10 Elaborate TMNT Fan Theories That Make A Lot Of Sense

Voting Rules
Vote up the most believable fan theories.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been one of the most beloved franchises ever since the first comic hit shelves in 1984. Before long, the turtles were all over lunchboxes, cartoons, Trapper Keepers, and pretty much everything else kids wanted – and that hasn't slowed down. Because of this, there are tons of fans, many of whom have come up with some incredible fan theories.

Every so often, fans will take their theory to the FanTheories subreddit to share their thoughts and ideas about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some fan theories actually make a lot of sense, and the best of them have been compiled here.

  • 1
    147 VOTES

    Splinter Wanted To Be Captured In 'TMNT' To Confirm The Identity Of Shredder

    Splinter Wanted To Be Captured In 'TMNT' To Confirm The Identity Of Shredder
    Photo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / New Line Cinema

    From Redditor u/Elranzer:

    In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), something about Splinter being captured didn't sit with me right. It was a little too Raph, "damsel in distress," for such a character. Then I thought that he let himself get captured. Consider the order of strength of the characters:

    The four Turtles can easily defeat rooms and rooms of Foot Soldiers, despite being teenagers and new to fighting (though the Foot Soldiers are also troubled teenagers in the film). This is due to being trained by Master Splinter and their massive, mutant muscles. Regardless of the above advantages of the four Turtles, Master Shredder can defeat all of them in 4-vs-1 combat. And regardless of the above, Master Splinter can easily best Master Shredder. So are we to believe the weakest link here (the Foot Soldiers) could easily take Master Splinter?

    Now follow the timeline of the film:

    • When the film begins, both the Turtles and the Foot operate from the shadows, and neither knows of each other's existence.
    • When April O'Neil starts doing news stories on the Foot, she is told to be silenced.
    • And for good reason... April's stories are the first mention Splinter hears of "[The] Foot"
    • Splinter here allows himself to get captured to confirm his enemy is indeed his old enemy from Japan
    • Splinter does not say a word to Shredder, who gets up in Splinter's face. Splinter, at this point, is 99% sure Shredder is Oroku Saki.
    • (Splinter had a hunch that if his enemy was indeed Oroku Saki, that Saki would keep Splinter alive to try to gather information.)
    • Splinter tells Danny that "You wear his symbol upon your brow." (the Kanji for "oni"/"demon," which visually looks similar to the Kanji for "foot")... by this point, Splinter is sure.
    • Shredder is able to best the four Turtles in 4-v-1 combat, though he gets slashed once by Leo.
    • Shredder then plays Leo's emotions to gain an advantage over Leo.
    • Splinter then throws Shredder's tactic right back at him... Splinter, now speaking to Shredder for the first time, has been saving this piece of information as a weapon... that he is Hamato Yoshi's pet rat. Splinter opens decades-old wounds and hurts Shredder's ego, and reviving the kind of old grudges the Japanese are famous for.
    • Shredder is defeated by Splinter outsmarting Shredder and also letting Shredder's dishonor cause his own demise... simply catching Shredder's backstabbing knife mid-air causes Splinter to let go of Shredder.
    • (Of course, Shredder might not be dead, and the corrupt NYC police are not gonna just arrest him. And if they do, Shredder might have enough bribe money to be released. What's there to do? I guess it was a good thing true vigilante Casey Jones was there to "correct the problem"... "OOPS!")

    TL;DR: Splinter is way too strong and talented to be captured by mere teenage Foot Soldiers. He let himself get captured by the enemy to gather intelligence.

    147 votes
  • 2
    110 VOTES

    The Turtles Avoid Weapons In 'TMNT II' Because They're Better Fighters

    The Turtles Avoid Weapons In 'TMNT II' Because They're Better Fighters
    Photo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze / New Line Cinema

    From Redditor u/Deven247:

    The Ninja Turtles use their weapons less in TMNT II because of complaints from parents...

    Is what you would say, right? True, but let's have a look from a more in-universe perspective, shall we?

    The Ninja Turtles had just taken out the Foot Clan, a large crime syndicate run by Splinter's life-long enemy, the Shredder.

    After having taken out the Foot Clan, the turtles continued to fight crime. The reason why they more seldomly used their weapons for direct combat is for the following:

    1. The threat is smaller, as these are average, albeit morally misguided, civilians committing robbery or petty theft, so deadly force isn't exactly necessary.
    2. Preservation of Weaponry and/or Decreased Dependence

    Not only are the turtles preserving their weapons for greater threats, but they want to keep their weapons in as flawless condition as possible for when the time comes, which is why they bring them along anyway. The ignorance of their weapons is because they had been trained between the two films to be less dependent on them in case they somehow lose access, as Raph did with one of his sai at the beginning of the first film. One's greatest strength can also be their biggest weakness.

