Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blast from the Past #574: May 3, 2002: Re: New crazy-ass sci-fi square-headed TMNT backstory!

Subj: Re: New crazy-ass sci-fi square-headed TMNT backstory!
Date: Friday, May 3, 2002 9:34:31 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 5/2/02 11:01:49 AM, Lloyd writes:

<<2) I wasn't sure how much the Utroms actually needed to integrate into feudal Japanese society (certainly not in the same way they would need to centuries later, when they would have to actively be searching out technology, dealing with other humans, etc.).  I thought that once they made initial contact with the warrior monks and had come to an agreement (protection for training), they would reveal their true selves, having no need to keep secrets from their own Guardians.  I also didn't want them to have too much tech salvaged from their ship to help sell the idea that they would need to hang around centuries until useful human tech would developed.  As they weren't on a mission to observe the Earth (as they were originally), I thought that the Utroms would have their own method of locomotion (telekinetic floating? Oooh! Creepy!), and I didn't think (or realize) that they had brought any exoskeletons on board with.  Lastly, I thought that the idea of the exoskeleton being the foundation for Shredder's armor was a cool twist.  All that being said, the Utroms can certainly have as many exos as we feel they should have, and Shredder doesn't have to steal one if that seems too awkward.  Please let me know your further thoughts.>>

I still like the idea of the Utroms having a goodly number of the exoskeletons at their disposal. However, I also just had another (related) thought about how the Utroms got stranded on Earth: What if they actually DIDN'T crash-land, but were in fact here on Earth observing human civilizations... and one of the crew (the Utrom with real sociopathic tendencies) realizes what a golden opportunity primitive Earth allows for a power-hungry and technologically superior being, and he sabotages (blows up?) their (hidden) ship, effectively stranding all of them on this primitive planet.

<<3) I like the expanded history of the Utrom migration from Japan to Mexico, and all that implies!>>


<<4) I like the idea of Yoshi infiltrating the Foot instead of the other way around, but it does complicate things a bit.  Instead of showing Yoshi training Guardians in his dojo, thus giving Splinter his opportunity to learn the secret Utrom martial arts, he spends his time at a Foot instillation, and so we would have to either come up with another way to show how Splinter learned from Yoshi (he travels with Yoshi?) or show both Yoshi training at his dojo and Yoshi infiltrating the Foot.  I'm not sure...>>

        Well, one thing I was thinking was that quite possibly when the good Utroms were forced to leave Japan and migrate to the Americas, they had little to no presence left back in Japan. Centuries later, when they have established themselves in the US, they might want to send agents back to Japan to check up on and gain intelligence about the evil Foot clan. Yoshi could be one of these agents, and maybe he should travel with Splinter. Why not? And when Yoshi is revealed to be a spy, and he flees, it would be a neat parallel to the original tale of how Yoshi was forced to flee to NYC with Splinter and Tang Shen.

<<5) While I really do love the creepy Shredder cranium transfer ritual stuff, I think one of the great things about making Shredder an Utrom is that he now becomes 80% exoskeleton, and that means we can chop his limbs off, toss him off a roof, blow him up, and most importantly.. we can have Leo slice his @#$%^&* head off his shoulders!  If he becomes a series of "meatbags" that contain his brain, a lot of our fun gets spoiled, methinks!>>

You're right.

<<6) Is the problem with "One of the most heinous intergalactic criminals of the Utrom race" a problem of language/description, or concept?  I'm not too familiar with Krang as I was a fan of the comic and not the animated series (am I a panderer or whut?!), but the idea of making a criminal Utrom really helped us flesh out the whole deep backstory and provide fun, credible motivation for everything that happens (the ship crash, the reason Shredder doesn't want to go back and doesn't want the Utrom to succeed, the creation of the good and bad "feets," etc.). >>

Maybe I'm a bit too sensitive to the old animated series' bastardization of the Utrom idea (where Krang was a supergalactic villain from the word go, and he wasn't even, technically, an Utrom -- just a disembodied brain), but I also feel pretty strongly that it might be more interesting to have our main bad guy start out not as a hugely evil guy, but BECOME that over time. Isn't the fallen angel always more interesting than the guy who was always a devil?

I also like the idea that both our good Utroms and the bad one keep the secret of their real identities (as alien Utroms) from the humans that they forge alliances with. I'd rather keep their true nature in the shadows, an ancient mystery.

I like the idea that we came up with for the WB animated project of the Shredder being a position rather than a person per se. I always had a vision of a "Hall of Shredders" where we could see all or most of the various suits of special armor that the Shredders throughout history had worn. This can be integrated into this new scheme in several ways, one of which is as follows: Our evil Utrom learns of the existence of a clan of ninja assassins called the Foot, headed by one called The Shredder. Evil Utrom (let's call him Saki for now) realizes that if he takes the place of the Shedder, he could lead this powerful clan. But he has to figure out a way to avoid revealing his alien nature. He does this by altering his exoskeleton's "skin" to resemble the existing Shredder, who Saki disposes of (throws him into a disintegrator pit?) before taking his place. Then, over the years (probably every fifty years or so) -- again to avoid revealing his alien nature -- Saki steps down to allow the ascension of a new, younger Shredder, with a new set of armor... then promptly disposes of that one and takes HIS place.

All open to discussion!



  1. Just curious, who wrote the plot for the Volume 2 color series? Was it like City at War, where you and Kevin wrote the plot but Jim Lawson did the art?

    The writing credit in the issues say Jim Lawson, but did you have the plan for the overall story of that series?

  2. I don't have a terribly clear memory of the process on those books, but I think Kevin and I worked on the plots with Jim, at least. -- PL