Reports this morning from The Guardian suggest that Michael Bay‘s controversial Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot is likely to be shelved.
Bay, the record-breaking Hollywood director behind money-spinning projects like the The Rock, Bad Boys 1 & 2, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and the Transformers franchise, had previously spoken at length about his plans for a modern retelling of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird‘s iconic tale of anthropomorphic superhero turtles skilled in the art of ninjutsu.
Initially inhabiting the world of comics, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were so well-received they soon became some of the most recognisable fictional characters of popular culture with their very own animated television series and live-action movie franchises, making heroes, celebrities and legends of Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and their sensei, the sagely Splinter.
TMNT‘s enduring popularity has kept the pizza-loving, anchovy-hating sewer dwellers alive in the hearts and souls of all comic book, super hero and cartoon lovers. The green ninjas have been brought back to life over the years with Nickelodeon’s animated TV series, and a 2007 computer-animated action film. The success of these projects has all but guaranteed Hollywood’s sustained interest in the crime-fighting reptiles, particularly with the excellent performances of the original TMNT film adaptations of the early ’90s.
Eager to tap into the rich world of Leo, Raphael and co., Bay had previously announced his intentions to initiate an all-new TMNT franchise, putting plans into motion with his production company, Platinum Dunes.
However, following a vitriolic backlash from Turtles fans, Bay’s reboot has come to a halt. The director has been derided for his explosive blockbuster films, criticised for their reliance on stunts, pyrotechnics and special effects. Regarded as being more concerned with style than substance, Bay is often portrayed as more box-office director than skilled or nuanced filmmaker. News of Bay’s involvement with the daring turtles was met with outrage.
The complaints of fans grew even louder when Bay revealed he would be revamping the Turtles’ backstory, portraying the heroes as aliens rather than mutants. Irritated by criticisms of his plans, Bay encouraged fans 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,” he said. “Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.”
The Guardian reports the project has been shut down due to issues with the script. Initially set for a December 2013 release, the film has now been pushed back to May 2014. Preproduction staff, however, have been informed that the film has been shelved for an “indefinite” period.
We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.