‘TMNT’ Reboot Takes Franchise in Bold Direction, Replaces Iconic Heroes Forever

in Movies & TV

(L to R) Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem'

Credit: Nickelodeon Movies / Paramount Pictures

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) is now out in theaters, and so far, reviews have been very positive.

The CG-animated reboot focuses on the four titular Turtles, this time with a huge emphasis on the teenage aspect. And just as the subtitle suggests, there are plenty of other mutants from the wider franchise, some iconic, others not so much.

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

Related: Upcoming R-Rated ‘TMNT’ Installment Could Anger Same Fans Already Hating ‘Mutant Mayhem’

The film will undoubtedly keep fans and younger audiences entertained over the summer, but there’s more going on in the world of TMNT than you might realize.

Mutant Mayhem is the franchise’s seventh theatrical outing (there are a handful of straight-to-television animated films), and it was recently confirmed that it would be getting a follow-up animated series on Paramount+, as there are plans for a Mutant Mayhem shared universe.

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

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

The series will be the sixth one since and including the original 1987 cartoon. And then there are the many video games. The one medium of storytelling in the TMNT universe we can’t count is the comic books, which have been running since 1984!

Forget canisters of ooze landing in the sewers — the comic books are where the Ninja Turtles were born. First, Mirage Studios held the rights, then Image Comics, Archie Comics, Dreamwave Productions, and now, IDW Publishing (there are also some Manga comics).

Jennika from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IDW comics
Credit: IDW Publishing

Related: New ‘Mutant Mayhem’ Teaser Could Anger ‘Last Ronin’ Fans

IDW Publishing has been churning out TMNT comics since 2011, but it’s one of their latest runs that has caught the attention of the wider fanbase. Since its release in 2020, the TMNT reboot “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin” (2020) has continued to grow.

We now have a follow-up series titled “Lost Years” (2023), which acts as a prequel/sequel hybrid, and a one-shot event titled “Lost Day” (2023). There are also several action figures based on the comics, and there’s even an ambitious video game in development.

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

Related: ‘TMNT’ Co-Creator Confirms Disappointing News for “Last Ronin” Fans

Recently, it was also announced that “The Last Ronin II — Re-Evolution” will be arriving later this year. Until then, it’s worth burying your nose in the first ten issues of “The Last Ronin” and the one-shot special “Lost Day.”

If you aren’t familiar, “The Last Ronin” takes place in a futuristic and dystopian New York City, where Michelangelo embarks on a quest to avenge the deaths of his fallen brothers, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael.

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

Related: Will One of These Actresses Play April O’Neil In the Live-Action ‘Ninja Turtles’ Reboot?!

“Lost Years” explains how Michelangelo became the titular “Last Ronin” while introducing a diverse new team in the form of four brand-new turtle characters, Odyn, Yi, Moja, and Uno, who are being trained to become the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The prequel/sequel series is made up of five issues (Issue #5 goes on sale tomorrow, August 2), with each issue (which jumps forward three years in the “present day”) offering a few panels that tease these four new characters during their juvenile years.

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

Related: “Footage” Surfaces For R-Rated ‘TMNT’ Reboot, Marvel Star Was Set For Lead Role

However, the one-shot edition, “Lost Day”, takes place 10 years after the events of “The Last Ronin” and acts as a pilot for “Re-Evolution.” It finds Odyn, Yi, Moja, and Uno as teenagers who are being trained by April O’Neil and her daughter Casey Marie Jones.

“Lost Day” is the new team’s first official outing. Quite literally, as it’s the first time they take to the streets of New York, where readers are introduced to new characters who will undoubtedly reappear in “Re-Evolution,” which will focus on the new Ninja Turtles.

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

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

Odyn, Yi, Moja, and Uno are an interesting assortment. Though there are many similarities between Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello, they’re also very different. For starters, there are two females (Yi and Moja) and two snapping turtles (Odyn and Moja).

They’re also unique individual characters. Yi, seemingly the leader, is sharp and cunning yet extremely abrasive (and so far quite unlikable), while Odyn is the opposite; he’s big, cuddly, and somewhat infantile in his behavior and mannerisms.

The new Ninja Turtles in "The Last Ronin - Lost Years
Credit: IDW Publishing

Related: Marvel and DC Actors Dominate Our New Live-Action ‘Ninja Turtles’ Cast

Moja appears to be quite protective over Odyn, while Yi, the second female, is a tinkerer or mechanic. Both female characters seem to be the most reasonable and level-headed of the four new Ninja Turtles.

While the original Ninja Turtles continue to appear in flashbacks, these new characters are their official replacements — at least here in the world of “The Last Ronin.” It’s unknown whether Michelangelo will also return in “Re-Evolution,” but as the entire “Ronin-verse” is built upon his character, it’s unlikely we’ll be saying our goodbyes in the current series.