    You can tell how much they've matured and how stronger they've gotten by how laid back and creative they've become with objects in their surroundings, as well as their more seldom weapon use, compared to their love for confrontation (or at least Raph's) in the first. This brings me to my final and most important reason for the film.

    3) A ninja is a master of himself and his own environment.

    The turtles use the everyday objects to incapacitate their enemies not only as alternatives to their own, much deadlier weapons but to truly be able to hide any signs of presence during the aftermath (Again, Raph's sai in the first film).

    It's not until during the final confrontation with Super Shredder that the turtles realize that they can apply this advice not only to combat but for their survival. They choose not to be reckless and fight a much stronger opponent in an unsafe environment by leaping into the nearby ocean, where they could obviously float. It's at this point of the film, and probably in their lives, in which they are true masters of fight-or-flight survival instinct.

    110 votes
  • 3
    68 VOTES

    Police Chief Sterns Is A Member Of The Foot Clan

    Police Chief Sterns Is A Member Of The Foot Clan
    Photo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / New Line Cinema

    From Redditor u/FMG_Ransu:

    One thing I never noticed or questioned until my more recent viewings was The Foot Clan's goal. All we see or pick up on in the movie is that they enlist teenagers to steal anything and everything they can get their hands on. What's their purpose? Without jumping down a bigger rabbit hole, I'm going to postulate that the reason they have teenagers steal items like TVs, stereos, electronics, etc., is because they then resell them and use the [money] to pay off NYPD Officers and/or Lawyers.

    After April's opening scene on the news, we have some hoodlums mug April, and we see our boys (well, more like hear) take care of the muggers and tie them up. Police arrive on the scene and take them into custody. However, only two nights later, we them back at the warehouse The Foot uses as a base of operations for their stolen goods. So how did they get out of police custody? They don't look like minors to me, and April probably gave a statement that clearly incriminates them, so how would they have gotten out of jail time? One theory is that Police Chief Sterns is actually a member of The Foot Clan and lets them out on Shredder's orders.

    Only a few scenes earlier do we see April bring up The Foot Clan when interviewing Chief Sterns. [As far as I know,] this is the first time The Foot is probably mentioned on the news. As soon as Shredder sees this sends the order: "Find her. Silence her." Examining Chief Stern's behavior during this interview, I always thought he was mad at April for giving the public the impression that the NYPD wasn't doing their job, but what if that's just the act he puts? After he yells at April in his office and she walks out, we see her boss's son, Danny, getting arrested. And he makes a deal with April's boss, Charles, to get Danny out of police custody and for him to get April off the case. Now obviously, Danny being a minor, wouldn't be charged with anything too serious, but given Danny's track record throughout the movie, he isn't a strong-willed character and could possibly give up info about The Foot. And if Chief Sterns is associated with The Foot, he definitely doesn't want a kid like Danny to talk.

    As soon as April leaves the NYPD Station, she's confronted by Foot ninjas in the subway, and she's saved by Raph and taken back to their home. One lone Foot Ninja tracks them back, and when the Turtles take April home, Foot Ninjas storm the Turtles liar and take Splinter. This forces the Turtles back to take shelter in April's apartment. The next morning Charles and Danny head to April's, and Charles tells her she's off the case. Danny catches a glimpse of Mikey in a mirror, but when he turns to see him, Mikey is gone. Cut ahead to Shredder's proper introduction, and we see him telling the teens gathered at the warehouse about the Turtles. We see him promote a new Foot Ninja and give a nice little speech. However, one thing we didn't see was a deleted scene where the muggers from the opening scene try to get the red bandanna from Shredder in order to avoid punishment for being caught by the police. The only part of the scene that remains in the final cut is when Shredder is promoting the Foot Ninja, we see one of the muggers from the opening scene in the background holding his freshly cut arm from Shredder. The scene ends with Danny coming forward to tell Shredder where he saw the Turtles.

    When April brings up The Foot Clan again in another interview, we see her boss getting a call from Chief Sterns screaming over the phone: "Pennington! I thought we had a deal!" It wouldn't be crazy to think that Sterns would contact Shredder to take out April since his original plan fell through. He informs Shredder that April won't back down, and since Shredder knows that the Turtles are at her apartment, he sends a massive force of Foot Ninjas to take them out. However, he doesn't know who they are, who trained them, and that Casey Jones would show up.

