The TMNT skating in the street
The TMNT skating in the street

TMNT: Why Mutant Mayhem Changes the Turtles’ Origin From the Source Material

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem makes a major change to the characters’ origins so that audiences can relate to Splinter and his adopted sons.

Per Uproxx, director Jeff Rowe explains why the creative team opted to change the source and provide a different explanation for how the titular TMNT and their master turn into mutants. “Backstory stuff. Sometimes a lot of our early conversations were like, ‘How do we make this world make sense?’ Because there was a logic in the comic and then it shifted a little bit in the TV series and then it was completely different in the live-action movie,”

The filmmaker elaborates that the origin story seen in the original animated series explained that people who come into contact with the mysterious ooze are turned into whatever animal they last touched, an idea that was ditched for Mutant Mayhem.

Changing Splinter’s Story

“The logic is so twisted and weird. And there were things like that we’re like, Okay, we have to just make this make sense and make it feel like these characters exist in the real world that has something believable within physics that we know or movie logic that we’re familiar with,” Rowe elaborated. “Hopefully to create a foundation that would let audiences relate to the characters and connect with them.”

In Mutant Mayhem, Splinter is just a normal rat who is abused and isolated, adopting the ooze-drenched turtles after he forms a fatherly connection with them. Exposure to the substance turns him into a mutant and his ninja skills only come into play when he and the young reptiles are attacked by humans. He opts to learn martial arts via YouTube as a way to defend his family, going on to teach his sons the art of ninjutsu.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is now in theaters.