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Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Causes Alarm on the Internet

With Michael Bay's announcement he'll be the new producer of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, fans are skeptical, for good reason.

If you haven't heard the news as of yet, Michael Bay has jumped onto the upcoming Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles film, set to be released the the end of 2013, as producer. Stuff We Like has the official video of said announcement. Here's the direct quote from Bay about what he wants to do with this ever-expanding franchise:

"When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable."

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The first word anyone pays attention to is the word "alien." The Ninja Turtles have never been alien, and as soon as you throw that word into the mix, it's going to cause a heap of trouble. As the news traveled, the complaints about Bay's alien direction came through the intrawebs faster than you can say "total reboot." One of the most interesting complaints came from Robbie Rist who was the voice of Michelangelo in the first set of TMNT films. TMZ reported on a letter he wrote to Bay:

"You probably don't know me but I did some voice work on the first set of movies that you are starting to talk about sodomizing."Rist added, "I know believing in mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with but am I supposed to be led to believe there are ninjas from another planet?"

Obviously, Rist feels incredibly passionate about the project, and even though his work on the the movies was brief, he feels this may be a mistake. Aside from Rist, many people on the internet are clamoring, including many comic book creators, especially on twitter.

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[Nightwing Writer Kyle Higgins] I respect Michael Bay's ability to get the same looking movie made over and over (how does he do it!) but this Turtles move goes too far

[Chew Artist Rob Guillory] Michael Bay is like the Ravishing Rick Rude of film. "All you fat, hairy fanboys take a look at what a real man's about to do to your TMNT!"

[Batgirl Writer Gail Simone] If Michael Bay made an Easy Bake Oven movie, it would be about Jell-o.

Michael Bay fired back at the outrage on his forum Shoot for the Edit.

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 back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.

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So far, the best reply to this comes from Jill Pantozzi on her twitter page:

No, Michael Bay, you chill.

Personally, I think that's a pretty darn perfect retort, and there's plenty more like it on twitter. However, it's not just twitter. Every social media site and news site has something to say about this film, and most of it is extremely negative. But why?

Michael Bay's idea, changing the word "mutant" to "alien," completely changes everything about what makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but again, that all depends on how Bay and his writers put this thing together.

Obviously, they won't be mutants any longer, but why change it?

Why can't they be mutants? Why can't you bring in some super-cool scientific elements into this movie to explain their backstory without relying on the easy "these things are from space?" The idea that there's a mutagen that evolves beings, or even one that kind of splices two species together, seems pretty darn cool to me. In fact, it's much cooler than having people come down in a space ship to hang out on Earth, which we've seen hundreds of times in movies.

They won't be teenagers.

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Again, this depends on how the film turns out, but if you have these "teenage" aliens come down to Earth, they really won't be what we know as teenagers. Being a teenager is a cultural thing more than anything else. Sure, it's a term that describes anyone between the ages of 13 and 19, but the word "teenager" is so much more than that. It describes a time, in a human's life, when their bodies are developing, and when it comes to humans, an the turtles, it describes attitude, style, and sometimes rising up against authority.

How could an alien race have all these qualities in a teenager? It would be the biggest coincidence in the universe, aside from the fact there is life on other planets that is intelligent, and knows how to speak English.

They won't be ninjas.

Unless they have the art of Ninjitsu on their planet. Most likely, if the film tries to use Ninjitsu in the film, you'll probably get a little story about how they watched the martial art from their planet and decided to practice it and teach it to their people, but that's the quickest and lamest story I could come up with.

The won't be turtles.

They'll be aliens.

TMNT has so many elements of American culture in it, and that's why I am a tad perplexed about this change in the upcoming film. However, a lot of these ideas get thrown out of the window if the aliens are sent here Kal-El style as babies though, and Michael Bay doesn't seem, for me, to be the right fit for the job. TMNT shouldn't be a gigantic, over-the-top, explosiothon. Sure, they'll be out kicking some butt, but TMNT is more than that. While Bay isn't directing, if you check out the films he's produced, most of them are flashy and substance-less. They aren't designed to have lasting appeal. They're designed to make a ton of money quickly, which he is good at.

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All-in-all, these latest developments about the TMNT movie are disappointing to fans. It's like remaking the Karate Kid, but setting it in China, and Mr. Miyagi is played by a professional stuntman, and they're learning Kung Fu, not Karate.... wait... that happened.

I'd rather see people working on this film that could give TMNT the credit it deserves. Aside from having Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird involved, personally, I'd like to see Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition) on as director, and aside from the obvious Nolan brothers writing it, I think Luc Besson (Unleashed, The Professional, The 5th Element) would by a perfect writer for a film like this.

Well, it's going to happen, and while many are screaming that Bay has murdered their childhood, they only do it because they love TMNT. It is their childhood, and when someone comes on to a film and makes a major change like that, or course they'll be outraged, and there's no reason anyone needs to "chill out." Sure, each incarnation of the turtles had a different take, but as of now, no creator has strained from the original source this much. I guess we'll have to wait and see though.

What do you guys think about this growing development? What creative teams would you like to see on this film?

Follow Mat's antics on twitter or check out his online show Barely Watchable.

186 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for decept_o
Posted By Decept-O

While not a huge TMNT fan I still admire the characters and franchise and you couldn't go anywhere during the 90's without hearing about the "heroes in a half-shell..turtle power" blaring someplace or another.

The origin hints that possibly the same radioactive waste goop which blinded Matt Murdock and gave him his Daredevil powers, spilled into the sewers and mutated the turtles and a rodent into the heroes we all know.

It would be a dumbass move to even mention or try to use the alien concept, even if they are "mutated" somewhere along the line.

Just don't mess with the original.

Avatar image for thegreyoutcastx
Posted By TheGreyOutcastX

Why, Michael Bay?! Why can't you leave my childhood alone?!!!

Avatar image for boywander
Posted By BoyWander

This basically voices all my complaints. cool.

Avatar image for bobcat14
Posted By Bobcat14

Check out this link from when the Turtles were last scene in Space. It was pretty terrible then and w/ Bay involved it will just be as bad or even worse in the near future.

Avatar image for leokearon
Posted By leokearon

Michael Bay decides to ruin another 80's icon.

Avatar image for armiv2
Posted By ARMIV2

Though I never really got too into the Turtles, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Avatar image for amazingfantasy15
Posted By AmazingFantasy15

The horror, the horror!

Avatar image for tdk_1997
Posted By TDK_1997

Why are they doing this to me????????

Avatar image for pikahyper
Posted By pikahyper

They should have just had him make Battletoads the Movie.

Avatar image for beast_in_the_shadows
Posted By Beast_in_the_Shadows

Wow, if there was anything to put my nerd-rage over the DC reboot into perspective, it's this.

Making them aliens would change almost everything about them. In addition to the examples explained here, it also takes away the subplot of them being outcasts and alone for the same things that make them unique. Unless we find out that their entire race died out (which has been done to death) but even then, they are still genetically normal and never have to question whether they are just freaks resultant of an accident.

Poor move, Mr Bay. The fans are completely justified with their disappointment. We are not complaining because you gave them new costumes or because you are telling a story when they have aged and are no longer teenagers. We are upset because you seem to want to tell a completely different story, but give it the TMNT name.

Avatar image for north_roberts
Posted By North Roberts

I didn't know that ninja weapons caused enough explosions to validate Michael Bay's attention.

Avatar image for venomyak
Posted By venomyak

Dude I don't even like TMNT that much and I can tell how wrong this is.

Avatar image for blur1528
Posted By blur1528

Most fun article that I have read in awhile.

Avatar image for cmaprice
Edited By cmaprice

Michael Bay shouldn't be allowed to make films, period. 
He's all style, no substance. Even that is a bit too generous, seeing as the style is certainly nothing to write home about.

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Avatar image for woodclaw
Edited By Woodclaw

@TheGreyOutcastX said:

Why, Michael Bay?! Why can't you leave my childhood alone?!!!

Same here.

Mr Bay already have the undying enemity of the TF fandom thanks to Transformers 2 & 3. Now this!

My big question is: when are they're going to screw Thundercats making them mutants?

@North Roberts said:

I didn't know that ninja weapons caused enough explosions to validate Michael Bay's attention.

Just replace nunchucks with linked sticks of dynamite.

Avatar image for alkusanagi
Posted By AlKusanagi

So which of the turtles will be what offensive racial stereotypes? Raph has the vaguely New York accent in the first movie, so he can be a guido. Don is good with computers, so he can be Asian, no, wait, an Indian stereotype that speaks only in dialog from a call center. Mikey will be a sassy black 70s street hustler. And Leo will be Shia Lebouf. Finally, Splinter will be a hairless, wrinkly rat, so they can work in as many jokes about him looking like a penis as possible, and all his dialog will be fart noises played on a synthesizer.

