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. Dude please let this be a joke I mean bay is known interviews to joke but if not I’ll honest to god I’ll see I can ignore but if they like Mikey would joke by saying “Yeah We’re Ninja Aliens from Dimension X!” JOKINGLY untill the get to the real origin so let’s all hope ths is joke if not Bay your death is by a million of TMNT fans dude because it’s not cool to f*** up a origin story

  2. My first thought is… Howard the Duck.

  3. Seriously – is he going to get some supermodel to play April O’Neil?

    And how do you keep the Shredder as the villain without the Japanese backstory? Or is Shredder even in it? Is it Krang? That could actually make some sense if the turtles are aliens I suppose.

    My head hurts…

  4. Well, like someone said, it could be okay if the story involved the Utroms but still, the turtles should be from Earth. Curiosity and love for the TMNT will have been watch but still, kooky.

  5. as the worlds biggest tmnt fan i say its a new turtle dimintion as seen in turtles forever

  6. please dont mess anything else up :(

  7. I wanna hit this guy, keeps ruining my childhood favourites. When is he going to understand that he isn’t a genious? Rely on the source material and let OTHER people do the thinking, like the original writers for instance, man.

    Imagine how much good you could do in the world, with all money spent on Michael Bay’s projects.

    • “youth these days are more critical/practical IMO”
      I’m going to have to disagree with that.
      Most kids I know (cousins, nieces, nephews, friends’ younger siblings) aren’t critical at all, they don’t really give a f(rack) — they just don’t pay attention to what they’re watching.
      As a matter of fact, most kids younger than 10 don’t even know who the turtles are…
      My point is, the kids won’t care if they’re aliens or mutants, so Bay and his cronies might as well keep the origin as it was – so that these kids won’t grow up with the memory of the ninja turtles being weirdo aliens.

      That’s just my opinion though… based on my experience with those sticky, booger eating little people 😉

  8. I did specify ‘youth’ not ‘kids’- which includes an age group above 10:). Granted, kids wouldn’t give a hoot. But I do believe that youth above 10-11 (teenagers to be exact)these days are more discernible and analytical due to what they are disposed to on a daily. At least in my area. The comics code of old is almost non-existent now. PG movies these days would have had a higher rating then. The superhero movies we thoroughly enjoyed as teenagers would most likely be scoffed at now. Characters have to be more believable, more relatable (think Xmen), brightly coloured costumes are considered childish and a no-no, (they question capes and tights now). So TMNT might only appeal to little kids and not transcend age barriers. I remember when the first TMNT movie came out in the late 80s (or was it early 90s now?), I thoroughly liked it-especially with the Partners in KRYME soundtrack which I memorized- but now…it’s like doing a real movie of Biker Mice from Mars! Good luck with that.

    • Well, I’m a teenager (16) and I want the turtles’ origins to remain the same – as does all my TMNT loving friends.

      • I guess what I’m trying to say is that most people who know who the TMNT are, want their origin to remain the same (and they want the characters to be portrayed in the right way), and most of the people who don’t know the TMNT that well, don’t really care if they’re aliens or mutants (which means they might as well keep the origin as it was – since it won’t matter to the general audience)

    • The best way to stop Michael Bay is not to go see his movies……

  9. TMNT ??? …NEXT !

  10. STOP BAY 2012

    • LOL

  11. phone: 310-859-4000 call this number to dispute his direction

  12. I swear to god, if this is even close to being true, I will burn down the theaters this goes into. I am currently developing a TRUE origin story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, that goes back to the TRUE origins…I’ll be damned if some jerk-off is going to say, “eh, they’re aliens, yeah, that’s the ticket”…just cuz Bay has been able to jizz lob s***** Transformers movies at us once every two years, with a loose story line, doesn’t mean he should allow a beloved fable from being s*** out of some dickless writer’s keyboard while he jacks off onto his computer monitor with pictures of Megan Fox. I’m seriously pissed right now…

    • Well said sir Henry

  13. Wtf!!! Yy stick to transformers bay!!! Stop ruining my turtles!!

  14. When I saw the first live action movie as a kid, and the turtles came on the screen for the first time, nothing could have wiped the smile off my face. I don’t think there was a happier kid in the cinema. It was because I saw the turtles I knew and loved but in “real life” instead of a cartoon. And they were the way I thought they would be. If the turtles ended up as aliens in the movie, I think that little kid with a huge smile would have turned into a little kid with a look of confusion and disappointment on his face.

    I hope no kid ever has to go through that. Please Michael Bay, don’t do that to the little kid inside me, or the other (not so little any more) kids out there looking forward to seeing this movie.

    • @ Pedram

      That’s exactly how i felt when i first seen the film on the big screen. I was such big fan of the 80’s cartoon & owned almost everything outta the toyline. It would be a damn shame if Michael Bay ruins that.

  15. Let’s make a Reboot of Popeye! but now he’s not a Sailor!!!!… he’s a Space ninja, who no longer smokes a pipe. now he wears cat ears, who is. infected with a cybernetic ghost named Spinach! and olive oil and bluto? nah, now your love interest is a mutant stripper named Olea europaea!!!! and Bluto is the Clone of Hitler! and every other thing blows up!

  16. i think… that’s bay’s thought process….

  17. Alien turtles omg really I love the Mutant turtles please let them think it over before screwing up a legendary story… And how in the hell or they going to be ninjas…smh..

  18. Teenage

  19. how will they keep the M in TMNT if they aren’t mutations from earth? will they be called Teenaged Ninja Turtles? The name in itself degrees that they are mutants from earth. The origin story was ruined already in the first live action movies tho remember. Splinter was a human originally *not a rat*. The animals took on the appearance of the last live thing they touched. Splinter the Human found the turtles and touched them. the Turtles became Humanoid. Then because Splinter was freshly tainted by the Ooz, he touched his rats then became a Rat Featured Humanoid.

    • Actually Splinter’s origin in the LA movie is true to the original comics where Splinter was mutated from a rat rather than from a human.

  20. I just read Bay’s response to the criticism and he’s says fans need to chill and relax and to trust him and the team.
    That’s not a direct quote but it sums it up.
    Bay just doesn’t get it. It’s kind of funny how oblivious he is when it comes to what fans want to see in theaters. Just like every single horror remake his company has done this seems like it could end up going off the rails. The only hope I have is that the writers of MI: Ghost Protocol are on board for this.

  21. If this movie is made where they are from outer space I will not watch I grew up watching the turtles and my kids will know the right story about them as well not this garbage. They is a reason they are call teenage MUNTANT ninja turtles. NOT teenage ALIEN ninja turtles beacuse thats what they will be Aliens not MUNTANTS…….

  22. I can’t imagine them bring Krang into live-action. Lookin back at 3rd film, they should of used Ratking, or Baxter Stockman. If Bay wants to be involved, maybe he should do a spin-off involving those frog guys from the 80’s cartoon.

  23. no offense to mr bay i loved transformers but really dont mess with the turtles ive loved them since the 80s you cant take something like the tmnt and turn them into aliens my son is 4 and loves to watch them he knows them as turtles not aliens think about the ppl that love the tmnt the way they r go reboot the hulk make it better and plz lwave out edward norton he sucked

  24. I’m having a hard enough time wrapping my head around IDW’s comic reboot, and at least there, they’re still mutant turtles. This just sounds like an AWFUL idea, but sadly, I’d probably still go see it, if only to laugh at how terrible it’ll inevitably be.