Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blast from the Past #629: August 13, 2003: Re: TMNT - 2nd drafts of 045 and 047, August 14, 2003: Re: TMNT - 2nd draft 047, August 20, 2003: The Big Brawl!, and August 21, 2003: Re: The Big Brawl!


Subj: Re: TMNT - 2nd drafts of 045 and 047
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 4:32:41 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


My comments on 45:

1.) Re: the following Shredder lines:

(a cruel sneer)
Stockman, you’ve lost weight.  It suits you.  You know you’ve been very naughty, Stockman.  You betrayed once too often.  You should have quit while you were a head.

I think repeating "Stockman" twice here sounds odd, there are too many "you"'s, there is a "me" missing, and I think there should be a pause before the "a head" bit. Here's my suggestion for changes:

(a cruel sneer)
You’ve lost weight.  It suits you.  (Shredder leans in menacingly.) You’ve been very naughty, Stockman, betraying me once too often.  You should have quit while you were... a head.

2.) Re: the following:

92. *HUN
It’s working!  As soon as they arrive at the lair, the FootMech will destroy them.

Hun is referring, of course, to the fake robot Splinter. However, reading this line gave me pause for a couple of reasons. First, Hun refers casually to "the lair" as if he knows about where the Turtles live and what they call it.
And why does the fake Splinter robot need to wait until they get to the lair before attacking them?

3.) Re: the following line:

100. *HUN (CONT.)
Try and get the turtles to attack the rat.  Accuse him being an impostor. 

  That should be "Try to", not "Try and".

4.) Re: the following:

CLOSE – on the remains of the FootMech Splinter, electronic components strewn over the ground.  Donatello’s hand reaches in and takes out a Remote Control Module.
PAN UP – to Donatello holding up the module, fascinated.
A remote control!  And if this Splinter was receiving remote instructions, we can trace the signal!  Stay with the robot.  I’ll be right back!

I think Don should say "A remote control module!" instead of "A remote control!", because "A remote control" would be the device which controls something remotely, whereas what Don is looking at is the remote control module which REACTS to those signals from the remote control device.

5.) Re: the following:

*CLOSE ON – A MAKESHIFT HOOP attached to the sewer wall high up.  Zog’s large hands come into FRAME holding the head of the robot and SLAM DUNK it.
Slam dunk!  That’s what I’m talking about.
*WIDER TO REVEAL – Michelangelo catches the head as he’s teaching a rather unsure Zog about basketball.  Zog is tall enough to dunk the ball without jumping or anything.
You’re a natural.  Slam it again.
*Michelangelo tosses the head to Zog, who slam dunks it again and catches the head/ball just as …

My first reaction to this was "What the fuck --?!" I read it a couple more times and determined that my first reaction was appropriate. What was the writer smoking? Zog and Mike are playing basketball with Splinter's head? Yeah, I know it's the ROBOT'S head, but still --! Let's lose this weirdness which defines "non sequitur". If we want to have Mike and Zog doing something to while away the time while waiting for Don to come back (and I'm not convinced that we need such a scene), maybe we could do something like Mike trying to teach Zog how to use his 'chuks.

6.) Re: the following:

(a wicked grin)
Maybe it’s Leo’s girlfriend, Karai.

I'm starting to get an "icky" feeling whenever I see one of these "Leo's girlfriend" lines from Raph.  Just to check that we're all on the same page here -- contrary to what some TMNT fans might fantasize, Turtles don't mate/have love affairs with humans. Right? Why don't we have him just say "Leo's pal" or "Leo's buddy" instead?

7.) Re: the following:

*TWO SHOT - of Michelangelo and Leonardo staring at the immense freighter and the Foot Ninja in the distance.
My sons, I believe we may be looking at the Foot’s new headquarters: a floating fortress.  
*CLOSE - on Leonardo, troubled.
But I can’t believe Karai would attack us!  Not after she gave her word.
I am sorry, my son.  But, we must believe what we see.

