ByPeter DiDonato, writer at
A night owl that writes what comes to mind. You can follow me on Twitter at @didonatope or visit my blog at
Peter DiDonato

One of the biggest complaints of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is the character designs. Many fans and critics have called the designs awkward and unappealing to the eye. Well, believe it or not, designing the live action turtles was a lengthy process, and there are other routes the artists could have taken.

Ninja Turtles' conceptual illustrator, Kelton Cram (noteworthy for his work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), revealed the image below in an interview with The picture was taken off the website by the studio, but today it was re-posted on

As you can see, the turtles are VASTLY different in appearance from their final designs. Donatello is the tallest of the group, with the slimmest physique. Leonardo is the most defined out of the group, with Scott-Steiner-style muscles. Michelangelo is notably out-of-shape and stout, with what looks like a beer gut. Raphael looks like a combination of The Thing from the Fantastic Four and the Juggernaut from X-Men; an enormous, hulking beast. If I'm not mistaken, I think he's even smoking a cigar.

According to Cram, there were even more re-designs.

They (Nickelodeon) wanted all the Turtles to be unique in shape and size. Tall and skinny to short and stalky to even more brutish.

One could only imagine what would have happen if the studio went with the designs pictured here. I could already see the jokes and comments about their appearances. Then again, in some ways, these designs match the characters personalities. What are your thoughts? Do these designs fit the characters better, or are they even worse and insulting than the final designs?


Better or worse than the final designs?


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