Filming on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot sequel (official title TBA) is rolling right along, under the direction of Dave Green (Earth to Echo). Meanwhile, on the news front, we continue to get more and more casting updates about characters who will make their debut in the revitalized live-action TMNT universe, during this second installment.
Many of the new additions in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 will presumably stay on the villain side throughout the film – that includes, mutant warthog Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams), the recast version of mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), and according to the rumor mill, the extraterrestrial Krang. However, today we’ve learned of one character in the movie whose allegiance may shift, by the time TMNT 2 has reached its conclusion: the deadly high-ranking Foot Clan warrior, Karai.
Karai, for those unfamiliar, was introduced in the TMNT comic books by creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1992; in most iterations of the TMNT property, the character has some relation to Oroku Saki’s Shredder. Sure enough, Deadline is reporting that in the upcoming live-action TMNT sequel, Karai is Shredder’s daughter; the role will be handled by Brittany Ishibashi, a relatively lesser-known actor who has appeared on such TV shows as Ghostfacers, Political Animals, and Emily Owens M.D. in the 2010s (she also popped up on Supernatural in 2008).
The casting of Ishibashi as Karai once again raises questions about TMNT 2‘s version of The Shredder played by Brian Tee – seeing as Tee’s only three year older than Ishibashi. We’ve speculated before that the title of Shredder might be something that is passed among different members of the Foot Clan in the sequel, so it might be that Karai is actually the daughter of the older Shredder seen in the 2014 TMNT movie (played by Tohoru Masamune). Or, of course, there might be another explanation; like, Tee only plays Shredder in flashbacks.
It also remains to be seen if, in the TMNT reboot sequel, Karai and Leonardo will form something of a relationship/rivalry, as they have in past comic books and TV shows. (Think of Karai as the Talia al Ghul to Leonardo’s Batman… in a manner of speaking, anyway.) Something else to note: Karai, like Baxter Stockman, did technically pop up in TMNT (2014), but was also played by a different actor (Minae Noji, in that case).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is adding several new characters to the mix, but it’s worth noting that with exception like Stephen Amell’s Casey Jones, most of them should be proper supporting players who won’t have that much screen time. The upside of introducing such individuals as Karai in the TMNT sequel, of course, is that even if they don’t play a huge role here, their inclusion lays the foundation for more development in a third installment – assuming their inclusion feels organic and TMNT 2 doesn’t end up suffering from Amazing Spider-Man 2 syndrome, so to speak.
TMNT (2014) had enough fun action and humor to win over many fans, but many others were put off by how much the movie felt like a patchwork of ideas revised from earlier versions of the project. This time around, however, screenwriters Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec are starting with a clean(er) slate; one which they appear to be using to dive deeper into the TMNT mythos and include more fan-favorite elements. That sounds good on paper, at least.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 opens in U.S. theaters on June 3rd, 2016.