It has been a significant 12 months for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. In September 2018, Nickelodeon debuted the new animated series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In July, IDW Publishing debuted the new fifth Turtle, Jennika, in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series. Some fans may wonder if these two developments could come together, with Jennika making her television debut in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
ComicBook.com asked about that possibility while speaking with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles executive producers Andy Suriano and Ant Ward at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. They remained guarded, saying they have plans in place for the series already and wouldn’t want to force anything that doesn’t evolve naturally from those plans.
“Ant and I have lots of plans, lots of ideas,” Suriano says. “We’ll see what we get to execute. We have a very specific story in mind and somewhere we’re headed, at least for season one and season two, but there’s always possibilities.”
Ward adds, “I think whenever you’re doing major canon-type adjustments like that it has to be organic. It has to belong.”
In a separate interview with ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman discussed where the idea for Jennika came from. “It's great, you know,” Eastman said. “All props, all direction, all thanks, all everything has to go to Tom Waltz. Tom Waltz the head writer of the series. Not only am I such a huge fan of Tom for his abilities and his writing and his storytelling, but I also, the guys literally written hundreds of episodes of Turtles in these last eight or nine years. And Tom's always had a wonderful vision, it’s been an organic path, which is the beautiful part of how he writes and how he and I and Bobby all work together. Bobby Curnow the series editor. Its always story first and so it's like we pull things in that make sense when they make sense. It's not like, ‘Hey let's do something here that might bump sales and do this.’ It’s really, we write those issues for ourselves and hopefully the fans will join us for the ride.
“And so Jennika came in as a character to sort of a plot point,” Eastman continued. "We love the idea of strong women. We love the idea of strong female characters in our series, as well as all the comic series and movies. So we introduce her as this character in issue 51. Every issue we brought her back and we loved her more and more. And then around issue, between 60, 65 we had this idea. Because we wanted a girl turtle. We go to comic conventions, you know fans, we have these lovely young ladies that come up and you know, we got Captain Marvel and you got these things where they go, ‘When is there gonna be a girl turtle?’ And Tom and I are like, ‘We've been planning it for three years now.’ And so, just as it worked out storyline-wise, issue 95 was the moment to bring that to be.”
Would you like to see Jennika on Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Let us know in the comments.