Home Blog Is The Future Bright for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Is The Future Bright for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

by Justin W
Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may be nearing its end, but that doesn't mean the franchise has no future. Image Source: Nickelodeon.

Our heroes in a half shell have had a pretty difficult year. As 2016 began, fans were excited about the prospects of an entirely new video game and movie. Nickelodeon had begun production on the fifth season of their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and there was reason to be excited about the future of the turtles. Sadly, as the year comes to an end, the outlook for this franchise isn’t excellent. Paramount’s Out of the Shadows bombed, Mutants in Manhattan failed to impress most audiences, and Nickelodeon is reportedly considering the cancellation of their TMNT animated series.

With so much negativity surrounding the franchise, it doesn’t look like 2017 will hold much promise for the turtles. That being said, something tells me that this could be the year that turns everything around for our boys in green. Here are a few reasons to remain hopeful for the future of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

The Return of Usagi Yojimbo

One of many Usagi Yojimbo comics from Stan Sakai. Image Source: Fantagraphics.

One of many Usagi Yojimbo comics from Stan Sakai. Image Source: Fantagraphics.

Although Nickelodeon may cancel their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon after the fifth season, there’s always a possibility that they will continue the franchise in some other fashion.

Stan Sakai has confirmed that Usagi Yojimbo will appear in Nick’s TMNT, and we have seen evidence that this may just be the beginning of a resurgence for the Rabbit Ronin.

The first hint of Miyamoto Usagi’s return came in the form of a logo which appeared at a Playmates Toys event. This logo indicated that the character might get his own toy line, but the reality might be far more interesting. What if the end of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brings about the beginning of an animated Usagi Yojimbo series?

Other than the aforementioned logo, there is no real reason to expect that this might happen – but it’s still fun to imagine the possibilities.

Nickelodeon Wouldn’t Just Dump the Franchise

Although some fans insist that Ciro Nieli only had plans for five seasons of the animated series, something tells me that the fifth season won’t be the last TMNT property to receive investment from Nickelodeon. In the past few years, they have experimented with a variety of different concepts such as the Half-Shell Heroes animated special which found the turtles traveling back in time and befriending dinosaurs. There was no indication that these experiments were not successful, so it could be that they were looking to prove that this franchise can easily branch out.

The potential end to Nick's TMNT is definitely a shocker, because there have been no indications that this would happen anytime soon. Image Source: Nickelodeon.

The potential end to Nick’s TMNT is definitely a shocker, because there have been no indications that this would happen anytime soon. Image Source: Nickelodeon.

Although Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series may soon come to an end, there’s very real potential that it could be replaced with a different TMNT project. In addition to the possibility of a Usagi Yojimbo animated series, it’s entirely feasible that Nieli’s success with the franchise convinced Nick to give him the reigns of a spin-off series. Why would they cancel one of their most popular cartoons if they didn’t have something to replace the show? Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of the turtles on Nickelodeon.

Viacom Will Be Trying New Things

TMNT: Out of the Shadows Blu-ray. Image Source: Paramount Pictures.

TMNT: Out of the Shadows Blu-ray. Image Source: Paramount Pictures.

After the recent news that CBS would not be merging with Viacom, the stock value for this company has nearly dropped to the status of junk. Nobody is coming to the rescue, and it appears that the company will be on its own. If they really want to turn things around, it will be important for them to try new things. Thankfully, it would appear that the new CEO has big plans for the media conglomerate which include a more global approach.

What does a global approach mean? Well, just take a look at how they distributed Out of the Shadows. Paramount worked with the Chinese company Alibaba in order to distribute the film to a global audience. In the modern entertainment business, China represents perhaps the second largest market for film. If you need evidence of this, simply take note of how much money Warcraft earned in this market. If it weren’t for Chinese audiences, Warcraft would have been a bomb at the box office.

So what does this mean for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Well, when it comes to Paramount’s TMNT movies, chances are that Viacom is going to return to the drawing board. They will probably take a good look at movies which performed well in popular markets such as China and seek to aim their products more at these global audiences. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m personally hopeful that they come up with something far more agreeable than the last two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films from Platinum Dunes.

TMNT Toys and Collectibles are Still Popular

2016 saw the announcement of several popular Ninja Turtles collectibles and toys. Just when you thought the franchise might be losing steam, another toy company came out of nowhere with yet another awesome TMNT figure. Companies such as NECA, Playmates Toys, DreamEX, Prime 1 Studios and Good Smile produced plans for some of the most incredible TMNT collectibles we have ever seen. Something tells me that we wouldn’t see this much interest in the property unless there were a lot of fans buying these kinds of products.

Donatello introduces Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael to the 90's TMNT movie figure line. Image Source: NECA.

Donatello introduces Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael to the 90’s TMNT movie figure line. Image Source: NECA.

If even half of this merchandise sells well, chances are that we will continue to see these companies explore new ideas for TMNT collectibles and toys. I’ve already seen some figures indicating that at least Playmates Toys has been doing very well this year, so I’m confident that we will continue to see awesome Ninja Turtles action figures for many years to come.

TMNT Comics Probably Won’t Go Anywhere

Batman/TMNT Adventures variant cover art by Hilary Barta. Image Source: IDW, DC Comics/via CBR.

Batman/TMNT Adventures variant cover art by Hilary Barta. Image Source: IDW, DC Comics/via CBR.

When all else fails, we can always count on IDW to produce some amazing content. In the past few years, we’ve seen them create two crossovers with Batman which have both been wildly popular.

