Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans are waiting on bated breath for the upcoming film reboot to be released on August 8th. Will it faithfully adapt what’s come before – the comics, the cartoon? Will the motion captured Turtles look good on the big screen? And most importantly, will the movie itself be good?

One of the biggest questions about the film so far has been: Who is playing Shredder, the Turtles’ arch-nemesis? While there was a strong indication early on that William Fichtner (The Dark Knight) would be wearing the robotic samurai suit seen in the trailers, we received word more recently that contradicted that news.

WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOLLOW.

In the comics, the cartoon, and the previous movies, Shredder’s real identity was that of Oroku Saki. And while his back-story varies from medium to medium, he was always an evil Japanese ninja who eventually become the NYC leader of the Foot Clan and the arch-nemesis of Splinter and the Turtles.

In the film, William Fichtner is obviously not playing a Japanese ninja. According to what we’ve seen in the trailers and heard from producers, he’s playing Eric Sachs, a man who worked with April O’Neil’s father and helped in the creation of the Turtles. But is he also secretly the Shredder?

Let’s break down why Fichtner might – and might not – be playing the Ninja Turtles’ greatest enemy.

William Fichtner IS Playing Shredder?

  • Fichtner himself told reporters during production of TMNT that he was playing Shredder. This did not seem to be something the producers wanted him to say, as it had been a mystery up until then as to which actor had been cast in the role.
  • TMNT visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman told us in our interview with him that “it’s Bill Fichtner who is wearing the suit.” And really, why would he lie?
  • We were also told that Shredder was something of a mystery character in the film. According to Helman, “We see his face in the whole movie, but you don’t know who he is.” Why would it be a mystery if it was just the same old Shredder character that Turtles fans know and love?
  • Fichtner as Eric Sachs as Shredder makes a lot of sense given certain plot trends in superhero movies over the past few years. Liam Neeson wasn’t Ducard in Batman Begins, he was actually Ra’s al Ghul (and then there was Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul, Benjamin Kingsley as (not) The Mandarin, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan).

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William Fichtner ISN’T Playing Shredder?

  • At an early preview of scenes from TMNT, we were told straight up that William Fichtner was NOT playing Shredder. Now, this could just be producer misinformation – we all remember J.J. Abrams saying that Cumberbatch wasn’t playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, and, well, he was – so take it with a grain of salt.
  • There’s a shot in one of the trailers that depicts William Fichtner talking to a shadowy figure. Fichtner says, “We’re taking your suit to the next level.” The trailer then cuts to the gigantic, robotic Shredder suit you may have already seen, giving the impression that the “suit” in question is Shredder’s, and that the shadowy figure is the actual Shredder. Could this figure be Oroku Saki? Could Fichtner not be playing Shredder after all?
  • TMNT went through reshoots this year. Is it possible that Jonathan Liebesman and the producers of the film decided to change the identity of Shredder after William Fichtner outed himself as the villain in question? Well, sure, anything’s possible. Plus, it’s not like there would be that much to reshoot – one assumes that, if Fichtner was secretly Shredder throughout the film, that the reveal might not come until the end.

So what’s the verdict? From everything we know, it seems most likely that Fichtner is playing Shredder and everything contradicting that has just been misinformation, but we’ll have to wait a few more days to know for sure.

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is William Fichtner playing Shredder in TMNT or not? Drop us a line in the comments.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits theaters August 8th, 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.