So, with Mutant Mayhem out in theaters and “Lost Years” churning out new issues, what other TMNT installments are on the horizon? Let’s lift that manhole cover and take a look.

Upcoming TMNT Installments

Mutant Mayhem Paramount+ series

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

Mutant Mayhem is reportedly the beginning of a brand-new shared universe, as it’s set to be followed by a 2D animated series that will premiere on Paramount+ later this year. Recently, director Jeff Rowe also hinted at a sequel to the film, which is confirmed in a post-credits scene.

Related: ‘TMNT’ Joins Marvel by Creating Its Own Cinematic Universe

Ongoing IDW comics

TMNT x Stranger Things
Credit: IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics

The main IDW Publishing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” comic books will continue to run alongside “The Last Ronin” series. There’s even an exciting crossover now available in stores on online, titled “TMNT x Stranger Things” (2023).

Related: New ‘Stranger Things’ Special Will Feature Ninja Turtles In “Crossover Event of the Summer”

“The Last Ronin II — Re-Evolution”

TMNT: The Last Ronin
Credit: IDW Publishing

As recently announced, “The Last Ronin II — Re-Evolution” will arrive later this year, with the first issue releasing in December. This will be considered the second series, as “Lost Years” is viewed as a prequel/sequel hybrid or a “Last Ronin 1.5”.

Related: Dark and Gritty ‘Last Ronin’ Trailer Proves ‘Ninja Turtles’ Is the Next ‘John Wick’

The Last Ronin video game

Michelangelo in The Last Ronin fan film trailer
Credit: YouTube channel “Speedokaggen” by creator Magnus Edlund / TMNT Copyright owners IDW Publishing, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures

It has been confirmed that a video game adaptation of “The Last Ronin” is in development, which the popular God of War video game series inspires. Recently, TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman described what he’s seen so far from the game as “goosebump city.”

Related: This ‘Ninja Turtles’ Fan Theory Will Blow Your Mind!

TMNT villain-focused Paramount+ films

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem character poster - Maya Rudolph as Cynthia Utrom
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies

We’ve known for quite some time that several TMNT villain-focused films are making their way to Paramount+. While it is yet to be confirmed whether these are part of the Mutant Mayhem shared universe, given the recent news that a shared universe is in development, and when you take into account just how many villains are introduced and teased, in the new film, it’s pretty obvious these upcoming installments will be connected.

Related: “They’ve Turned It Into ‘The Little Mermaid’”, Twitter Attacks ‘Ninja Turtles’ Ahead of New Trailer

Untitled live-action TMNT reboot

April and the Turtles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014
Credit: Paramount Pictures

A brand-new live-action TMNT reboot is reportedly still in development, with Saturday Night Live writers Casey Jost and Colin Jost attached. The film will not follow on from the two recent live-action reboots, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016). However, based on Kevin Eastman’s comments surrounding The Last Ronin video game, we also now know it won’t be based on that comic book series either.

Related: Will the Live-Action ‘Ninja Turtles’ Reboot Be All-Female?!

The new Ninja Turtles in "The Last Ronin - Lost Years
Credit: IDW Publishing

As per IDW, here’s the synopsis for “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 The Last Ronin fan film trailer
Credit: YouTube channel “Speedokaggen” by creator Magnus Edlund / TMNT Copyright owners IDW Publishing, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures

As per IDW, here’s the synopsis for “Lost Day”:

A special one-shot set in the Ronin-verse! After the Last Ronin defeated Oroku Hiroto, Master of the Foot Clan, New York City was free for the first time in more than a decade. But along with the newfound freedom comes a dangerous power vacuum waiting to be filled, and without a common enemy in the Foot Clan, various factions are vying to take control. Longtime resistance leader April O’Neil finds herself and her loved ones—including four small mutant turtles she and her daughter, Casey Marie Jones, are raising and training together—once again caught up in the battle for the soul of the city.

When April takes the young mutant turtles with her on a supply run into the city, they become lost and must find their way back to the sewer lair or risk becoming collateral damage in the newest power struggle overtaking the streets. Old memories mix with new realities as April and her four small charges race to get back home before it’s too late.

TMNT: The Last Ronin
Credit: IDW Publishing

“The Lost Years” issues 1 — 4, and the one-shot, “The Lost Day,”, are on sale now. “The Last Ronin II – Re-Evolution” #1 will be released on December 13, 2023.

Mutant Mayhem is in theaters now. Check out the trailer 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.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies

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).

Are you looking forward to see what the future holds for the new Ninja Turtles? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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