    In the aftermath of The Shredder and The Foot Clan's defeat, we see Chief Sterns frantically trying to gather the teenagers up to get some answers. Like before, I always assumed he was doing his job, but look at the teens he interviews. Same ones from the opening scene and from the deleted scene/Shredder's introduction. They give the location of an abandoned warehouse, but we never find out if that's actually the one they operated out of. We just assume. And it could only be one base since we see that the Foot Clan has operatives with April's news crew in the sequel.

    But that's just something I pieced together on my latest viewing with my son. I'm sure the reason they used the same actors for the muggers and all that was because of the film's limited budget (it was an independent film, after all). Also, the theory kinda discredits April as a news reporter because if Sterns had been a part of The Foot, I'm sure she would've picked up on it. But it's fun to speculate about this stuff, especially when it's my favorite movie.

    68 votes
  • 4
    55 VOTES

    Shredder's Daughter Is Actually Splinter's Daughter

    Shredder's Daughter Is Actually Splinter's Daughter
    Photo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Nickelodeon

    From Redditor u/UsagiTaicho:

    Ok, so I just finished watching season one of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a long-time fan of the green, mean fighting machines, I love the direction they are going with the series. It brings out several things from the comics and both previous tv shows that are just great.

    Now, on to my theory. Karai, the daughter of the Shredder, is actually the daughter of Splinter. Here's why. In the previous canon, Karai was the adopted daughter of the Shredder, a pickpocket that he caught but admired. Since the Shredder is too much of a hardass to attract a mate, this holds up to the current show; Karai was likely adopted by him.

    She lost her mother. When she pins April and is taunting her, and questions why she is so important, April lists a bunch of things about her life that suck, including losing her mother. This throws Karai off guard, and she mutters to herself after getting thrown down the subway stairs about losing her mother.

    Hamato Yoshi and Wei Shen had a daughter. The photograph and Splinter's recollection prove as much. His daughter would be as old as April and Karai by this point, Splinter tells April as much. The Shredder has some nasty burn scars. He had to get them somehow.

    Now, what happened? During Splinter and Shredder's fight in Japan, Shredder burns down the house, trapping Wei Shen and the baby inside. In Splinter's flashbacks, we see Shredder walking away from the house with his left arm held against him. He could have been injured, or he could have been holding the baby. As an act of revenge, Shredder raised Karai as his daughter, trying to fester the hate for Hamato Yoshi that he has for him in her. He turned her into an elite kunoichi, one with no regard for honor or the rules (her willingness to steal a sword, her willingness to steal from the Shredder). All this, he did as an act of revenge against Hamato Yoshi and perhaps an act of love for Wei Shen.

    There you have it. I'm psyched for season two, I really want them to introduce Casey Jones, and I hope Ninjara shows up for Raphael. He needs a girl. Plus, I want more Legos, and I hope they make Leatherhead this time.

    55 votes
  • 5
    60 VOTES

    Matt Murdock Is The Reason The Turtles Are Humanoid

    Matt Murdock Is The Reason The Turtles Are Humanoid
    Photo: DC Comics

    From a former Redditor

    We all know the connection between Daredevil and the Turtles; if you don't, I will briefly summarize. The stuff that gave Matt Murdock his powers changed the turtles from normal turtles to the mutant variety, Splinter as well. I wanted to take this one step further.

    I have always been of the opinion that the ooze is a sort of hybridizer. As in, why do the turtles become humanoid, but other characters who interact with the ooze become other things? Specifically Bebop and Rocksteady.

    In the new movie, they give some BS answers about it being their "inner animal," which is a terrible explanation, IMO. So I came up with my own, which is basically the ooze that combines your genetics with whatever last touched it. This is a canon explanation from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' 1980s cartoon.

    This would mean the reason that the ooze made the turtles humanoid only made them humanoid instead of combined with some other animal because it had Matt Murdock's DNA in it. This is also why it did not make Matt a hybrid, as at that point, there was no DNA encoded in the ooze.

    So that would mean that either the ooze came pre-loaded with rhino and warthog DNA or Bebop and Rocksteady somehow had the DNA of their respective animals on them already. So basically, the Turtles are literally like, half turtle, half Daredevil.

