Around 2001, Peter Laird and the Mirage crew started work on a few TMNT projects to get the Ninja Turtles back to mainstream. While they eventually ended up with 4Kids and the long running new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle show that followed, they did for a while work with WB on a version of the show. The WB animated show seemed to have it’s own direction and style, which was similar in some ways but ultimately quite a bit different than what the 4Kids show became.

WB Turtle Concept Art

With Nickelodeon hard at work on their new Ninja Turtles show, a lot of people have wondered what a new Ninja Turtles TV program will look like. It’s impossible to say for sure, but examining the WB show might be a good way to get an idea. Here’s a recently posted animatic from the proposed WB concept show.

Remember of course, this show has nothing to do with the new Nick TMNT. It’s just a little animatic from the show that almost was. If anything, the new Nickelodeon show should prove to be an interesting experiment as it’s got a lot of talent attached to it and plenty of promise.

Early WB TMNT Prototype Figure
(Eventually became 2003 4Kids style Figure)

I can’t help but wonder about that WB show though, and if it would have been as big of a success as the 4Kids 2003 program or an even bigger one. Of course it very well could have failed. The WB concepts are long since retired, but Nickelodeon no doubt has a lot of great ideas for the Green Machine. Here’s hoping that Nickelodeon knocks it out of the park with their attempt.

13 Responses to A Look At The WB Ninja Turtles

  • Mark says:

    Not so keen on that thankfuly they made te 2003 series.
    I really hope the new Nickelodeon show is good and some new toys come out, id pick some up.

  • clark says:

    I really dig these character designs, and got excited for a second thinking these might be for the new show in development until I read the article. I know that the 4kids show was incredibly popular, but I never really liked it. I do think it was a nice departure from the 80's TMNT that I grew up with, and appreciated how much they took from the comics, I just couldn't get into it though. I did like the episodes where they were in the future, just because it was nice to have something unique to watch. I hope that Nickelodeon doesn't take them back to their cartoon roots of my childhood.

  • From what I hear, the Nickelodeon stuff is being done by some of the same people behind Teen Titans and will focus a lot on the teenage element of the characters, moreso than a lot of the vigilante element. I wouldn't be surprised to see some 80's stuff show up, but I'm guess this is going to be more grown up and an attempt to capture the all important Tweens.

    I posted the WB stuff (because the animatic is newly found) and because the WB stuff was signifigantly different than the 2K3 toon. While some of the same ideas were in place, the WB concepts give us a glimpse at a full scale possible reimagination of the TMNT. The Foot looked different, the mousers were different, Shredder was different… It was going to be different. Much like I suspect the Nick toon will be.

    Nick's stuff is going to be CGI, though.

  • I always really liked the WB turtle designs, except for the fact that Raph was huge. Everyone should be the same size.

    I liked that Mike has a Walkman (or whatever they are these days, Ipod I guess) on his belt. Some good personality.

  • wesitron says:

    Wow, I hadn't heard they were doing another TMNT series. I haven't seen anything for it yet. I used to love the classic series, but never saw the newer one. That first Leo they put out though I picked up. Not very well articulated, but a cool figure nonetheless. Well, I hope they do something cool with it. I saw that cg movie they did with Patrick Stewart a few years back, but it was just kinda okay.

    Nice to know its the Teen Titans team though, every time I caught that show it seemed pretty slick.

  • clark says:

    I liked Teen Titan's style (not artistic style, but story telling style). That's unfortunate that the Nick show is going to be CG, my interest just dropped quite a bit. I just haven't seen a series come out yet that can sustain quality 3D animation, not to mention that I personally don't find CGI cartoons particularly interesting. I don't mind CG being used with traditional animation, but I'm afraid this might be good stories with really hard to watch animation.

  • While I'm not a huge CG animation guy, Nick has some of the best CG stuff on television at the moment and if anyone can do it, it's them. Of course I think 2D animation is timeless and CGI animation can get dated pretty fast it seems.

    I still think there's some potential there. It's a long way out from production though, so I guess we'll have to see. If it counts for anything, they got the voice of the original Donatello back.

  • Mark says:

    I like the WB designs I just didn' like the cartoon animation.

  • Oh, well that was just a mock-up. The actual animation would have been smooth and stuff. I imagine along the lines of the animation of Jackie Chan Adventures and other WB stuff that came out at the time and all had the same sort of look and feel.

  • Mark says:

    Jackie Chan was a pretty fun cartoon.

  • A_Spidey_Fan says:

    Okay, I thought the proposed WB series back in 2001 was suppose to have been CGI, was it not? The trailer was even posted on the official Ninja Turtles site back then, but was then taken down do to all the downloading and how it was messing up their servers. That said, it is posted on Youtube now a days. Here's the link:

    Otherwise, this is the 1st time I've heard that the WB series was going to be at some point, more traditional animation, than CGI.

  • Two completely different deals actually. The CGI animated series was the Mirage pitch to several studios. Nobody was interested, perhaps because of the CG. Mirage always wanted a CG turtles.

    However once negotiations for the WB show began, it was to be traditional 2-D and all the work was done to make it a basic old school cartoon. There were model sheets done for the bulk of the characters (one of which I posted above) and that was the plan.

    The CG thing you linked to, to my knowledge was nothing more than a pitch piece and was commissioned by the guys at Mirage to sell networks on the idea of TMNT in CG. You can see the Mirage fingerprints all over that thing as well, with plenty of ideas that would continue to be recycled into the 2003 toon (Battle Shell) as well as the CGI TMNT movie (fight on construction site) and the only thing similar to the WB design, seems to be Shredder.

  • I think it's interesting that Leo turns into Raph in this animation. It starts with Leo's blue, but ends up being Raph. Clearly they didn't think a lot about this too much. It was just a test.

    The 2K3 show ended up having a great run, so it's probably better they ended up where they did… But I love this sort of stuff.

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