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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Bizarre Power Rangers Crossover Explained

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles once met the Power Rangers in live-action, and the unusual crossover had more importance to the Power Rangers and TMNT canon than many believed. Thanks to some bizarre moments from the episode that will often go viral, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers crossover has become more famous than the episode itself, and there are even those who think it is some sort of parody as opposed to something that really happened. However, the TMNT and Power Rangers crossover was very much real, and it belongs to the canon of both franchises.

Both the Power Rangers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises have been around for decades, and it can be difficult for the casual viewer to identify to what show or era a specific event belongs. From 1993’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to recent seasons like Power Rangers Dino Super Charge, the Power Rangers have been mostly restricted to live-action TV shows – with the three live-action movies and the BOOM! comics are the exception. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, on the other hand, started in the comics and has spanned through live-action shows, live-action movies, and all sorts of animated entries.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers crossover, perhaps the most strange event in both franchises, happened in episodes 3 and 4 of Power Rangers in Space. The crossover episodes aired in February 1998, and it featured the Ninja Turtles from the 1997 show Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. The turtles briefly appeared at the end of Power Rangers in Space episode 3, “Save Our Ship”, and were then featured throughout the entirety of episode 4, “Shell Shocked”. Following the classic Marvel crossover trope, the Ninja Turtles had been brainwashed by the Power Rangers in Space villain Astronema – and thus the Power Rangers had to battle the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles initially. However, before the end of the episode, the Ninjas Turtles broke free of Astronema’s and teamed up with the Power Rangers to defeat the Power Rangers in Space villain of the week Electrotramp. Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was produced by Saban, the same company that produced Power Rangers in Space, which is why the crossover between the shows was possible. At the time, having the Ninja Turtles from The Next Mutation appearing in Power Rangers in Space was nothing but a gimmick to draw viewers’ attention to the newly-premiered Power Rangers season. However, the move also had unexpected repercussions for both properties.

Space Weirdly Made The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Canon To Power Rangers
Power Rangers and TMNT crossover episode
The crossover made it so that the Ninja Turtles, at least the ones from The Next Mutation, are officially part of the Power Rangers canon. Therefore, while the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are defending Angel Grove, the Ninja Turtles are defending New York. Although Power Rangers could have tried to retcon the TMNT crossover, the franchise actually doubled down on the Turtles being part of the canon. In 2019, a five-issue TMNT/Power Rangers crossover comic was released, and it saw the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers heading to New York and teaming up with the Ninja Turtles.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode in Power Rangers in Space was far from being a usual Power Rangers episode, but it did work in the context of the show. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ appearance didn’t distract the show from its main story, Astronema’s plans, which made the crossover even more interesting. Granted, the Ninja Turtles costumes from The Next Mutation mike look goofy close to the Power Rangers, an issue that the TMNT/Power Rangers comic book crossover solved.

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