How A Case Of Marvel-Phobia Led Seth Rogen To Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Rogen and his longtime writing and producing partner Evan Goldberg have been making movies together ever since Greg Mottola’s “Superbad” in 2007. Naturally, when one works closely with a partner for that long, one develops an instinct and a rhythm. The massive Marvel machine, in contrast, demands that all auteurs who enter adhere to the dictated “house style,” cleaving to a broader sense of continuity dictated by the studio’s executives rather than any artists. Rogen doesn’t pooh-pooh Marvel. Indeed, he loves a lot of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He merely feels overwhelmed at the thought of entering the machine. Why not work with Marvel? He said: 

“Honestly, probably fear. We really have a pretty specific way we work; me and Evan have been writers for 20 years at this point. It’s a fear of the process, honestly. And I say that knowing nothing about the process. There are a lot of Marvel things I love. It’s mostly a fear of how would we plug into the system they have in place, which seems like a very good system, and a system that serves them very well. But is it a system that we would ultimately get really frustrated with? And what’s nice about [‘Mutant Mayhem’] is that we’re the producers of this.”

Rogen and Goldberg, it seems, were allowed to start a pop mythology entirely from scratch, finding their own aesthetic (the animated film looks painterly and Cubist) and inventing their own versions of the characters. The Marvel machine would likely not permit that as they already have a canon 30-some films deep. Any filmmakers entering that milieu would need to be at peace with that. It sounds like Rogen would be too nervous to enter that territory.

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