Lately we’ve had a few Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles announcements, the first was that Platinum Dunes’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wouldn’t get a third entry which is a shame since I wanted to see more of that unvierse, more recently we got the sad news that the 2012 Nick CG show which apparently is now renamed as Tales of the TMNT, was going to be cancelled after the fifth season. This was also a bit upsetting since I felt that incarnation could’ve told a few more stories. But with death came rebirth as they also announced a new Ninja Turtles show called Rise of the TMNT which meant that Viacom was not done with the franchise and I don’t think this will be another The Next Mutation..
After the sale of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Viacom I had always been afraid of the long term plans for the franchise. I knew in the short term we’d finally get a movie and a new show not to mention a bunch of licensed goodies. but what would happen after the franchise started to wane like it usually does in cycles? Unlike Mirage who could just reboot the turtles after a waiting a few years; Viacom could very easily put it in its vault like Disney does to its older franchises. Viacom has plenty of Nickelodeon IP’s and it does absolutely nothing with them. We’re talking big name franchises like Rugrats so it’s not unprecedented to think they would do the same with the Ninja Turtles after they made a return on their profit. We have indeed seen Viacom be more open to reviving their older stuff lately but there was nothing for sure for TMNT so it was nice to have the announcement that a new show awaits for us. But what exactly is the new show Rise of the TMNT going to be?
The announcement of the Rise of the TMNT was rather vague but it’s fine as the 2012 Nick CG show is still running and at least we got the title which sometimes takes a while to even get announced. The current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show won’t finish until this fall so I don’t expect much news to be made available until that show finishes. The earliest we could hope to hear something about Rise of the TMNT would be at SDCC 2017 where we would only get something like the logo or if we’re lucky some early concept art but not much else.
There’s been some wild speculation online, the most common is that it will be just a copy of Teen Titans Go. This is mostly based on the comments of Nickelodeon’s Group president Cyma Zarghami “we’re excited for the new series to take the characters in a different direction with more humor, a younger and lighter feel and all-new dimensions to explore”. The idea that this is a negative though is wrong as Teen Titans Go was able to improve and it has that meta humor full of inside jokes and it being tongue in cheek that if done correctly, it would be really nice to see a similar show with the TMNT. While Teen Titans Go has been quite successful for Cartoon Network the assumption that it’ll be just like it is really out there as the description doesn’t really seem to fit with that idea, so let’s take read the description they gave for the show and see why it doesn’t seem like it’ll be like that:
“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will follow Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures all while enjoying their favorite slice of pizza. Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the four brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.”
It was also mentioned that it had “All-new dimensions to explore”, “It’ll expand the mythology of the Ninja Turtles by featuring new villains and a more mystical New York City”, and “The TMNT discover a magical world beneath the city’s streets by gaining strange new mystic ninja powers.”
From this short vague description we can get a few different things, first of all they seem to emphasise the “perils of the modern age” and “fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes”. So it seems to be more of an origin story-arc ala Batman Begins so to speak. This is backed up by the title of the show which is Rise of the TMNT. The emphasis in humor might have to do with the fact that they’re much younger since they have yet to become the heroes they will be one day. All Ninja Turtle shows start with the origin and we see the heroes progress but it’s never been the sole emphasis.
We’re also able to rescue from that description that this will not be as how grounded in reality as it will deal with a more mystic side of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is ground the franchise has covered before but never as its main focus. Even New York which is normally the setting of the more grounded stories is described as “mystical” not to mention that we know there’ll be a magical world for them to explore. They’ll also have mystic ninja powers which they never knew they existed but we’ve actually seen the turtles use these powers before in 4k!ds’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2k3 in the fifth Lost / Ninja Tribunal season.
Good news is we know there’ll be new villains and mutants so it won’t only rely on nostalgia or comedy but also on some action that the Ninja Turtles are known for. We should also remember that we had some TMNT shorts that were made and shown at San Diego Comic Con 2016. I think this is sort of the tone they want to go for as they’re comedy focused yet they still have action. While I don’t think they’re the pilots of Rise of the TMNT; I do think they were testing the waters with them and that the new show will follow a format similar to them. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re 12 minute episodes.
We may not get much more information until after the Nick CG show finishes in 2017 but we know that we can look forward to 26 episodes in the fall of 2018. The images posted here are from Andy Suriano who is involved in the show and has been for a while and made some previous pitches, thanks Powder, and from some shorts released during SDCC 2016.