‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Gets an R-Rated Reboot

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Leonardo headshot from 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

When we think about franchises that have endured over the decades, we often think of the likes of Star Wars, Marvel, or Jurassic Park. But it’s all too easy to forget Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, whose popularity hasn’t waned since its inception into mainstream media in 1987.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, started life as a comic book in 1984, before being adapted into a children’s cartoon series that ran from 1987 to 1996. Within that time, there were also three live-action movies that were released in theaters.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990
Credit: New Line Cinema

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There have also been numerous animated iterations in the decades since, as well as a CG animated movie, and two live-action movies from producer Michael Bay. And then there are all the countless lines of merchandise, from action figures to video games, that have dominated shelves for years!

And like the movies and cartoons, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books are also ongoing. Originally, Mirage held the publishing rights, before Archie took the helm. But in more recent years, IDW Publishing took over, and they continue to churn out unique TMNT stories.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3
Credit: New Line Cinema

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One of the more recent storylines is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin”, a five-issue miniseries from co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, which takes place in a future where Michelangelo is the only Ninja Turtle left, and seeks to avenge the death of his fallen brothers.

Here’s the official synopsis for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin”:

In a future, battle-ravaged New York City, a lone surviving Turtle embarks on a seemingly hopeless mission seeking justice for the family he lost. From legendary TMNT co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, get ready for the final story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles three decades in the making!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
Credit: New Line Cinema

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“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin” is certainly a gritty departure from all other things TMNT, however, it’s actually more in line with the tone of the early Mirage comic books. In fact, fans of those stories have been wanting an R-rated Ninja Turtles movie for decades.

Well, that wish has now become a reality, as a fan has adapted one scene from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin” into a short CG animated movie. The short film of the same name was recently uploaded to YouTube channel “Speedokaggen” by creator Magnus Edlund.

Check out the awesome fan-made, CG animated movie below:

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A caption below the video from the film’s director, producer and VFX artist Magnus Edlund reads:

“This is a non-profit project. I’m making this for the amazing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles community and because I love the Turtles!” Edlund says. “I have been working a few month(s) now, making one scene of that comic book series into an animation. We are thrilled to have a platform such as YouTube so we can honor all people who have worked with the TMNT. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rock!”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows
Credit: Paramount Pictures

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When it comes to the comic books, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin” is certainly among the darker iterations, and this new fan-made film definitely captures the spirit of the five-issue miniseries, which Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have been wanting to produce since the days the comic books fells under Mirage.

It’s possible that the film will capture the attention of Paramount Pictures, who may one day give fans a darker Ninja Turtles movie. To date, the darkest of all six live-action movies is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), which is still perhaps a little too family-friendly for many fans.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows
Credit: Paramount Pictures

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However, much like Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can work well in many different ways, whether it’s camp and cheesy, or dark and gritty. The question is, will fans ever get the R-rated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie they deserve?

Never say never — R-rated blockbuster movies have become increasingly popular in recent years. Deadpool (2016), Logan (2015), and the DC Extended Universe’s The Suicide Squad (2021), as well as Marvel’s Daredevil TV series (2015), are just a few examples.

Megan Fox as April O'Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows 2018
Credit: Paramount Pictures

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There are currently six live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, however, there is another one on the way from producer Michael Bay and SNL writers Colin and Casey Jost. There’s also a new animated movie set for theaters in the works, from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

Meanwhile, numerous villain-focused TMNT movies are set to be released on Paramount+, courtesy of Nickelodeon Animation, while Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (2022), based off the cartoon series of the same name, will be released on Netflix on August 5.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder's Revenge
Credit: IGN

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t the only IP from the ’80s that’s due a wave of new stories, as Ghostbusters will also be getting a new live-action movie, a new animated movie, an animated series, numerous video game titles, and a new comic book.

However, this time the latter won’t fall under IDW Publishing, and will instead come from Dark Horse Comics. Either way, it’s a great time to be a fan of all things ’80s — it’s just a shame Stranger Things (2016) is yet to introduce talking turtles of some kind.

Would you like to see an R-rated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie? Let us know in the comments down below!

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