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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem- What We Know So Far

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" is shaping up to be one of 2023's most promising releases. The titular crime-fighting adolescent reptiles have been getting into pizza-eating, butt-kicking antics since they were created by comic artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1983 (via Rolling Stone). Initially made as a parody of superhero comics, the characters became a surprise hit, launching a successful toy line. From there, the turtles received their own Saturday morning cartoon, which ran between 1987 and 1996, cementing their long-lasting reputation as a pop culture force to be reckoned with. Their escapades continued throughout the years with other comics, animated series, video games, and even a number of live-action films — in fact, their first live-action venture in 1990 even became the highest-grossing independent film at the time of its release (via The Hollywood Reporter). They even crossed over with Batman – how much better can you get? 

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" will be the second theatrically-released animated film in the franchise, following 2007's "TMNT." The project was announced by Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures in the summer of 2020, with Seth Rogen producing through his production company, Point Grey (via Deadline). The partnership seems to be a fitting one, as Nickelodeon has seen great success with their 2012 "Turtles" animated series reboot and its follow-up in 2018 with Netflix. Rogen is also a big fan of the franchise. With such passion on display, what can we expect out of "Mutant Mayhem?" 

What is the release date for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem?

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" is currently slated for release on August 4, 2023. The release has actually been moved up from its original date, as it was originally set for a release on August 11, 2023 (via Variety). The change was announced in January 2021 by Fandango Managing Director Erik Davis on Twitter, where Davis shared numerous changes in Paramount Pictures' release schedule. 

Along with the animated feature, Paramount has announced other "Ninja Turtles" centric projects. 2023 will also see the start of a series of spinoff films produced by Nickelodeon Animation to be streamed on Paramount+. Rather than focus on the Turtles, these films will be villain-centric, following the never-before-told stories behind the franchise's colorful rogues gallery (via Deadline). Although we don't know exactly which villains will be included in this lineup, at the very least, we can expect entries focusing on The Shredder and maybe even Krang, the two most popular Turtle adversaries. 

Additionally, Michael Bay will be producing a new live-action film reboot. Bay previously produced two live-action "Ninja Turtles" movies released in 2014 and 2016. Although the 2016 sequel "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" received slightly better reviews than its 2014 predecessor (via Rotten Tomatoes), it was far less financially successful, grossing $245 million worldwide at the box office on a $135 million budget (versus the 2014 film's worldwide box office making $485 million from a $125 million budget). The film will be written by Colin and Casey Jost per Deadline.

What is the plot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem?

As of now, there is no official plot description for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem." Seth Rogen, the film's co-producer and a self-proclaimed fan of the heroes in a half shell, has expressed interest in honing in on the inherent coming-of-age aspect of the franchise. "As a lifelong fan of Ninja Turtles, weirdly, the 'Teenage' part of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was always the part that stuck out to me the most," Rogen said in an interview with Collider. "And as someone who loves teenage movies, and who's made a lot of teenage movies, and who literally got their start in their entire profession by writing a teenage movie, the idea of kind of honing in on that element was really exciting to us." 

Rogen, best known for writing, directing, and producing such acclaimed comedies as "Superbad," Pineapple Express," and "This is the End" alongside frequent collaborators Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, certainly has a fresh mindset when approaching the nearly 40-year-old franchise. In fact, even "Ninja Turtles" co-creator Kevin Eastman admits to being a fan of Rogen's vision and hopes not to influence the production too heavily (via IGN).

Another major influence on the film is its director Jeff Lowe, who made his directorial debut with the 2021 Oscar-nominated Sony Pictures animated film "The Mitchells vs. the Machines." Lowe seeks to go for an expressive animation style, hoping to capture a punk-like, exaggerated look. 

Who will star in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem?

At the moment, no voice cast has been announced for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem." However, co-producer Seth Rogen stated in a tweet that they are planning to cast actual teenagers to voice the titular turtles. As surprising as it might sound for a franchise that literally begins with the word "Teenage," this will be the first time any "Ninja Turtles" property will have teenagers as the turtle's voices, keeping in line with Rogen's intentions of focusing more on the adolescent element of the story. In the past, the turtles have always been voiced by adults, with the likes of Johnny Knoxville, Rob Paulsen, Sean Astin, and Corey Feldman, amongst many others, taking on these iconic roles throughout various films and shows throughout the franchise's history. 

Outside of the four main brothers — Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello — we can speculate that the turtle's wise sensei and father figure, Splinter the rat, will be featured as well. Their other allies, including spunky news reporter April O'Neil and hockey mask-wearing vigilante Casey Jones, are also sure to return. While most incarnations utilize the Shredder as the go-to baddie, this may be a good chance to allow lesser-experienced adversaries Bee-Bop and Rocksteady to have the spotlight. The part animal, part human thugs are certainly a threat, but their naïve nature makes them more like nasty bullies, once again fitting in place with Rogen's passionate coming-of-age vision.