10 TMNT CHARACTERS WE WANT ON FILM
So, by now everyone knows that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting yet another big screen live-action movie via Legendary Pictures & The Mirage Group. I say huzzah, dudes! According to Executive Producer Peter Laird (he of the Eastman and Laird partnership that birthed New York’s finest sewer dwelling, pizza loving, Ninjitsu skilled terrapins), the film will be a retelling of the Turtles’ origins, and will be done in the darker tones of the original comic series. A Turtles flick in the vein of The Dark Knight wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, it could be a damn cool thing, giving legitimacy to the gang in green that many a geek would use as an opportunity to finally get their f**k yous in to anyone who ever made fun of him/her for attending the Coming out of their Shells tour sponsored by Pizza Hut. Present party included.
But still… the TMNT universe is so dense with supporting humans, mutants, aliens and teenagers from Dimension X, it seems a shame not to give some of them their due on celluloid. And that’s why we decided to list our favorite TMNT supporting cast that deserves to be seen in the new film – or new franchise, because if The Fast & the Furious can have five films, then the Turtles can have twenty.
#10 Baxter Stockman
In Volume 1 of the comics, Stockman was a sociopath African American scientists with no relation to Shredder. But he developed those pesky "Mousers" with the help of his computer programmer April O'Neil. And then he became a cyborg. In the animated series, April took the plot friendlier role of a Channel 6 reporter, and Stockman was a squirrelly, misguided White scientist who became a mutated fly… still had the Mouser fetish, though. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, actor David Warner played Dr. Jordon Perry, the head scientist of TGRI, who many took to be a filmic representation of Stockman, but it was loose. There’s actually a deleted scene from the film in which Perry is revealed to be an Utrom, but it was removed for fear of him being mistaken for Krang. Since Stockman’s character goes back to the original comic books, that gives him a decent chance to appear in the next Turtles film (and why he’s low on our petition list).
Speak of the devil. Foolish, but nonetheless important TMNT villain Krang is an alien in exile from Dimension X who came to Earth with his army of Rock Soldiers (led by General Traaag, who did not make this list), and allied himself with Shredder. Krang is responsible for the Technodrome’s arrival on Earth as well, and that’s primarily why we’d like to see him in a live action TMNT film: who wouldn’t want to see filmmakers tackle the Technodrome?! Also, Krang’s brain-like body was inspired by the Utroms, an alien species that appeared in Eastman & Laird’s original comic work. By that rule, maybe there’s a chance that Krang – or at least a bunch of gelatinous aliens that look like Krang – will show up in 2011 at a theater near you.
In the Mirage comics, Metalhead was a retired superhero capable of manipulating his fluid "metal" hair. In the 2003 cartoon, he was an active member of the "Justice Force." Meh. We don’t care about either of these characters. What we do want to see is the Metalhead from the 80s cartoon series: a robotic ninja turtle created by Krang to kill the real Ninja Turtles in the episode "The Making of Metalhead." In the 2003 series episode "What a Croc!" Baxter Stockman unleashed a version of MH that uniquely had the ability to duplicate the Turtles' weapons and fighting styles. Seems like our best chances of seeing him on film are if we get Krang or Stockman first…
#7 Genghis Frog
Genghis first appeared in the aptly named episode, “Invasion of the Punk Frogs,” from the 80s animated series. He’s the leader of the Punk Frogs that Shredder created in Florida, and with Genghis also comes Napoleon Bonafrog, Attila the Frog and Rasputin the Mad Frog. We really just want to see this guy because a) his action figure was a staple in our toy bins growing up and b) so far the best representation of humanistic Frogs is Hell Comes to Frogtown, and that’s just really sad:
#6 Rat King
The Rat King first appeared in Eastman & Laird’s Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 1 #4, but was best known for the animated series, where he played sewer dwelling neighbor to the turtles, and had the power to control rats – sometimes with a flute, but mostly with his mind. That’s a bitch when your mentor is a giant Rat named Splinter. I smell drama! A TMNT staple, the Rat King has sometimes been depicted as a villain, a neutral character, or even an ally of the Ninja Turtles – the perfect character arc for a 3-act film.
A minor character who only appeared in the TMNT comics (“The River” story arc in issues #24-26), Bloodsucker is a giant mutated humanoid leech who got that way by being exposed to the mutagen Raphael’s bloodstream. Ironically, Bloodsucker is crude, but is most certainly not cool, for all you genetics enthusiasts taking score out there. Bloodsucker’s relative anonymity may make him more attractive as a villain in the new TMNT movie, as the filmmakers wouldn’t receive much lip from Turtle purists for taking liberties with him, and his ability to regenerate even after being hacked to pieces by, say, a couple of katana blades means that he’ll be a handful. Plus, I’d love to see a company like Spectral Motion recreate an ugly bastard like this with a combo of practical/CG FX.
#4 Irma Langinstein
A character created just for the animated series, Irma is April O’Neal’s best friend and secretary at Channel 6. We threw her in the mix because we’re partial to Donatello, and the nebbish Irma always seemed to be partial to Donatello. Also, she always seemed super horny, even going so far as to chase after Shredder in one episode. She was also turned into a giant version of herself in the episode entitled “The Attack of the 50-foot Irma,” and it’s been a while since we’ve seen a giant woman rampaging through New York City on film. Before you accuse of of secretly wanting a love scene with Donatello and a giantess Irma, just stop. It's no secret.
#3 Miyamoto Usagi (Usagi Yojimbo)
This rabbit/human hybrid was created by Stan Sakai and had his own Dark Horse Comic before teaming up with the Ninja Turtles. Technically not a mutant, Usagi is a ronin warrior who, at least in the TMNT animated series mythology, is from another dimension and came to Earth by some intergalactic anomaly. He only made two appearances in the first series, but then returned in the second series, where he was more of a reluctant ally of the Turtles. We included him because the new TMNT movie is rumored to have creature FX done in the vein of Where the Wild Things Are, and think seeing a photorealistic anthropomorphic samurai bunny would be about the end-all-be-all of cool (especially if he comes accompanied with a techno remix of the “Fuzzy Fuzzy Cute Cute” song).
#1 Bebop and Rocksteady
These two weren’t created until the animated series, but any TMNT die-hard will tell you they’ve been dying to see Bebop & Rocksteady have their day on film. We got a small taste of what could have been with Tokka & Rahzar in Secret of the Ooze, but the Wolf and Snapping Turtle were not suitable replacements for the maladroit Rhino and Warthog. C’mon Peter Laird, you know these two have been Shredder’s go-to hench-mutants for years, as much as they can’t execute the simplest of plans. Case in point, this exchange from the 1989 episode of the animated series entitled, “Super Rocksteady and Mighty Bebop”:
Bebop: uhh let's see... we're supposed to get the red disk out of the yellow drawer in the blue desk.
Rocksteady: or was it the blue disk from the re... red desk?
Bebop: or 'da blue disk from the blue desk?
I think that’s where the Wachowskis got the whole pill idea for The Matrix. Seriously, though, let’s start a petition to get Bebop & Rocksteady in the new film. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure your thoughts get to the right people.
Who are your favorite TMNT chatacters that you'd like to see in the new film?
-- PATRICK SCHUMACKER
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