Having Splinter say "But, we must believe what we see." feels wrong to me. I know he's referring to this particular situation, and not making a general statement, but it SOUNDS like one of Splinter's "pearls of wisdom"-type sayings with which he often educates his sons. And as such, it sounds WRONG -- in fact, I think Splinter has said in the past things which contradict that statement (i.e. "Things are not always as they seem" or words to that effect). I suggest changing it to read something like this:

I am sorry, my son.  But in this case, we must believe what we see.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: TMNT - 2nd draft 047
Date: Thursday, August 14, 2003 1:49:38 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I don't have much to say here, except that my two concerns re: the first draft of this story were only partially addressed and the script is otherwise unchanged. Here's what I said in my last email:



Comments on Ep. 47/"April's Artifact" draft 1:

1.) Re: the hornet-things losing their stingers after firing them once -- I wonder if this makes sense, or if we should have a line somewhere from someone (Don? Uncle Augie's journal?) which implies that the hornet-things need to regrow their stingers after every shot, and that takes some time (hours? days? months?). It just seems to me that one stinger per life of a hornet-thing seems a bit off, crypto-biologically speaking.

2.) Re: the following:

"The Queen jabs her stinger.  His back to us, Raph doubles over in shock, clutching his chest.

REVERSE - Raph removes his arms from his chest in wide-eyed surprise, revealing a big, black stinger mark.  He <COLLAPSES> to the floor, still clutching the stinger swords.  But he's not giving up.  While his lower body is paralyzed, his upper body still has some mobility.  Gritting his teeth, fighting the onset of paralysis with a combination of determination and pure hatred, he drags himself toward the Queen with his arms.

(with great effort)
I… will… exterminate… you…"

It is kind of odd that every other time somebody gets grazed by a stinger they are instantly totally paralyzed and helpless -- but this time, even though Raph takes a solid hit which leaves a "big black stinger mark", he's still able to move his arms. I think we should just have him paralyzed like Mike and Leo are, but maybe with a frustrated "Not again --!" groan as he realizes he's been stung for a second time.
Actually, it brings up another question: As Raph's "chest" is -- like all the other Turtles' chests -- actually part of his shell (his plastron) how can getting hit on this bony surface affect him, via venom? Or are we postulating that the Queen's stinger actually PIERCES his shell (which is kind of gross)?

And that's all from me!

-- Pete


Am I really the only one who thinks it is really silly to imagine an alien insect warrior creature with a stinger which can only be fired ONCE in its entire life? I'm trying to think of an analogous life form on Earth (a creature which can shoot part of itself as a weapon... but only ONCE, EVER) and I can't think of one.

And while Raph's reaction to being once again hit by a venomous stinger is SLIGHTLY different (he says something different and doesn't only have his lower body paralyzed), he's still dragging himself toward the queen when he should be instantly paralyzed, AND still affected by a stinger jab to his SHELL. Both things make no sense to me, and if you accept my rationale about the latter then the former shouldn't happen at all. 

Imagine you are a vet and need to anesthetize a turtle to operate on it, and you have a needle full of anesthetic. Would you jab it into his shell or into the soft tissue of his legs or neck?

-- Pete


Subj: The Big Brawl!
Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2003 1:02:21 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Stan Sakai


Hope things are going well for you. Before I get into the subject of this email, I wanted to tell you that I've really been enjoying the last few issues of USAGI -- I really dig the fantasy elements, the giant creatures, the magic drawings, etc.. Very cool!

Anyway, it's kind of snuck up on me, but we (Mirage and 4Kids) are this week beginning work on the three-parter we're calling "The Big Brawl" (a working title -- hopefully a better one will come to us), in which Usagi will play an important role. A couple of days ago, Lloyd Goldfine (who is on vacation this week) sent me a rough outline he had put together to begin to lay out the story, which I made notes on and sent back to 4Kids. I suggested that it might be a good idea to try to get you into the loop now, and Carole Weitzman at 4Kids, who is taking the point on this while Lloyd is on vacation, agreed. So what I think will start to happen now is that 4Kids will start copying you on the various drafts of the outline and then the scripts, along with any notes I send to them.

The point of this is that we would love to get your input now on our treatment of Usagi, so that we make him as close to the way you want to see him as possible. Also, if you have the time and desire to make any suggestions in general about the whole "Big Brawl" arc, we'd love to hear them too. I can't remember if we talked before about including other characters of yours from Usagi's world in addition to Usagi, but I know that Lloyd likes that idea, and I do too, so if you do -- and it works for the story -- it would be great to get your input on that, also. Also, I expect that 4Kids will start sending you (if they haven't already) sketches of Usagi to show how they think he should look in the show, and that is another thing we very much want to get your input on.

The way 4Kids generally likes to work -- because they are typically on a tight production schedule for these episodes -- is to get comments within two to three days of sending material out. I hope that that will work for you.

