A single piece of machinery stands above all others as the greatest evil creation TMNT lore has ever known. Armed with a transport beam, missiles, lasers, a mouser factory, detention cells, armor harder than steel, and various other nefarious devices, this mobile fortress sends fear through entire species across the universe. It is the Technodrome – Krang’s base of operations, and the most difficult challenge the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever faced.
The Technodrome was a collaboration between Krang and a being named Drakus during their time in Dimension X. However, Krang betrayed his partner, and stole the Technodrome. Once Krang fell in battle and lost his body, he and the machine were both banished to Earth, where they encountered Shredder and started a new evil partnership. The fortress was a constant threat that left the turtles with an ominous sense that their worst enemies could (and would) use it at a moment’s notice to destroy and conquer. But, it did have one fatal flaw: The tank required a tremendous amount of power. So there was always an issue with acquiring enough to get it moving, leaving the fortress useless during the course of the 1987 series.
Once the Technodrome was mobile, the turtles always managed to defeat it quickly, and the fortress would warp to a new location, where it would remain stuck for some time. Over the course of the series, the Technodrome was in Dimension X, at the Earth’s core, on an asteroid, at the north pole, under the sea, and finally back to Dimension X. Despite it’s apparent non-threatening nature, the fortress was always a capable hideout, filled with everything Krang and Shredder needed to ruin someone’s day. The most commonly used devices were the transporters and drill shuttles. That way, the villains were able to get whatever scheme they were working on in proximity to their enemies.
The Technodrome reappeared several times in the TMNT mythos, including 2009’s Turtles Forever special. After 1987 Krang and Shredder freed Ch’rell Shredder from his icy prison, the Utrom took command of the fortress and gave it a serious upgrade. Losing its cartoonish appearance, the base became a floating sphere shaped like an eye. It came equipped with an energy shield and massive laser that could destroy an entire city with ease. (Of course, it too had a fatal flaw: The laser had to be plugged in to work properly.) The Technodrome was also revived in the 2012 television incarnation during the first season finale. This time, the machine took its design from Ch’rell’s upgrades in 2009 and still served as a mobile fortress for the Kraang to conquer Earth.
The Technodrome was a very promising addition to the TMNT universe, but certainly served no real purpose beyond its initial development and introduction. While the idea of a mobile fortress that could come online at any moment and destroy hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in the blink of an eye was certainly terrifying, that sense disappeared by about the third season. The machine can only be as menacing as the opportunities it is given to show off its power. Since the writers constantly left the Technodrome immobilized in random places, the fear that it would be a threat dissipated quickly. While that’s to be expected somewhat from a children’s show, there didn’t have to be a constant reminder of how useless it was. Krang and Shredder were always talking about how the machine was broken. If, instead, that discussion had been avoided until it actually came back online, then the gravitas of such a situation might have remained.
The Technodrome was an interesting addition to the TMNT universe. As a concept, it was an excellent idea, and certainly had potential. It’s execution, however, was fairly lackluster. Despite its size and the real threat it could have posed, it was a flop as a weapon of mass destruction, and really could have been done away with completely after the third season. Its newest incarnation, however, offers a glimmer of potential still, and will hopefully revive the Technodrome as it was always meant to be: A weapon of unparalleled proportions.