Will audiences ever see a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel set in the same continuity as the original live-action trilogy?
Bobby Herbeck, one of the screenwriters of the 1990 film, is trying to make that happen. In a new interview, Herbeck reveals that he’s had conversations about a potential continuation with director Steve Barron and Brian Henson of the Jim Henson Creature Shop, the company that created the anthropomorphic turtle costumes for the original movie. Is this just idle talk, or could another live-action film set in that universe really happen?
The 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, which was ahead of its time and still holds up pretty well today, is returning to theaters this week to mark its 30th anniversary, so Herbeck is out making the rounds and doing some publicity for the film. In a conversation with ComicBook.com, the outlet asked if he would be interested in another sequel, set in the same continuity as the first three live-action movies:
“Yes. The answer is yes,” Herbeck answered. “We’re trying to make that happen. We want to do a reboot. We got our fans come to us on Instagram, they’re, ‘Why don’t you guys do a reboot of the first movie?’ We’d love to do it.”
It’s worth clarifying that Herbeck seems to be using the word “reboot” incorrectly here. Based on context from the article, it appears as if he’s talking about a continuation – another sequel in the original timeline, which would ignore the recent Michael Bay-produced movies.
“The truth is, this property, it’s established now after 30 years as a part of our modern pop culture, it’s not going away,” Herbeck continued. “It’s only going to continue to grow. I do wish that we could go back. I mean, we’ve talked to Steve Barron about this, and Brian Henson, and if there were an opportunity, if one of the studios saw fit, I think we could go back and reboot it like it was….Imagine if Brian Henson had access to the technology he does today to make these costumes and all that. I think it would be amazing. A reboot like that I think would really get people’s juices flowing.”
1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was quickly followed by 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, which introduced Keno (Ernie Reyes Jr.), a teen pizza delivery guy who befriends the heroes in a half shell. I remember thinking he was the coolest character I’d ever seen when I was six years old. A couple of years later, 1993’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III whisked the turtles, their newscaster pal April O’Neil (Paige Turco), back into ancient Japan while their deranged, sports-loving hot-headed friend Casey Jones (Elias Koteas) holds down the fort at their underground lair in the present. That one…does not hold up very well.
But will Herbeck’s wish actually come true? Paramount holds the film rights to the TMNT, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are currently hard at work on a new CG animated iteration which will lean into the teenaged angle of the group. Reviving that live-action version seems like an uphill battle at this point…but I suppose stranger things have happened in Hollywood. I mean, if something as bonkers as Turtle Tunes can happen, then anything is possible.
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