Earlier in the week, news dropped of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie – an animated film starring the TMNT and Batman! This project is one of THREE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles currently in the works (joining a Netflix film and a live-action reboot).

But what about the previous Turtles movies? How many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies are there and what order should they be watched in?

Today I will answer those questions by looking at ALL the TMNT movies – including live-action, animated and docu-film.

Here we go…

Viewing Order One – The original timeline

Image: ©New Line Cinema

This first viewing order is very simple and includes just three movies, all released in chronological order and all featuring a mix of live-action with animatronics. In this timeline, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are given an origin; they meet April O’Neil and Casey Jones; and they defeat Shredder TWICE!

This viewing order is as follows:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)

This initial series of movies was produced during the early 1990s, when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the height of their popularity.

Viewing Order Two – The revised original timeline

Image: ©Warner Bros.

This viewing order follows a similar pattern to Viewing Order One, but with one exception – it includes one more movie. And there’s a reason for this.

During the ’00s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwent their first revival in the form of a new animated series (more about that in a moment). The popularity of this show proved there was potentially some life left in a movie franchise too.

Keen to reignite interest in Turtles movies, Warner Bros. Pictures released a new big screen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie called TMNT (2007). The computer animated movie was designed to be the beginning of a new series, with a new cast taking on the roles of the Turtles, April and Casey.

Unfortunately, TMNT was not a huge success, so did not usher in a new series of movies. As such it technically exists as a solo adventure – but it shouldn’t.

TMNT is a loose sequel to the live-action movies, with a couple of references to the original trilogy. For this reason it IS the fourth movie in the ’90s series.

This viewing order is as follows:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
  • TMNT (2007)

Viewing Order Three – The Turtles 2K3 timeline

Image: ©Nickelodeon

As mentioned above, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles experienced a revival during the ’00s, spearheaded by a new animated series, often referred to as the Turtles 2K3 series (because it aired in 2003). The series ran for seven seasons in total, as well as one movie, Turtles Forever (2009).

Turtles Forever was released in 2009 as a conclusion to the Turtles 2K3 era and to mark the 25th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The film was also the last Turtles production before Viacom bought the rights to the property from Turtles co-creator, Peter Laird.

This viewing order is as follows:

  • Turtles Forever (2009)

Viewing Order Four – The Turtles Multiverse

Image: ©Nickelodeon

Now here’s where things get interesting…

The main selling point of Turtles Forever (see above) is that it combines the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of the 1987 cartoon, with the Turtles of the 2K3 series for a huge crossover event. But that’s not all – it also establishes the idea that every Turtles comic book, TV show and movie of the first 25 years of the franchise are all connected!

EVERYTHING!

Yes, that includes the crappy live-action TV series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. Sorry.

So what does that mean for the movies?

Well, with Turtles Forever establishing a multiverse, technically a new viewing order is created and this one goes as follows:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
  • TMNT (2007)
  • Turtles Forever (2009)

Viewing Order Five – The docu-film

In 2014, to mark the 30th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, FauxPop Media, iProductions and Paramount released a docu-film titled: Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The documentary looked back at three decades of TMNT and featured interviews with key contributors, including Turtles creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

The viewing order for this is as follows:

  • Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Viewing Order Six – The Michael Bay timeline

Image: ©Nickelodeon/Paramount Pictures

In addition to a documentary, the 30th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was ushered in with the first entry in a new series of Turtles movies. This series would run for two movies in total.

The films – from producer Michael Bay – featured a mix of live-action and CGI. They were not well received by fans (although the second movie – Out of the Shadows – is a lot of fun).

This viewing order is as follows:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

Viewing Order Seven – Production order

Image: ©New Line Cinema

And finally, should you want to watch ALL of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies in production order, regardless of their different continuities, then use the following list:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
  • TMNT (2007)
  • Turtles Forever (2009)
  • Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

And now you know!