Time travel has become an essential component of TMNT mythology, and this is how turtles first traveled through time.

With decades of history, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has acquired some narrative conventions. Among these beloved tropes are the time travel adventures of the turtles. TMNT’s exciting travels through time began very early in their careers, setting the stage for many of the future (and past) adventures of the turtles.

The Heroes in a Half-Shell had their first experience with time travel in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles # 8 by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, and Dave Sim. This trouble started when Renet, an apprentice to the simultaneous time lord, stole his master’s time scepter. After Simultane caught Renet, the mistress of time desperately traveled back to 1986, where she met the TMNT.

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The Turtles quickly became friends with Renet, bonding out of a shared feeling of youth. Immediately afterward, Simultaneous Lord Sim managed to find Renet, enraged by his student’s crimes. Taking the turtles, Renet asked the scepter to drop them sometime before the humans recorded their own history. Together, TMNT and Renet landed in 1406 and met an anteater named Cerebus, an icon from Dave Sim’s controversial indie comics.

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The arrival of the Turtles also awakened the demonic Savanti Romero, a failed apprentice of Lord Simultaneous. Sensing the arrival of the scepter of time, Savanti sent his army to retrieve the magical artifact. Ambushed, the turtles were helpless when the scepter of time was taken from them. In retaliation, Cerebus hired an army of mercenaries to attack Savanti’s castle, while he, the turtles, and Renet would scale the castle without being seen. Fighting an army of zombies, the TMNTs forced their way into the demon’s stronghold.

Unfortunately, Savanti seized the Turtles with her magic, stopping their assault. However, before he could kill the Turtles, Lord Simultaneous appeared, engaging Savanti in mystical combat. He simultaneously eliminated Savanti, sending the turtles back home and punishing Renet once everything was back to normal.

Following this adventure, the TMNTs have traveled through time on several occasions. Most of these feats have involved Renet acting as a catalyst to send the turtles back through time. In fact, in the IDW TMNT comics, Renet returned, reminding the Turtles of their adventures with their Mirage counterparts. At TMNT 2014 Annualby Eastman and Tom Waltz, Renet took the IDW Turtles on a journey through time and space to participate in the Battle Nexus Tournament.

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Similarly, Renet helped the Turtles find their way home in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time by Paul Allor, Sophie Campbell, Erik Burnham, Charles Paul Wilson III, Ben Bates, and Dan Duncan. Renet also helped the Turtles stop Bebop and Rocksteady in TMNT: Bebop and Rocksteady destroy everything, by Ben Bates, Dustin Weaver, Campbell, Giannis Milonogiannis, Damian Couceiro, Nick Pitarra, and Ryan Browne. Time travel has even played a critical role in more recent TMNT comics, serving as a warning for the future.

Outside of comics, time travel has invaded the TMNT franchise. First of all, there is the classic arcade game from 1991, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, which sent turtles from the far past to the far future.

In 1993, Ninja Turtles III saw the turtles travel back to feudal Japan and fight the evil Lord Noringa. The 2003 animated series involved several episodes about time travel with Renet. Also, the entire sixth season, titled TMNT: Fast Forward, was based on the future.

In 2021, the Turtles animated series also focused heavily on time travel in its fourth season, when the Turtles went back in time to stop the Triceraton’s invasion of Land. In general, time travel has become an essential component of the TMNT franchise. Without the Ninja Turtles’ first encounter with Renet, none of TMNT’s many wild adventures throughout time would have been possible.

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