Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) just hit theaters, the seventh theatrical installment in the long-running TMNT franchise. But you might be wondering, is it canon to the franchise?
Is TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Canon With the Other TMNT Movies?
Mutant Mayhem follows a long list of TMNT movies, which are as follows:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
- TMNT (2007), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)
It's the seventh theatrical film in the franchise, and the second to be produced as CG-animated, with TMNT being the first.
Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dune are planning on producing more live-action films that are currently in the works as we speak, but seeing as they have already made it known these films will be a reboot and will not follow on the Michael Bay-produced films, what does this mean for TMNT: Mutant Mayhem?
Is Mutant Mayhem a sequel, a prequel, or a reboot?
You'd be forgiven for assuming Mutant Mayhem is a sequel — after all, 2007's TMNT is, in fact, a sequel to the first three live-action films.
Yes, TMNT is actually canon with the original trilogy, which was confirmed during a scene in the Turtles' sewer lair, the part that revealed familiar-looking "items" from those previous three films on a shelving unit, from The Shredder's helmet to the time-travelling Sceptre.
Is Mutant Mayhem A Sequel, A Prequel, Or A Reboot?
With that said, this doesn't mean that Mutant Mayhem will follow suit just because it's animated.
First of all, it's worth pointing out that this is the first time the Ninja Turtles will have been portrayed as actual teenagers, and they're said to be between the ages of 13 and 16 in the upcoming film, which is something producer Seth Rogen previously stated he wanted to lean into.
As such, this would, chronologically speaking, place the new film before the events of any of the previous six films in the franchise.
Given that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will actually be portrayed as teenagers having the time of their life, rebooting the franchise at their right ages could mean potential spin-offs and sequels for the film.
However, it doesn't really make that much of a difference, because Mutant Mayhem is indeed a reboot, meaning this will be the second time (third if you do consider TMNT a reboot of sorts) the film series has wiped the slate clean.
The first reboot came in the form of the 2014 film from Michael Bay, which got its first and last sequel in 2016 with Out of the Shadows.
While it might seem that Mutant Mayhem could serve as a prequel to whichever previous continuity, it looks like it will change some TMNT lore anyway, from the fact that April O'Neil is portrayed as African-American, to the fact that The Shredder is seemingly absent from what appears to be a brand-new origin story.
Check out the new trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem below:
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, after years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O'Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.
TMNT: Mutant Mayhem stars Nicolas Cantu (Leonardo), Micah Abbey (Donatello), Shamon Brown Jr. (Michelangelo), and Brady Noon (Raphael) as the titular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Meanwhile, the film also stars:
- Jackie Chan as Splinter
- Ayo Edebiri as April O'Neil
- Seth Rogen as Bebop
- John Cena as Rocksteady
- Hannibal Buress as Genghis Frog
- Rose Byrne as Leatherhead
- Ice Cube as Superfly
- Post Malone as Ray Fillet
- Paul Rudd as Mondo Gecko
- Maya Rudolph as Cynthia Utrom
- Natasia Demetriou as Wingnut
- Giancarlo Esposito as Baxter Stockman