25 Cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Facts for Geeks

Posted by , Updated on March 22, 2024

Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo. These names may strike a chord if you were brought up in the late ’80s or early ’90s. Developed by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman in 1984, the saga of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began with comic books before branching out into films, toys, video games, and a variety of other merchandise, achieving impressive global recognition. If you’re among the hordes of TMNT devotees, make sure to delve into these 25 Nerdy yet Awesome Facts About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


The concept for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird.

TMNTSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: theweek.com

It's known that the TMNT were named after Renaissance artists. However, did you know that the original names had different spelling. Raphael was “Raffaelo” and Donatello was “Donato”. At first, the creators also misspelled the name of Michelangelo – they originally called him “Michaelaneglo”.

MichealangeloSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: www.dragoart.com

In the original comic version, the TMNT were a bit darker than most people realize. Originally, they were trained by Splinter for one purpose only – to kill the Shredder.

ShredderSource: cracked.com, image: en.wikipedia.org

Talking about the Shredder, one of the most iconic villains of all time, did you known that his armor design was inspired by a cheese grater? Allegedly, when doing the dishes one night, Eastman accidentally put his arm through a rectangular cheese grate, which gave him the idea for the Shredder.

cheese graterSource: www.factfiend.com, image: tinyhandsonline.com

Inspired by this kitchen utensil, Eastman even wanted to name the character “Grater” or “Grate Man” but Laird suggested “Shredder” instead (thank goodness).

ShredderSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: www.adventuresinpoortaste.com

The martial art discipline the TMNT practice is called ninjutsu. It's a strategy and tactics of unconventional and guerrilla warfare originating in Japan almost a thousand years ago.

ninjutsuSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: www.discovernikkei.org

Apart from the US, TMNT were particularly popular in the UK where, in the run-up to Christmas, the Army & Navy Store in London devoted its entire basement to everything turtle-themed, including games, videos, toys, costumes and other items.

TMNTSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: geek-news.mtv.com

However, when the TNMT arrived to the UK for the first time, the name had to be changed to "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" (or TMHT), since local censorship policies deemed the word “ninja” to have excessively violent connotations for a children's program.

TMHTSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: nowiknow.com

The policies also had other effects, such as editing out the use of Michelangelo's weapon nunchaku (which were banned in 18-rated movies back then). Instead, Michelangelo was given a grappling hook called the "turtle line" that served as his signature weapon for the rest of the show's run.

MichelangeloSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: forums.thetechnodrome.com

As the turtles were famous for their pizza weakness, the TMNT mania hit the pizza industry like nothing before, causing a fierce battle between the pizza giants. Pizza Hut was able to secure a $20 million marketing campaign with the movie, but it was Domino’s who got the privilege of feeding the turtles in the movie.

TMNTSource: uproxx.com, image: turtlepedia.wikia.com

Originally, Krang, the creepy living brain, was not evil. The villain was inspired by an alien race known as Utroms, totally peaceful and non-interfering creatures from another planet.

KrangSource: turtlepedia.wikia.com, image: serpentorslair.com

April O´Neil, the television reporter and admirer of the ninja turtles, was also changed. As some of the episodes of the first comics suggest, she was probably an African-American.

April O´NeilSource: listverse.com, image: doknowbutchie.wordpress.com

The Ninja turtles have appeared in five movies. The first one, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, released in 1990, was a huge success, making over 200 million dollars worldwide. In fact, it's the ninth highest grossing film of 1990.

TMNT 1990Source: en.wikipedia.org, image: www.crookedninja.com

Even though the first film is supposed to take place in New York City, it was actually only shot there for 4 days. In fact, most of the movie was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina.

TMNTSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: professionalfangirls.com

The costumes made for the film production were extremely heavy, which, combined with the North Carolinian hot weather and humidity, made all the actors lose about 20 pounds (9 kg) by the end of the production.

TMNT costumesSource: www.mandatory.com, image: forums.thetechnodrome.com

The TMNT costumes had to be large enough to accommodate all the animatronics. Consequently, the costumes were too big to fit a standard-sized manhole. Therefore, the producers had to create special manholes for the movie.

TMNTSource: uproxx.com, image: www.cynobs.com

Actor Josh Pais (Raphael) had particular issues with the costume. Suffering from severe claustrophobia, he had to remove his turtle mask after every shot.

Josh PaisSource: turtlepedia.wikia.com, image: niketalk.com

Pais was also the only actor to physically portray and voice his turtle. All the other actors had their voices swapped out.


Similarly to TMNT, real turtles also have no outer ears. Instead, they have excellent sight and smell.

LeonardoSource: www.turtlepuddle.org, image: www.theguardian.com

Robin Williams was a big fan of TMNT and provided Judith Hoag (who played April O'Neil in the first movie) with information regarding her character. The two actors were working together on Cadillac Man when the turtle film first went into production.

Judith HoagSource: www.zimbio.com, image: comicattack.net

In the latest TMNT movie (released in 2014), April O´Neil was played by Megan Fox. Megan later revealed that she had always been a huge fan of the TMNTs and that Michelangelo was her favorite turtle.

Megan FoxSource: www.fandango.com, image: www.hitfix.com

When Sam Rockwell’s character (Head Thug) tells the police to “go check out the East Warehouse over at Lairdman Island” in the 1990 movie, it is a nod to TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

Head ThugSource: nypost.com, image: www.news.com.au

Brian Tochi (the voice of Leonardo) and Robbie Rist (the voice of Michaelangelo) are the only actors who appeared in all three live-action TMNT movies.

Brian TochiSource: imid.com, image: screencrush.com

In the comic book and the 1990 movie script, the scene where the Foot Clan leader Tatsu beats up one of his soldiers ends with the death of the boy. To avoid the murder in a children´s movie though, the scene was re-cut at the last minute with the boy´s life being spared.

foot clanSource: turtlepedia.wikia.com, image: www.reddit.com

When filming the 2014 movie, it took the crew two hours each day to get the ninja turtle actors into suits.

a group of turtles in clothingSource: www.fandango.com, image: forums.thetechnodrome.com