The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been invited to a sausage party.
The iconic crime-fighting, pizza-scarfing, forever-pubescent reptiles are now in their fourth decade of entertaining kids and nostalgic nerds, a long enough run that the youngest members of their original fan base are now old enough to write their next adventures. And that’s exactly what’s happening — on Tuesday, Nickelodeon announced that Seth Rogen and creative partner Evan Goldberg will produce a new animated TMNT movie via their Point Grey Pictures production label.
In many ways, Rogen and Goldberg are a logical match for the Ninja Turtles franchise. They broke out as screenwriters with 2007’s Superbad, a movie they first wrote in their high school years that eventually set a new standard for smart-but-outrageous teenage comedy. The pair loves to adapt their favorite comics, video games, and TV shows for new platforms — among other projects, they produced AMC’s Preacher, exec produce Amazon’s adaptation of The Boys, and are behind a new documentary about the Sega vs. Nintendo war in the ’90s. And they’ve even dabbled in animation, writing and producing the 2016 foul food carton Sausage Party.
At the same time, the Ninja Turtles have long been far more kid-friendly than Rogen and Goldberg’s usual fare. The heroes in a half-shell, who were first introduced in a 1984 comic series, have featured in six movies since the first premiered in 1990, five of which were live-action; together they’ve made $1.15 billion, not adjusted for inflation. The two most recent movies were produced by Michael Bay, who practices sort of the antithesis of Rogen and Goldberg’s filmmaking style.
Most of the Ninja Turtle animation has been made for TV. There have been four different animated series, starting with the original 1987 series that lasted nearly a decade and made Leonardo, Donatello, Rafael, and Michaelangelo international icons. The most current iteration, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, has been on the air since 2018.
Over the last decade, the franchise has found mixed success from a public that is so familiar with the property that no reboot seems essential. But the brand is still enormously valuable, spawning new comic books, video games, and just about every kind of toy and licensed product imaginable. Ninja Turtles began as a parody one-shot comic book but has since become a goliath, and it’ll take a true leap of faith for Nickelodeon to fully hand over the reins to Rogen and Golberg.