Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a franchise that’s been reworked and rebooted so many times over the years it can accurately be said to have multiple different fanbases who rarely see eye to eye – with some swearing by the dark Frank Miller parody of the original comics, while others hold up the mega-popular 80s/90s animated series as the “true” version and still others are devoted to the multiple new series and comics released since (including the latest on Nickelodeon). Turtles fans likewise have different feelings about the Michael Bay produced 2014 movie reboot and its take on the best-known TMNT villain: The Shredder.
Trailers for the upcoming sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, have generated a more positive reaction by comparison – if only because it looks to correct many of the 2014 reboot’s issues. That includes the armor worn by The Shredder in the film, which was can now confirm has been designed for Out of the Shadows.
Posted by actor Brian Tee (who is playing Shredder in Out of the Shadows) to his Instagram account, the photo – which looks to have been taken from a monitor or TV screen – shows Tee wearing a much more traditional version of Shredder’s armor and helmet. While some might note that his armor actually features fewer defensive blades than many previous versions (other live-action Shredders have had blades on their shoulders, forearm gauntlets and occasionally knuckles, shinguards and elbow-pads) it also looks as though Tee’s Shredder is posing in lightweight plate-armor meant to be worn under heavier pieces; something that would befit the heavily Japanese/Samurai-inspired design of the helmet.
Shredder has been one of the most hotly-debated subjects of the rebooted TMNT movies by fans hoping for a more faithful adaptation of the property’s core characters, but also by cultural critics with seemingly more serious concerns as well. After all, when it was announced that actor William Fichtner would be playing a new version of the villain who would start out as an American corporate CEO, TMNT devotees were annoyed by the change to canon, but others were outraged that an iconic character traditionally depicted as a Japanese man (in most versions Oroku Saki, an old enemy of Master Splinter) would be recast with a white actor – citing it as part of Hollywood’s ongoing issue with “whitewashing” films and denying roles to actors from underrepresented backgrounds. This led the filmmakers behind the TMNT reboot to awkwardly re-edit the film in order to present The Shredder as an unnamed elderly Japanese man, who is served by Fichtner’s character.
Some fans were also bothered to see this Shredder using a suit of powered-armor to do his fighting, when in most versions part of Shredder’s fearsome reputation is being a deadly enough master of the ninja arts to be able to take on the Turtles in direct combat despite not being superhuman or a mutant himself. Tee’s version looks to be much closer to this less mechanically-enhanced version, which should make fans happy and add an interesting new dimension to the fight scenes in Out of the Shadows between the Shredder and Turtles.
A more traditional Shredder would make sense as part of what’s been viewed as a concerted effort to make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows closer to earlier, more popular incarnations of the characters; with a specific emphasis apparently being placed on winning back fans of the first animated series and its ubiquitous action-figure line: In addition to Shredder and Arrow star Stephen Amell as sports-equipment vigilante Casey Jones, the henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady are making their live-action debut alongside the alien brain-creature Krang (complete with his mechanical body) and a UFO-like machine that looks to be the 21st Century version of The Technodrome. These and other nostlagiac allusions to one of the “classic” embodiments of the TMNT franchise will certainly give fans a reason to check out the sequel regardless of how they felt about the 2014 TMNT reboot – though it remains to be seen if the screenplay, acting and direction have improved in addition to a healthier respect for franchise history.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in U.S. theaters on June 3rd, 2016.
Source: Brian Tee