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

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):



About Nix

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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.

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  • Danmillion99

    Turning the Turtles into aliens is so wrong, and people think this is original and different??? WTF? Imagination is truly dead if that’s the case. Yes, the 80′s cartoon was pretty bad, but and it did change the title from ninja to hero in the UK version, which sucked, but at least they did stick to the origins. The next mutation live action tv series was awful as well, but died a quick death, so it didn’t do too much damage. The later cartoon series was ok, still aimed at kids, but at least it stayed true to the origins! I liked the first movie, yes it could have been better, but for the time it was made it was pretty damn good. Secret of the Ooze was…. I’m speechless let’s just put it that way, and the third movie was just….well anyway, moving on, well, the TMNT movie in 2007 was better, just hated the villains…. sigh….. and now…. the evil BAY has his hands on the Turtles, and it is about to get worse, he will RUIN it. No doubt in my mind. You see, when things become just about making money and selling merchandise, the artistic creative side dies, it is the same in the world of art, where paintings are valued purely for their price tag, rather than their content and what they teach us. The TMNT’s has such a great potential, but it hasn’t had the chance to shine yet, sadly. The same thing was happening with Batman, look at all the camp-shit movies that were made before we finally got Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan is a great director, he is a true artist, a true film maker who has substance…. He made a Batman movie which easily stands up their with the God Father movies!!! No one would ever have thought that possible, but it takes a genius to make it happen. Bay may have introduced a new camera technique, and hell, maybe that is his talent, but it ends there, his directing skills are terrible, and his ideas are too. Yes, ok, loadssss, of people might love his movies, but that doesn’t make them good movies. Look at Stanley Kubrick, all of his movies are incredible works of art, true genius, but his movies wouldn’t make as much money as Bay’s movies, but they are FAR more superior, and have stood up against the test of time. TMNT’s could easily be made as great as The Dark Knight, it just takes the right person, who has a true passion for making movies, and doesn’t just make them for money, or to please the 3D scene, which I cannot STAND!!! 3D has really, REALLY, cheapened film making, and you can bet your ass the alien turtles will be 3D s**t! Hopefully in the future, when Bay’s films have been forgotten and buried, someone with real vision will reboot Transformers and TMNT’s……I think it will happen in 2014.

    • X_p

      you cant compare a kubrick movie to a tmnt movie. nowhere in any universe is that a viable comparison for anything, unless your pointing out that one is a children’s story and kubrick directed adult films. why is is an alien turtle so wrong? the creator himself just said this might work and he gave reasons why it might work…i mean isnt everyone getting a lil tired of getting upset everytime a new movie is announced?

      the tmnt are not the bible, the quran, i mean its not even in the upper echelon of comics like batman or spidey theyre c level characters in d level movies that have just now been saved by Bay and company. a re-imagining was needed desperately.

      is Bay the best director ever? no but like someone mentioned earlier the guy knows more about making movies than we do. thats why he gets paid millions and millions to do it. and whether you agree or not…YES him making money makes him a good director. it is a skill to make something watchable and to make people wait intently for it. uwe boll makes no money thats why hes a crappy director. he cant make watchable movies that people are willing to pay for.

      and as in the art world what matters is what sells. ever look at an ugly a$$ piece of art and wonder why someone would buy something for so much??? happens to me all the time.

    • Urizen

      When you say Bay’s “directing skills are terrible” can you be more specific. What specifically don’t you like about his directing? Don’t just say “it’s bad” or something vague like that. I’d like to hear some specific, substantial criticisms.

      • venom_aa

        Look at the third transformers movie, thats his “masterpiece” of bad direction.

  • Danmillion99

    To all on this comments page. I woke up this morning and re-read over the things I said yesterday and firstly I want to apologise to TheStrongestThereIs, even though I don’t agree with your opinion, I had no write to talk back at you the way I did, it was way out of order, and it was ridiculous. As humiliating as this is, I just have to admit my wrong doing. Yes, Bay’s idea touched a nerve with me, as the TMNT’s have a special place in my past, and after he destroyed, at least for me, the transformers, when I saw he had his hands on the TMNT’s, I freaked, and I shouldn’t have. I became completely moveable and that is a terrible weakness. So, I am really sorry for my childish behaviour and reactions that I displayed on this page. I still do not trust Bay with the TMNT’s, but, let’s wait and see. Once again, sorry to you all and especially to TheStrongestThereIs, I hope you can forgive me for my Jerkish behaviour, I must stop going to the Jerk Store, jk, anyway, you all have a great day and weekend! Signing out. :)

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

      DUDE! Way to be a gentleman! I am very impressed, not that that matters. I don’t think TSTI took you too seriously, but way to extend the laurel branch!

  • Danmillion99

    right* not write – sorry, was writing too fast.

  • venom_aa

    If someone wants to see a GOOD TMNT i recommend this one

    http://caseyjonesthemovie.com/

  • Jakeb

    So, they aren’t mutants any more. So they can’t be called TMNT. does that mean they’re the Teenage Alien Intergalactic Ninja Turtles. Or “TAINT” for short. Haha. Suck it Bay lovers.