Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows failed to match the box-office of its predecessor, but the big-budget sequel was met with generally more favorable reviews from both fans and critics. Much of that positive response was tied to a more consistent sense of action/comedy tone, but fans in particular were receptive to a more central role for the title characters, nostalgic callbacks to the original 1990s animated series like Bebop & Rocksteady and Krang, and a version of the Shredder that hewed more closely to both the series and the original comics.
Now, new concept art has revealed that characters like Shredder, Krang, and human good guy Casey Jones could have looked much different than they did in the final film.
Compiled by CBM from individual posts by production artists Daniel Edery and Jared Krichevsky, the concept art renderings show off a variety of alternate looks for the alien overlord Krang; which makes sense as his iconic design (an alien brain with a face alternately walking on mechanical spider-legs or riding in the stomach-cavity of a lumbering humanoid robot-suit) is easily one of the most bizarre in the entire TMNT canon. While each design maintains elements of this original idea, they offer notable changes such as more elaborate apendages for the villain’s legs and alternate body-types for his robot mode — including variations where Krang himself is almost as large as his robot body.
The postings also reveal that Casey Jones (portrayed in the film by Arrow’s Stephen Amell) could have looked much more like his comic-book counterpart. A vigilante typically framed as a send-up of Punisher-style characters who fights crime using a variety of sports equipment as weapons, Jones is traditionally depicted with long black hair and an ever-present hockey mask. But while the mask and at least one hockey stick both make brief appearances in Out of The Shadows, otherwise the new Jones mostly just looks like Amell. The alternate art, on the other hand, shows off a version much closer to both the original model and the version memorably portrayed by Elias Koteas in the original 1990 live-action movie.
Master Splinter and The Shredder also received makeovers between films, bringing both more into line with their prior animated and live-action interpretations. But concept art shows that there was substantial variation in their reconception, with a still of Splinter showing a much different creature than appeared in either film and a Shredder who — while still closer to the classic look than the power-armored “mecha” version from the first reboot — was carrying a substantially greater amount of armor and weaponry than he managed in the film.
While it can’t be known whether or not these designs, some of which are bound to be held up as superior by some fans, would have made any real difference for Out of The Shadows in terms of box office performance, it’s always interesting to see the evolution that special-effects and costuming decisions go through before they arrive in finished form onscreen. Given that the possibility of a third installment has not been officially ruled out, it’s even possible that some of these designs may be given a second look. For now, they remain an interesting glimpse into bringing one of the year’s most FX-heavy films to the screen.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is currently playing in theaters.