Michael Bay Teases ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Origin Change for Reboot

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 21st, 2012 at 5:23 pm,

teenage mutant ninja turtles reboot michael bay Michael Bay Teases ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Origin Change for Reboot

[UPDATE: Michael Bay responds to fan outrage.]

Before continuing on, we ought to clarify: Michael Bay is only producing the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series reboot through his Platinum Dunes, not directing. Helming duties (for better or for worse) on the project look to instead be given to Jonathan Liebesman, who previously worked on the Bay-produced Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and last year’s alien invasion thriller Battle: Los Angeles.

Bay talked about the TMNT reboot at the 2012 Nickelodeon Upfront in New York – promising a cinematic return-to-form for the sewer-dwelling masked vigilantes, while also casually dropping a bombshell (turtleshell?) about how the characters’ traditional origin story will be altered for the new movie.

On the topic of how convincing the famous anthropomorphic reptilian stars of TMNT will be, Bay said:

“When you see this movie, kids will believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we’re done with this movie.”

With Bay backing the project and Liebesman – who looks to better establish himself as an effects-savvy director with this month’s Wrath of the Titans – mostly likely directing, the TMNT reboot should easily fulfill on that promise. A hybrid approach that combines animatronics with motion-capture digital effects (similar to that in Real Steel) in order to bring Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael to life, seems like the best way to go.

However, Bay’s next comment on the subject is bound to not go over so well (the first part, that is):

“These turtles [in the reboot] are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable.”

Now, before anyone metaphorically (or semi-literally) explodes over Bay’s statement, don’t forget: going back to their comic book roots, the traditional backstory for the Turtles is that they were regular… well, turtles, who changed after being exposed to a radioactive substance. It’s a pretty ridiculous setup for even a comics series that started out as a satirical imitation of Frank Miller’s brutally grim and violent Ronin/Elektra comics – but eventually gave rise to a beloved property that stands on its own.

So, here’s the million dollar question: does having the Turtles instead simply be aliens (even “Mutant” ones) sound like a good idea, an inconsequential change – or a terrible decision?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot Michael Bay Platinum Dunes Michael Bay Teases ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Origin Change for Reboot

Heroes in a half shell... from another planet?

It’s easy to point the finger of blame at Bay for bringing up this “Turtles as aliens” angle to begin with. However, now that the decision has been made, it’s really up to the TMNT reboot screenwriting duo of Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Procotol) to actually make that tweaked origin story work.

As for why the Turtles are now going to be aliens: perhaps it’s to allow for other sci-fi elements and characters to be more organically woven into the rebooted TMNT mythology. Not that non-earthlings like the classic villain Krang (who even hailed from another dimension) have really struggled to fit into the series before now, but still…

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is tentatively set for a December 25th, 2013 theatrical release date, so you can expect to learn more about the film over the upcoming year.


Source: Michael Bay [via StufWeLike and Comic Book Movie]

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  1. I don’t care where they “came from” as long as they are the classic same once they GET HERE. AND FOR FRIGS SAKE give us Bebop and Rocksteady you Hollywood stooges! There are plenty of already existing AWESOME characters AS THEY ARE. No “re-imaginations” required!

    • want some ice cream? well heres a big bag of rock salt!

  2. Nostalgic bastardizations abound!

    • Isn’t this statement inherently contradictory?

  3. Okay. Its not that it’s a bad idea, it is just not TMNT. I think they should stick to the original storyline. Anyway how are they mutants if they are actually aliens. Doesn’t make to much sense. Now if they wanted to change them by some kind of alien chemicals that or something…..

    • Was thinking the same thing

      • Ditto!

  4. I think they have the potential to mess up this franchise a lot more than by making the turtles aliens.

  5. i’d be interested in seeing how this plays out. i’ll reserve judgement until i see a teaser or something.

  6. Makes no sense… Teenage “MUTANT” Ninja Turtles not Teenage “Alien” Ninja Turtles. So now I ask, “is Splinter a rodent astronaut?”.

    • That’s all I’m saying.

      • couldn’t agree more. bay should just make a new movie called “turtle-like ninjas from space”

        • I agree. I’m already done with this.

    • Yep, silly unless they change the name to “TANT” or “TAMNT”.

  7. I’m pretty sure you can’t make a Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles movie if they’re aliens. It literally takes away from a quarter of the characters.

    Might as well be “Young Adult Alien Kung Fu Turtles”, and at that point, why make the movie at all? There’s a difference between adapting the source material and not paying attention to the freaking title to begin with.

    • Lol…big difference.

    • Adolescent Radioactive Alien Blackbelt Terrapins

      • lol…that would be something.

  8. If they are aliens, then technically they are not “turtles” at all, since turtles are a group of species from Earth. If they are aliens, then they are only “turtle-like” and not “turtles.”

  9. Can’t be worse than the original were splinter is a plain rat emulating his ninja master’s moves from his cage. Lol i was like 9 when i saw that, still thinks it stupid. Aliens might not be a bad way to go. …aliens that crash, cant survive ur atmosphere/world so need to absorb/inorporate dna from earth bound beings all they have at the time are turtles or whatever.

    • I thought so too, but I was told that the version of Splinter from the movie (a rat learning martial arts by watching his master) was how it was in the original comics. I prefer the version from the cartoon myself.

