6 things we learned about Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at SDCC

Contributed by
Jul 25, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT (Updated)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been adapted more times than we can count. Each interpretation has put its own spin on the long-running property. And Michael Bay's production team (Platinum Dunes) and director Jonathan Liebesman are no different. For next month's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles they've taken some creative liberties with the source material. So what can you expect?

1. April O'Neil and the Turtles knew each other as kids (sort of).

Megan Fox: Her dad was a scientist, whose experiments were being funded by a group -- a shadowy figure. There's a lab fire. Her father dies in the lab fire and she loses him. It's not until she starts hearing their names [the Turtles] when she meets them on the roof that things start firing off in her brain. She goes and she digs through all of her father's old lab notes, his books and all of this stuff. She discovers that these quite possibly are the little turtles that she used to look at in his lab before it burned down.

2. Will Arnett's version of Vernon Fenwick makes an attitude adjustment.

Will Arnett: I think in the comic Vernon had sort of an adversarial relationship with April...I think that as this movie really evolved, before we started shooting the script, it became apparent that there needed to be kind of an evolution...they had to kind of change the rules a little bit with him. What is true is that he's a cameraman. That part of it stays very true. But now he kind of works with April. I think that maybe some of his crankiness is more now we've transfered that into that he's just looking for an easy ride. He wants to punch the clock and go home. He doesn't want to get involved. So, when April's like, 'Hey listen, I'm following this story.' He's like, 'Oh God, no. Just let it go.' And then he gets sucked in. [He's] very skeptical but ultimately they are good friends and he does support her. He goes along for the ride and the rest is history.

3. The characters come from the comic. The story doesn't.

Andrew Form: It [the logline] says based on characters created by [Kevin] Eastman and [Peter] Laird. So all the characters were pulled out of those comics, we just have an original story. Splinter, Shredder, the Turtles, April O'Neil, Vernon Fenwick, those are all characters created by those guys. We just created their own stories and dropped them into it.

4. They haven't forgotten about the ooze.  

Jonathan Liebesman: They are mutants. That is the question. Ooze did make them the Ninja Turtles.

Andrew Form: It's not a remake either if you're asking that also. We didn't remake the '90 movie or anything. It's its own story. Ooze did make them.

5. There are other characters they wanted to use that didn't make the cut.

Andrew Form: We'll never talk about a sequel. We're just finishing the movie now. But we all wish that we could have put everything into the movie. We all have other characters that we love that we wish we could have had in this movie so...

Jonathan Liebesman: Casey Jones.

Andrew Form: Casey Jones. Bebop and Rocksteady. We had these conversations through development of this movie.

6. The film's tone comes from both the comic and the cartoon.

Jonathan Liebesman: Definitely more towards the cartoon, but visually very inspired by the comics. As a fan, I didn't want to just see a retelling of the cartoons and their tone. I want to see some sort of grittiness...the way we depict The Foot soldiers and Shredder I think is a little more hardcore than the cartoon did. And more in line with what Eastman and Laird were doing with the original comics. I think superhero movies today, obviously you have the amazing Chris Nolan ones, which are very serious. I think there's something you can take from that in terms of making things feel compelling and having huge stakes, and we wanted to just take that. I think with Ninja Turtles it's so absurd that you want to draw from the cartoons because that was the most successful telling of that and the first movie.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in theaters Aug. 8.

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker