Spoiler alert! This article contains plot details for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.
Fresh from the sewers, the heroes in a half shell make their epic return to the big screen in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. The 2023 film is the latest iteration of the Ninja Turtles characters and was produced and written by comedy star Seth Rogan. The film follows the four teenage turtle siblings of Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Donatello (Micah Abbey), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), and Raphael (Brady Noon) as they navigate their adolescence in the human world while protecting Manhattan from evil.
Even as a fresh new take on the Turtles, Mutant Mayhem features plenty of the classic TMNT characters that fans know and love. Jackie Chan plays their rodent father figure Splinter, Ayo Edebiri voices April O'Neil, Rose Byrne plays alligator villain Leatherhead, and Seth Rogan and John Cena play classic villainous duo Bebop and Rocksteady respectively.
However, longtime fans will have undoubtedly noticed that Shredder, the Turtles' most infamous adversary, doesn't appear. Why isn't he in Mutant Mayhem?
Why isn't Shredder in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem'?
It's impossible for any Ninja Turtles fan not to think of Shredder in the same breath. The popular villain typically serves as the leader of the criminal ninja organization known as the Foot Clan. In nearly every version of the Turtles' depicted throughout several decades, Shredder almost always appears as the Turtles' greatest adversary.
However, he is largely absent in Mutant Mayhem, which is odd for a film that already features so many classic TMNT villains.
However, director Jeff Rowe revealed that Shredder was originally intended to play a bigger role in the movie. In an interview with Polygon, Jeff admitted that Shredder was the production team's "first impulse" when it came to choosing a main antagonist.
"[We said] 'okay yeah, the villain is Shredder. It's gotta be Shredder," Jeff told the outlet. "And then we were like, 'well who is the character of Shredder and how does he relate to these kids?'"
According to Jeff, their idea of Shredder didn't "feel organic" to their depiction of the turtles in their film. The crew's mission statement for the film was to really hone in on the "teenage" aspect of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and allow the four heroes to explore their youth as modern teenagers. Having them face off against an adult during their first outing didn't necessarily jive with their vision.
Luckily, it isn't as if the classic villain is completely absent from the film. Shredder makes a brief appearance in a mid-credits scene for the film, providing more than enough set-up for a potential sequel down the line. It's safe to say that the Turtles' showdown with Shredder in this reboot is more than possible in the future.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is now playing in theaters.