A film for new fans and the die-hards. It’s a film that parents will be just as excited to see as their kids.
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael are back in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell).
After supervillain Shredder (Brian Tee) escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.
The film is directed by Dave Green (Earth to Echo), with a screenplay by Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol).
“Our story begins where the first film ends, in real life and in the movie,” says producer Andrew Form. “On opening night of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 2014, we heard Paramount had green-lit a sequel. It was a dream come true.”
The filmmakers knew they had to raise the stakes in a second movie from the localized destruction of New York City to global annihilation, paving the way to incorporate fan favorite characters that had yet to appear on film.
“When you take on a franchise with so much history, you have a lot to draw from,” continues Form. “But you also don’t want to tell the same stories that have already been told before. We always want to keep the franchise fresh.”
“We listened to the fans,” agrees partner and producer Brad Fuller, “and they were not shy. After the first movie they told us exactly what they were looking for from a second movie, and we were on the same page. They wanted to see characters and story elements we tried to include in the first film but couldn’t properly address, so we made it a priority to include them this time. This is the first time we’ll see Baxter Stockman, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady in a film, and it was exciting to help bring those characters to life.”
The producers selected 32-year-old director Dave Green, a life-long Ninja Turtle super fan, to helm the sequel. Green drew from extensive knowledge of Turtle canon to guide the story and layer the film with subtle references for other die-hard fans.
“There are so many generations of devoted Turtle fans,” says Green. “Part of the joy of directing this movie is the chance to service the little details and lore that people love. We delved into every single comic book and cartoon and watched the original movies to find through lines in each iteration. There are pieces of the sets, set decoration, the costumes, and even poses that characters adopt, that we borrow from Turtle heritage. There’s something for everyone,” he says.
“It’s a more Turtle-centered storyline,” Green continues. “We spend more time getting to know the Turtles individually, delving into their relationships with one another, but the movie is still about the power of family and what family can do when they work together. When that family is fractured, they don’t do as well as when they’re a team.”
“Dave was all about the characters and the relationship between the brothers,” explains Fuller. “We felt that if that part of the movie works, everything else will fall into place.”
“Every teenager goes through a moment when they want to be something other than who they are,” Green says. “At the same time, they’re learning to accept themselves, which is the emotional through line of this movie. Given the opportunity, do the Turtles want to become something else, or stay true to who they are? We see them learn that their differences are what make them unique and powerful. For me, that really resonated.
While the Turtles are working through their own existential angst, a larger threat is looming as Shredder teams up with the evil Commander Krang to bring the Technodrome, a dangerous, alien war machine, to Earth.
“Krang is from another dimension,” Green explains, “so he’s got all kinds of crazy, dangerous new technology, including purple ooze that can change both mutants and humans. The Turtles have never faced anything like this, and it challenges them physically and emotionally.”
At the end of production, the filmmakers hoped audiences would have as much fun watching the film as they had making it.
“Magic is the best word to describe this experience,” says Green. “We all grew up reading these comics, watching these shows and playing with these toys, this is whole project is a perfect extension of that. We’re still playing with toys, just on a much grander scale.”
“We’ve packed in a lot of nostalgia,” says Fuller, “but this movie is as much for new fans as it for the die-hards. It’s a movie that parents will be just as excited to see as their kids.”
“There’s something about the Turtles that keeps bringing us back,” says Form. “I’m trying to avoid an “ever green” pun but they truly feel like old friends we love spending time with, again and again. We hope fans feel the same way.”