Bizarre "Raptor Ralph" Concept For TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Defunct Live-Action Film
The other day I posted concept art from a defunct live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film that was conceived between 1995 and 1997. The artwork was created by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and it featured Kirby, the "fifth turtle," but also Fang, Shredder, Spyder, Nano Spyder, Super Shredder, Kasey (Casey), Talbot, Lawson, Bugman, and Evil April. I would say the majority of people were quite happy that version was never made. But with those images still fresh in your minds I figured I'd also unearth some more concept work from that project, and another live-action venture that was conceived in 2001.
Yesterday I posted concept art from this never made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action film that featured Kirby, the fifth turtle. Now check out the mutated versions of Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Splinter. You won't believe your eyes!
First, let's start with the 1995 to 1997 project, as the other co-creator of the Turtles, Peter Laird, revealed images and detailed information that he worked on with Eastman. Peter posted all of this Turtle goodness on his blog about four years ago, so they aren't quite hot off the presses. But I'm sure you won't mind, as I have a hunch many of you weren't made aware of them.
What makes these pieces so interesting, is that they deal with the four main Turtles, and their wise sensei, Splinter. Not that fifth wheel son-of-bitch, Kirby. I kid, I kid.
"We had put our heads together at the request of the movie studio and came up with some tweaks for the guys -- we were calling it “TMNT: The Next Mutation”. (This was before the live-action TV show.) The general idea was that the mutagen was continuing to change the turtles and Splinter, giving them new abilities -- and new problems." - PL
(Illustrated by Peter Laird, Inked by Kevin Eastman)
"Don was given the least obvious mutation -- growing telekinetic and telepathic abilities, unfortunately counterpointed by diminishing eyesight (hence the vision-enhancing goggles). We also provided him with an updated “techno” version of his bo staff." - PL
BEFORE any of you freak out over these conceptual drawings, just know that Peter did add, "In retrospect, I'm glad this never happened."
"The “rising sun” bandana on Leo in this version actually comes from a much earlier costume redesign session, when we were toying around with changing the costumes for the Turtles in the comic books. I kind of dig the “utility belt” Leo has in this drawing. I believe Leo’s new mutation was the ability to morph his skin into a kind of nearly impenetrable chrome-like surface (shades of Ben Boxer from Jack Kirby’s “Kamandi” comics!)." - PL
"Here we gave Mike a more “street” look because his new mutation gave him the ability to project a human appearance onto his turtle features, allowing him to interact freely with humans." - PL
"One of our ideas was to give Raphael the ability to “morph” into what we were calling “Raptor Raph”, complete with big gnashy teeth and claws to complement his big gnashy personality.
This was not much of a stretch, obviously. In retrospect, while this new approach was probably appropriate for Raph, it was also uncomfortably close to what we were proposing for Splinter." - PL
"Here's another design idea from the unfilmed fourth live-action movie. We wanted to give Splinter a much more active part in the battles that the Turtles fought, and so he was going to have the ability to morph into a big, lithe, muscular “super rat mutant” type of thing. Okay, it’s lame... I admit it." - PL
As I mention above, that wasn't the only time a pitch for a fourth live-action film was fell through. In 2001 Steve Barron, the director of the very first live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (and the only good one) teamed up with artist Brendan McCarthy for a more "street" version of the Turtles. Below you can find some of Brendan's concept art for that project, which features a Turtle (Kirby?) in Shredder-like armor.
For more information and images from the 90's and 2001 unfilmed fourth live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies head over to TMNT: Entity blog.
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