‘Ninja Turtles’ Reboot Reveals Creepy Image, Director Compares It to Stephen King Movie

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Michelangelo screaming in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meets Stephen King?!

While many TMNT fans continue to hold out hope for an R-rated film not unlike the John Wick series, and based on the increasingly popular comic book run “TMNT: The Last Ronin” (2020), the upcoming film appears to be as family-friendly as the beloved 1987 cartoon series, and many other iterations we’ve seen in the decades since.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) is a CG-animated film from producer Seth Rogen and director Jeff Rowe, which will focus largely on the “teenage aspect” of heroes-in-a-half-shell Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Raphael (Brady Noon), Donatello (Micah Abbey), and Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr).

Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies

Related: All the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Movies Ranked Worst to Best

And now, in a brand-new interview with Empire, the director has compared the film to two well-known coming-of-age dramas, one of which is based on a Stephen King novel.

“We wanted it to be like Stand By Me and Lady Bird,” Rowe told Empire, “But, you know, with Ninja Turtles.” The two films in question are the 1986 big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name, and the 2017 film starring Saoirse Ronan, both of which are teenage-centric, coming-of-age dramas, the last genre you’d think of as a source of inspiration for a Ninja Turtles story.

Stand By Me movie poster
Credit: Columbia Pictures

Related: First, Female Ninja Turtles, Now ‘TMNT’ Eyed For R-Rated Horror Reboot

But there is, of course, a much more mature side to the Ninja Turtles than most people realize, whether it’s in the early Mirage Comics in the ’80s, or more recently, in “The Last Ronin” comics, which have become a huge hit with fans, so much so that a “Triple-A game” based on the story of a lone Ninja Turtle in a dystopian future is currently in development.

However, Nickelodeon’s and Paramount Pictures’ Mutant Mayhem is, of course, aimed largely towards families and children. But that doesn’t mean it can’t explore its characters in a mature way. And it sounds like that’s exactly what the filmmakers intended, as Rowe also admitted that their plan was to create “the ultimate teenage coming-of-age film.”

Raph, Donnie, and Mikey in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Related: Seth Rogen Shares Surprising Details on His ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reboot

“They’ve [the Turtles] got a lot of that inauthentic confidence that teenagers have,” Rowe went on. “When you’re a teen, you don’t know any better, so you operate with this hyped-up sense of, ‘We can do anything!'”

The director’s comments have certainly left us feeling intrigued in ways we never thought possible when it comes to a Ninja Turtles movie — especially one that’s seemingly been designed to have such broad appeal. And though the trailer certainly promises a fun, animated adventure, Empire‘s exclusive image reveal depicts the four Ninja Turtles standing on a rooftop in an aggressive formation, with their iconic creepy “white eyes”.

It sounds like Mutant Mayhem might just have a bit of everything.

Donnie in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Related: 10 Things We Want to See in an Open-World ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Game

Meanwhile, the film has already caused some “upset” within the fan community, with many lambasting the trailer for revealing that the Ninja Turtles’ news reporter-friend April O’Neil is portrayed as African-American, with Ayo Edebiri donning the iconic yellow jumpsuit.

Mutant Mayhem follows previous TMNT movies Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), TMNT (2007), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016).

Check out the brand-new trailer for Mutant Mayhem below:

Related: Which ‘Ninja Turtles’ Characters Have Been Gender-Swapped In the Reboot?

As per Wikipedia, here’s the official synopsis for Mutant Mayhem:

After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtles set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a notorious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

April O'Neil in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Related: Is the New ‘Ninja Turtles’ Film Canon With Any of the Previous Installments?

Mutant Mayhem stars Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), Micah Abbey (Donatello), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo), Brady Noon (Raphael), Jackie Chan (Splinter), Ayo Edebiri (April O’Neil), Seth Rogen (Bebop), John Cena (Rocksteady), Hannibal Buress (Genghis Frog), Rose Byrne (Leatherhead), Ice Cube (Superfly), Post Malone (Ray Fillet), Paul Rudd (Mondo Gecko), Maya Rudolph (Cynthia Utrom), Natasia Demetriou (Wingnut), and Giancarlo Esposito (Baxter Stockman).

Mutant Mayhem (2023) will be released in theaters on August 4, 2023.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem poster
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

Related: ‘Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’ Full Characters and Cast Guide

Does this make you even more excited for Mutant Mayhem? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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