Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was an ambitious franchise reboot for Paramount Pictures - but it appears to have (literally) paid off, as TMNT won the box office this past weekend, thereby guaranteeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2's arrival in 2016.
So now that the TMNT brand has proven itself viable enough to live on into sequels, it's time to start looking ahead to what other exciting parts of the franchise lore the filmmakers can incorporate into this live-action universe - as they did with so much of the first film's story. Prior interviews with the cast and crew have already revealed that fan-favorites like Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady are already likely candidates for upcoming TMNT installments - but there is definitely a much more ambitious path the filmmakers could follow, as well.
If you've seen Ninja Turtles (2014) then you know that the movie incorporates a revised origin story that nonetheless incorporates a lot of original mythos - including the mutagen from TCRI that is responsible for transforming the Ninja Turtles and Master Splinter into humanoids. In the original comic book series, the TCRI origin opens the door for a much bigger intergalactic adventure for the Turtles, as the discover that the mutagen ooze - and subsequently the company that made it - are extraterrestrial in nature.
What follows is a Planet Hulk-style showdown on alien worlds, as the Utroms (a.k.a. the alien race of Krang) and the Triceratons (humanoid triceratops aliens) go to war with the Ninja Turtles in the middle. Subsequent revisions of the mythos have tied the TCRI origin to Dimension X, the hellish dimension Krang hails from. In the 2012 TV series, for example, the portal between Earth and Dimension X was hidden in TCRI by the alien Kraang.
There are many ways to approach the material - whether sticking closer to original cartoon series, the original comics, or later iterations of both - but in order to get to a lot of things TMNT fans want to likely see next, the filmmakers would have to go to some pretty outlandish places. So how willing are they to go that route? Apparently, pretty willing.
We sat down with TMNT movie director Jonathan Liebesman and producers Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form, where we talked point-blank about how the franchise could incorporate some of the more interstellar/cross-dimensional mythos and characters:
Screen Rant: I was going to save this next question for later, but it seems like we’re building off of it anyway. I mean I’m familiar with the old comics. I wanted to ask you guys, going forward, we saw a lot of Easter eggs from the comics - particularly like TCRI and things like that. I know where the TCRI story leads in the comics [spoiler: aliens]. Would you guys ever go so big and so sci-fi?
Jonathan Liebesman: Dimension X?
Screen Rant: Yeah.
Jonathan Liebesman: F*ck yes.
Brad Fuller: I think what we need to do is we need to see how the movie does.
Jonathan Liebesman: I’m assuming your question comes from…
Screen Rant: …if there’s an opportunity for another one.
Jonathan Liebesman: I would love to. I mean it’s not up to me. It’s up to all of us to decide.
Brad Fuller: But we’ve talked about those worlds already.
Andrew Form: There are scripts that have been written for this movie that integrated those worlds into it already…
Jonathan Liebesman: They were just too…it made the movie a bit too unfocused for this particular story.
While the first TMNT installment may have had a lot of obligations to meet - like re-introducing the characters and mythos to both longtime and new fans - the sequel has a lot more freedom to peel the curtain back even further and really dig into the mysteries of the where the mutagen originated from, and what it can do. Does that mean that TMNT2 needs to follow the original comics or cartoons and take things to alien worlds, with Triceratons and Utroms? No. But introducing Dimension X and a new antagonist in Krang (a talking alien brain thingy) isn't that far of a stretch for a movie where giant reptiles fight like trained martial artists.
With the box office totals still being tallied, it's still unclear just how much budgetary space will be available for TMNT movie sequels. The money in the budget will, as always, trump whatever creative wishes fans OR filmmakers might have - so here's hoping the first film makes enough to afford us the opportunity for a few more mutant beasts and talking brains in the next installment.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is now playing in theaters. It is 101 minutes long, and is rated Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence. Read our official TMNT review.
Want to hear the Screen Rant Editors have a more in-depth of review and discussion of the film? Then be sure to tune into our TMNT episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast. Or check out more of our interview with the director and producers.
Krang Header Art by Jon Lambe