It's been a crazy week for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action franchise reboot, to say the least. Buzz surrounding the project went from being somewhat cautiously optimistic-to-positive-to being downright hostile, all thanks to producer Michael Bay's revelation about how the Turtles are now going to be straight-up aliens, and his subsequent (condescending?) response to the backlash his comments incited.
Unfortunately, there's more fuel to add to the fire today, as it has been discovered that the TMNT reboot is going under the working title Ninja Turtles - suggesting that the the eponymous masked warriors are not only going to be purely from another planet/dimension, but will also be missing their trademark adolescent qualities.
Bleeding Cool has "verified" that Ninja Turtles is indeed the project's tentative title. The site also says that their sources are "not 100%" clear as to whether or not the Turtles are indeed no longer going to be teenagers (at least by extraterrestrial standards) in the TMNT reboot.
The logic behind dropping the "Teenager" aspect of TMNT, in combination with the new alien backstory, would presumably be so that it will tone down the more ridiculous (and somewhat dated) aspects of the property, resulting in more modernized variations on those comic book characters that will better fly with contemporary audiences. Hence, elements like an origin story involving radioactive ooze - and the Turtles' "immature" behavior - have to go.
An obvious rebuttal to that idea is to point out that all of those preposterous elements working together in harmony is what ultimately endeared the TMNT series to so many people in the first place. Thus, throwing out a good chunk of the original franchise mythology will just ward off longtime fans, while not helping to convince newcomers to give this reboot a look.
Here is what Bleeding Cool has said, with regards to the motivation behind the title change to just Ninja Turtles:
It seems to be driven by marketing. Think of 'John Carter' and how Disney wouldn’t allow for a title with either “Princess” or “Mars”.
There's a good argument to be made that John Carter ultimately suffered at the box office in part due to said title restrictions, as they failed to help either appease longtime fans and/or pique the interest of moviegoing masses in general. Of course, Ninja Turtles is somewhat of a different situation, seeing how that title remains... well, unique enough to give moviegoers an immediate impression as to whether or not it's the sort of movie up their alley.
Of course we're still a long ways away from the Christmas 2013 theatrical release date for Ninja Turtles (or whatever it ends up being titled) and there's surely much more information yet to be revealed about the project. For that reason, we'll refrain from saying whether this sounds like a brilliant franchise revamping - or a disaster in the making.
Source: Bleeding Cool