Much like the ninjas of ancient Japan, Michael Bay’s reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise (simply entitled 'Ninja Turtles') has been shrouded in mystery for quite some time. While the world had already seen glimpses of the Turtles’ actors in motion-capture suits as early as May of last year, the redesigned look of the massively popular mutants was kept a secret ever since the reboot was first announced.
However, it appears as if the crime-fighting chelonians have finally decided to come out of their shells, courtesy of a series of photos that recently went viral on the Internet:
Zimbio via io9.com
In the original black-and-white comic books published in 1984, the anthropomorphic sewer-dwelling superheroes were all intended to have red masks and plain belts. They were mainly distinguishable by their choice of arsenal. Leonardo , the level-headed leader, favored two wakizashi (Japanese swords). The brainy Donatello became adept at using a wooden bo staff. Michelangelo, the least serious of the four, wielded a pair of nunchukus. Lastly, Raphael used the traditionally defensive sai as an offensive weapon, reflecting his aggressive nature.
When they made the jump from the printed page to the small screen in 1987, each Turtle was assigned a specific color (and a matching monogrammed belt) in order to make them easier for children to tell apart – blue for Leonardo, orange for Michelangelo, purple for Donatello, and red for Raphael. This designation became well-known, remaining consistent across subsequent mass media interpretations of the Turtles.
The new film adopts the Turtles’ more popular color assignments, while adding a few unique twists in the process. The most notable difference between the traditional depiction of the Turtles and this new take is the fact that the 2014 versions are sporting clothes and makeshift armor.
Heroes in half pants
published a set of photographs depicting production models of the four turtles (Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael), as well as solo shots of Leonardo and Donatello. However, the images were swiftly taken down, at the request of Paramount Pictures.
In the photos, Leonardo is adorned with shoulder pads, bracers, and chest armor, looking very much like a modern-day samurai. Similarly, Donatello’s new wardrobe borrows visual elements from ancient Japanese warriors, although he appears to be wearing gadgets as well – quite appropriate, as the brainy mutant is the most technologically-inclined of the four.
Ever the street brawler, Raphael’s limbs are wrapped in bandages. The hero appears to be sporting a loincloth as well – a simple but striking fashion statement for the Turtle who prefers to attack first and ask questions never.
Unsurprisingly, the easygoing Michelangelo looks to be the most casually-dressed of the four, wearing sunglasses, a necklace, shorts, and a jacket tied around his waist. Michelangelo’s new look had already been revealed when a promotional image for a Halloween costume in the turtle’s likeness recently surfaced online.
Faces and foes
A new, clearer picture has since surfaced on Comic Book Therapy. Described as a promotional poster at a toy expo, the image shows close-ups of the four Turtles, confirming that they will look much closer to actual turtles in the 2014 movie than in their previous film incarnations. The poster also reveals that the Turtles will still be carrying their signature weapons:
The Turtles aren’t the only ones who sought a new tailor this time around, though, as pictures of the Turtles’ mortal enemy, The Shredder, also appeared on comic book news sites such as Comic Book Resources. In the images, the fearsome leader of the Foot Clan looks as lethal and menacing as ever, covered in spikey metal armor, claws, a serrated helmet, and a jagged, mesh-like cape. However, the photos have yet to be confirmed as official, and are possibly just preliminary designs of the Turtles’ nemesis.
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay, Ninja Turtles stars Noel Fisher as Michelangelo, Pete Ploszek as Leonardo, Jeremy Howard as Donatello, and Alan Ritchson as Raphael. The movie will also feature Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Danny Woodburn as Master Splinter, and William Fichtner as the Shredder. The film, scripted by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, is scheduled to hit theaters on August 8, 2014. — TJD, GMA News