Dark TMNT Reboot Shares First Look Following ‘The Last Ronin’ Movie Announcement

in Movies & TV

Raphael preparing to skydive in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Last Ronin movie is just one of many upcoming gritty TMNT reboots.

Less than a year after the 3D-animated reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) blew up the box office and created yet another generation of TMNT fans, the half-shell heroes are now set to return to their “grungy and raw” origins in more ways than one, which could mean that the new film series is about to get side-lined by fans.

The Ninja Turtles are no strangers to the dark and gritty, or the “grungy and raw,” however you choose to describe it. While the more mainstream TMNT fans think of them as nothing more than friendly neighborhood, pizza-munching superheroes, diehard fans will know that “the world’s most fearsome fighting team” are inherently brutal killing machines.

The Ninja Turtles looking menacing on a rooftop in 'Mutant Mayhem'
Credit: Nickelodeon Movies / Paramount Pictures

Related: ‘TMNT’ Film Series Officially Dead in the Water as New Reboot Takes Over

The Turtles Are Finally Going Back to Their Roots

Now, it seems the franchise’s owner Nickelodeon, distributor Paramount Pictures, and comic book publishers IDW Publishing have finally realized that there’s a lot of potential in taking Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo back to their dark origins. The popularity of the ongoing comic book series TMNT: The Last Ronin (2020) alone is a testament to this.

Not only is there a “AAA” video game adaptation of The Last Ronin in the works, earlier this month, it was revealed that The Last Ronin movie has also been given the green light by Paramount Pictures, with Child’s Play (2019) writer Tyler Burton Smith penning the script and former head of DC Films Walter Hamada producing through his company 18hz.

IDW Publishing's 'TMNT: The Last Ronin'
Credit: Inside the Magic

Related: R-Rated ‘TMNT’ Movie Everything We Know: Plot, Cast, Trailer, Release Date, and More

IDW’s TMNT Comic Book Series Relaunch

But while it may seem that The Last Ronin is about to lock its blades with the Mutant Mayhem cinematic shared universe (a theatrical sequel, a video game sequel, and a 2D animated sequel series are officially in development), there’s another corner of the franchise that’s also gearing up to inject some serious grit into the four martial arts-trained mutants.

Earlier this year, IDW Publishing renewed its licensing deal with Paramount to continue releasing TMNT comic books.

Now, Marvel and DC writer Jason Aaron (WolverineBatmanSuperman) will be spearheading the new stories going forward, taking over from Sophie Campbell, who recently brought the main IDW-Verse series to its 150th-issue milestone with TMNT: The Road to 150. These stories will remain separate to IDW’s ongoing TMNT: The Last Ronin series, which exists in a completely different timeline.

Leonardo and Jennika in IDW Publishing's 'TMNT: Road to 150' comic book
Credit: IDW Publishing

Related: ‘TMNT: The Last Ronin’ Trailer Breakdown

Now, a first look at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, slated for release later this year, reveals that the IDW-Verse is set to go back to the franchise’s “grungy and raw” roots, as opposed to the more cosmic nature of Campbell’s outings.

CBR (Comic Book Resources) has exclusively revealed a first look at the upcoming comic book, showcasing the main cover by artist Rafael Albuquerque and its five variants by Joëlle Jones, Eric Talbot, Matteo Scalera, Peach Momoko, and Darick Robertson (click here to check them all out). Artists Kevin Eastman (TMNT’s co-creator), Khary Randolph, Aaron Campbell, and Sean Gordon Murphy will also be providing variant covers for the comic.

Leonardo in IDW Publishing's 'TMNT' comic book series
Credit: IDW Publishing

Related: Live-Action ‘TMNT’ Movie With R Rating Will Feature Female Ninja Turtles

In an interview with Screen Rant earlier this month, writer Jason Aaron described the TMNT relaunch as “grungy and raw,” which will be music to the ears of lifelong fans who remember those early Kevin Eastman x Peter Laird stories under Mirage Comics. It’s also sure to appear fans of The Last Ronin, which is a bleak and dystopian take on the Turtles.

Other upcoming TMNT comic books as part of the IDW relaunch include Nightwatcher, Mutant Nation, Alpha, and Black, White, and Green. Meanwhile, The Last Ronin will continue with its third series, Re-Evolution (#1 is on sale now).

The Last Ronin II: Re-Evolution #2 is available on June 12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 is available July 2024. 

Other Upcoming TMNT Media

It remains to be seen how these dark iterations of the Ninja Turtles will affect the Mutant Mayhem cinematic shared universe, which Nickelodeon has absolutely no intention of letting fall by the wayside.

Mutant Mayhem is getting a follow-up in the form of a 2D animated series titled Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2024), which streams on Paramount+ on April 26, while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem 2 (2026) will be released in theaters on October 9, 2026. There’s also a video game sequel to the 2023 film titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants Unleashed (TBA) in development.

Two more TMNT video games, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade: Wrath of the Mutants (2024) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splintered Fate (2024), will hit shelves later this year. There’s no release date for The Last Ronin video game or the movie.

Are you a fan of IDW’s TMNT comics? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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