There you go, Bay. I wrote at least half the material you'll need for the film right there. I'll be waiting for my 10 million dollar commission.

Avatar image for thegreyoutcastx
Posted By TheGreyOutcastX

@Soldier zero said:

@TheGreyOutcastX said:

Why, Michael Bay?! Why can't you leave my childhood alone?!!!

Same here.

Mr Bay already have the undying enemity of the TF fandom thanks to Transformers 2 & 3. Now this!

My big question is: when are they're going to screw Thundercats making them mutants?

Dude, don't give Bay any thoughts about Thundercats. At least one franchise must remain safe the destroyer of childhoods.

Avatar image for woodclaw
Posted By Woodclaw

@TheGreyOutcastX said:

@Soldier zero said:

@TheGreyOutcastX said:

Why, Michael Bay?! Why can't you leave my childhood alone?!!!

Same here.

Mr Bay already have the undying enemity of the TF fandom thanks to Transformers 2 & 3. Now this!

My big question is: when are they're going to screw Thundercats making them mutants?

Dude, don't give Bay any thoughts about Thundercats. At least one franchise must remain safe the destroyer of childhoods.

DOH! You're right, I have to shut up.

Avatar image for davidgrantlloyd
Posted By davidgrantlloyd

Aliens???? Seriously??? Why not just make them robots while you're at it??

Even if there are some cool aspects in the film (style, design, action scenes, etc) ... most audiences (I presume) will concur that it would probably be best to leave them as mutated turtles.

Avatar image for boywander
Posted By BoyWander

I'll be optimistic and say maybe the mutagen is from aliens (like krang?)... it's a long shot...

Avatar image for thegreyoutcastx
Posted By TheGreyOutcastX

@BoyWander said:

I'll be optimistic and say maybe the mutagen is from aliens (like krang?)... it's a long shot...

This also crossed my mind.

Avatar image for boywander
Posted By BoyWander

@AlKusanagi: Don't forget they'll take away Shredder's face plate and have him play an almost completely unimportant part. Also the foot will explode each time one is hit.

Either way it really doesn't matter because the camera will shake so much you won't notice.

Avatar image for g33ky_monk3y
Posted By g33ky monk3y

At first I was giving Michael “Awesome” Bay the benefit of the doubt, maybe he just used the wrong word. Its possible he meant “alien” as in different, strange, or foreign. Maybe the emphasis was in the wrong place. But re-reading it again for the 100th time, nope. Bay specifically said “from an alien race”. What purpose does this serve, to remove (or move) the Turtles’ origin? There were a few villains and adventures that took place on alien planets and in other dimensions, but the best and most recognizable were the romps through New York City, beating up The Foot Clan or Baxter Stockman’s Mouser droids. Bay’s producing credits are limited, B-grade horror films, mostly reboots and remakes. Considering he is just the producer on this project as well, I’ll hold out that the film could still turn out pretty good. I’ll just disregard his quote as a producer that doesn’t fully understand everything about the film he’s funding. It reminds me of a Penny Arcade comic from a while back, where Bay “re-imagined” Megatron as a riding lawnmower and Bumblebee as a fondue pot. Maybe he just doesn’t know the source material. To quote Guy from Galaxy Quest, “Have you even watched the show?!”

Avatar image for nxh
Posted By NXH

I'll "chill" when Michael Bay drops dead.

Avatar image for nakobass
Posted By nakobass

For all the Bitching and Crying Fanboys gave about the Bayformers. Transformers are bigger then ever thanks to Bay.

I'm sure he will do a great job with TMNT, I don't like the alien origin thing either, but if you took some time and really learned about Micheal Bay instead of jumping on the Bay Hate Train, you will learn he loves to screw around with people. Look at how much buzz this new TMNT movie has already just because he said the word, alien. Bay keeps laughing all the way to the Bank, and you guys don't even realize your helping him to do it. Just relax, and wait for the movie to come out, jeez!

Avatar image for mr_riddler
Posted By Mr_riddler

It's official, we're scr**wed. Eastman and Laird Save us!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Avatar image for eyz
Posted By Eyz


Well, that's already how I his Transformers looked like, not "Robots in Disguise" but more like "RANDOM PIECES OF COMPLICATED CGi"

Avatar image for mattersuit
Posted By Mattersuit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who are not teenagers, mutants, ninjas, or turtles.

