‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Easter Eggs & Trivia

Published 3 months ago by , Updated August 27th, 2014 at 12:26 pm,

Ninja Turtles Movie Easter Eggs Trivia Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

In the pantheon of beloved 1980s pop culture, there’s no question that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ranks among the very best for an entire generation. Whether it’s the comic books that kicked off the franchise, the animated series that added to the core mythology, or the previous films that took the mutant martial artists into live-action, everyone has their favorites.

As usually happens with properties so beloved, news of a modern reboot proved divisive before the first details even surfaced. Thankfully, the finished product was a far cry from a failure (read our review) and actually kept even more faithful to the source material than expected. And with decades of comic, TV and film history to draw upon, we wouldn’t expect any less.

Needless to say, there will be SPOILERS in our list of Ninja Turtles trivia, so read at your own risk.


April in Yellow

Ninja Turtles Movie April Yellow Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

Just as the Ninja Turtles themselves have become synonymous with the color of their headbands, so too has intrepid reporter April O’Neil become famously know for her yellow wardrobe. While the yellow jumpsuit was adapted to a yellow raincoat in previous live-action films, Megan Fox‘s version keeps the tradition alive through a yellow jacket (along with the character’s signature red hair – dark, but reddened).


Burne Thompson

Ninja Turtles Burne Thompson Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

Not every callback to the source material is as easy to spot as clothing or color, but April O’Neil’s overpowering editor undergoes a bit of a makeover. Burne Thompson of Channel 6 was created to give another occasional antagonist to the Turtles of the 1987 cartoon, but in the film, the character is gender-swapped to Bernadette Thompson – played by Whoopi Goldberg.


Jim McNaughton

Ninja Turtles Movie McNaughton Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

The sudden appearance of Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam in the Channel 6 news room likely took many by surprise, but it’s the character he’s revealed to be playing that would catch the attention of only the most devoted fans. O’Neil delivers a slam of her own in which she refers to Killam’s insulting character as “McNaughton” – as in Jim McNaughton, a colleague of O’Neil’s from the 1986 comic.



Ninja Turtles Movie Karai Trivia Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

Although the responsibilities of Karai (Minae Noji) as the lieutenant to central villain Shredder may have seemed par for the course, the high-ranking Foot Clan member may have been far more important than it seemed. In the past, Karai has been written as the daughter or niece of the iconic Turtles villain, at times even outranking him. While the film version doesn’t get to don her own set of armor, the tinge of red in her hair is a nice homage to its color scheme.


April’s Fainting

Ninja Turtles Movie Faint April Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

While causal observers might expect an ambitious journalist to have ice running through their veins, April O’Neil has shown a tendency to become… well, as overwhelmed as anyone would be by the sight of enormous humanoid reptiles. Her tendency to lose consciousness was carried over from the comics into the 1990 film, and the same reaction can be seen in the latest meeting.


What’s in a Name

Ninja Turtles Movie April Naming Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

Plenty of movie fans may bristle at what they see as a change to canon, with April O’Neil now implied to have named each one of the Turtles (lab experiments in ‘Project Renaissance’). While April’s exact reason for selecting the names of Italian Renaissance-era artists may have been altered, it’s not the first time that she’s been given the honor in the many versions of the comic books.


Hip-Hop Christmas Album

Ninja Turtles Movie Christmas Album Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

When Raphael first expresses a desire to leave behind his brothers and head out into the world alone, it’s Michelangelo who tells him he can’t – his hip hop Christmas album is still in need of a ‘Hype Man.’ The brothers show an interest in impromptu music later on in the film, but this line is likely a reference to the very-real We Wish You a Turtle Christmas, a direct-to-video special featuring the Turtles’ “Wrap Rap.”


Brand Loyalty

Ninja Turtles Movie Dominoes Pizza Hut Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

To make sure that one of his sons spills the beans on the Turtles’ nocturnal adventures, Splinter tempts Michelangelo with a Pizza Hut pizza claimed to contain more cheese varieties than ever thought possible. While the explanation for the pizza-loving brothers switching from Domino’s Pizza to their longtime rival is never provided, we can only assume that the sting of a moldy pizza spanned two decades.


Splinter’s Slice

Ninja Turtles Movie Splinter Pizza Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

As is expected of the movie’s stars, their weaponry makes short work of their favorite food – pizza. While the brothers may not recreate the football passes of previous live-action adaptations, director Jonathan Liebesman did repeat the previous gag of having a slice end up on the head of an unamused Splinter.


TCRI Canister

Ninja Turtles Movie TGRI Easter Egg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Easter Eggs & Trivia

The new film sets the live-action origins of Splinter and the Turtles in line with that of the original comic books, as mutated subjects exposed to an alien ‘ooze.’ The acronym for Techno Cosmic Research Institute (TCRI) was changed to TGRI (Techno Global) for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, given its non-alien origins in that story. But in the new reboot, the iconic canister – and its original initials – remain intact.


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  1. Another reference in the line, “Tonight I dine on Turtle soup.” As said by Shredder.

  2. When they jump from the top of the buildings down to the sewer with the moon above them was just like when they did it in the cartoon series.

