Bay, who has helmed the “Transformers” film franchise was handed the task of rebooting the series and was effusive about his plans during a presentation at Nickelodon, which bought the rights to the turtles in 2009.
“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. “These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.”
Yikes! Fans were immediately outraged that Bay would dare to change the Turtles’ back story. The four wise-cracking, pizza-obsessed superheroes grew up in the sewers of New York City. They trained with their rate sensei in the art of ninjutsu and emerge from the sewers to battle evildoers.
The breadth of the outrage on social media sites apparently set Bay back on his heels.
“Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script,” he wrote on his Web site.
“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,” he added.
The crime fighting mutant turtles became a cultural phenomenon in the 1980s and early 90s, after a humble start as renegade comic book characters ginned up by a couple of guys who dreamed up the concept on a lark. The characters went on to be licensed for toys, cartoons, video games, films and other merchandise.
Even the international mainstream media chimed in. “Making the turtles aliens would ruin everything – their desire to be accepted, their bizarre late-1980s street lingo, their fondness for pizza. Everything,” wrote The Guardian, a London newspaper.