They’re also working on the Artisan Edition of the original Mirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. Oh, and then there’s the Kevin Eastman Notebook Series, which provides a historical look at the origins of the TMNT. These are just a few of the projects they have been working on, and it looks like they’ve got big plans for many years to come.

Even if we don’t see a spinoff cartoon series or a new movie anytime soon, chances are that IDW will keep working with the turtles in perpetuity. No matter what happens with the franchise in any other respect, we can always rely upon the original realm of the turtles to keep their stories alive and well.


Are you hopeful for the future of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Have I made some valid points, or am I speculating a bit too much about the possibilities for our heroes in a half shell? Share your thoughts either in the comments below or on Facebook/Twitter.

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Hrvoje Grahovac December 15, 2016 - 5:12 pm

Out of the Shadows bombed? To me, that movie was a bit better than the First one. The problem here is direction. You got a show that is in its zenith yet from what I hear, those mid-season breaks are a bit too long. Again, what is the direction for the show? As for the movies, they really should have canned Michael Bay. I mean seriously, who thought that hiring him as the producer was a good idea?

Randy Marsh December 15, 2016 - 6:33 pm

I am VERY hopeful since the series has done well with the classics. I would actually like to see Dregg return and become a primary antagonist like Shredder, just like in the classic ’87 series, I would even enjoy them teaming up. Dregg would however require some of his old henchmen from the old series though (HiTech and Mung), and Armaggon? YES, he should return as well, but as an ally for Rahzar and Tiger Claw, my two favorite TMNT villains. The trio of cat, dog, and shark screams epic!

Fallen December 15, 2016 - 6:37 pm

personally I loved the recent movies ( although the first had to much megan fox and not enough turtles) and I love the nick show. I do think the breaks are to long but it just seems sad to give up on something so suddenly.

Torian December 15, 2016 - 9:25 pm

I thought Out of the Shadows was fun to watch(takes me back to the 1980s cartoon). I hope the 2012 turtles meet the 2003 turtles.

PenguinLady December 16, 2016 - 5:10 am

Out of the Shadows was SO MUCH better than the first movie. I got out of the cinema and was so impressed how good this movie actually was .. Probably a lot of people didn’t even go to see the movie since they were disappointed by the first one 🙁

Elisa December 16, 2016 - 9:19 am

I was definitely disappointed that the movie didn’t do better or the game. I enjoyed both but I think there were some quality issues. Whoever is managing the property needs to set their standards a bit higher and be a bit more cautious with the property imo. If the Nick show ends, I hope it’s because the writers have told the stories they set out to tell and not because the show was cancelled. I think it has enough of a following for spin offs or another incarnation. I would definitely love to see a more adult take on TMNT, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. The comics appear to be going strong and I feel that they are very careful with their storytelling and art, which I really appreciate. It’s consistently good. If only that was true across the board for all tmnt-related things.

NUMBER ONE TMNT FAN December 16, 2016 - 12:44 pm

this was a very encouraging status check. I have been very concerned about the future of tmnt after this year, but this has given me a lot of hope. Thanks for another amazing article.

Pyrenees Gal (TMNT2012Obsessio December 17, 2016 - 4:33 pm

I love this franchise so much, particularly the 2012 series. It’s funny…..I actually hated the Turtles when I was little and I was upset when Nick made the 2012 series but when I watched it, I started honoring them. And the way this year has progressed, for the franchise and everything, it’s pained me. The second movie was AN IMPROVEMENT from the first movie. It’s disappointing that the TMNT 2012 series may end soon, but all good shows must come to an end at some point. I just hope that they make the show go out with a bang.

The number of views declining for each episode ever since the series has aired, going from 3 million to 1 million, has made me really depressed. And I can’t talk to anyone about it because no one else watches the Turtles. It’s a good franchise, the whole thing, and it’s disappointing that they’re losing fans just because a character didn’t meet their expectations or something wasn’t written correctly. I just wish people could overlook these issues and think about how well this franchise has done in the past.

I really don’t want the series to end, but like I said earlier, all good shows must come to an end. I’ll always remember this series, and I hope future versions of TMNT will be created after the 2012 series ends. I really think the writers care about the franchise and so do the voice actors, but they’re unable to please the die-hard fans (except for a few like Black Nerd Comedy).

Jaros Bodytko January 18, 2017 - 2:44 pm

That’s todays big problem. Fans are so outspoken nowadays when they don’t like something about a show, but not when they DO like it. Producers see those negative comments and give up, or try new stuff that does make it worse, and so on. For example, many fans complained about the space episodes. And though they weren’t always the best, they were nowhere near as bad as ‘fans’ make them out to be and I personaly enjoyed them a lot. I think the 2012 show is fantastic, and together with the IDW comics, the best versions of the TMNT we’ve ever got. But complaining is something fandoms really love to do and don’t give a fair chance to the franchises they claim to love. I find that puzzling. Anyway, sad to hear the show might end soon, but I also hope it’ll go out with a bang. The TMNT deserve that much.

Janusz Bolbotowski December 17, 2016 - 7:39 pm

I always want to see more teenage take on TMNT just like the 2012 series.

Jaros Bodytko January 18, 2017 - 2:34 pm

Agreed. This is why the 2012 series is my favourite tv version. They are actually teenagers that do stuff normal teenagers do when they’re not fighting Shredder. They play games, watch tv, nerd out on comics, have crushes, etc… and I love that the Nick show finally shines a light on the teenage aspect.

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