    • Also in the opening credits for the old TMNT arcade game :)

  3. Pizza Hut were originally approached to provide the pizza in the original 1990 film but declined as they thought it would be a bad idea to be linked to a film about giant talking Ninja reptiles. Obviously this time round they didn’t want to miss out

  4. I did like this version! I could’ve waited until it came out on DVD, and nothing beats “The Secret of the Ooze,” but it was good! I think they could’ve gone with a better actress than Megan Fox, and the hair wasn’t red enough! Personally, I would’ve cast Emma Stone! I liked her way better as a hard hitting reporter and what was the deal with the camera guy? If they wanted a love interest, they should’ve casted Casey! Maybe it was just me but April seemed a lot more useless than she did in the past…like she couldn’t get her crap together fast enough!

  5. Donatello’s tech-laden backpack resembles the exact same accessory the toy Metal Head wears on his back.

  6. might just be me but when donny hacked aprils computer wasnt the music in the background the OG nintendo game theme song?

  7. The Campbell’s soup label is actually a nod to Cracked magazine issue #255′s cutout, “Cracked’s Condemned Mutant Turtle Soup with Shells”, which kids could cut out and tape to their favorite can of Cambell’s condensed soup to freak out their parent(s).


  8. The song at the end has the words “Shell Shocked” This is also in the TMNT arcade game, when a turtle runs out of life/energy they pass out and say they were shell shocked.

    In the 1987 animated series, April had a camera man who was kind of a odd fellow and was always worried about his appearance named Vernon.

  9. They also say the phrase “Turtle Power”, I think it’s Vern that says it..

  10. Jim McNaughton, was not a a colleague of O’Neil in the comics. In fact April wasn’t even a news reporter in the old comics.

    • You’re right. In the original comics April was Baxter Stockman’s lab assistant.

  11. Mikey had his skateboard too .. I was waiting for a skateboard scene; it was very prominent in the cartoons and in one of the levels of the old arcade game.

  12. first i would like to point out that currently Karai is Splinters daughter

    also the creators the turtles in fact said there was nothing wrong with the alien origin because they in fact are aliens in the original here is what Kevin Eastman said “As soon as ['TMNT' co-creator Peter Laird] and I had freedom, we took [the Turtles] into outer space and introduced the TCRI aliens [a.k.a. the Ultroms] and then we took you to the origin of the ooze, so they [the Turtles] have alien origins, they are from outer space… ['Ninja Turtles'] has to be well-grounded in Turtle history and lore, we don’t wanna take that away from the fans.”

    • While on the new cartoon Karai is Splinter’s daughter In the current comics Karai is Shredder’s Great (several times over) Granddaughter, since he is hundreds of years old. but he usually just calls her granddaughter. New comics are a bit confusing.

    • I believe you are misinterpreting the quote.
      When Mr. Eastman says “they are from outer space…”, I believe he is referring to the origins of the ooze and not the turtles themselves. The alien ooze being what changes the turtles into mutants.

      • that matters not. he still says their origin is outer space.

  13. Missed one! In the new movie, Shredder says “Tonight I dine on turtle soup.” Direct quote from one of the first episodes of the 80s cartoon.

  14. They have tattoos that’s great

  15. I’m amazed no one has pointed it out that I can see so far, anywhere. Raphael knitting. The hot-headed, foul tempered, hard hitting turtle knits! It’s a gag you see throughout the various media’s. Used in the 2014 movie as a part of the interrogation/punishment though typically the scene simply has Raphael knitting his red swatch of fabric. Presumably an afghan.

  16. Vernon says heroes in a half shell, reference to old tv show

  17. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the book in which they learned to become ninjas. The book was written by Kevin Laird, an obvious nod to the creators of TMNT.

  18. Here’s something a real TMNT fan noticed about the reboot… It sucked. I can’t understand why the writer’s felt the need to change everything about the origin story, only to create some silly “Small World” notion that April knew the turtles before their mutation was so completely unnecessary that I’m surprised it was even allowed to remain in the film.

    • Lots of movies do SO much worse than “April didn’t know of the turtles originally”. That’s small compared to how video games are (still) being treated with COMPLETE disregard to the original source material. Watch Tekken or Street Fighter and you’ll notice that EVERYBODY was done wrong (except Bison and Vega).

  19. A few other easter eggs: Eric Sachs mentioned that they were originally going to test the mutagen on bunny rabbits (a possible nod to Usagi Yojimbo); Actor K. Todd Freeman appears briefly on one of April’s old camera as Dr. Baxter Stockman. At the end of the film Donatello honks the horn of the turtle van which plays the familiar notes “heroes in a half-shell” from the end of the 90s cartoon theme.

  20. Other than Donnie’s oversized glasses, April’s lack of common sense, and the Michael Bay over-dramatized cartoon personalities, I thought the movie was good.

  21. So they didn’t fix the repulsive distracting nose holes in this CGI movie? Yep. Didn’t watch it at all. Have no interest in watching it.

  22. When they show the Turtle names on the Project Renaissance tanks, Michelangelo’s is spelled “Michaelangelo” — the way the creators originally spelled it because they were mistaken on the famous painter’s spelling.

  23. They all have the masks from the Original Live Action series, after they were bought out by Sabaan, remember when they introduced “Venus De Milo” and you could see their eyeholes. And they all have their survival trinkets from going to the dimension of the Ninja Trials and fighting Ultimate Ninja. Hence the weird bone charms they wear. Plus doesn’t Raph get his shell Cracked again by the bad guys? Like always.