Per The Hollywood Reporter, Rowe explained the decision to use Superfly as the film’s primary antagonist when Shredder is the franchise’s most recognizable villain. When asked whether it was a situation similar to Christopher Nolan saving Heath Ledger’s Joker for The Dark Knight rather than Batman Begins, he agreed profusely. “That was our whole argument. We were like, “Look, if we do it here, then the next movie can make a billion dollars. Don’t we all want a billion dollars?” Rowe said. “The sales-y argument and the story argument was that Shredder is a big character when he’s on screen. He demands a lot of presence, and he takes up so much space in the story. So it was too much space in a movie where we’re also trying to reintroduce a new generation of Turtles and get audiences on board with this iteration.”
Superfly Over Shredder
The filmmaker goes on to explain that at this early stage in the Turtle’s lives, Shredder was too domineering of a force for them. The decision to use Superfly was to put them up against a foe that was on a similar level to them. The creative team also believed the mutated insect was a better fit for the story considering he better fits the themes of rejection and acceptance.
Rowe previously said that the only reason he opted to sign on to helm the Mutant Mayhem sequel is because of Shredder. The director wasn’t sold on making another film in the franchise but he was ultimately swayed when he saw Yashar Kassai’s concept art of the villain. “Well, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. What am I going to not do in that movie?” he joked.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is now in theaters.