TMNT Co-Creator Peter Laird Weighs in on the TMNT as Aliens Hullabaloo

45 Comments

Peter Laird and Kevin EastmanIt’s always amused me that somehow, someway, Hollywood managed to turn a gritty comic book about teenage mutant ninja turtles into a successful movie franchise, toy line, cartoons, and other assorted money-making schemes. But that’s Hollywood for ya; give them something they can sell, and they can sell the crap out of it. Still, I’ve always found the idea that at one point in the movie franchise, the turtles don’t even use their weapons at all, even though they wear them throughout the movie, to be friggin’ hilarious.

Anyways, if you’re even a slight fanboy at all, you’ve probably heard about the TMNT controversy involving the TMNT as aliens instead of mutated turtles that Michael Bay recently announced to the world. Bay himself has responded to the outrage, basically telling everyone to relax and wait and see.

Obviously that didn’t calm things down. I mean, telling fanboys to “relax” (or as Bay puts it, “chill”) is like telling movie bloggers not to speculate on movies that won’t open for, oh, 2-3 years in the future. Duh, if we all did that, none of us would have anything to write about all day long! And these articles don’t write themselves, you know!

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles Comic Book CoverSo, the latest twist on the subject (besides all those has-been TMNT actors that no one have even heard of coming out to take sides, that is), is TMNT co-creator Peter Laird (he co-created the whole shebang with Kevin Eastman back in the day) finally addressing the subject on his blog (via CBM) after a lot of prodding from fans. Here’s what he wrote, in its entirety:

I have had several requests from TMNT fans during this past week to comment on the idea of the Turtles being “reimagined” as aliens for the upcoming TMNT movie to be produced by Michael Bay. A few people — who don’t seem to understand that I am no longer in control of the property — want me to stop this, somehow. Obviously, I can’t do that, even if I wanted to.

But I would actually encourage TMNT fans to swallow the “chill pill” Mr. Bay recently suggested they take, and wait and see what might come out of this seemingly ill-conceived plan. It’s possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I’m not saying it’s probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible.

However, as I have pondered this further, I have realized that in one way it IS truly a genius notion. Let me explain…

Over the years, I have made no secret of my distaste for what I consider to be the weak, facile, creatively bankrupt idea which can be summed up like this:

TMNT Venus de Milo

TMNT Fifth Member Venus de Milo. I Kid you Not.

“If FOUR Ninja Turtles are good, then FIVE (or more) Ninja Turtles MUST be better!”

It was in large part this brain-dead notion that led to the creation of the execrable “Venus de Milo” character in the blessedly short-lived live action TV series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation”. And I can’t tell you how many times we got mail in the early years of the Turtles from people who thought it was simply an amazing idea to do a “fifth Turtle”, and how many times those same people suggested that this fifth Turtle be named “Picasso”. And many times, the brilliant idea to explain this extra Turtle was that, instead of there being just four pet shop turtles in that glass bowl in the origin story, there were really FIVE.

Sigh.

I’ll admit — I have played with the idea of more Turtles myself, a few times. There was the character of “Kirby”, the “fifth Turtle” that Kevin Eastman and I came up with for one of the several movie ideas which never came to fruition. And I created the “Super Turtles” in Volume 4 of the TMNT comics published by Mirage… and they eventually appeared in one episode of the 4Kids animated TMNT TV series.

But…

TMNT Super Turtles

The Super Turtles

… in both those instances, I was careful to make these Turtles not just MORE of the same, i.e. just extra TMNT. In both of the above cases, the extra Turtles were from other dimensions… and the Super Turtles, especially, were VERY different from the Ninja Turtles. I don’t remember all the details of the work we did on that “Kirby the Fifth Turtle” thing, but I DO remember being adamant that if we were going to agree to the idea of a “fifth Turtle”, it would have to be something other than the harebrained “there was an extra Turtle in the bowl, etc.” idea.

Is that too fine a line? Yeah, maybe… but to my way of thinking, anyway, it is a CLEAR line.

Anyway, to get back to the “TMNT are aliens” thing — the reason I say it could be a “genius” idea is that — for the first time — someone has come up with a way to have as many freakin’ Turtles as they want. I mean, if the TMNT are actually members of an alien race, there could be a whole PLANET of them!

Joy. — PL

I don’t think the final “Joy” is sincere, but I could be wrong.

By the way, did you know someone has put entire episodes of “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” on YouTube? Here’s the first episode (you gotta love the sound effects):

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • LionHeart

    I find this whole thing so surreal.
    I always thought stuff in, ya know, the title, would’ve been safe.

  • Wolfdaddy21

    i liked the idea of slash…

  • Danmillion99

    Oh dear, even the creator has lost the plot. Yeah, yeah, while we’re at it why don’t we turn Superman into a human who gets mutant powers and wears a green and yellow suit instead, and why doesn’t Batman be Rabbit Man instead from an alien planet called Rabbit, yeah, and, and, and, why don’t we turn Wonder Woman into a fat midget bearded lady! And lets turn Micky Mouse into Michael the Rat from Mars…. STICK TO THE FRICKING ORIGINS!!! IF IT AIN’T BROKE, LEAVE IT THE FRICK ALONE!!!!!! (>_<)

  • Danmillion99

    Just to say, I’m very annoyed by Bay’s idea, I grew up with the TMNT’s, and I think turning them into aliens is so boring, aliens have been done to death, they are NOT exciting anymore, we have enough alien films already, we do NOT need to turn the Turtles into aliens….. it is FAR from being original, it is really boring and in many ways, predictable Bay behaviour, take something Great, and ruin it even further, just as he did with Transformers. STICK TO MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS BAY!

  • TheStrongestThereIs.com

    I haven’t chimed in for awhile but this is the right time. I think everyone needs to stop crying and jumping on the Bay hate-wagon that always starts whenever he is about to do a movie. Even the creator just explained how this might work. Also, it seems that people want to focus so hard on their “childhood being ruined” that they don’t look at the facts. The fact is, the catalyst of the day leads to a majority of the influences over selling ideas. Back in the 70′s, Gangs were the big bad, which lead to the warriors. Back during the time of the bomb, it was all about nuclear fallout and the theories of mutation. In the 80s it was about the disposal of radioactive waste stemming from still new found energy testing, Hence radioactive turtles. It’s the same reason Spider-man went from a radioactive spider to a biologically engineered super spider. Aliens are the catalyst today. If you want to say that aliens have been done to death, then tell me what HASN’T. Every style of catalyst for every genre has been done to death, but that doesn’t stop the artist from using a different brush stroke to stay original. Good will be good and great will be great, but you nay sayers will continue on your rants to be legitimate in your childhood while negating the fact that the world moves on. I’m not saying that this will be the greatest TMNT ever made. I’m simply implying that the series finally having a director that isn’t squeamish showing blood, can definitely film an action film with ease, and talks about a gritty and realistic TMNT is an exciting concept. If you think Bay is going to ruin your childhood, you haven’t been paying attention to the IP for a very long time (WHICH THE CREATOR IS POINTING OUT!). I don’t think he’s being sarcastic in his statements. He understands the business, and the possibilities in taking something old and rebooting it with the ability to take the story in areas he never could but wanted to. As he pointed out, he wanted to bring in more characters but was locked by the origin that he created. That is a REAL creative problem. Take a chill pill and put your grown up panties on people. Wait for a trailer or a concept sketch at least.

    • TheStrongestThereIs.com

      Not to mention that if you want to keep quoting your childhood “original” turtles. They fought space triceratops men and wrestled a floating cow head in a space battle arena. They cursed, were a puddle of blood after every fight, and in black and white had the same black headbands lol. Chill the F— Out! It’s not that serious. And if it is, go watch John Carter, the character that gave birth to most of the HERO stories of your childhood.

      • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

        HERE HERE!! Like I said before I don’t necesarrily like the idea, but I don’t hate it as it could add a new dimension to this franchise. Like the changes made to the Thundercats loe in the new show. It’s very different and yet still very faithful. At this point we’ve pretty much gotten all teh stories we’re going to get out of the original version of the franchise. We’ve had the original dark and gritty/sci-fi comic that started it, the watered down 80′s cartoon that made them famous, the spinoff comic from that, the live action films the horrid live-action show, the 2000′s toon, the TMNT movie and a new upcoming toon. Whew! I’m all for a reboot!

