Producer Michael Bay is taking the ‘Mutant’ outta Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). The upcoming movie will alter the origin of the anthropomorphic turtles, which mutated after they were exposed to radioactive ooze. “These turtles are from an alien race,” Bay revealed at a Nickelodeon press conference.

Bay claims the change will make the movie more believable but a cynic might suspect it’s just so he can change the abbreviation to TNT. After all, Bay is known for his explosive movies. He’s even parodied his obsession in a Verizon commercial (video right).

But it’s no joke to fanboys like Robbie Rist, who supplied the voice of Michelangelo in the original movies. Rist’s Facebook page featured an open letter to Bay, accusing him of “sodomizing” the series. “I know believing in mutated talking turtles is kinda silly to begin with but am I supposed to be led to believe there are ninjas from another planet?” asks Rist. “You know that ninjas are a certain kind of cultural charact….
Oh what the hell am I talking to you for? The rape of our childhood memories continues…..”

Bay is unswayed and has issued an unsympathetic response on his website. “Fans need to take a breath, and chill,” Bay wrote. “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. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.”

TMNT Co-Creator Peter Laird has taken Bay’s prescribed chill pill and encourages others to do the same. “I have realized that in one way it IS truly a genius notion,” Laird blogged. “The reason I say it could be a ‘genius’ idea is that — for the first time — someone has come up with a way to have as many freakin’ Turtles as they want. I mean, if the TMNT are actually members of an alien race, there could be a whole PLANET of them!”

That’s assuming their planet didn’t explode after they were sent to Earth to be raised by Master Splinter.