It was only a week ago that Michael Bay rocked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan community to its core by announcing that, in the remake he’s producing, the Turtles would be — oh, it still hurts to say — aliens. Bay tried his best to be accommodating, explaining that “fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex backstory. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.” But he never quite backed down. And so, as of this writing, it still stands: those Ninja Turtles you love so dearly — they are no longer from this world.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? No longer the name! Now it’s Ninja Turtles. "Mutant"? Gone. "Teenage"? Gone. Holy. Hell.
Bay, understanding another furor is unfolding, released this blame-shifting statement:
Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE'S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN.
They still act like teenagers? But are they teenagers? Be specific. Be direct. Don’t toy with us, Michael Bay. Don’t do it. Not now. Not like this.
By the way, the director in question is Jonathan Liebesman, who's done Battle: Los Angeles and the upcoming Wrath of the Titans, which doesn't necessarily imbue one with confidence and respect. Also, Jonathan's got his own set of qualifications. Listen up:
It’s so funny — if everyone was such a die-hard fan, they would know that the TCRI canisters where the ooze comes from. That is alien ooze. Now I’m not saying what Michael said is exactly what the movie is, because we’re sitting in a room now figuring everything out. So we don’t know, but we are like Michael said: we’re expanding it, and the expansion will be true to the mythology … Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is coming from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place. And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with. A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way. And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed. It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.
Look, it’s great that Eastman, the original cocreator, gets a say (and a paycheck!) in this latest blasphemization/reinvention. But, like, if Paul McCartney wanted to re-release The White Album with, say, a 14-minute Lil B verse on every song, the mass-mind wouldn’t be cool with that, either. (Besides “Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” “Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey” needs a 14-minute Lil B verse).
So they are aliens. And possibly not officially teenagers, but only behaviorally teenagers. If next it turns out they’re no longer even ninjas, I’m throwing a flaming garbage can through a storefront window.