TMNT Showcase – The Triceratons
Aliens abound in the TMNT universe, from the good and friendly to the evil and just plain mean. But some species walk a fine line, being allies to the turtles one minute, and their sworn enemies the next. No alien race has taken on this role more in the franchise’s history than the Triceratons.
Resembling walking, talking triceratops dinosaurs, the Triceratons breathe a mixture of nitrogen and sulfur, forcing them to wear protective masks when not in their native atmosphere. They are completely herbivorous, and value loyalty amongst their people above all else. Having destroyed their own home world years ago as a result of the species’ powerfully aggressive nature, the Triceratons now live mainly on asteroid cities that they can maneuver through space to help them conquer new worlds and expand their empire. These cities have become as sufficient for habitation as an actual planet, with factories, sports arenas, and even universities available for the inhabitants.
The Triceratons owe their success in large part to the mindset they’ve adopted as they conquered the galaxy. The saurian species long ago decided that the most effective way to grow, evolve, and continue conquering was to embrace and adapt the technology and scientific discoveries of the planets they destroyed. Most notably was the ability of atmospheric adaptability. Through this, the Triceratons are able to mutate their own physical chemistries to make it possible to breathe any atmosphere, even if it would otherwise be toxic. Additionally, the Triceratons have adopted the use of a highly dangerous stimulant called Xemorene, which gives them incredible speed and brain function. However, the drug is completely addictive, so using it even once creates the possibility of withdrawal that can end in death.
The Triceratons have appeared countless times in the various incarnations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. During the Mirage comics era, the turtles were transported to Triceraton space, and three of the aliens were transported back to Earth. The saurian of note was Zog, who lived in the sewers until Raphael found him. The others were responsible for stopping a Triceraton invasion in the Nevada desert, saving the Earth from total obliteration by one of the alien’s asteroid cities. After Zog left the sewers, the turtles were confronted by Captain Zak’s Triceraton commando force, which nearly resulted in the total conquest of Earth. However, thanks to the help of Leatherhead, the turtles were able to repel the commandos completely.
In their completely villainous role in the 1987 animated series, the Triceraton force under the command of Captain Zorax came to conquer Earth. In the 2003 series, the Triceraton Republic went back to its roots, traveling from planet to planet under the rule of Prime Leader Zanramon. They sent captured peoples to the stadium to fight in gladiatorial games. Once Zanramon was eliminated as ruler, the Republic adopted an honorable legislature, returning the species to the way it was before Zanramon’s reign. The turtles came across the Triceratons in this series when they chased the Fugitoid Professor Honeycutt to Earth, where they tried to invade, but were repelled and captured the turtles for their battle games.
Of all the aliens, allies, and enemies that have appeared and reappeared throughout the TMNT incarnations, the Triceratons have been an unavoidable staple. Since they were actually designed before the turtles themselves existed, it’s only right that they become a part of the franchise’s lore. Whether noble, destructive, dangerous, or honorable, the Triceratons have left a trail of destruction in their path, and Earth has always been a target they’ve been unable to take. As long as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stand in their way, that will always remain the case, leaving the saurian species with one less world in their ever-expanding territory.