This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles article contains spoilers.
Where’s the Shredder?!
For all of the youthful energy of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Mutant Mayhem, for all the fun it is to see deep-cut characters like Mondo Gecko and Wingnut hit the big screen, for as much fun as big baddie Superfly certainly is, fans are still wondering about the absence of the most dangerous villain to cross paths with the heroes in a half shell.
On one hand, Shredder’s absence does make sense. Mutant Mayhem reboots the series in the most radical way yet, not only giving us the early adventures of the Turtles but also making them markedly different from previous takes. These Turtles feel like actual teens, at times insecure and awkward, but always over the top. They learn martial arts not from Splinter (imagined here as a fearful but loving father in a bathrobe instead of a ninja master, despite being voiced by Jackie Chan) but from watching martial arts movies. When they get into their first fight early in the movie, the Turtles are shocked that they actually have the skills to take on adult toughs.
As unorthodox as this approach may be, it’s already resonating with audiences. Our own review gives the film 3.5 stars, praising Mutant Mayhem for its willingness to “play the wacky kid in the back of the class.” As more kids catch up with it, Mutant Mayhem will surely resonate, and you know what that means: sequel!
In a recent chat with Den of Geek, Mutant Mayhem Jeff Rowe, director of the equally wonderful The Mitchells vs. the Machines, admitted that sequel thoughts are not far from his mind. “I think a lot of people are gonna want more,” Rowe confessed. “These characters are so wonderful, this casting is so wonderful, you just love spending time with them.” Acknowledging that “people are going to want to spend more time with [these Turtles],” Rowe dropped an oblique reveal. “Conversations have been happening,” he says with a bit of coyness.
You can watch our full interview with Rowe from SDCC 2023 below:
At this point, Rowe can’t comment on the subject of those conversations. But his conversation with Den of Geek does drop a few hints. “The Turtles’ world is a big one, there’s a lot left to explore,” said Rowe, suggesting that a follow-up movie would pick up on some of the points left unresolved by the first movie. Those points include big bad Cynthia Utrom (Maya Rudolph), whose surname is also the name of brain-like aliens that gave the world cartoon villain Krang, and, of course, the Shredder.
We only see Shredder briefly in the movie’s mid-credit sequence, but that’s enough to whet fans’ appetite for more. Are these adolescent Turtles ready for such a heavy hitter? Probably not, but we can’t wait to see them face off.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is in theaters now.