What Happened to Venus de Milo In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Why We Need More Female Action Heros
As the world is visited once again by the phenomenon that is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles , there is one thing that remains glaringly absent from the long-running franchise: a female teenage mutant ninja turtle. Though, as it turns out, the series didn't always lack this particular element. Once upon a time, way back in the mythical land known as the late '90s, there was, it seems, a girl ninja turtle, The Atlantic Wire reports.
The character, named Venus de Milo, only enjoyed a brief run. She was introduced as a member of the team on the TMNT reboot series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, which ran on Fox for a single season and was generally considered to be pretty bad. None of which, of course, can be blamed on the character of Venus de Milo, but it seems she died with the series and hasn't been seen since. Which is a shame for all kinds of reasons, none the least of which being the complete dearth of women in action movies.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, like all franchises, changes with each new iteration (so much so that kids today find the original really weird). But the fact that it continues to just not include any female ninja turtles is starting to get annoying. I mean, yes, this latest movie includes a female hero journalist played by Megan Fox (though it also cut out her most badass scene), but last I checked, none of the nouns in TMNT's absurdly descriptive title are gender-specific. There's nothing to say that Venus de Milo can't return, or that a new character can't be created.
Women have long been either absent or underrepresented in super hero flicks (and let's not even get into their costumes once they get there). Though comic-books-turned-movie franchises like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, both have their token female badass, it's a far cry from equal representation. But at least it's still better than cutting out your only ever female protagonist and acting like she never existed, which is essentially what TMNJ is doing.
And it's not as though there's no interest among fans in seeing a female ninja turtle. For one thing, girls are also fans of comic books and associated movies. For another, despite Venus de Milo's obscurity in the world of ninja turtles, there's a petition, signed by a few hundred fans, asking Nickelodeon, who owns the franchise, to revive Venus de Milo in subsequent shows or movies. Whether or not they'll listen is another story, but then again, it's not like the current movie is doing so super well that producers can't afford to shake things up going forward.
So here's to Venus de Milo; may you once again get the chance to roam the sewers with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello. We'll be waiting for you.