Last week, fans went ballistic when producer Michael Bay implied that the title characters origin will be altered in such a way as to make the quartet extraterrestrials as opposed to mutants. In response to the ensuing uproar, Bay himself went to his message boards, assuring everybody that it if they chill out, it would all be okay.
Yesterday, Bleeding Cool busted out a bullhorn with a rumor that the new film would be entitled Ninja Turtles. The rumor asserted that the decision to change the familiar title was one made by marketing folks, even equating it to Disney's mandate that John Carter not be titled John Carter of Mars or A Princess of Mars.
Once again, none other than Michael Bay has grabbed the snorting, angry bull of fandom by its horns in an attempt to wrestle it to the ground. On his message boards at Shoot for the Edit, Bay confirmed the new title and endorsed the project's creative team, particularly director Jonathan Liebesman, saying,
"Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE'S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN."
Of course, plenty of people immediately noticed that Bay says they'll "act like teenagers," leaving wiggle room for the possibility that Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello will no longer teenagers or mutants.
Jonathan Liebesman, the Wrath of the Titans and Battle Los Angeles director who signed on the Ninja Turtles in February, shared his thoughts on the fan furor late last week. Like his producer, Liebesman assured fans that there's no reason to keepin' anything but breezy (in so many words).
Liebesman is once working with Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, for which he made the prequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning a few years back. Kevin Eastman, who created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Peter Laird, is actively involved in the screenplay's development. That screenplay is being written by Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, the duo who last scripted Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
Ninja Turtles is scheduled to hit theaters on December 25, 2013.