TMNT UTROM – KRANG – KRAANG Biography
Role: Alien Visitors, Villains
Weapon: Robotic Android Bodies, Lasers
Personality: Curious, Intelligent, Distrustful, Evil (Kraang)
Shredder – Utrom Traitor (2003)/Ally (1987)
Foot Clan – Minions (1987)
The Utrom are a race of aliens that found themselves stranded on Earth hundreds of years ago. Hoping to find a way off the planet, they created a research company specializing in technological development. From here, they were able to use humanity’s development to search for a way home. One of their experiments, however, created the mutagen that changed the Ninja Turtles. The Utrom are pink jelly-like blobs resembling brains. Extremely intelligent, they often provide aid to the turtles, wishing nothing more than to live in peace.
Krang is an evil disembodied brain with a bad temper. His intelligence and proficiency with technology are unmatched by any Earthling. He will stop at nothing to conquer this world, after being banished from his home dimension. Suffering from low self-esteem immediately following his banishment, Krang eventually regains his arrogance and megalomania, making him an unstable and dangerous villain. He hates the turtles for always interfering with his plans, and will stop at nothing to defeat them.
The Utrom first appeared in the TMNT comic, stranded on Earth with no way to contact their home world. To successfully interact with humans, they created a company called T.C.R.I. (Techno-Cosmic Research Institute), as well as android bodies that could pass for men and women. Through this company, the Utrom helped mankind advance until its technological capabilities could aid the Utrom in their escape. Their biggest failure, however, was a lost vial of mutagen that created four mutant turtles and their rat master in the sewers of New York City. The Utrom were always pleasant and peaceful to deal with, not wanting conflict if it could be at all avoided. However, they had the technology to fight if the situation arose (which it did, requiring the Utrom to wipe out the J’Gel, a race of world-devouring aliens, in their past). Eventually, they were able to return home, but came back to Earth to establish peaceful relations between the two races, and open Earth to the wonders of the universe.
In the 1987 series, the Utrom were replaced by a single entity named Krang. Krang was a warlord from Dimenson X, who was banished to Earth with his Technodrome when an accident left him as a disembodied brain. After arriving, the Technodrome fell into the hands of Oroku Saki, and Krang teamed up with Shredder to conquer the world. Shredder eventually gave Krang a new robotic body (after careful consideration over the ramifications to his own ambitions), and the warlord’s evil nature was brought out in full. He rarely ever engaged in actual combat, spending the majority of his time plotting from the Technodrome. However, once the fortress was destroyed, he had no choice but to face down the turtles, who were able to send him back to Dimension X. Throughout the series, his intelligence was unmatched, and he constantly had an entire army of machines and weapons at his disposal.
The Utrom reappeared in the 2003 series, both as a trapped intergalactic race and as the main villain. 1000 years ago, the Utrom crashed on Earth while carrying a dangerous criminal named Ch’rell. Since they have extremely long lives (by human standards), the Utrom waited out mankind’s development until the technology existed to repair their ship and head home. During that time, the Utrom lived among humans, peacefully interacting and starting a technology company named T.C.R.I. in the present, which was responsible for the mutagen that created the turtles and Splinter. Despite their normally peaceful nature, Ch’rell also survived the crash landing, and started a new reign of evil on Earth, using the Japanese legend of “The Shredder”. Ch’rell became the Shredder, and later Oroku Saki, seeking revenge on those who wronged him, especially his fellow Utrom. The Utrom are once again extremely intelligent beings, despite their limited physical capabilities.
The latest incarnation of the squishy pink brains combined aspects of the Utrom with some of Krang. This race was called the Kraang, and they came to Earth from a different dimension years prior as scouts for an invasion force. The Kraang brought with them the mutagen responsible for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an accident caused one night when Hamato Yoshi and his pet turtles met two of the inter-dimensional beings in the middle of an experiment. Years later, the Kraang began kidnapping scientists, including April O’Neil’s father, Kirby. The turtles rescued April and tried to save Kirby, turning the Kraang against them. The Kraang brought the mutagen from their dimension, however the physical laws of this dimension gave the mutagen unexpected properties. Kirby and other scientists were taken to make the mutagen function properly. They’re highly intelligent beings, which interact with humanity using android bodies.
The purpose of the Utrom, Krang, and the Kraang has always seemed somewhat forced. Granted, there’s no reason to think that inter-dimensional aliens wouldn’t be involved in a story about mutants at some point, but the only real reason they exist is as a way to explain where the ooze came from. The slime is such an integral part of the story, that an reason was definitely needed, but would anyone have batted an eyelash if it had just been reduced to “radioactive waste”, or something to that effect? In fact, the second TMNT movie did just that, and while not faithful to the comics, it wasn’t exactly an out-of-place explanation. So while shoehorning in aliens for future plot development is certainly fun, it really wasn’t necessary to make the basic premise of the work acceptable.
Krang – the singular individual – was an interesting character in his own right. There was always that question of whether or not to take him seriously. Like Shredder of the 1987 series, Krang was supposed to be a deadly evil being, but he was at best a means to alleviate tension at the end of each episode. There was a lot of potential for a serious threat that could have been built throughout several episodes (or seasons), as was done with the Technodrome. But he never really amounted to much, and his presence wouldn’t have been missed. There wouldn’t have been an outcry from the audience demanding that a slimy pink brain be added to make things better. The Utrom could have fit that role in this series, if only for a few episodes. But the continuous presence of Krang really didn’t do anything of substance for the show.
The 2003 series created the most interesting take on the Utrom. It very much played with the idea that all intelligent beings, no matter what barriers separate them from other species, have individuals prone to good and evil. Seeing that an Utrom could become so vile, and that not all were like that, really helped the species relate to the turtles and their human friends. It bridged a gap that might have otherwise existed. It was also an amazing way to present the Shredder. He was able to keep everything about himself that had been developed prior, but was still completely original. Seeing Shredder as an android controlled by the Utrom Ch’rell brought the two worlds together around a common enemy, and drove some very poignant and interesting stories.
While not the greatest (or most necessary) characters in the various TMNT incarnations, the Utrom, the Kraang, and Krang all had their moments, and provided the turtles with the sort of larger-than-life conflict that always helps propel a story beyond the simple good versus evil, one season plot. Without them, the turtles wouldn’t be who they are, both figuratively and literally. So in the end, they served their purpose, and will always be a part of the mythos.
Krang often moved around in a bubble walker, meant to replace it’s android body.
The Kraang share a collective mind, with no individual seeming to have his or her or its own identity.
While he looks like the Utrom, Krang is not considered to be one.
The Utrom are individuals, having their own names and personalities.