Break out the pizza because Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a special panel for [email protected] This year's event is quite a bit different than what fans of pop culture have come to expect. Instead of a massive, in-person gathering that consumes downtown San Diego, the organizers have put together a series of digital panels that are available for all to watch from the comfort of home. In this case, the producer and writer of a true 90s classic have gathered to share the secrets behind the movie.

The panel celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, which truly helped to popularize the characters in the mainstream. To present a bit of history behind the making of this iconic movie, panel guests include producer Kim Dawson, as well as writer and producer Bobby Herbeck. It is moderated by The Old Turtle Den's creator Chris Castaneda.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was directed by Steve Barron. It takes place in New York City, where a mysterious radioactive ooze has mutated four sewer turtles into talking, upright-walking, crime-fighting ninjas. The band of brothers, Michelangelo (Robbie Rist), Donatello (Corey Feldman), Raphael (Josh Pais) and Leonardo (Brian Tochi), are trained in the ways of martial arts by their rat sensei, Splinter. A villainous ninja, who is a former pupil of Splinter, arrives and spreads lawlessness throughout the city, the turtles must step up and stop the evil Shredder and his Foot Clan from wreaking continued havoc.

The franchise got its start as a comic book, created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It was initially published, with somewhat humble beginnings as an ode to/riff on Marvel's Daredevil in 1984. It soon blossomed into something much bigger. Thanks, in part, to the 80s animated series, the characters became quite popular. But the movie's success at the box office, earning $202 million worldwide, took things to another level. It inspired a series of sequels, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Michael Bay produced a rebooted version of the series in 2014, which was financially successful as well.

In the years since the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was released, the franchise has remained popular in the pop culture landscape, spawning a number of different animated shows, comic books, toys and video games. And it is showing no signs of slowing down, as we recently learned that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are set to produce a new animated movie for Paramount Pictures. 30 years later, the Turtles are here to stay. Be sure to check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th anniversary panel for yourself. And be sure to keep up with the rest of our coverage throughout the weekend the official Comic-Con.org website.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott