, it seems strange that a Turtleverse full of spin-offs doesn’t already exist. However, there have been no details of the TMNT spin-offs yet beyond confirmation that they’re happening.
Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Reboot
While a sequel to Out of the Shadows will not happen, producer Michael Bay remains attached to the Ninja Turtles franchise at Paramount and will be involved in a new reboot. First announced in 2018, this new TMNT movie in live-action did not receive any updates until August 2021, when Paramount announced that Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost and his brother Casey Jost would pen the script. Since the more realistic yet over-the-top aspects of Michael Bay’s TMNT franchise did not work in the long term, it is hard to anticipate what new take Platinum Dunes and Paramount will give to this new iteration of the Turtles. As of now, there is no date attached to the project.
There haven’t been any further updates about the Jost brothers’ new TMNT movie since they were announced as screenwriters. There’s been no word of cancelation though, so it’s likely that Rogen’s 2023 Mutant Mayhem TMNT reboot is the primary focus for new Turtles properties, and the Jost brothers’ TMNT project will follow thereafter. However, Turtles fans will have plenty to enjoy before the next Bay-produced TMNT, as both confirmed spinoff films have the potential to explore different sides of the characters and offer something new to the already vast legacy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While comparisons are going to be inevitable, a well-planned release window for the two new franchises can avoid one overshadowing the other.
Next: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Hollywood’s Nostalgia Cycle