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These Rejected Concept Designs Prove ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Almost Looked Even Weirder

By 08.27.14
Those are some soul cycle calves.

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Those are some soul cycle calves.


It’s hard to imagine that there were any worse designs than the ones selected by Jonathan Liebeswhatever for the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The turtles, cast in a perpetual chiaroscuro, were green, oily, and indecipherable: life, pre-Neutrogena.

Then in comes Anthony Francisco from Guardians of the Galaxy, an otherwise skillful conceptual illustrator who went deep into his brain and pulled out these holy sh*t unmedicated nightmares. According to CBM, Francisco approached Producer Michael Bay with his designs, and while “the meeting went well,” “we did not get the gig.”

I imagine it’s hard to conceptualize animated adolescent ninja turtles, but here’s a hint: don’t give them Tina Turner legs. That’s weird, and also: terrifying. I understand that Francisco wanted to make the turtles lifelike (as lifelike as you can make a turtle that identifies as both a mutant, and a ninja), but these amphibians are for too grotesque for an otherwise saccharine storyline. Curvy hips. Skinny lips. Hooves. A penis vein? Also: GUNS.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was designed for kids, and while I’m all for bridging the gap between childhood entertainment and grown-up “film,” please, keep the AK-47s away. Let the turtles do their weird, semi-racist ninja fighting. You can keep the bullets in every other single movie Hollywood ever makes ever.

It’s Rodin on a speed trip, Michelangelo on an acid one.

I kinda liked ‘em.

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TOPICS#Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
TAGSAnthony Franciscoconcept artJONATHAN LIEBESMANMichael Bay

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