Ninja Turtles Season Five: From Page to Screen by Jerry Whitworth
In previous seasons of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the series’ heroes have faced invaders from Dimension X, mutants spawned by the Kraang’s mutagen, and ninjas from the malevolent Foot Clan lead by the Shredder. Announced at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015, the Turtles’ world is about to expand as they face new alien threats in its upcoming fifth season. Currently in its third season set to resume airing again in about three weeks for eight more episodes, the series was ordered for a fourth season last summer (reduced from 26 episodes to twenty) and a fifth season last week (also with twenty episodes). The current season has been a veritable buffet of pop culture homages to films and eclectic icons and saw the introduction of such classic characters as the Punk Frogs, Mighty Mutanimals, Bebop and Rocksteady, and Mondo Gecko. Lets take a look at what characters are in store in the show’s fifth season.
Created for the Archie Comics version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Armaggon was a mutant-cyborg shark from the future trying to conquer Earth. An enemy of Man Ray in his time period, Armaggon teamed with Verminator-X from his time and a Shredder from the past in a plot using time machines toward world domination. In his time, the world was covered in water due to global warming making him one of the most dangerous creatures alive. The trio’s plans would be foiled by a coalition of Ninja Turtles from the present and future leaving Armaggon stranded in the far-flung future. Armaggon would appear as a playable character in the 1993 Konami fighting game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters. A thirteen episode animated series based on the Mighty Mutanimals was developed at one time with Armaggon acting as one of the team’s foes (Angleron, a mutant anglerfish, an intended ally). The character of Bludgeon in the current Ninja Turtles comic published by IDW was originally going to be Armaggon but the idea was scrapped (sharing little in common beside both being mutant sharks). For the upcoming Armaggon in Ninja Turtles‘ fifth season, the character will be a cyborg-shark bounty hunter voiced by Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Teen Titans).
Created for the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, Mona Lisa was a mutant lizard and possible love interest for Raphael. A college student, Mona was kidnapped by a pirate named Captain Filch who wanted to take over the world. Agreeing to help Filch with his experiments to bide her time for escape, Mona destroyed the pirate’s nuclear reactor which turned her into a mutant lizard. Making good her escape, Mona wanted to bring Filch to justice and would eventually meet and team with Raphael to do just that leaving her to follow him back to New York. However, the series changed direction in its ninth season and Mona was forgotten. Originally, the intention was for Mona Lisa to be a female turtle but the Ninja Turtles’ creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird demanded she be something else prompting her change to be a lizard (a female turtle would eventually emerge in Venus de Milo which Laird has demanded never be referenced officially, even in jest, ever again within the franchise). Mona would be drawn in the style of manga for a 1994 Japanese Ninja Turtles magazine published by Kodansha which featured images from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, action figures, and the animated series. In the Archie Comics, Raphael would instead get a love interest in Ninjara, a humanoid fox ninja warrior, but the rights to the character went to her creators Dean Clarrain and Chris Allan after Archie lost the rights to Ninja Turtles. That said, Ninjara was intended to have been part of the Mighty Mutanimals in its proposed animated series as their sole female member. A similar character to Ninjara would later emerge in the IDW comic named Alopex. For her upcoming animated appearance, Mona Lisa will be a Salamandrian highly accomplished in combat and voiced by Zelda Williams (The Legend of Korra).
The primary antagonist of the final two seasons of the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, Lord Dregg was an alien overlord come to Earth with an insect army in order to conquer the planet. The Turtles would defeat him leading Dregg to convince the people of Earth he was a friend and that the Turtles were a menace. Dregg was an inspiration to replace Krang and Shredder by the showrunners due to the popularity of the Power Rangers franchise (which is interesting in that Saban, the company behind Power Rangers, would produce a live action Ninja Turtles television series following the end of the cartoon). Dregg also shares some similarities with Maligna, the queen of the insectoid race of Malignoids that sought to conquer Earth in the Archie Comics some years earlier (Maligna was intended to be the primary antagonist in a proposed Mighty Mutanimals animated series). Lord Dregg will be voiced by Peter Stormare (Fargo, Prison Break) in his upcoming animated appearance where he will be an insectoid crime lord crossed by the Ninja Turtles.