    • Danmillion99

      Keep your stupid brain-washing passive chill pills to your self, and btw, I am an adult entitled to my FREE opinion thank you VERY much. And as far as your comment goes, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Changing an idea is sometimes needed, but in this case it is a really unnecessary change. You can defend Bay all you like, but he is a terrible director, who should have stuck to music videos, which he does have a skill for, but his movie directing skills are awful. I don’t give a dam how much money he has made at the box office, in the long term his movies will age badly and will soon be in the £3 bargain bin at the video store and on amazon… oh, no wait, they already are! Film making is an art form, and yes, film makers do need to be creative sometimes and change certain things to match the times, but what Bay has come up with has NOTHING to do with the times we live in, aliens have been featured in movies since the 1940′s!!! IT IS NOT ORIGINAL, and it certainly won’t help make the movie better. It would be the same as if an artist came along and said he was going to re-paint the Mona Lisa, but as an alien instead!
      Also, the amount of money made on a movie does not make it a great movie, or the director a great director, this is the same in the world of art. All of Bay’s movies are just predictable, boring, wooden, and unoriginal. Bay will ruin Turtles, as he did Transformers, and I am not alone in thinking this.

      • Urizen

        Bay didn’t ruin Transformers. Bay’s trilogy is the best iteration of the Transformers franchise. And I’m saying this as someone who grew up watching the original cartoon. I have a copy of the 1985 animated movie on DVD that I watch regularly. Transformers was never more intelligent or sophisticated than it was in the Bay movies. He elevated a pulp action franchise for children into a pulp action franchise for adults.

        • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

          I actually have to agree sadly. Bay makes popcorn movies. Nothing more. Has never claimed more. He makes big explosive, action flicks for people to oooh and aaaah to. He doesn’t make films. He makes blockbusters. I’m a Transformers fan. I have the movie on VHS too (blu-ray as well now) and have followed the franchise through it’s many iterations. Bay’s version was the first to really make them feel like they were interacting with the world, not just a small town and a few humans. Granted the Sam Witwicki angle was drawn out to long but there has to be some kind of human connection. The new tv show “Transformers Prime” is pretty much an extension of what bay started. The writing is better, and there’s more time for chracter development, but it takes it’s cues both from the Bay films and the old cartoon and comics.

      • TheStrongestThereIs.com

        not to mention that criterion has already done 4 of bay’s movies with more to come. Do your homework.

      • Drsftpork

        http://www.fugly.com/media/IMAGES/Random/mona_lisa_alien.jpg

        the only part you got right was comparing the disney toon gentrified, watered-down, obviously-some-proto-michael-bay’s-attempt-at-appealing-to-children-so-their-parents-will-spend-millions-on-merchandise entity that was a shitty child’s cartoon from the early 90′s to the mona lisa.

        COWABUUUNGAAAAA DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDEEEEEEEE

  • http://www.grifiti.com Tin Hoang

    Mutated turtles or aliens from another planet, this thing isn’t getting a dollar from me.

  • TheStrongestThereIs.com

    UH oh Struck a nerve. haha! Not being alone in your thoughts makes you valid amongst like minded people, who all share your band wagon jumping hate of change. Money does not define a good movie, but for all the money that Bay “The horrible director” makes on EVERY film that he puts out says that he has a following and people who want to see his movies. I guess those viewers are lesser than you and don’t deserve a say in this matter at all huh? However based on the money he makes people are entertained. Therefore, He serves his purpose despite your tantrum on valid thought. It’s funny that you ask people to not negate your thoughts, but bipass every point they make and return with insults, MUCH like a child. Age doesn’t define an adult. I know 60+ year old children. Grow up. Also, If you don’t like his movies, don’t watch them. That is everyone’s right as a consumer. I give credence to your incredulous opinion and welcome you to a homogenized society that exercises free thought like a hive mind. Also, Boring, Wooden and Unoriginal is 80 percent script and in Bay’s defense 100 percent wrong. Everything that you call tired and boring Directing and what are now referred to on the net as BAY-isms are all things that Bay brought to cinema including the dynamic camera, which other people started using to get money.

    If a character is wooden – that’s due to poor writing.

    If a concept is bland and unoriginal – Thats due to poor writing.

    Predictable – Well that’s just hollywood, minus the 1 or 2 movies a year that take more than 2 neurons barely clicking together.

    I personally would love for them to just make an original idea, but Consumers don’t buy anything unless it has a brand on it, and is the same ol tired boring ideas. I would rather someone at least do the ol tired and boring ideas well and make it entertaining.

    Oh and one other point, Spielberg disagrees with you DanMillion and I trust him about movie making more than I trust you. Stop being butt hurt and wait for a trailer.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      Not to mention consumers don’t like to take chances. they want safe, they want what’s in, they want what will make them the most money. And if there is even a slight chance that something will fail they won’t go for it. The film or script or whatever will just roam Development Hell until someone brave enough with some scratch can get the film made. I do have to agree with all your points about directors getting the flack, when it’s the writing most of the time that sinks a movie. 9 out of ten times people will say the visuals were pretty good but the script was crpa, and yet the director still gets the blame.

