TMNT: The Last Ronin has absolutely crushed expectations recently, but planning for the series began just three years after TMNT’s debut.

Warning: Contains spoilers for TMNT: The Last Ronin # 1 ‘Director’s Cut’

In the recently released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director, writer Tom Waltz reveals that planning for the turtles’ latest adventure began a long time ago. Although the mega-popular TMNT spin-off It feels like the climax of decades of storytelling, it actually started as a rough sketch just three years after TMNT’s premiere and just a few months before they made their television debut. Although it is undeniable that the story evolved in its thirty years of gestation, the original scheme retains many of the elements that have made Ultimate Ronin such a resounding success.

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TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s series along with writer Tom Waltz and artists Esau and Isaac Escorza leaps thirty years into the future of turtles. Shredder’s grandson has taken over New York, the world has been reduced to a post-apocalypse, and only a ninja turtle lives to seek revenge for her siblings. That last part is so important that it gave the series its name, but in the original draft of the series, more than one turtle survived into the dystopian future.

Related: Theory: The Last Ronin Will Bring Closure To TMNT’s Most Shocking Death

Far from what readers would be familiar with, the newly unveiled prototypeUltimate Ronin It doesn’t focus on any of the turtles, but on April O’Neil. After two marriages and three children, April is content to live out her final years until Casey Jones, bloodied, rushes to ask her for help against a powerful enemy. Here, Eastman reveals the fate of the four brothers. Raphael left after accidentally injuring Splinter and Donatello took a dying Splinter to Japan. The two remaining brothers tried to stay together, but eventually parted ways after Leonardo got too serious and Michaelangelo got too goofy. April hasn’t seen any of them in decades, but with the help of her daughter, she plans to reunite her friends for one last mission.

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Latest Ronin Comic

In summary, Kevin Eastman’s published pages are vague. Eastman intentionally wrote to himself from the leeway by failing to specify what threat Casey was trying to warn April of. However, one thing that Eastman’s outline and subsequent notes in 2019 make clear is that he had always planned for the story to feature April O’Neil’s son prominently alongside the Ninja Turtles. There is a feeling that the story would be almost a passing of the torch, a theme elaborated with The last Ronin. It’s easy to see how the last tortoise could become a chipper for a new generation of heroes.

Reading the schematic, it is obvious that Eastman and Laird were inspired by the then recent release of The Dark Knight Returns. While many of those Batman elements still leak into TMNT: The Last RoninSo far, the series has had a strong identity of its own. As tempting as it is to imagine what it might have been, turtle fans should be happy that a series as daring as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin it is allowed to exist at all.

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