‘TMNT’ Character Design Details: Traditional Turtles & Comical Shredder?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated January 4th, 2014 at 2:32 pm,

teenage mutant ninja turtles by nebezial 2 TMNT Character Design Details: Traditional Turtles & Comical Shredder?

Producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman’s live-action reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came under fire from the property’s hardcore fans seemingly right out of the gate. Bay and company originally intended to drop the “Teenage” and “Mutant” aspects of the turtles’ origin story, only to back away from this idea and claim that the “ooze” which gave the turtles their powers was from outer space, but the turtles would remain earth-bound.

The negative fan reaction appeared to influence Paramount’s decision to delay the film’s release and hire screenwriter Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) to revise the script. Despite the studio and filmmakers evidently reacting to fan vitriol, the TMNT reboot was always going to be full of divisive decisions, from the casting of key roles – Megan Fox as April O’NeilWhoopi Goldberg as (possibly) her boss, William Fichnter as Shredder – to which story elements will or will not be included (like Krang, the Technodrome or Bebop and Rocksteady).

The main question about this reboot revolves around the updated look of the turtles. Aside from set photos revealing the actors in motion-capture suits (complete with a shell), word on the overall character designs has been quiet, until now. At a recent toy fair, sources for Idle Hands reported on the first line-up of updated action figures for the movie. None of these descriptions are official, so take this all with a lot of salt.

classic teenage mutant ninja turtles toys TMNT Character Design Details: Traditional Turtles & Comical Shredder?

Classic TMNT toys.

The new toys sound like a mix between classic, expected elements and newly added components. According the unnamed individual who got a look at them, the turtles themselves appear to be based on their traditional counterparts from the past: each turtle has the weapon they are associated with (a pair of twin katana blades for Leonardo, a staff for Donatello, sais for Raphael, nunchucks and apparently a “three sectioned staff” for Michelangelo) and the correct colors for their masks.

Along with the turtles looking like turtles (and not aliens), the new designs sound like they are likely to at the very least quell the worries of fans expecting some kind of radical departure:

In fact the designs are quite traditional and unremarkable, and feature far less texture than the 90’s movie turtles. Eyes are fairly normal and not cartoonishly large. No beak along the nose area like some speculated. Three fingers and two toes.

Still, these new turtles seem to have interesting-sounding details added to each of them – rather than the uniform size and shape of the older toys, each character of the updated line has a different physique and slightly different size, along with a specific style of dress for each turtle which emphasizes their characters.

  • Leonardo is given “a sort of pseudo samurai gear get up including shoulder armor, some leg bits, arm bracer and foot wear up to the calf with bindings showing. He might have some armor (non metal) along his chest as well.”
  • Donatello’s costume design is “a mix of techy, modern and a dash of samurai with more normal footwear” with “some gadget on his head and gadgetry coming off of his shell.”
  • Raphael has “an urban warrior look with white, bandage-like wrappings on his feet, right leg, and right arm. He wears this very conan-esque loin cloth..thing..with leather straps draping down as if he were more suited for gladiatorial battle.”
  • Michelangelo’s costume sounds like the most modern of the bunch: “a hoodie wrapped around his waist, pants and sneakers with the toes cut out, wrappings on his hands and forearms, a necklace (could be puka shell beads?) and his mask ends drape down to his chest.”

the shredder by tamplierpainter d3klut9 TMNT Character Design Details: Traditional Turtles & Comical Shredder?

As for the turtles’ mentor and father-figure Splinter, his design sounds the most traditional, with a samurai fob hairstyle, the “Fu Manchu facial hair” we’ve come to associate with the character, a tattered samurai outfit, “blocky sandals” and a samurai sword. We’re assuming Splinter is again a giant mutated rat in this incarnation, since any deviation of that particular detail would have fans howling.

April O’Neil’s toy seems to mirror the overall design for the character seen in the set photos: yellow jacket, blue jeans and black boots. The figure comes with a camera and two “sai knives,” for whatever reason. The toy seen evidently does not look much like Megan Fox.

The biggest departure from what has been seen before is the new version of the turtles’ arch-nemesis Shredder. From the sound of it, the villain’s toy design sounds over the top and comical:

Pointy edges coming off of absolutely anything. He’ll be the stuff of ridicule for some time. Very overcomplicated outfit.

Shredder’s overall costume sounds blade-heavy to the point of overkill: “He’s got the shoulder pieces with the blades coming off them, the shin armor with the blades coming off them, black armor areas to offset the steel parts and a cape that looks metal with blades coming down the side.”

teenage mutant ninja turtles 2014 release date TMNT Character Design Details: Traditional Turtles & Comical Shredder?

As is the case with Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, (along with any other franchise so firmly entrenched in the pop culture consciousness) it can be argued that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is meant to be a long-form toy commercial just as much as a modern update to a popular and fan-beloved property. Thus, it makes sense for the toy design to take things a bit over the top.

There is no way to know just how closely the character design of the film will hew to the descriptions of the toys. Given that there has been no official press release for this merchandise (and this anonymous “toy fair” was not named nor a location given), it’s entirely possible that the action figures which were displayed might be preliminary mock-ups and may not at all reflect the final design. After the storm of negative press associated with the ninja turtles’ intended “alien” origin story, it seems unlikely that the studio and merchandisers will risk alienating fans any further, so the inevitable flurry of action figures associated with the reboot will probably end up as crowd-pleasing as possible.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will open in theaters on August 8th, 2014

Source: Idle Hands [via Coming Soon]

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. Hasbro? Sure you don’t mean Playmates? I think they are handling the movie toy merch.

  2. This movie is gonna bomb

    • most likely not.

      • It will certainly bomb

        • Why? Because it sounds horrible? When has that ever stopped people from seeing something?
          The Transformers movies made money. I know they were horrible, you know they were horrible, everyone with a functioning brain knows they were horrible. But they made money.
          This will probably be the same, in spite of how much we all want it to be otherwise.

          • Ok, I can understand someone having issues with Michael Bay, and some of his ideas, but honestly I think your speaking to harshly about the overall success given in the Transformers motion pictures. Sure the story was weak and centered around to very sup par actors, and the lines were kind of s*****, but Bay atleast fed the fans what they wanted by having Cullen helm the voice for Prime. He could have chosen Fred from that movie Fred…lmao, so I think he has tried. I do think the TF4 redo/continuation may be what the fans need to realize if this is actually going somewhere as a franchise or if Bay is just doing it for the money. I think there is a lot more gritty storyline appearing in the 4th installment, the casting is a lot more “Big time” than the last 3, and did I mention Shia Labough and Megan Fox WILL NOT be in the 4th or any more that may follow. So give it chance man, have hope there is still some sanity left in this otherwise God forsaken world. lol.

          • I have a functioning brain and the Transformers movies aren’t TERRIBLE or incredibly HORRID as people make them out to be.

    • It is with a truly heavy heart i say this my friend, but you are wrong! This movie is going to make a fortune, whether its good bad or indifferent. tmnt production budget = 00.3 cents. ad/promotion budget $63287603285620358602956892738576289 trillion billion dollers.

    • It most certainly will NOT bomb. Far worse sounding movies have made billions of dollars, and this will be no exception.

  3. If this happens to be true, those designs sounds great.
    And that edgy Shredder god!. Will we see something near of a Super Shredder in all his splendor?!!

    • I have a bad feeling we will see Shredder in some sort of Ironman, Rhino, Silver Samurai Mech suit. :(

      And he will be defeated when he opens his helmet exposing his head. Just like every other bad guy in a mech suit.

  4. This is starting to sound… not terrible. Maybe. Still not particularly interested though.

    • +1

  5. Sounds pretty interesting so far but I’m still going to wait till we get a trailer or at least a teaser

  6. Dear god, this sounds horrible… someone must stop michael bay!!!


    • as long as stupid people keep watching Michael Bay films, HE CAN NEVER BE STOPPED!

      • really really stupid people, and lots of them.

        • Way too many.. look at the box office numbers of Transformers.. we’re outnumbered, my friend

          • then why did you all watched the transformers ? I know you did

      • It has nothing to do with your intelligence. Many people find Michael Bay films entertaining.

  7. I have always preferred…


    • Ten bucks says they’ll still say it. But it will feel contrived and most likely the turtle will look at the screen and stare at the audience as he says it.

      • Or Mikey will say it and then one of the others will make a comment like “who even says that any more?”, just to show that’s it’s not the 80s/early 90s any more and phrases like “tubular” and “radical” etc died out decades ago.

        It’d be a shame though, I can’t imagine the Turtles NOT saying that stuff. It’d be like making a new Bill & Ted reboot but they’ve become dubstep guys instead of a heavy metal band.