Their creation and publication predating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Triceratons are an alien warrior race of conquerors resembling humanoid triceratops that are at war with the Human Federation. The Ninja Turtles are accidentally transported to the alien world of D’Hoonib where the Triceratons and Federation are trying to capture Dr. Honeycut, a scientist who developed a tool that allows the ability of teleportation, telekinesis, and telepathy. Teaming up, the Turtles and Honeycut returned to Earth with some Triceratons in tow. The Triceraton Republic would later attack the Utroms, an alien race friendly with the Ninja Turtles (and the basis for Krang in the 1980s cartoon), prompting the Turtles to combat the saurian aliens again. Later, the Triceratons would target Earth. Beside the Foot, Krang, and various mutants, the Triceratons are one of the most reoccurring threats to the Ninja Turtles. The Triceratons appeared once in the 1980s animated series (likely to promote their action figure) and made a small cameo in a crowd scene in the Archie comics. The characters would be featured in various TMNT video games in the 1990s (although, despite being on the cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, they didn’t appear in that game).
Outside of the Mirage and Image Comics versions of the Triceratons, the race would feature prominently in the 2003 Ninja Turtles animated series and would emerge in the IDW comic series. The Triceratons have been teased to appear in the current animated series since its second season but will be featured prominently in season five. Arguably, Zog is the most notable Triceraton dating back to the Mirage comics days as one of his race stranded on Earth where he became an ally of the Ninja Turtles that subsequently fell in combat (his story was loosely adapted in the 2003 animated series). In the IDW comics, Zog was a servant of Krang who rebelled against his master. Another notable Triceraton was Commander Mozar who was mentioned briefly in the Mirage comics but featured prominently in the 2003 animated series as the supreme military commander and direct subordinate of Prime Leader Zanramon. Mozar was assigned the duty of capturing Professor Honeycutt which later lead to Earth’s occupation by the Triceraton Republic. Mozar would later turn on Zanramon and serve rebel leader Traximus. Of the upcoming Triceratons, Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Millennium) will voice Zog, a Triceraton scout, and Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as Captain Mozar, the Triceraton Fleet Commander and direct subordinate of the Triceraton Emperor.
Dr. Honeycut was a scientist tasked by the Human Federation to develop the Transmat, a helmet that offered the power of teleportation, telekinesis, and telepathy. Finally making a breakthrough in his invention, a freak accident displaced Honeycut’s mind into that of his worker robot SAL as his body was destroyed. Now living as a robot, the Federation wishes to enslave Honeycut as his kind have no rights and the Triceratons, the race at war with the Federation, want Honeycut for their own such purposes. Dubbed a Fugitoid, Honeycut is hunted by both sides as a chance encounter with the displaced Ninja Turtles creates an alliance that returns the mutants to Earth with Honeycut in tow. The Utroms, an alien race friends with the Turtles and who already have the means of transportation, accept Honeycut to study with them in their culture. Later, Honeycut would act as the Utroms ambassador to bring the Turtles to the aliens’ homeworld. The Fugitoid would never appear in the 1987 cartoon or Archie comics but would get an action figure in the ’80s toyline.
The 2003 animated series largely adapted the Fugitoid storyline in the comics however, Honeycutt would also become a focal point of the war on Earth waged by the Triceratons. Subsequently, he became a close ally of the Turtles. Honeycutt would be altered in the IDW comic series as a Neutrino servant of Krang that joined a rebellion against his master. As Krang tried to eradicate the rebels, Honeycutt sacrificed his body to save his family and allies as his mind became trapped in his worker robot SAL. The sacrifice would be in vain as the rebels would still be wiped out and Honeycutt escaped to Earth where he spied on Krang’s Earth operations as well as aligned with the Foot against Krang. Later, he would change his alliance to that of the Turtles and helped save the life Donatello after a near-death encounter with Bebop and Rocksteady. In the upcoming fifth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Fugitoid will be voiced by David Tennant (Doctor Who, Jessica Jones) where alien scientist Dr. Honeycutt’s body is destroyed but his brain survives and is placed into a robot.