Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin - live-action & R-rated


After the success of last year’s animated hit film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Paramount Pictures is keeping turtle power going by putting a new feature project into development.

This one, however, will go beyond the realm of the all-ages material the long-standing property is known for and instead go into gritty, R-rated, territory.

Paramount is developing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin, adapting a popular storyline seen in the recent IDW comics, as a live-action feature with the intent of making it for an R-rating.

Tyler Burton Smith, who co-wrote the upcoming R-rated action movie Boy Kills World and who wrote the 2019 iteration of Chucky horror franchise Child’s Play, is penning the script.

Walter Hamada is producing through his 18hz production company as part of his multi-year deal with the studio. Hamada is the former head of DC Films who rose through the ranks at New Line, where he oversaw the Warner Bros. division’s horror movies, including The Conjuring and It franchises. His 18hz banner is focused on making features in the horror genre.

And Last Ronin is about as terrifying as a Turtles tale can get. Set in a totalitarian future New York City, the comic mini-series told of how the Turtles and master Splinter are killed off one by one by the grandson of the villainous Shredder and synthetic ninjas. One Turtle manages to survive, barely, and vows to exact bloody vengeance. One trick of the book was that it wasn’t clear, for a while at least, which one of the Turtles lived as the survivor had theweapons of all four.

Co-creator Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz wrote the comic based on an older story by Eastman and co-creator Peter Laird. Artists included Esau and Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, and Eastman.

IDW, the publisher which holds the license for the Ninja Turtles comics, put out the books between 2020 and 2022. The comics were an unexpected massive hit, with the collected trade paperback being the second highest-selling graphic novel of 2023, per Circana BookScan.

The comic book company recently released the sequel TMNT: The Last Ronin II – Re-Evolution, with the debut issue touted as being one of the biggest comics of the year with more than 140,000 copies ordered.

Ninja Turtles debuted as a black and white indie comic in 1984 parodying comics like Chris Claremont’s X-Men comics and Frank Miller’s ninja-focused work. A toy deal turned the comic into a generational touchstone in the late 1980s, abetted by a bright and cheerful animated series, followed by a hit live-action movie wherein the Turtles were played by actors in suits.

Over the years, more animated series came at audiences like twirling nunchucks while Paramount, which landed the rights to the property via Viacom in 2009, put out two live-action movie produced by Michael Bay that starred Megan Fox and Will Arnett in the mid-2010s.

Mutant Mayhem, produced by Seth Rogen’s Point Grey, brought back a respectable sheen to the property by giving it a cool outsider point a view. Critics and audiences liked what the saw, with the animated movie grossing over $118.6 at the domestic box office. A sequel is now in the works.

IDW is also relaunching a mainline Ninja Turtles comic series timed to the titles 40th anniversary.