Michael Bay Turns His Ninja Turtles Back Into Mutants

Michael Bay faced massive backlash last year when he revealed plans to turn the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into aliens for Jonathan Liebesman's upcoming reboot. So much so that he had to follow up a few days later with a statement telling fans to "take a breath, and chill." Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman defended the decision, describing Bay and Liebesman's approach to press as "AWESOME," and Paramount seemed on board with the change as well, dropping the "Teenage Mutant" from the title.

Behind the scenes, however, it appears that the team's quietly had a change of heart. Producer Bay is now saying that the turtles are not aliens after all. In fact, he has no idea where you even got that absurd notion. Hit the jump to read his statement.

There was that quote saying that we're making [the Ninja Turtles as] aliens. We're not. It's the ooze! It's from the original source material. These are from the original writers, and I never went out to correct myself in the press. I do listen to the fans and I do want this to be authentic. I think they're going to be really happy with this movie. When I see the digital stuff, the turtles look great.

Poor Bay. Producing a reboot of a massively beloved franchise is tough enough without fans accurately remembering things you said in public and on camera a year ago. "These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable," he declared at the time.

To be fair, Liebesman explained last year that the Turtles' backstory actually has some alien roots, and that he and Bay and the others were still sorting out the story.

Look, it's so funny—if everyone was such a die-hard fan, they would know that the TCRI canisters where the ooze comes from. That is alien ooze. Now I'm not saying what Michael said is exactly what the movie is, because we're sitting in a room now figuring everything out. So we don't know, but we are like Michael said: we're expanding it, and the expansion will be true to the mythology.

So it's possible the original "alien race" comment was Bay getting a little ahead of himself, or stumbling a bit on the details. In any case, angry Turtle lovers can feel a little better about the fact that the heroes in a half-shell have had their mutant backstory restored. At least until the next time Bay decides to change course and insists he had his mind made up all along.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is scheduled to open June 6, 2014Megan FoxWill ArnettDanny WoodburnAlan RitchsonNoel FisherJeremy Howard, and Pete Ploszek star.