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Friday, September 22, 2023

Mutant Mayhem’ End-Credits Scene Explained

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.

The Big Picture

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is the best film in the franchise so far, but its ending is secondary to setting up future sequels.
  • The credits scene reveals that the Techno Cosmic Research Institute is still watching the turtles, and Cynthia Utrom is obsessed with them.
  • Utrom wants to bring the iconic villain Shredder into the picture, leaving the turtles to worry about what lies ahead in future films.

The best film in the franchise to date, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, is now out in the world and has a whole lot to snack on besides the tasty pizza. Following the titular turtles of Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), Raphael (Brady Noon), Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), and Donatello (Micah Abbey) as they try to prevent Ice Cube’s Superfly from destroying New York City, it is a film that is best when it isn’t about trying to set up for something more. Alas, as we live in a world where sequels are an inevitability, the proper ending of the film itself is made secondary to the now ritualistic tease of what is coming next. Yes, it is the infamous credits scene that sends audiences out into the world fully primed for as many entries as will make money regardless of whether the story justifies them or not. In case it wasn’t already clear, this piece is going to go into full detail about this credits scene and what it means for the future of the series. In the event that you haven’t yet seen the film for yourself, best bookmark this page and come back after you’ve seen it. Other than that, let’s get going.

As some brief background, after defeating Superfly and saving New York City, the Turtles went to face an even more terrifying challenge: high school. When they first walk into their new school, they are met with silence until the non-amphibious character April O’Neil, voiced by the always delightful Ayo Edebiri of everything from The Bear to the upcoming Bottoms, comes over to greet them. The film then cuts to the credits only to pick up a bit later as we see the turtles trying to acclimate to their new lives in school. We don’t know if these mutant youngsters go through puberty, but we get the feeling that they are going to soon find high school an abundantly awkward place no matter what. Still, they seem to have found their people with Donnie discovering a group that watches anime, Mikey doing the worst improv you’ve ever seen, and Raph going out for wrestling. We even get a glimpse of them going to prom and doing everything they can to settle into a rather relaxed state of affairs. We had already known that their adoptive rodent father Splinter (Jackie Chan) finally found a fellow mutant to be a romantic partner, so they won’t have to worry about his scrutiny anymore as he is more than a bit distracted. However, the main thrust of this sequence of short scenes is the fact that there is something more they will soon have to worry about in the future.

The Techno Cosmic Research Institute Is Still Around

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Mutant Mayhem 2023

As we pull back from the scene with the Turtles having a swell time at prom, we see that they are actually being surveilled by a familiar face. That’s right, it is Cynthia Utrom (Maya Rudolph) of the Techno Cosmic Research Institute (TCRI) being a real creep once again and watching them via cameras. This secondary antagonist in the film had always been lurking in the background, having sent the forces after the lonely scientist Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito) at the beginning of the story fifteen years ago and set all this in motion. Apparently, she really has an obsession with these creatures and won’t let it go enough to keep watching them though not enough to actually go after them herself. It is almost like she knows that she has to wait for a sequel or something. There is actually a flimsy reason for this that we’ll get to in a bit, but for now, you just need to know that she is watching them from afar. She even has a tiny little fly in a jar next to her while she does so which we can presume is Superfly now without his immense powers that he was trying to use to destroy the city piece by piece. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

RELATED: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem’: All the Easter Eggs and References

Apparently not even the ending of the film with his being defeated will take him off the table and any resolution will always be sacrificed at the altar of more sequels. All we can do is watch and wait for the next one to set up the next one to set up the next one until we are all dead. Speaking of death, the Turtles undoubtedly face a similar threat as they all know too much at this point. Though they don’t know that they are being watched, they did see a lot of the inside operations of TCRI when being milked (don’t ask) for their mutant ooze. On top of that, when Leo isn’t being a total dork trying to ask April to prom, they both are working on a new investigation into the organization. What they can’t foresee is that Utrom is about to call in the cavalry with a figure that was apparently just hanging around this whole time waiting for her to summon him. Guess that kind of makes him the gig worker of the villain underworld.

“Bring Me the Shredder”

Group photo for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Image via Paramount

Now I know what you’re thinking and no, Utrom was not referring to the kitchen utensil. She actually was talking about the iconic villain Shredder. We then cut to the character standing in the rain like a little sad boy who wants to come to play. That is then the proper end of all this. That’s it, there is no deeper meaning to it other than the drive for more sequels. The poor Turtles didn’t even get the chance to have some pizza before this got added to their plate and, honestly, it is hard not to feel for the youngsters. Here is hoping that they can just be friends with Shredder and ponder the deeper questions of life over some slices next time around.

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