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How 'TMNT: The Last Ronin' May Resurrect Forgotten Storylines

News about the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle project confirmed that it is based upon The Last Ronin comics, creating a clearcut picture of what to expect. However, the movie may derive some of its plot points from other stories.

By Allie Z.Published 28 days ago 4 min read

In light of Paramount officially greenlighting a new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, this is the perfect time to reflect on unused material from shelved projects. Granted, while the flick revolves around the comic-inspired TMNT: The Last Ronin, its setting provides the background for forgotten subplots to resurface. Evil versions of Casey and April O'Neill are ideal examples of variants that could be used in the film.

Back in 1996, unused concepts for a fourth installment of the live-action films pointed to the franchise heading down a darker route. Plot details, while never confirmed, suggested that the backdrop for TMNT IV: The Next Mutation would be slightly post-apocalyptic—a stark comparison from the more tame New York City seen in the first three films. The project in question never got beyond closed-door discussions, possibly due to the third chapter's poor reception. Its' box office numbers likely contributed as well, although one thing worth mentioning is the film broke even on all accounts.

Regardless, the concepts for alternate versions of these heroes seemed to set them up as villainous counterparts. What's unclear is why the human protagonists would turn on their mutant allies without definitive reasoning. Perhaps backlash for being associated with the Turtles in the public's eye made April's life troublesome, but that scenario raises questions nonetheless. Casey, similarly, is a total mystery since the live-action adaptation bonded with the Turtles and even seemed prepared to die alongside them. If that doesn't express undying loyalty, what does?

Casey And April Rewritten As Villains

The ancillary characters are relevant to The Last Ronin because they could become villains instead of support allies for Michelangelo. Such a betrayal needs explanation, but an intro depicting the two human antagonists pushing the Turtles into an ambush would establish their devious motives.

"Spoiler Alert: Mikey is the last surviving Turtle in the apocalyptic world where the rest of his reptilian comrades tragically died."

It's worth mentioning that Evil Casey and April don't work in live-action format since the antagonist comes directly from the source material. The Last Ronin comic line utilizes the Foot Clan again as the main villains, except in that storyline, they're led by Oroku Hiroto, Shredder's son. He's essentially a carbon copy of his father, so there's little room for deviation unless the writers take creative liberties with the plotline. Such a scenario is plausible considering how many comic-book adaptations wind up different from what's on the printed page.

What that means for The Last Ronin is the previously mentioned characters might resurface as villains rather than support allies. Their defection deserves an adequate explanation, but it could be as simple as insinuating that the Turtles are responsible for potentially grievous injuries. Handling the story that way would reference what happens to Casey and April in the comics, albeit slightly differently.

In the comics, Casey dies during an ambush aimed at the Turtles, while April is simultaneously maimed in the attack. The latter doesn't hold a grudge against them and, in fact, fights alongside Michelangelo to defeat Shredder Jr., but the live-action adaptation could be a tad bit more vengeful after all she endures.

Additionally, introducing polar opposites of well-known protagonists would require thorough exposition, and in all likelihood, the movie will pick up at some point into Mikey's Ronin-esque journey. Casey and April's history could be shown in flashbacks, except that's still a big portion of time devoted to them when the focus is primarily on the lone Turtle. The movie might have the flexibility for all that, but considering how much content gets left on the cutting room floor when time constraints are brought up, the evil variants probably won't make it.

Secondary Mutations Are A Gold Mine Waiting To Be Tapped

So, with the pair presumably out of contention to appear in a future project, that doesn't necessarily disqualify all unused concepts from the running. One remnant that could remain intact for The Last Ronin is the mutation factor proposed for the reptilian crimefighters.

While Mikey never physically evolves in the mainstream continuity, having a live-action version change in that way would make his stance against the futuristic Foot Clan more believable. Any one of the Turtles could eventually train themselves to be lone ranger types, though chances are Michelangelo would get maimed or killed during his first outing alone. He's always been portrayed as carefree and easygoing—an approach that's dangerous against foes that will kill him without warning. A further mutated Michelangelo, however, could stand a fighting chance.

The secondary mutations gave the Turtles abilities consisting of steel-hardened shells, lizard-like appearances, telekinetic powers, and a morphing ability. The team's most carefree member can be paired with one or maybe two, but giving Mikey all four abilities is overkill. The best solution may be to have Michelangelo go through unique trials to unlock the abilities his brothers would've gained. He can't get through so much development in one outing, so the lack of telekinetic and morphing powers could set up the character for more growth in a future movie. TMNT is known for franchising out, which makes it very plausible that The Last Ronin won't be Mikey's final ride after all.

Speculation aside, a live-action adaptation of The Last Ronin is bound to play with the source material so as to fit the big screen. Certain elements can also be costly for a project with limited resources, meaning not everything will make it into the film. As a result, the writers could look elsewhere for fillers to replace aspects that can't be replicated on the big screen, which is where TMNT: IV might crop up again. It's a long shot, but when it comes to moviemaking methods, nothing would surprise us at this point.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is currently in development. Release Date is TBA.

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About the Creator

Allie Z.

I cover most entertainment related topics and am venturing into journalism.

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    Allie Z.Written by Allie Z.

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