Like it or not, Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is quickly heading our in our direction. The closer we get to the scheduled August 8 release date, it seems less and less likely that those rumored delays and reshoots are going to materialize. We’ve already seen what the Heroes in a Halfshell are going to look like, much to the chagrin of many long time fans, but we’ve only caught the most oblique glimpses of the main villain, Shredder, and the Turtle’s mentor, Master Splinter. Some newly uncovered concept art, however, provides our best look yet at these two.
This June, Insight Editions will release a book called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History, and toy-centric website Idle Hands has your first look at the two iconic characters. While there are some definite tweaks, they both generally look like you expect them to. Granted, this is how they were drawn early in the process, so who knows what the finished product looks like, but this is better than nothing, which, honestly, is all we can really hope for with this movie.
Shredder’s outfit is bulkier than you might expect, and looks more like body armor than his usual costume, but it is the same general idea. In this drawing, Splinter looks just about the same as he always has. The glimpses we’ve seen of him in the various trailers and bits of footage—he’s always show from behind—he looks like he may have different facial hair, something more like a Fu Manchu than simple rat whiskers.
Aside from the look of the Turtles, the biggest change Liebesman and producer Michael Bay have made to TMNT is to the origin story. In the comics, four baby turtles come into contact with the mysterious Ooze and mutate, with Splinter caring for them and teaching them the ways of the ninja. However, this time around, Shredder, a white dude named Eric (William Fichtner), along with April O’Neil’s (Megan Fox) father, creates them in a lab in an attempt to manufacture heroes.
The same substance that causes the Turtles to mutate is also responsible for Splinter’s mutation. You can’t help but be curious about how he fits into the picture given this scenario. Maybe he’s an earlier stage of the tests, like from a previous formula. That could explain why he is older and wise, as opposed to being a pizza-crazed teen. But you also have to wonder where the ninja skills come into play. Created in controlled environment, who taught them the way and code of the ninja? Maybe they make a break for it and live in the sewers beneath New York City before emerging to fight evil.
Though our hopes for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have steadily dimmed over time, we’re still curious to see how this all shakes out. If nothing else, it very well could be like watching a train wreck.