What Is the New Female ‘Ninja Turtles’ Sequel About?

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Michelangelo caught by the police in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recently underwent a major transformation. Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo, are no more — at least not where IDW Publishing’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel series is concerned.

“The Last Ronin” (2021) takes us back to the dark, gritty, and brooding days of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the original Mirage Comics of the 1980s. The five-part series follows Michelangelo decades after his “teenage” years fighting crime in New York City.

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

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But he isn’t the same happy-go-lucky, pizza-loving dude you might remember. He’s broken, physically and mentally, and throughout his journey, he’s forced to face his grief, as he’s haunted by visions of his three dead brothers, who taunt him relentlessly.

Now, in a dystopian future, Michelangelo hunts the man responsible for the deaths of his three brothers and his father Master Splinter. That man, Oroku Hiroto, the grandson of the Turtles’ arch nemesis The Shredder, also controls the city with an iron fist.

Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello in the elevator in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014
Credit: Paramount Pictures

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With the aid of April O’Neil and her daughter Casey Marie Jones, and a bastion of underground rebels, Michelangelo embarks on a one-way mission to take down Oroku Hiroto. Ultimately, Michelangelo succeeds, tragically killing himself in the process.

However, this seminal moment in TMNT history also paves the way for a set of new characters, as teased in a cliff-hanger on the last page of the series, when we see Casey nurturing four baby turtles in a tank down in the old Turtle lair in the sewers.

Casey Marie Jones rearing four new Ninja Turtles at the end of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin
Credit: IDW Publishing

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Now, a new series titled “The Last Ronin — The Lost Years” (2023), which serves as a Ninja Turtles sequel and prequel, reveals how Michelangelo spent his “lost years” after the death of his family, while simultaneously focusing on the four new Ninja Turtles in the present.

Those new Ninja Turtles, while only infants at present, are Odyn, Yi, Moja, and Uno. But they look very different to the original Ninja Turtles — the size and shape varies between all four of them, while two are actually female — Moja and Yi.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin - The Lost Years' characters - Odyn, Yi, Moja, and Uno
Credit: IDW Publishing

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This isn’t the first time TMNT has featured female Ninja Turtles, though — live-action series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (1997) introduced Venus de Milo, while more recently, IDW Publishing gave us Jennika, a human Foot Soldier who becomes a Ninja Turtle.

So, TMNT is hardly making history, but it’s exciting to have four brand-new Ninja Turtles, nonetheless, which is a welcome change after 39 years of seeing the same four characters doing the same old thing (no matter how much we absolutely love them).

Cover art for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika - female Ninja Turtle
Credit: IDW Publishing

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In a recent interview on Rolling Stone‘s Twitch daily show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator and “The Last Ronin” co-writer Kevin Eastman talked about the Ninja Turtles sequel series “The Lost Years” and its new Turtles, emphasizing their importance:

Here’s what Eastman said:

“The story and how you’re introduced to them and as you see them grow, and what they’re going to become in The Lost Years, you’re seeing the tip of the iceberg, the fingernail if you will, of what we’re going to do with them.”

The synopses for the subsequent two “The Lost Years” issues suggest that these new characters will indeed be a big focus in the new Ninja Turtles sequel series, as it’s said that Casey Marie Jones “does her best to rear the next generation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as both their master and surrogate mother.”

Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin
Credit: IDW Publishing

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While these female Ninja Turtles will only appear in “The Last Ronin” sequel series for now, it’s entirely possible they will one day get the live-action treatment. We’ve already seen one live-action female Ninja Turtle in Venus de Milo, but that was only on the small screen.

One of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reboots could change that. We know nothing about the live-action reboot, but we do know that “The Last Ronin” is a proven hit, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the film takes a page out of this book.

Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Venus de Milo in Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
Credit: Saban Entertainment / Mirage Studios

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As per IDW Publishing, here’s the synopsis for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin — Lost Years”:

RETURN TO THE RONIN-VERSE! In the smash-hit miniseries TMNT: The Last Ronin, readers were taken on a pulse-pounding trek through time—past, present, future—to witness the final gut-wrenching days of the Heroes in a Half Shell. For Michelangelo in particular, the march to his heart-breaking last battle was long and dangerous, taking him from New York City, to Japan, across Asia and Europe, and then back home again to administer final justice against those guilty of killing his family. But what happened during those fateful years when he had only the need for vengeance and Master Splinter’s journal to guide him? What battles did he fight? What hard lessons did he learn? The time has come to find out as original miniseries writers Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz join artist Ben Bishop (TMNT: The Last Ronin) to finally reveal what adventures the Last Ronin experienced during his vengeful journey. While in the present, a new master, Casey Marie Jones, prepares her young terrapin students to be the next generation of…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin
Credit: IDW Publishing

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“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin — The Lost Years” Issue #1 and Issue #2 are on sale now. Kevin Eastman recently confirmed that the series will run five issues with a one-shot called “Lost Day”, which will lead into “The Last Ronin 2”.

Meanwhile, animated reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) from producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg will be released in theaters on August 4, 2023. There are also a number of Ninja Turtles villain-focused projects heading for Paramount+.

Have you started The Last Ronin yet? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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