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. Good or bad it just seems like a pointless change to an origin. An origin that usually gets glossed over in 5 seconds, which is all it needs.

  2. I hope that means the Ultrons will be involved, like they were in the 2003 show, cause thats the only way aliens will work in this.
    We might even get some Triceratons if Bay was smart(probably not).
    I just hope the turtles don’t come from some humanoid-animal planet or something, cause that’d just be a waste for a Usagi Yojimbo movie.

    • UTROMS ….

      not ultrons

  3. You know I could see this whole controversy incorporated into the movie. They’ll probably keep the origin parts secret until release. Yeah I know Bay said Aliens are involved but read the book ‘Man of two Worlds.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if Liebesman has and given that Aliens have been the Deus ex machina of a lot of stories over the years; I would be surprised if the story didn’t go something like ‘Two Worlds,’ where the protagonist becomes a joined hybrid. In this case terrestrial turtles and mutating alien DNA. So obviously they’re still mutants and part terrestrial turtle, rats or whatever. The alien DNA would also be able then to effect other terrestrial life, creating some of the antagonist characters as well. Does that make it better? Not one whit! ‘Prometheus’ I think will travel down this road a bit and now Hollywood is trying to wedge this idea into everything it can till it’s stomped into the pile of garbage that makes up the mass that gets churned out every year…

  4. Micheal bay, you just ruined my childhood. I have no respect for you now. This sounds so STUPID! Hollywood is getting to be too much. I think I will just stop watching now.

  5. How can they be mutant turtles if they’re aliens

    • One could hope that by “alien” he means foreign (as in the Japanese culture) but that’s probably not the case. When Michael Bay says aliens he means of the little green men variety or, ahem, turtle.

  6. First,am i the only one who thinks about the movie Surf Ninjas whenever the Turtles come up? And second,i have a bad feeling Bay is gonna somehow be involved with the Thundercats project when it finally gets off the ground.Time to grab the sniper gloves…

  7. Sounds kind of stupid and pointless to change them into aliens but as long as they can fit more mutants(guess that would be aliens now) into the series im fine. Im want that rino guy in the series.

  8. After reading the title, I just kept saying, “please don’t be aliens…Please don’t be aliens…”. But I think I have narrowed down what actually is going on here.

    A. It’s a little early for April Fool’s, but good one anyway, Michael.
    B. He’s metaphorically speaking, alien like – unlike one’s own; strange; not belonging to one.
    C. He’s Batsh!t Crazy.

    • I’m voting C, myself. Bay has a history, both in directing and producing. Plus, the director doesn’t hold much in the way of confidence from me. I forsee this being an annoyingly large fail that far too many people will spend money to see – which will in turn empower Bay to screw more stuff up in the future.

    • When I first read the article, I thought “this must be an April fools prank”, but then I looked up at my calendar… :(
      Nah, Bay is just “batsh** crazy” as you put it. Most people call him “eccentric”, but this proves it: he’s completely out of his freakin mind.

  9. They should give Nolan the property so that he can give TMNT the same treatment as Batman. The darker more serious tone works for TMNT. Watch the original movie.

    • Agreed.

    • Are you guys kidding!? Nolan would never touch this property and give it his “Dark Knight” treatment, the whole tone and feel, not to mention the artistic intent and inspiration of the property is rooted as the article said in a more satirical world that was sending up Elektra and all those modern day ninja tropes that are found in comics today. Not to say that the movie can’t have some intense moments but unlike Batman (created by Bob Kane and interpreted by the likes of Frank Miller) which initially had a dark heightened reality aesthetic where a masked unhinged avenger whom has no powers but immense resources goes about a singular goal of personally fighting evil, the possibility for a property like Batman to be given the Nolan treatment was already prepared, someone just had to see that the public would respond favourably and they did. With TMNT, the property is more a bombastic, sarcastic and utterly ridiculous joyride through ninja and city culture, there are meant to be moments of brevity and chaotic slapstick totally at odds of a darker, more “real” approach, if it did, audiences would roll their eyes at a movie taking itself so seriously especially since it has the title bearing TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!

  10. Oh god, why? why? thank you Grewuponturtles and Brandon. i can usually tolerate minute changes to stuff like this, but damn, this is my childhood were talking about I’m mean I even had a Turtles comforter on my bed. Michael Bay or who ever gave him this idea is a complete Tard, first Brandon is totally right how can they be Mutant if their aliens, and second this is just a stupid idea i mean really? radioactivly exposed turtles makes more sense than alien ones. Jeez thank god Superman will be out next year cuz I don’t think i could take this.

  11. Michael Bay is a premature ejaculator – The giant walking testical is always in a rush and is only concerned with big explosions… No BAY you are not fast and cool like the millennium Falcon you are fast and s#*t like the dialog from Gilmore girls.
    I’m of the opinion that Michael Bay went to a pre-production meeting for a hole 2.5 minutes:
    BAY: “So what are we doing today guys?”
    WRITER 1: “Just trying to reboot the ninja turtles”
    BAY: “You’ve been trying to rework that one for ages now!”
    WRITER 2: “We just started!”
    BAY: “Don’t argue! Just make them aliens and kill one off with an explosion. Done!”
    WRITER 1: WTF…
    WRITER 2: Remove my name from the credits!!!
    I will not be seeing this one mate! I wasted enough money on your transform..a..into..a..terd trilogy.
    I will be at home watching the original 90’s live action movie AWESOME!!!

