The State of Donatello's Suit: From Wooden Skeletons to Creepy Animatronic Masks
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a beloved franchise for decades, with fans spanning multiple generations. Many fans hold the original trilogy from the 1990s close to their hearts, but the reality is that the costumes used in those movies haven't aged well. In a previous post, we took a look at Raphael's suit and how it has deteriorated over time. Now, let's take a closer look at the suits worn by Donatello.
As it turns out, there are a few Donatello suits out there in the wild as well. One of the best looks we get at a Donatello suit is from the co-creator of the Ninja Turtles, Peter Laird. A picture of the first movie suit can be seen with the director and producer of the 2007 CG animated movie. The body looks to be in pretty good condition, but the face is all squished. Laird explains that he received the suit as a gift from the Henson folks after the first movie was finished and released. He had initially planned to display the suit in various positions using a jointed wooden skeleton, but the suit was too heavy and the joints he made couldn't hold it up. The suit has been sprawled in a chair in his studio ever since.
Another Donatello suit can be seen as well. This suit is from Ninja Turtles 3 and looks more like the one used in the movie. The spots all over the body are a lot more visible, and the chest plate looks flatter, just like in the film. Surprisingly, this suit seems to have held up pretty well over the years.
We can also see a Donatello head from TMNT 3. The description explains that this mask would slip over animatronic elements worn on the actor's head, which would be remotely controlled to create expressions with moving eyes and mouth. This explains why the mask looks so creepy.
It's interesting to see how these once-beloved suits have aged over time. While some of them have held up better than others, it's clear that they are all a far cry from their original glory. It's important to remember, however, that these suits were an important part of our childhoods and played a big role in shaping the Ninja Turtles franchise into what it is today.