Failed TMNT Movie Franchise Gets Official Sequel

in Movies & TV

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

Credit: Paramount Pictures

A failed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) film series has been given a new sequel.

When someone says “TMNT film series,” it’s impossible to know which one they might be talking about. The original live-action series that’s made up of three movies? The 2014 Michael Bay-produced reboot and its 2016 sequel? Or the brand-new Mutant Mayhem series? Over the decades, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been no strangers to the silver screen, but they span all forms of media, including, of course, comic books.

Earlier this year, IDW renewed its licensing deal with Paramount to continue releasing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” comic books. So, as part of the TMNT franchise’s 40th anniversary this year, several new stories are underway, with Marvel Comics and DC Comics writer Jason Aaron spearheading the launch, taking over from Sophie Campbell following her exit after “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Road to 150” (2024), the 150th issue in the IDW run.

Now, we can expect several new “individual” comics featuring our favorite half-shell heroes, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, with stories Aaron previously described as “grungy and raw,” harkening back to the early days of TMNT comics in the ’80s when co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were creating them under Mirage Comics. And among the new run is an ongoing series titled “TMNT: Nightwatcher” (2024).

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

What Is “TMNT: Nightwatcher” About?

Any diehard TMNT fan will recall the “Nightwatcher” persona from the IMAGI Studios 3D-animated theatrical film TMNT (2007) in which Raphael becomes the metal-clad vigilante after he and his four brothers have gone their separate ways and “the world’s most fearsome fighting team” is no more. Eager to continue battling New York City criminals, Raphael creates the anti-hero alias but winds up locking blades with his own brother, Leonardo, over it.

While TMNT has become something of a cult classic within the fandom, it received mixed reviews from critics at the time and grossed only $95.6M worldwide against its $34M budget. Though sequels were planned, when Nickelodeon acquired the TMNT franchise in 2009, they were canceled in favor of a new series of live-action films, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016).

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

But after Out of the Shadows bombed at the box office ($245.6M over $135M), the Michael Bay-produced series was canceled, too, and TMNT has now reverted to 3D animation with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023), which grossed $180.5M worldwide against $70M last year. Several Mutant Mayhem sequels are now in development, and there’s also a live-action R-rated movie adaptation of the popular IDW comic book series “The Last Ronin” (2020) in the works.

So it’s fair to say that 2007’s TMNT is well and truly buried in the past beneath what will soon be three Ninja Turtles film series (the Michael Bay movies, Mutant Mayhem, and The Last Ronin). However, “TMNT: Nightwatcher” acts as a sequel of sorts to TMNT (2007), reintroducing the titular vigilante but this time with their identity shrouded in mystery.

Casey Jones (Chris Evans), April O'Neil (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and the Turtles in the 2007 film 'TMNT'
Credit: Imagi Animation Studios

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

By the end of the 2007 film, the Ninja Turtles are reestablished and Raphael abandons his solo vigilantism, so in the “Nightwatcher” comics, we don’t know who’s behind the mask.

The fact it’s being kept a mystery suggests it’s another Turtle this time. But who? Leonardo, Donatello, or Michelangelo? It’s unlikely to be Mikey because he has his own series of comics with “The Last Ronin,” but there are other Turtle characters besides the iconic four.

There’s Slash, Venus de Milo, Jennika, Odyn, Yi, Moja, Uno, and Donatello’s daughter Lita. Who’s the new Nightwatcher? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Here’s the description for the first issue of “TMNT: Nightwatcher”:

“After making a dark debut in the Free Comic Book Day special, fans have one burning question: Who is the Nightwatcher? Violence and discrimination against mutants is running wild, and a new vigilante will rise up to combat it… but who is this fearsome armored fighter standing bravely against the criminals who wish to harm mutants?

From the brilliant mind of writer Juni Ba and astonishing artist Fero Pe comes an action-packed ongoing series that spins out of the pages of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES to delve into the grim reality of New York City after the Mutagen Bomb and unveil the secrets behind the mask.”

“TMNT: Nightwatcher” #1 is written by Juni Ba, illustrated by Pe, colored by Luis Antonio Delago, and lettered by Nathan Widick.

In a recent interview with SuperHeroHype, Ba said of the new series, “With Mutant Town being exposed to the larger world, there’s a greater need for this burgeoning new kind of people to have someone who can help them against a world that would use or discard them. And that’s what Nightwatcher could be. Part vigilante, part folk hero. I’m excited for you to see this character distribute helping hands and bruised-up fists!”

SuperHeroHype has shared an exclusive look at two new variant covers for the comic book from Jon Lankry and Eric Talbot.

“TMNT: Nightwatcher” #1 releases on August 14, 2024 with a preorder deadline of July 8, 2024.

Will you be picking up “TMNT: Nightwatcher”? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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