    Post question: Will the villain in Bad Boys 3 be an alien?

  12. OK RELAX GUYS THEY CAME FROM THE PLANET TURTLETRON.lets just hope they dont transform, Michael Bay is a “80′s childhood memory killer”

  13. I could def see an Alien substance (virus or slime) that is transported either by a space craft or comet and infects the hapless would be heroes. Alien turtles would be a stretch….lol.

    • Don’t forget NINJA alien turtles. Somehow in a vast large universe they learned ninjutsu before they arrived here. With Bay probably a tv signal from 50 or 60 years ago that reached them and taught them all they know. So they came here to further their skills. There’s your plot.

  14. This just hurts me thinking about it. I’m not going to say that being exposed to a chemical and mutating into the TMNT is the best or coolest origin story but is being bitten by a radioactive spider or say gaining your powers from a yellow sun and less far fetched? In fact, being splashed or exposed to chemicals is one of the more common origins. Ridiculous set-up my eye.

    The biggest problem for me though is virtually NONE of the TMNT acronym relates to being aliens…..

    Mutants /= Alien
    Ninjas = Comes an pseudo mystical group of Japanese assassins, you know EARTH.
    Turtles = an EARTH creature.

    About the only thing you could get away with comparing would be the them being teenaged.

    Seriously, does no one even bother to pay attention to these kinds of important details anymore? Hollywood is hell bent of screwing over all the things we grew up with as kids to make a potential buck.

    • Couldn’t agree more…

  15. despite many of you withholding judgment, i for one shall not. i dont want this man ruining my childhood memories any more. please sign if you think like i do

  16. http://www.change.org/petitions/michael-bay-to-not-make-teenage-alien-ninja-turtles

    heres the link to begin the downfall of this garbage

    • The fact that such a site exists really says something about our generation

  17. Why does Michael Bay have to ruin everything from my childhood that I hold dear? I’d like to be able to screw with some of his favorite things :(

  18. sooooo how about calling it teenage warrior alien turtles? or just twat

    • haha TWAT sounds like a good name since they’re gonna reboot the series with a new origin they might as well get a new name that fits :D

    • Well played Sir….

  19. I’m with everyone here I want a darker more grounded film like the original movie. However if they’re going to make the turtles battle aliens why not just make another animated movie but in the same vein as ’80s cartoon series.

  20. The new TMNT should be done like Where the Wild Things Are. Big green scaley CGI faces, (Splinters fur would appear real too) big round reptile eyes and moving mouths,and costumed little acrobatic kids for the small bodies. Give it a Kick-Ass, slightly Scott Pilgrim tone.

    what about… Alien space goo + earth turtles. Or an alien takes a turtle, a teenager and splices it with a ninja and…. whoever makes this/directsthis/ writesthis/ producesthis, will probably make it come out lookin like crap anyway…thats The Hollywood. Sad day for the turtles. But at least with Bay attatched this wont go Dragonball Evolution route, #worstsh%tever

  21. Great, another beloved franchise Bay can wipe his behind with. Seriously people let’s start boycotting Michael Bay movies. No joke, it’s time to run him out of the industry.

  22. first TRANSFORMERS and now this? Why MICHEAL BAY, do you continue to rape my childhood? I mean whats next? Mighty Mouse was really a flying squirrel? Woody Woodpecker was a beaver wearing a bird suit? WHY? WHY? do you BAY continue to change what is already fine the way it was? go back to ruining action films! its time for BAY to go AWAY!!!!!!!!! and dont get me started in how Platinum Dunes turned Jason Voorhees into a pot growing Hippie woodsman!!

  23. I’ll bet my left one or a night of unbridled passion you guys have got it wrong.

    That or Bay is into me for a
    a) shitload of money
    b) a night of unbridled passion
    c) a left one


  24. Micahel Bay must be outta his mind. Seriously, changing their origins by having them aliens? LMAO. I heard whoppers before but this takes the cake so far.

  25. 2 words. Beebop. Rocksteady. Wanna see.

  26. Dude you should not make them aliens…What sense does that make?

  27. This is terrible. How can you change the backstory now after it’s so strongly established?!?

    I am not seeing this movie if the backstory is changed. Period.

  28. Hey Michael, that sounds like a great idea! You should give me a call because I know how to screw up handle name brands like this. Let’s do brunch.

    Uwe Bol


    • Doubt that will happen since Boll actually challenged Bay to a fight once. Wish they had of went through with it, they could have had it in the Thunderdome………

  29. I agree…but might let it slide if the only change is that the ooze that changes them comes from space…that’s about as forgiving as i can be regarding changes.