In the Age of the Franchise Reboot, few properties have proved quite as divisive as producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman's update of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. From our first look at our re-designed Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael on a leaked poster to the new film's actual trailer, fan criticism has yet to die down.
Ever since the reboot was announced, the franchise's hardcore fanbase has been vocal in its disapproval. There have been a variety of reasons for this: the original plan to make the Turtles aliens; the casting of Megan Fox as April O'Neil; an over-the-top redesign for villain Shredder, and so on.
Fan outrage has abated somewhat, but now CBM brings us a new report on yet another change to the basic mythology of everyone's favorite "Heroes in a Half-shell." To wit: some leaked pictures of what appears to be a line of tie-in toys labeled "Evolution Figure Packs" suggest that the rebooted turtles will not be teenagers after all.
The toys pictured advertise three distinct evolutionary phases: from "turtle" - our heroes in their "pre-mutant" form as ordinary turtles (albeit with color-coded shells); to "teen" - adolescent-looking turtles in what appear to be short pants and beanies, wielding wooden (?) versions of their characters' iconic weapons; to "ninja turtles" - the full-grown versions of the redesigned characters.
Aside from the glaring question of what else Paramount has in store which will further alienate hardcore TMNT fans, do these toy designs echo the movie's storyline in any way? This could just be a standalone tie-in - you know, for the kids - or we may actually see an early sequence depicting the "teen" turtles as they grow up under Master Splinter's tutelage.
Given that the original title for the reboot was simply Ninja Turtles, reflecting the change in the heroes' origin story, maybe this toy line is just a way to hang on to that particular detail in some way. After all, the film's screenwriter Andre Nemec did promise that while the filmmakers endeavored to make the franchise their own, they didn't do anything "overtly kooky." We'll have to wait and see to be sure, though.
What are your thoughts, Screen Ranters? Would you be okay with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not being teenagers?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will open in theaters on August 8th, 2014.