      • Yeah I felt same way about the movie, even though that was how it was originally written in the comics. I liked how the cartoons did it in regards to the origins of Splinter.

    • Like I said to have some type of alien back story wouldn’t be too crazy…like some type of alien substance or something that transforms them some how. I don’t know about them being aliens species though.

      • “Like some type of alien substance or something that transforms them some how.”

        That´s actually what happened in the original comic books. The ooze that made them mutate was produced by a company run by aliens. And they all looked like Krang.

        • Thanks Scapegoat for getting me hip. I never really read the original comics.

        • That’s how I remember it as well…
          The ooze was manufactured by aliens (Ultroms as I recall it?), but when the ooze came in contact with the turtles, it didn’t turn them into aliens, it turned them into mutant turtles…

          Bay is messing everything up.

          • I think they were called Utroms… But I´m not sure, it´s been a while since I read those books.

            • I don’t remember much of the comics either (I was VERY young when I first read them — I think the second comic book I ever read was a TMNT one…)
              But from the 2003 animated series (which was quite accurate to the source material), I believe it was the Utroms who were in charge of the TCRI company (who manufactured the ooze that created the turtles).

              • Exactly.

  10. LOL. I want some of what Michael Bay is smoking.

    • No, you don´t. That stuff will convince you that you´re from outer space and Megan Fox is a good actress.

  11. [Queue Darth Vader voice]: NNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
    This doesn’t make any sense IMO (as many of you have pointed out: how can they be the Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles if they’re from another planet?!)
    Also, what does this mean for Master Splinter? Is his origin still going to be the same, or is he also going to be an alien?

    This is just another case of “changing stuff because we can”. Why mess around with something that works well?

    I’m completely against the idea. It looks like Bay is going to ruin my childhood heroes.

  12. I hate you Michael Bay.

    I hate you.

  13. I agree with what everyone’s saying about the whole MUTANT part being ignored by them being aliens and it being totally unfaithful to what the turtles are, but maybe they’ll work that in somehow. Like turtles being mutated by an ooze from outer space so they’re part alien, or turtles being abducted by aliens and having other genes spliced into them to make them mutant humanoid like turtles, and then escaping back to Earth.
    In that way they can be mutants, but also somewhat alien.

    Or maybe Bay is just messing with us. I guess we’ll see.

  14. Who’s ready for exploding pizza on the big screen?

  15. I don’t get it. Alien turtles is just as unbelievable as mutant turtles. He’s just replacing one ridiculous premise with another. Why not just keep the one that’s been in place for OVER 25 YEARS!!!

    If TMNT was only ever a comic book, changing it wouldn’t be so bad. But TMNT has been a comic book, three live action films, a cartoon, a live action TV show, another cartoon, a CGI movie, and soon to be another cartoon – all with the same origin. Isn’t it a little late to change the origin at this point? It’s like suddenly, after 75 years, making Superman from Earth.

    Michael Bay: Changing the unnecessary since 1995.

  16. I think the whole teenage mutant turtles idea was stupid anyway, an alien race that resembled turtles sound more credible!

  17. I swear by my mother´s beard, Michael Bay took lessons from Jeph Loeb.

    Also, I think March 2012 is the official Facepalm-Month.

  18. I liked how he did Transformers. Like Johnny said, I’ll wait for the trailers to see if this might be a bomb in the making or a “different” turtles then we all are used to. They could be MUTANT turtles from a planet or like bellcurve said: “aliens that crash, cant survive our atmosphere/world so need to absorb/incorporate dna from earth bound beings all they have at the time are turtles.”

    Lets just see how this pans out since it still has over a year before its comes out … who knows it might not make it to production ….

  19. I’m anxious to see what the tone of the film will be like.

  20. I know it would never happen, but I was really hoping for a true to form, more violent and gritty movie ala the comics. Alien turtles from space who know Ninjitsu? SOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS!!!

    An ALIEN race is apparently a giant form of Earth reptiles, AND know a form of an Earth based Martial Art, AND are experts in Earth based weapons….. This movie will be AWFUL…. I’m talking if The Green Lantern and Transformers 2 had a love child awful…. and probably also starring Shia

  21. Michael Bay: Ruining your favorite childhood properties one movie at a time.

  22. Screw u bay, you should be castrated and sent to a sewage processing plant where u can’t come up with these ideas and ruin character’s that my generation grew up with. Can someone else who actually woke up Saturday mornings when they were a kid n watched this show or read the comics produce this instead?…I’m so angry n Hung over from st. Pattys day…I can’t rant no more!

  23. Ps: I like the podcasts u guys do @ screenrant :b

  24. UMMMMM What the heck!! ALIENS?!?!?! Now they totally skrewing up the story. I don’t like that at all.

  25. they should just call them Teenage Ninja Turtles – TNT BOOOM…see what i did there?

  26. Turtles are not known for explosions so why is Bay doing this? Im already sad

  27. Dear Mr. Bay and Friends,

    Quit making bad things. And quit turning good things into bad things.

    With Love,
    Transformers and Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles

  28. I have the next big movie hit. The one where Michael bay is actually an alien and is sent from space to completely destroy every thing we love about are childhood movies and comics! F*** u Michael Bay

    • maybe he’ll be the villain in MIB3 hahaha

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