Michael Bay’s Ninja Turtles Remake Incites Civil War

It all started with some good intentions. Last week, while attempting to get the crowd at Nickelodeon’s upfront presentation amped up and ready to go about the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake he’s producing, Michael Bay dropped this tidbit: “Kids are going to believe one day these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable.” And immediately a billion children across space and time were like “HOLD UP HOLD UP HOLD UP – ALIENS?!!”

Not that this is something that needs to be pointed out, but the Ninja Turtles are mutants. Obviously. They were little baby turtles, then they got mixed up with some ooze, and now they fight crime with their ninja skills. Mutants. Not aliens.

OK, look, maybe Michael Bay was using the term “alien race” in a more expansive way? As in, not so much “an extraterrestrial race” but rather “a race unlike our own”? That would suggest that this latest reboot is still sticking to the classic origin story. Surely some other liberties will be taken for the grand Baysian vision, but at least the fundamentals will stay intact. But nope! When Bay responded to the uproar, he in no way debunked the new “alien” direction:

Fans need to take a breath, 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, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.

But … whu … huh … they really are aliens now? Blasphemy. Just. Straight. Blasphemy.

Thank God Robbie Rist, the voice of Michelangelo in the original live-action Ninja Turtles, spoke up for us all. In a letter to Bay, Robbie sensibly writes, “You probably don’t know me but I did some voice work on the first set of movies that you are starting to talk about sodomizing. I know believing in mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with but am I supposed to be led to believe there are ninjas from another planet? The rape of our childhood memories continues … ” Indeed, Robbie Rist. Indeed.

Amazingly, though, another, pro-Bay faction has formed out of the old Ninja Turtle crew. TMZ got on the horn with Brian Tochi, a.k.a. original Leonardo, and he says that “If Michael Bay wants to do a different take on the turtles origin story … Mazel Tov!” And that’s not all: Judith Hoag, a.k.a. April O’Neil, says she’s into it; she trusts Bay because “I was in Armageddon … which Michael directed … as well as Nightmare On Elm Street and I Am Number Four, which he produced.” Well, clearly, Hoag’s been bought. She all but admits it! No word on whether Tochi is on the Bay pro-alien payroll as well, but considering his disgraceful flippancy in the face of the Turtles origin story, it’s a fair assumption.

Next, presumably, we’ll hear from the rest of the gang: Donatello, Raphael, Splinter, Shredder, maybe some Foot Clan guys. Will Bay and his villainous cohorts have gotten to them, too, with cash payments? Or will they have the courage of their convictions? Elias “Casey Jones” Koteas, we know we can count on you to stay true!

Filed Under: Bayhem, Michael Bay

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad