The Ninja Turtles are back with a new Nickelodeon series, and they're bringing with them all the comedy, action, brotherly camaraderie, and New York attitude any fan would expect. However, there is one key character who has yet to make an appearance in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Nickelodeon's reboot of the timeless franchise features a slew of new villains, led by the intimidating Baron Draxum, voiced by Bumblebee actor and prospective Duke Nukem star, John Cena. Most of the villains thus far have been original faces, new to this incarnation of the franchise, from Big Mama (Lena Headey) and Hypno-Potamus (Rhys Darby) to Warren Stone (John Michael Higgins) and Meat Sweats (voiced by Johnny Rotten). One villain who has not appeared, and will likely not appear for some time is the Turtles' most iconic nemesis: The Shredder.
Producer Andy Suriano explained why Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is focusing on original villains and avoiding The Shredder... For now, at least.
Why Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Avoids The Shredder
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a reboot of the Turtles mythology, focusing on a younger version of the team adored by fans the world over. Leonardo has not yet assumed his place as captain of the group, with Raphael essentially acting as the de facto leader, since he's the biggest and most brash of the turtles.
Members of the Foot Clan have appeared in the show, but not as an autonomous threat under the leadership of The Shredder; rather, they work as hired hands for Baron Draxum, with The Shredder nowhere to be found. As Suriano explains:
Going into the first season, we knew we didn’t want to set up The Shredder as the main baddie, because it just seemed expected. We knew where those stories were gonna go and what would happen if that were the case, so we wanted to put that off as long as we could.
By all accounts, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been successful for Nickelodeon, who have already renewed the fledgling action/comedy for a second season. There will be plenty of time for Suriano and his team to explore the Foot Clan more fully and set up an arc involving The Shredder, if they choose to do so. For now, they're having fun with a roster of brand new villains.
Perhaps, eventually, the time will come for Rise of the TMNT to include The Shredder, or to redesign some of the Turtles' other iconic villains, from Bebop and Rocksteady to Krang and Titanus. Suriano wisely believes that, for now, the series should focus on carving out its own niche, and putting its own stamp on the Turtles mythos:
It’s been really fun to create and add to the whole Turtles canon... We want to add this other, fun, supernatural element to the Turtles’ lore. We’re just coming at it from a storytelling point of view. It was really fun for us to create someone like Baron Draxum, and this whole menagerie of villains. And also, next generation action sequences that I would put up against any show out there.
The future is wide open for Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a show which honors the history of the franchise without leaning on it like a crutch, forging its own path forward while respecting what came before.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is currently airing its debut season on Nickelodeon. The series features the voices of Omar Benson Miller (Ballers, CSI: Miami) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks & Rec, Sonic the Hedgehog) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, and Brandon Mychal Smith (Get On Up) plays Michelangelo.