Director Michael Bay has announced plans to make a new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" live-action film. However, the announcement has been met with criticism over fears that he will completely change the series fans first fell in love with.
According to reports, Bay announced his intention for the new movie at the Nickelodeon Upfront New York event. He plans to redirect the term "mutant" and instead have the turtles be an alien race. "TMNT" is based on a cartoon that features four teens who, through radioactive goo, have been turned into crime-fighting turtles.
"When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie," Bay said. "The turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely loveable."
The turtles have enjoyed great success in the entertainment industry: first as a comic book, and then TV cartoon series in the late 1980s. Their success resulted in three feature films in the early 90s, and a fourth film was also released in 2007.
It became a Saturday morning staple for children before being expanded to a weekday series; "TMNT" ran until 1996 but has gone through three transformative adaptations since. This latest series will debut with a special sneak-peek after the March 31 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Fans will notice that beloved turtles Donatello and Michelangelo have changed their weapons from a bo (blunt object) and nunchucks to bladed versions of the objects. They will also feature a new look and background, as they will no longer be mutants but alien forms. That begs the question, will there be other turtles to come in future episodes? Will the turtles meet others like them?
Brian Tochi provided the original voice for Leonardo and fully supports Bay's vision. "If Michael Bay wants to do a different take on the turtles' origin story… Mazel Tov!"
Bay himself has issued the following statement: "Fans need to take a bath and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story."
"Relax," he added. "We are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world."