    60 votes
  • 6
    30 VOTES

    'Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation' Isn't Part Of The TMNT Multiverse

    'Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation' Isn't Part Of The TMNT Multiverse
    Photo: Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation / Fox Kids

    From Redditor u/Shades96:

    Now, Ninja Turtles fans will most likely be familiar with the 2009 film, Turtles Forever and how it establishes that every single Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, TV show, and movie all exists in the multiverse. the Mirage Studios comics, the 1987 Murakami Wolf Studios cartoon, the 2003 cartoon by 4Kids Entertainment, the 1990s films, the 2007 TMNT movie, the Mutant Turtles OVA, etc., etc.

    Hell, even future Ninja Turtles shows and comics even established themselves as being part of the multiverse afterward, like the 2012 cartoon crossing over with the 1987 cartoon or how IDW is connected due to Renet from the IDW comics being the same Renet from the Mirage Studios comics as well as how IDW Leonardo and IDW Peter Venkman of Ghostbusters crossed over to the 1987 dimension, or how in an episode of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donatello's conspiracy board had the Mirage Studio comics, the 1987 cartoon, and the 2012 cartoon as being “alternate universes.” However, the only Ninja Turtles universes I can think of that didn't make crossover appearances or cameos to even establish as being part of the multiverse are the 2014-2016 Paramount movies or, more importantly, the short-lived live-action TV series, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, produced by Saban Entertainment from the late 1990s.

    Now, of course, despite the Ninja Turtles' multiverse being infinite with many, many different Ninja Turtles universes, Turtles Forever didn't show all other universes alongside the ones I've already mentioned. I mean, IDW, 2012, Paramount, and Rise were pretty obvious, but Next Mutation was a show that predated Turtles Forever for 12 years, so logically, it should be shown within the Technodrome's monitor, right? But still, regardless, Next Mutation was only 1 show with 1 season and 26 episodes and even a guest appearance on an episode of Power Rangers In Space, and yet, there was no crossover or cameo appearance from these Turtles (including Venus de Milo. Yes, she exist. Deal with it!) in any future shows or comics at all. Well, after thinking about this, I have a theory as to why that is.

    Now, I do know the behind-the-scenes reasons being that Next Mutation (along with Power Rangers and other Saban/Fox Kids properties) were being held by Disney at the time of the 2000s, including 2009 when Turtles Forever came out, and all that, I know. But if I have to guess why the Turtles (Even Venus. Again, real) from the Next Mutation universe have not shown up for any future TMNT crossovers or that their weren't acknowledged or even visited by other universes inhabitants and all that, I would say that maybe, just maybe... that Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation is NOT part of the TMNT multiverse (who am I kidding? The title says it on the top, ya already knew this) And here's why:

    Thanks to that crossover episode of Power Rangers In Space, it's established that Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation exists in the Power Rangers universe, along with Masked Rider. And Power Rangers, since the show started, does a lot of interdimensional shenanigans like the Rita and Zedd's Dark Dimension, or an alternate dimension where the Ninja Storm Rangers are evil while Lothor and his army are the good guys; hell, RPM was established (I just noticed I kept saying 'established' all that much. What's wrong with me? LOL) as being set in an alternate dimension/universe from the main timeline since that Samurai team-up episode, and Dino Charge is also set in its own dimension as established in the 25th Anniversary team-up episode 'Dimensions In Danger' further establishing that Power Rangers exist within a multiverse of its own (BTW, I don't know if the 1995 MMPR film, the Boom! Studios comics (yes, the TV shows and the comics are separate continuities due to the MMPR comics being set in modern times like the 2010s while the MMPR TV show was set in the early 1990s until now. The 1990s did NOT have social media or smartphones!) or the 2017 film exists within that multiverse due lack of crossovers or connections establishing them as such.

    Now, I know some of you may say, "Well uuhh, maybe TMNT and Power Rangers all exist in the same multiverse, right? Every single TV show, movies, comics, game, book, etc., all exist in the same multiverse for sure, right?" and... no, that's not true. See, from what I've read, there's no one multiverse, there's like infinite other multiverses existing within the Megaverse. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles multiverse can't possibly be connected to the Power Rangers multiverse at do to a lack of acknowledgment or crossovers from either multiverse.

    So that's why Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation has not made any crossover appearance or even a cameo in other Ninja Turtles media. Is that Next Mutation is only about... I say 1% or 2% of the Power Rangers universe within its own multiverse, further established in Dimensions in Danger. While the TMNT multiverse never acknowledges the Next Mutation Turtles' existence at all.

    30 votes