    • Danmillion99

      I’m not going to argue with you. My original comment was not aimed at you anyway, it was aimed at the article and was my opinion, which I have a right to share. And I’m sorry that you are so sensitive that you felt I was being insulting, I was being argumentative yes, but not insulting, the most offensive thing I said was in regards to the chill pill you were asking people to take. Look, I don’t care what you think of my opinions, as they are my opinions like them or not, and if I want to disagree with something and disapprove of it I am damn well entitled, who the hell are you to tell me how to think and react?? Are you saying your opinion is superior to mine? And on the matter of Spielberg, yes, a great director, although I don’t like all his movies, but what the hell does he have to do with this? So he likes Bay, does that mean I have to? Is Spielberg God? NO, I didn’t think so. This has nothing to do with him, I am purely against Bay and his idea of turning the TMNT’s into aliens, so leave me alone, your opinion is not going to change my opinion. GOOD DAY!

      • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

        Actually he was also responding to the article and the general negativity, not you personally…at least it started that way. LOL. The point is yes people are allowed to have and voice their opinions (personally i don’t agree with that unless it’s an informed opinion and not just “I don’t like it” but I digress) And he shared his. It devolved a little after that. No one is trying to force you to like anything, but see another point of view. Whetehr you agree with it is up to you. Butas you stated you did come off slightly offensive, though it was just meant to be argumentative, and once that is done the gates are open. So in short, your opinion is yours, and you’ve backed it up for the most part. But trust me when I say this as a Turtles fan, a geek, a writer, and a contributer, As soon as you come out with negativity you’re going to get it back. Speak your mind, but lets keep the vitrol to a minimum gents. And on that note, the waiting for any new announcements begins.

        • Danmillion99

          http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/nailbiter111/news/?a=56776 – case closed, Michael Bay sucks as a director, and WILL ruin Turtles.

        • Danmillion99
        • Danmillion99
          • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

            LMAO! AWESOME!! But u, how is this any worse than say…a turtle blimp? Or any of the other insane and cheesy crap Mirage studios and the 80′s cartoon did to the original franchise? Par for the course when dealing with the turtles if you ask me.

          • TheStrongestThereIs.com

            HAHAH LOLZ!~ Stop being butt hurt! It takes more than a internet idiot who thinks he knows anything about movies to hurt my feelings. I am not trying to change your opinion because that isn’t worth my time. Another way of saying, “I’m not going to argue with you, even though i was just trying to be argumentative” is saying “I’m and idiot, and lack the cohesive thought to keep up with your statements in my old ADULT years!” which can also be stated as “I fail”. Go stick to the golden kiddie threads – From Rumpelstiltskin with love <3
            P.s. Posting links means nothing on the internet…try to use your big boy words Bay Hater. Also…thanks for making my morning. We will see when this all blows over. Like i said before, it may turn out awful. I'm just not willing to condemn out of the gate.

          • Juggernaut

            Thet’re only turtles guys, take a chil pill! LOL! See what I did there? Hahahaha!!!

          • Shazam!

            Way to take the high road…

          • Danmillion99

            Only idiots write “HAHAH” followed by a “LOLZ”, and you miss understood me, I said I’m not arguing with you, I didn’t say I had quit arguing my opinion you Bay loving freak. And clearly I did hurt your feelings as you felt so compelled to comment on this link, saying something along the lines of – “Oh, I haven’t commented on here for a while, oh, but I felt the gay urge to comment after reading such insulting views in regards to Bay’s ideas” – WTH?? So you are now telling me that “It takes more than an internet idiot who thinks he knows anything about movies to hurt my feelings” – I guess you work at contradictions-r-us, because the very fact you cannot leave me alone shows that I have clearly rattled your Bay-loving-cage. Oh, let me guess, you are gonna reply because you can’t help yourself, my opinion just drives you crazy because you know I’m right, and if you reply to this, you prove my point.

          • X_p

            contradictions R’ us haha is that next to the jerk store george mentioned?

          • Danmillion99

            Yeah, it is, the Jerk store is great, I buy all my annoying geek frustration and insults from there.

          • Danmillion99

            Oh, I forgot to do the cheesy “P.s” ending that you cleverly displayed earlier, so here it goes, – I already know what you are going to say in your reply, “but you’re still arguing with me old man, hehehehe *girly laugh* that means you’re stupid and dumb, not like me, I’m all proper and intellibent coz I watch all of Bay’s movies and learn all about movsie makings and stuff. ” – Well, if I’m stupid for being a Bay-movie-hater, then YES, I’m as dumb as they come and proud of it, I’d rather be dumb than be a Bay fan, makes me feel sick just thinking about it!

