Is it time for a grittier Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot? The Brothers Sun director Kevin Tancharoen wants to adapt The Last Ronin comic for the big screen!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem was one of the biggest animated films of 2023, giving new life to the iconic heroes in a half-shell in a light-hearted coming-of-age story from writer and producer Seth Rogen. However, “Teenage” is only one part of what makes the turtles so great, and it seems director Kevin Tanchareon wants to take a crack at the “Ninja” part of that equation.
Kevin Tanchareon made his stamp on the world of nerd culture with his highly popular Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short film in 2010, going on to direct two seasons of a web series set in the same universe entitled Mortal Kombat: Legacy and kickstarting the production of what would one day become the 2021 movie Mortal Kombat.
In recent years, Kevin Tanchareon has been busy working on The Brothers Sun for Netflix, a story about two sons of the head of the Taiwanese triad, featuring Michelle Yeoh and breakout stars Justin Chien and Sam Li. While speaking to Heroic Hollywood about the upcoming series, Tanchareon revealed his dream would be to adapt the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic entitled The Last Ronin, which follows the last surviving turtle trying to avenge his deceased brothers in a cyberpunk dystopia.
Is there anything else you want to get out, either about The Brothers Sun or your own work that you haven’t been able to get out there yet?
“…The ultimate dream, though, if I had to pick any comic book property? The Last Ronin. I would LOVE to do a darker take on [the Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles. And I know that there’s a large audience for that. Now, whether or not Nickelodeon would ever let that happen, I’m not sure. But I do know Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird always intended for it to be a little bit on the darker side.”
“And if you rewatch the 1990 movie, that movie ain’t a kids film! [Laughs]. It’s so not a kid’s film. The second one is a kids’ film, the first one though? Pretty dark for what it was and I thought it worked. I think there’s something beautiful about that story, but yeah.”
“I remember talking to, because I worked with Robert Rodriguez on [The Book of] Boba Fett and I was like ‘So, are you going to do anything with this? Because I know you’re illustrating the cover and you know the guy’ and he’s like ‘Yeah, you know, probably not. Just because it’s too dark’. But if there was ever a world where I could ‘Mortal Kombat: Rebirth‘ it, I would love to.”
Seth Rogan is working on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and The Boys over at Amazon, so it seems Amazon might be the place!
“Maybe, maybe there’s a good mix of the two. But I loved Mutant Mayhem. I thought it was so fun, and my friend from elementary school actually ended up writing it! We nerd out quite a bit because we grew up, and we have some pictures of us in nerdy costumes. Like he was Joker and I was Batman, or whatever, Star Wars, so it was really cool to see that he wrote the next Ninja Turtles movie. And I loved it. I really, really liked it.”
While it’s not likely Nickelodeon would gamble the family-friendly brand of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on an adaptation of The Last Ronin, crazier things have happened. Fans of the franchise have been calling for the comic to be adapted ever since it debuted in 2020. In fact, it’s already getting adapted in the realm of video games thanks to a collaboration between Black Forest Games and THQ Nordic.
Given The Last Ronin has also received two sequel comics in the scant few years it’s been out, it’s clear that Nickelodeon is listening to what fans want from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. And with The Brothers Sun shaping up to be a surprise hit from Netflix, it may be best for fans to make their voices heard sooner rather than later about Kevin Tanchareon helming a potential adaptation!
The Brothers Sun premieres globally on Netflix on January 4th. The series follows Charles “Chair Leg” Sun (played by Justin Chien), the sun of the head of a Taiwanese triad who sets out for Los Angeles to protect his mother, Eileen (played by Michelle Yeoh), and his younger brother, Bruce (played by Sam Song Li) in an action-packed adventure about food, fights, and family.