New Line Cinema
Thirty years ago, one of the most underrated comic book films of all time was released. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has grown in both cult following and appreciation from fans across the world. On the final day of San Diego Comic-Con@Home, The Old Turtle Den’s creator Chris Castaneda led a panel celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with panel guests producer Kim Dawson and writer Bobby Herbeck.
As the panel began, Chris asked about the starting point for the film. Kim spoke about his time working on Showtime, and while in a meeting, Kim was introduced to the TMNT comic book and was told it was going to be their first film. Once Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird signed a merchandising deal with Mark Eastman, the film rights were optioned in the fall of 1987.
Bobby spoke about the first time he met Kim at an In and Out Burger joint. The two talked about the comic, the animated series, and the toy line, which lead to Bobby knowing right away where to take the script of the film. Despite knowing the direction Bobby wanted to take the script, the final product needed to be approved by both Kevin Eastman and Laird.
One interesting tidbit about the production of the film was the budget restraints. Despite the popularity of the series, it was essential to keep the film’s budget low. Therefore, no big-name was brought in to the cinema to save the budget. Once the script and casting were complete, Jim Henson was brought in for the look of the turtles, which is still the best look the turtles have had in their live-action form.
The film was initially supposed to be released by 20th Century Fox, but after a change at the top, the entire Fox slate was wiped, including TMNT. Ultimately, the film was pitched to and received distribution rights through Bob Shaye’s New Line Cinema, which forever changed the course of the film franchise.
Once the film was released, despite the critics panning the film, the film became a huge box office success that both Kim and Bobby are very thankful for. They both compared it to big franchises that only Spielberg or Lucas would attain, so both feel blessed for the film and the franchise to still be relevant and celebrated 30 years later.
The panel concluded by taking fan questions where Bobby and Kim were able to divulge their favorite moments and characters. Both agreed that while writing the turtles was fun, April and Casey Jones had not reached the level of homage to the comics since the 1990 film.
As an avid fan of TMNT, it was great to jump in a virtual time machine and look back at what led to the creation of the film and celebrate one of my favorite comic book films of all time.
As one panel fades to black, my last panel of SDCC arrived in the form of my favorite comedy on TV – The Goldbergs. The series is currently in its eighth season. Executive producer Doug Robinson was joined by stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, George Segal, Sean Giambrone, Hayley Orrantia, Troy Gentile, and Sam Lerner in a panel moderated by Gerrad Hall of Entertainment Weekly. As America’s favorite 1980-something family, they sat down to discuss the unbeaten run of the show and the future of the series going forward.
Before the stars took the screen, we were treated to a highlight video from the entire run of the series thus far, which was quite a delight. Once the panel kicked off, the original season 7 finale was brought up. This past season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While not much information was provided regarding the episode, Wendi let the cat out of the bag that the originally planned finale would still take place in season 8 instead and it’ll involve a wedding!
Season 8’s premiere episode is expected to pay tribute to Airplane in true Goldbergs fashion. All premieres have revolved around an iconic 80s movie or event.
While production has yet to start on season 8, producer Doug Robinson has stated that the writing room is open, and shooting on the season will begin in August, under the new safety guidelines. Regarding a big picture season 8 plan, Doug added that the beauty of the show is that it can keep evolving with each season and examine new horizons, specifically because Adam will be looking at his life now that he’s dating the “popular” girl. For Beverly, she’s dealing with two of her kids moving out of the house.
Hayley spoke about the large fandom and how special it is for her to have continued fan support. Wendi even told a story about meeting a 3-year-old fan who adores Adam and has asked his mom for similar clothing to emulate him. Stories like this show how much support the show has attained throughout its 7-year run thus far.
As the panel drew to an end, the topic of wish list episodes came up. Wendi hoped about the possibility of the family being in a confined space and dealing with each other similar to their “Dinner with the Goldbergs” episode. She hoped to get the family to sit in a church and see what comedy can be made with that. Troy hopes that Adam gets to do a Big episode, which leads George to say that they’ve been able to see Sean grow up on the show, which he said is rare for a sitcom nowadays.
There is no denying the impact The Goldbergs has left on its viewers, and this panel adds to that feeling. From the early days of the show’s following to waiting for season renewal news and now we fans can celebrate the eighth season this fall, it’s a testament to its enduring appeal. As a fan, it remains a staple on my watch list and it’s one of the best comedies on television right now that you don’t want to miss.
First TMNT Film 30th Anniversary | Comic-Con@Home 2020
The Stars and Executive Producer of ABC’s "The Goldbergs" | Comic-Con@Home 2020