  • Jacob

    Michael Bay and Haim Saban both like to ruin thing. Haim made this and the power rangers the original one(super santai in which he recycled to make the power rangers) were far better I sure if they released them here as they were in japan but dubbed or with sub titles they would do better then the power rangers did. Also I think I don’t have to mention what Michael did.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      And yet Power Rangers is STILL going 20 years later just like the Super Sentai shows in Japan are. YOU may not like them but the audience that they are geared towards eat them up. I agree the original stuff is better but you can’t deny the selling power of Power Rangers. I thought it would’ve died out by now, but nope.

  • venom_aa

    Sadly I’m all against Bay idea. Someone some post ago mentioned the change on the origin of Spiderman, the origin itself wasn’t changed that much, i meant it was a bit by a spider that made Peter Parker, Spiderman. Now imagine the same scenario of the TNMT on Spiderman. Spiderman coming from outer space. Yeah it just doesn’t sound right. Not meaning the movie was not going to be bad or good. It just that it isn’t Spiderman anymore.

    Same goes for the Turtles, I mean the name does say Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles. If you are going to use the name at least respect the core of the origin. If not Bay should change it to Teenage Aliens Ninja Turtles. See if that attracts people to the movie.

    Bay has fallen into an all ego crap mood after the first Transformers movie. The third one was all crap even for a popcorn movie. Not even the great action sequences of it saved the movie. And i fear TNMT will be made with that same shitty vision.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      Um I think you’re oversimplifying it. Spiderman is human Hell his biggest draw has always been how relateable he is. Making him an alien throws that right out the window, and thats a much more drastic change from Mutant to Alien. Now the whole organic webshooter vs mechanical ones is a much closer debate. It was a change alot of people didn’t like at first and yet by the second movie no one even cared. This could easily be the same case.

      • venom_aa

        Actually the loss of the mechanical ones didn’t had any impact cause Peter was still a science geek, that’s why the change didn’t mean that much. Now the change that ruined that trilogy was the change to emo-spiderman. Sure peter life is always a hell, and even sometimes he has been on the brink of madness but i don’t remember never in the comics when he was just a bag of whining. If the loss of the mechanical ones was originated from a change in character like making him a sports guy, then that would have been a great problem.

        The change of mutant to alien really worries me cause there this relationship between that and the ooze that was a big part of the TNMT history, adding that I don’t really know how are they gonna conciliate that they are Ninjas and Aliens, since it was supposed to be teached by Splinter, really aliens using only ninja arts for def/atk? The idea of Predators without tech weapons just came to my mind and it gave me a chill . Also the part of the sewers were they hided from society gives them this dark touch of alienation.

        • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

          And again I think the whole thing will come down to the ooze being alien in nature not a chemical we created. Which is what I said the first time the topic was put up, and what Eastman sort of hinted at.
          Sent on the go!

  • AlsoKnownAsNate

    I’m curious what the problem is with the new ‘Alien origin’ idea?…. Is it really gonna “suck” now? Are we really this close minded, that we can’t even think of the amazingly better possibilities this idea can open up? … I hate to burst all my fellow fan boys’ bubbles, but the TMNT universe as a whole is pretty stupid. Yes, said it…STUPID. I love my ‘Ninja Turtles’ as much as the next eighties baby, BUT I’m gonna be freaking 30 years old this year and I’m psyched that at this age I’m gonna get to see my ‘heroes in a half shell’ kicking ass yet again and this time, in a bigger, badder, “higher quality” attempt…. I would also, like to point out that Michael Bay didn’t say they’d be an Alien race. He said they’ll have an “Alien Origin”… They might still be mutated beings. I doubt it, but don’t jump to conclusions fellow fan boys. I, for one, welcome this evolution of my favorite childhood characters.My only hope is that they take it back to the grittty noir-esqe tone, but besides that, bring it on Bay & company! I welcome any ideas you feel will make them better….just don’t f*ck up like the last two Transformer flicks…. last, but not least, I wonder if they’ll shorten the title to just ‘Ninja Turtles’? Just a thought….

    • W.A.S

      That’s what i thought about the title as well. or maybe if they are an alien race that specific race is a mutated race so it could have the same name, or (not as good) but the name of the race is “mutant”. the last ones not as good but still. and hey in ten to twenty years their goining to be rebooted again anyways.