Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Artist on "Spider-Verse Style" Animation

The TMNT are back — in style. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies this week left fans shell-shocked with the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer, revealing the reboot's comic book and street-art style animation reminiscent of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. But Kellan Jett, a visual development artist credited on the new TMNT movie and Sony Pictures Animation's upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, says there's another influence: The Mitchells vs the Machines. (Jeff Rowe, who co-directs the Seth Rogen-produced Mutant Mayhem, also co-directed the Oscar-nominated Mitchells.) 

In a series of tweets, Jett wrote that the Annie and Oscar-winning Spider-Verse "is beautiful and it opened the door for us to try something new," but said the comic book-style animation of Mutant Mayhem is more influenced by Rowe's The Mitchells vs the Machines.

"People keep saying our TMNT movie looks like Spider-Verse which I understand, it's an easy reference point for people. But for people who don't know, there are like 8 people on the Turtles art team that worked on one or both of the Spiderverse films," Jett tweeted, adding that "an even bigger percentage of us worked on the Mitchells vs the Machines which I would say is a better reference than [Spidey]." 

Rowe directed the animated feature with Kyler Spears, an animator whose credits include episodes of Disney's Amphibia, Illumination's Minions: The Rise of Gru, and The Mitchells vs the Machines. Rogen and his Point Grey producing partner Evan Goldberg (The Boys, Invincible) are backing the project for Paramount and Nickelodeon, based on the comic book from creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

(Photo: Paramount Pictures / Nickelodeon Movies)

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, after years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O'Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

The voice cast features Nicolas Cantu (The Walking Dead: World Beyond) as Leonardo, Micah Abbey (Cousins for Life) as Donatello, Shamon Brown Jr. (The Chi) as Michelangelo, Brady Noon (The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers) as Raphael, Jackie Chan (Rush Hour) as Splinter, and Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) as April O'Neil. Other cast members include John Cena (Fast X) as Rocksteady, Seth Rogen (The Fabelmans) as Bebop, Hannibal Buress (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as Genghis Frog, Rose Byrne (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Leatherhead, Ice Cube (Ride Along) as Superfly, Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) as Cynthia, Natasha Demetriou (What We Do in the Shadows) as Wingnut, Paul Rudd (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) as Mondo Gecko, and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) as Baxter Stockman.

TMNT: Mutant Mayhem opens only in theaters August 4th.