Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blast from the Past #404: May 17, 2004: Re: Season Four


Subj: Re: Season Four
Date: Monday, May 17, 2004 12:12:17 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/17/04 10:07:55 AM, Lloyd Goldfine writes:

<<Hey Pete –
 In working up the arc for season four we were trying to come up with something that could be different about the turtles (or one of the turtles), perhaps as a result of the final battle with Shredder in episode 78.  When I say “something that could be different” I’m talking about a character driven “something.”  One idea that came up was that what if after the whole brouhaha with Shredder (in which the Turtles take a real beating and prepare to sacrifice their own lives to destroy the Shredder once and for all), Leonardo becomes even more “driven” than normal.  He distances himself form the others (in as much as he’s never available for any goofing around), he trains even harder, pressing Splinter for new moves and new techniques, and when the Turtles find themselves in battle, instead of being the voice of reason (“Hold on Raph, let’s hear Bishop out”) he starts to become more aggressive (“Let’s take them down… hard!”).  The other Turtles start to notice something is different about Leo.  At first Raph likes it, but after a while even he gets worried.  Eventually, Splinter will help Leo work out his problem, but for several episodes we could have some fun with Leo acting Raph-like.  I’m also thinking that as Leo pushes Splinter to train him in other techniques and disciplines, Splinter may come to a point where he can teach Leo nothing further (in that particular discipline) and has to send Leo to another teacher (I had an idea to do a story about Master Yoshi’s master).
 Anyway, that’s a rough sketch of some character stuff we could do to shake up the Turtle group dynamic.  What do you think?>>


     It's interesting, though it sort of sounds like something we've done before in various episodes, where Leo has gone off by himself to face the Shredder. But that's not necessarily a bad thing -- just a reason to try to make this time different, which I think we could probably do. One of the things that immediately came to my mind was that rather than make this a relatively easy "Leo's all wound up and a new teacher makes him see the light" seven or eight episode arc, we might consider making this the first crack in the solidarity of the Turtle team, with the cliffhanger at the end of the season being -- the group splits up!!! 

  OR... we could make that happen in Episode five or six and have the rest of the season be the journey that each Turtle takes, eventually leading back to their reunion in the last episode of the season. Basically, what I'm suggesting is that I'm not averse to the Leo story you propose -- I'd just like it to have more serious repercussions.

One possible way to go might be to have Leo -- shockingly! -- ABANDON the group, and turn his back on Splinter and his teachings, and actually go out on his own to find a new Sensei (as opposed to Splinter finding him a new teacher, which seems a bit too much like "Father Knows Best" to me, and doesn't allow Leo the kind of personal development he needs and deserves). This "voyage of discovery" could be really interesting, and lead Leo into some dark places. It (Leo's leaving) could also be the catalyst which brings about the dissolution of the group.

I think it could be a lot of fun to explore what paths each Turtle would take on his own. And what of Spinter? What would he do? Would one of the Turtles stay with him? I could see several intriguing possibilities. What if Don took this opportunity to go live with the Utroms and had all kinds of wacky space-based adventures? What if Mikey actually became the SuperHero he has pretended to be in the past, and joined up with the new Justice Force? What if Raph hit the road with Casey on their motorcycles for a wild "road trip" adventure? And what about Casey and April -- how would all this angst affect them?

    One thought I had for Leo -- what if he used the mystic chant he used to get to the Battle Nexus so that he could go to Usagi's world, and there seek out a new sensei? We could play with the idea that Leo finds that he really belongs in this universe of anthropomorphic animals (although we would also have to find a good reason for him to leave!). Or maybe Usagi's world is only one of several he visits in his quest.

One of the "big issue" things that this discussion raises is -- how long is Splinter going to be the Turtles' teacher? Are they going to be perpetual students, or do they get to "graduate"? And if they did "graduate", would Splinter retire... or would he take on NEW students? I know this sounds crazy, but as I was typing that I had this vision of Spinter teaching HUN! Can you imagine?!

Another "big picture" issue -- which might or might not tie into this idea -- is the return of the Utroms. I would like to see this happen in much the same way as I did it in the comics, with the resulting effect of the Turtles finally being able to come out of the shadows. In the scenario proposed here, perhaps Don returns to Earth with them!

 <<Another quick note re: season four, every time a new season rolls around you suggest we adapt the Cousin Sid story, and every time I read that story I worry that Sid is absolutely no threat to the Turtles and that we can’t do guns (which is Sid’s whole threat, really).  But this time around, I think it might work out very nicely, since if we slot this show as the first episode to follow 78, the Turtles and Splinter can be recuperating from being beat to @#$%^&* by the Shredder, and therefore not too swift.  We are also talking about introducing local mob guys or something (to increase the threat), with Sid as a kind of sad sack loser guy caught between a rock and a hard place (maybe he owns the mob guys $$$ which is why he wants the hidden loot).  So… we’re thinking of moving the Cousin Sid story up to the head of season four.
 That’s it fer now.  Lemme know your thoughts!

     -- Lloyd>>

While I would like to see the TALES issue with the Cousin Sid story adapted, if we can't figure out a good way to do it and make Sid a credible threat, I would be happy to not do it. The idea of introducing local mob guys might work, though in general I find "mob" characters to be fairly uninteresting, and would prefer to find another way. One thought that just popped into my head -- if we can't use real guns (the ones that fire bullets), what if we used one of our "kid safe" (?!) laser guns? 

    What I'm envisioning is that Casey's cousin Sid has become a new member of the Purple Dragons in NYC, and decides to lift one of their laser guns to take with him to Northampton and settle the score with Casey, as well as find the hidden treasure (as told in that issue of TALES). Maybe Sid is even tasked by Hun to start a Northampton-based chapter of the Purple Dragons, and the hoods who accompany him to the old farmhouse are actually Purple Dragon initiates.

In any event, I think we can figure out a way to do that story if we see fit.

-- Pete

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