I see a slight problem with this.

Avatar image for wowylied
Posted By wowylied

I can't wait to see him raped streetshark, mice form mars, the magic bus, mighty max and all others things from when i was a child...

Avatar image for julmust
Posted By RedSteel15

It will be shit anyway so I don't really care if he doesn't stay true to the original.

Avatar image for funkydeath
Posted By Funkydeath

Nooooooo!!!! I was so excited about a new tmnt movie especially after that sham that was the last one. But, now that excitement has been dashed. Alien turtles... Really?

Avatar image for tha_mercenary
Posted By tha_mercenary

Waittaminute... If they aren't teenagers... And they aren't from earth... Then that means...


Avatar image for foxxfireart
Posted By FoxxFireArt

I love all the comic book creators reaction to it. It's pretty funny when Bay is actually reacting to all of this.

Avatar image for theodore
Posted By Theodore

Shame on him. I wanna punch him in the mouth.

Avatar image for danyboy
Posted By DanyBoy

First I was : "ok maybe the Mutagen got an alien element in it..." but reading the comment I came up with this :

Maybe he means alien : A person who is not included in a group; an outsider.

Ok, he said "alien race"... teenager is an alien race !!!!!

Wich now make total sense. They are outcast, they struggle to live within the society and we all know they are curious, teenager and love pizza and skateboarding !

It's Bay so of course he wanna make some huge buzz. And he did ! The guy knows his musical score.

Avatar image for danyboy
Posted By DanyBoy

@BoyWander: killer comment !

Avatar image for eric7
Posted By eric7

just go ahead and call it something else because this does not look like a tmnt movie

Avatar image for the_mighty_monarch
Posted By The Mighty Monarch

Oh Gail Simone, you are the absolute best.

Avatar image for lexino
Posted By Lexino

I wonder why news articles are using the fanart image by Stjepan Sejic aka Nebezial, which has nothing to do with the movie...? Because it looks cool? sure, but people might associate it with the movie.

Avatar image for shadow_thief
Edited By Shadow_Thief

Of course, if he uses the same formula he used with the Transformers, the TMNT will be largely relegated to being background characters while the real story focuses on a hyperactive, unlikeable paperboy they befriend through arbitrary and utterly implausible circumstances.

Up yours, Hollywood. Every time I see a movie about a beloved, established icon being released, I just automatically assume that their image has been hastily stapled to a generic film to attempt to compensate (in terms of box office returns) for said film's utter mediocrity. This is what you've conditioned me to do.

Avatar image for hectorsquall
Posted By hectorsquall
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Avatar image for _mistress_redhead_
Posted By .Mistress Redhead.

It's a Michael Bay film, why would I see it in the first place?

Avatar image for omega_man_
Posted By Omega-Man

This is awful. but there are possible wrong wording of this alien could mean anything. Not really mean they are from another planet.

Avatar image for thecheckeredman
Posted By thecheckeredman
@pikahyper said:

They should have just had him make Battletoads the Movie.

Or Biker Mice from Mars...
Avatar image for kidchipotle
Posted By kidchipotle

Someone is eventually going to be shot from an angry fan boy.....

Avatar image for ms__omega
Posted By ms__omega

Ohhh Hellz Naw.........this makes me sad I grew up on TMNT :(

Avatar image for nerx
Posted By Nerx

Get a bunch of hobos and burly men then march into his house then violate him until he ends in a wheelchair

Time to remove all differences and unite for a grand cause
Time to remove all differences and unite for a grand cause
Avatar image for Acharya77
Posted By Acharya77

The mutation aspect was good not only for the Turtles themselves but for various other characters in the series especially Master Splinter!

Bay's whole claim that it'll be good sounds like the same stupid pitch he gave for Transformers... and we all know how those turned out ><

Avatar image for mutant_x
Posted By Mutant X

Damn it.

Avatar image for pspin
Posted By pspin

I bet that April O'Neal or Casey Jones will die and go to turtle heaven only to come back and save the world with a sock full of sewer slime. Which would be ridiculous, not to mention impossible. Oh wait, that was the other Micheal Bay "movie(?)"

That being said I hope they make it more like the 2003 series than the other one