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When 1990's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a hit, it meant that New Line Cinema could confidently move forward with a sequel, though they'd have to keep to that ground-level aesthetic due to budgetary concerns and effects limitations. Not so with the new version of the story: the latest $65-million opening for Jonathan Liebesman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles means that a sequel can open the floodgates for the wild, wacky and colorful extended universe of the shelled warriors. Heck, it wouldn't be a surprise if Paramount was currently kicking around ideas for mutant spinoff movies coming from the world of the Turtles.
Taking into account the previous four films, the long-running comic and the animated series, we decided to dig up 10 characters who could conceivably pop up in the newest Turtles installment. Who could the heroes fight? Who would join their side? Who's going to get doused with Ooze, and who's going to open the portal to Dimension X? Here are ten candidates.
Casey JonesIn the early days of the Ninja Turtles, Kevin Eastman figured that audiences just wouldn't fully get that the characters were spoofs of the recent grim 'n' gritty trend in comic books. Enter Casey Jones, a vigilante who spoke like the Punisher and dressed like Jason Voorhees, who wore hockey gear and patrolled city streets, looking for crime. Jones has already been rumored to be of interest for the sequel, the fourth Turtles film to feature the character, who was played by Elias Koteas in the original trilogy. In some Turtles stories, he's a love interest of April O'Neil, so this is a chance to cast someone really pretty but with a slightly psycho side. Zac Efron?
Bebop And RocksteadyAlso rumored to be candidates for the sequel, these bumbling sidekicks were the result of genetic experimentation, one of Shredder's failed attempts to replicate the process of creating the Turtles. Though they were a part of initial plans, a rights issue kept them out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret Of The Ooze, and they were replaced by Tokka and Rahzar. While the two have fearsome appearances, they're never outwardly intimidating, and they often screw up missions and infuriate Shredder.
KrangHailing from the mysterious Dimension X, Krang was once a mighty ruler who operated the world-destroying Technodrome. A failed coup led to Krang being exiled on Earth, taking the humiliating form of a talking brain, an absolutely horrifying visual for a live action Turtles movie. Shredder and Krang eventually become an unlikely team when Shredder commissions a giant robotic body for Krang that, seen above, really doesn't obscure what a horrifying creation he is. In the new movie, an offhand line of dialogue refers to the mutagen ooze that creates the Turtles as "alien", which could mean it's derived from Dimension X. Maybe Krang will be making a trip to Earth to recover it.
Usagi YojimboIn the new film, Eric Sacks looks upon the Turtles as an experiment, and scoffs, "We almost used a rabbit." This is believed to be a reference to Miyamoto Usagi, the star of the Usagi Yojimbo comics that actually predate the Ninja Turtles. Usagi Yojimbo was actually a straight-faced ronin tale involving a rabbit samurai, and over the years the comic has won several prizes and critic notices. But to a large contingent of fans, he's known for guest-starring in the Ninja Turtles series, becoming their ally after a trans-dimensional snafu. The Turtles of the new film are already pretty comic, so a deadly serious rabbit would be a nice addition, and a potential candidate for a spinoff film.
Baxter StockmanK. Todd Freeman doesn't appear to have any lines in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but apparently, he's playing scientist Baxter Stockman. In the comics, Stockman was a put-upon scientist who created little robots called Mousers that killed rats and robbed banks. Because the animated series couldn't resist dunking characters in the mutagen ooze, Stockman was changed into a grotesque fly-man with wings, which somehow didn't affect his scientific interests or supervillainous traits. While it's nice that Freeman's already shown up in these movies, the feeling is most fans will need a reminder of who he is in part two.
Ace DuckAce Conrad was a star pilot who accidentally flew a plane into one of Krang's transport beams at the same time as a duck. Before you could say, "Drunk Denzel Washington," the pilot was now a mutant. In the comics, he took many forms, though he eventually became the Turtles' aviation expert. Ace Duck's most common appearance involved a 1930's style bomber jacket and cap, and seeing a duck wear that would be a delight. One of the memorable Turtle gizmos in the comics and series was the Turtle blimp, which Ace Duck piloted. It could be pretty cool to see him gather up the Turtles and save them in the movies.
The Punk FrogsYet another failed Shredder experiment, this one must have infuriated him the most, since it seems like almost the exactly same deal as the Turtles. The Turtles were named after Renaissance artists, but the Frogs earned the names Napoleon, Genghis, Rasputin and Attila. Of course, Shredder's big mistake was finding four frogs from the sleepy Florida swamps. When they mutated, ostensibly to be hired muscle for the Foot, the Frogs revealed themselves as laid back hippies who bonded with the Turtles instead. Though they emerged from the television series, this is actually an idea that could be funnier onscreen.
LeatherheadA pet shop accident that fused the ooze with a small alligator, this beast eventually grew to full length and learned English. In the spirit of the Transformers movies, where the robots all spoke English but with wildly different accents, Leatherhead was inexplicably a barely literate Cajun. Fulfilling New York City urban legend, Leatherhead eventually made a home in the sewers, where he eventually fought, then befriended the Turtles. There is a love-hate relationship between the heroes and the gator, though in the comics he's a super-genius with an eyepatch – in the animated series, he's a dimwitted villain who lives in the Everglades.
TatsuDerived from the movies, Tatsu is Shredder's mostly-silent second-in-command of the Foot Clan. While Shredder is obviously a more flashy and showy villain, opting for crazy metallic robot armor in the new movie, Tatsu is more like an actual sensei, a badass shot-caller who knows when to engage his enemies and when to retreat. The Foot seems pretty small in the new film despite the mythology's intimations that they stretch far and wide. Instead of being something of a silent henchman, perhaps the new Tatsu could simply be something of a Foot Clan regional manager, a guy who lives a little farther away, one that Shredder consults for backup against his newfound enemies. As long as they can find someone as menacing-looking as original actor Toshishiro Obata.
Venus De MiloMaybe you didn't see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The New Mutation. But the short-lived series did introduce a pretty peculiar element to the mythology: a fifth Turtle. As it turns out, there weren't four original turtles, there was a fifth, and she accidentally got separated from her peers, growing up in China instead. Learning of her true origins, she comes to America and tried to befriend her siblings, wearing an aqua-blue bandana to fit in. Oddly enough, it was at this point where the creators of the show took great pains to reveal that none of the Turtles were ACTUALLY related, allowing for romance to blossom between Venus and one of the other Turtles. Odder still, she was not an actual ninja like the others, instead relying on magical powers. Amusingly, Kevin Eastman hates that this character was created and refuses to acknowledge her. Still, only 39% of this opening weekend audience was female. If demographics talk, there's a chance Venus could live again!