  8. I don’t care what Shredder looks like as long as it’s not Utrom Shredder (Ch’rell).

    Also, Shredder isn’t Erik Sachs, he’s Oroku Saki. He’s supposed to be Japanese! I blame Michael Bay

    • As much as I detest Michael Bay, this isn’t all his fault. I also blame
      Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, John Fusco, Evan Daugherty and the director Jonathan Liebesman.

  9. At least for a live action movie it would be hard to make a costume that is not at least a little campy for the Shredder . What can work for a comics or animation will not have the same look in real life.

    • youve never seen the original TMNT or TMNT secret of the ooze…??? of course shredders outfit works. its one of the easiest costumes to transition to film lol.

    • Except for the one that they actually used for the Shredder in the ’80’s film. It has already been done, and it looked fine.

  10. Lol @Dazz dubstep Bill & Ted made my day

  11. Did Bay wrote the film?
    Is Bay directing the movie?
    Was Bay involved in the production durig. The filming?
    No, busy with Pain & Gain (say whatever you want about The Transformers movie -they’re exactly what they’re suposed to be- but Pain & Gain was pretty damn cool) and then with Age of Destruction.
    With all these information, does it make sense to blame Bay because of the movie?
    Will you stop blaming him?
    Of course not.

    I also doubt those extras (like the extra gear on the turtles, or the pointy Shredder) are just for the toy.

    • Kudos.

      Everyone just loves to blame everything on Bay. I didn’t like Transformers 2 and 3 very much (Pain & Gain neither), but I don’t think he made all the decisions for this movie, and he’s also made some awesome movies in his day.

  12. first of all t by jonhis movie is directed by Jonathan Libiesman who made the wrath of the titans which was said to be much better sequel to the clash of the titans and script by evan daughtery who can tell a story he gave snow white a perfect blend of humor ,action,romance and sentiments(snow white and the hunts man ) lets give them a chance except from shredder all the other design’s sounds awesome

  13. No problem with the Leo and Donny designs. Need to see all of them though to decide if I’m sold or not. They should follow the physique designs on the current TMNT show.

  14. I have a bad feeling we will see Shredder in some sort of Ironman, Rhino, Silver Samurai, Iron Monger Mech suit. :(

    And he will be defeated when he exposes his head. Just like every other bad guy in a mech suit.

  15. All those designs sound terrible except maybe Raphael and michaelangelo. I’m really tired of Michael Bay taking my childhood and taking a nice long dump on it

  16. Cool. …TMNT & Comical Shredder

  17. I REALLY REALLY Wish that Michael bay would stop making travesty films of famous things we all loved as kids.

  18. Cool. …TMNT

  19. Im honestly ok with Michael Bay doing a real honest to goodness TMNT movie…Some of you whine too freaking much. Give me a break.
    When I compare Transformers movies to some of the other terrible childhood movies that have been horribly rebooted…G.I. Joe, Karate Kid, Conan, nightmare on elm street Im willing to give Michael Bay a chance…I enjoyed 2 of the 3 transformers movies and the first is just excellent so Im gonna give michael bay the benefit of the doubt and hope he delivers an excellent enjoyable movie I can add to my TMNT movie collection.

    I for one am excited and believe that MB will stay as faithful with the source material as possible (and yes I know the history). Keep in mind we havent had a decent TMNT movie since 1991…holy crap thats too long.

  20. The turtle toys pictured are not the original toy line. Those are the updated ones as an anniversary line put out a few years back. this is one of the only articles Ive read on here with so many inaccuracies….

  21. Can we all be honest for a second and remember something? When all of these cartoons were popular we we kids right(assuming that most scranters are 25-40 demo)? So the question then becomes who are these movies for? I have no idea if any of the most recent cartoons with the turtles are popular with young kids now, but the allure of the original movies was that the story/characters/look all kinda of jived with the cartoon and cartoon movies. TMNT had so much merch back in the day it was something I loved. I have no idea what the latest turtles look like on TV so to think that this movie will try to be its own thing is a bit stupid. Same could be said for transformers. I’ve watched a bit of the latest Transformers on TV and as a kid I would be so confused between cartoon and movie. Bay is partially to blame, but I point the finger at the licensing folks messing young kids up and upsetting older fans.

    Can we please just leave the 80s/90s stuff alone and create something new? Make a kids movie for kids and be done with it. I for the life of me cant understand why there hasnt been a push for an 2 Incredibles.

    • To answer your question, YES, kids still love TMNT. The show still runs, the toys still sell, and the kids still love them.

    • Wow. Very similar….