The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is one that ViacomCBS continue to mine for success, with a new reboot of the films and several television adaptations in the works. While it’s already been hinted that a new live-action show on Netflix could go back to the darker roots of the comic series, we’re now hearing that the latest theatrical movie will also go for a blunter tone compared to the more recent big screen adaptations, with the project said to be dark and quite faithful to the comics.
According to our sources – the same ones who told us Bill Murray was coming back for Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Han would return in Fast & Furious 9 – the Turtles producers were originally keen to go for an R-rating for the reboot. However, the box office problems of Birds of Prey are apparently reducing their enthusiasm for straying too far from a broad audience, while still going for a faithful adaptation. That being said, they’re still going to be keeping things on the more mature side. Especially when compared to the last cinematic efforts.
While this news may suggest that the Netflix show will now be going in a slightly different direction than first reported, we wouldn’t be against there being two different takes on the original tone of the comics. For those not in the know, the 1980s independent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird began as a violent homage and satire of contemporary comics, before becoming a global moneymaking machine.
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Since then, the Turtles have largely had their rough edges softened for more younger-skewing movies and television adaptations. While it’s fair to say that several of these productions have referenced the grittier approach of Eastman and Laird’s early work, including the first TMNT movie, franchise producers have been careful to avoid realistic violence or horror.
In this context, we’re keen to see how a darker Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film could work, although we’d still be surprised if Paramount take too many risks on alienating a younger fanbase. At present, development still appears to be at an early stage for the next theatrical installment in the franchise, but we’ll be sure to bring you more news as we have it.