I'm excited about this story arc -- it's still a little rough in places, but there is some cool action for Usagi in it already. I'm psyched to see him animated in this new Dong Woo style!

Anyway, that's where things are now. If any of this doesn't work for you, please let me know and we'll try to work something else out.

-- Peter

P.S. To get the ball rolling, I'm going to include Lloyd's first draft outline below, followed by my notes. Just so you know, a second draft by another writer is in the works right now, incorporating my comments (or at least as many as are deemed appropriate). And I just remembered -- there are a number of references to, and several key characters are from, another second season episode called (I think) "The Ultimate Ninja". If, for extra clarity, you would like to have a copy of that script, let me know.


Episode 49 - The Big Brawl pt. 1

     Splinter has been in his private chamber communing with his mater Yoshi’s spirit through the mysterious ball that the Utrom gave him.  Splinter vows to soon be settling old scores once and for all.

     The Turtles are concerned about Splinter.  He’s been strangely withdrawn for a while now.  Something is up with him.

     When Splinter finally does emerge from his chamber, he has a small pouch tied to his cane which he carries over his shoulder like a hobo.  Splinter announces that he will be leaving the Turtles for an indeterminate amount of time.  

     The Turtles find this hard to believe.  They question where Splinter is going.  Raph can’t remember Splinter ever going off on his own before.  Mikey points out that it’s not a good idea for Splinter to leave him without adult supervision!  

     Splinter tells the Turtles that once before, exactly ten years ago to the day, he did in fact leave them on their own.  Today he must do so again.  Unfinished business…

     "What business?"

     "It is none of your concern."

     "Well, maybe we can help."

     "You will do as I say. You will stay here until I return."

     "But if you’re in some kind of trouble..?"

     "Silence!  I go.  Do not follow me."

     That is all he will say.

     Splinter leaves.

     Concerned, the Turtles decide to follow.  

     We do a brief montage of Splinter being followed by his boys: through the sewer, on the back of a subway, finally coming up through a manhole cover on a path in the middle of Central Park.

     Splinter makes way his across the park, past the Bethesda Terrace towards the Angel of the Waters fountain near the lake.

     The Turtles follow, only to find the fountain deserted.   They search the fountain top to bottom, but Splinter is nowhere to be found!

     Frustrated, Mikey leans against the fountain… and accidentally falls through it, disappearing as if phasing through its solid structure (a weird energy ripple happens with each ‘phasing’)!

     A beat later Mikey’s head pops back out (his head looking eerie and out of place atop on of the angel figures that adorn the fountain).  "Guys… you’re not gonna believe what’s in here..!"  Mikey ducks back inside

     Cautiously, the other Turtles follow Mikey through the fountain portal.

     Landing on the other side of the fountain, the Turtles find themselves in clearing in a forest in another dimension (actually, it is a trans-dimensional nexus to be more precise).  Much about this place will feel like it is derived from traditional Japanese culture, but at the same time it is not of our world.  The will be banners and armor and temples and castles and pagoda looking structures, but of larger scale and stranger design than anything ever constructed on Earth (Kurosawa meets Kirby?).  The sky seems to be a shimmering red, orange color; in reality, this inter-dimensional nexus is surrounded by a glowing, shifting "energy curtain" beyond which (it is said) exists nothing but "null space."

     Don begins to analyze what has happened, what they are seeing.  They must have traveled through some kind of dimensional doorway, like the one April’s tenant Kirby had.

     As they are trying to get their bearings, they are set upon by four fierce alien attackers (all seem to be ‘warriors’).  They are the Gom-tai, tall thin creatures that resemble nothing more than giant walking stick insects.  They unfold themselves and then advance on the Turtles with incredible speed.  Their long limbs give them an incredible reach advantage over the Turtles, and they fight with strange weapons that the Turtles have not encountered before (TBD).  The Turtles take quite a beating!

     "We don’t have time for this!"

     "We’re going to lose Master Splinter’s trail!"

     The Turtles redouble their efforts and the battle quickly turns in their favor.

     Just as they take out their final attacker, a voice cries out.

     "Preliminary Group Match completed in 54.3 quargons. Victory for the newcomers from Dimension Earth."  The Turtles look over to see a Gyoji (last seen in episode 36 "The Ultimate Ninja") floating towards them carrying a competition banner which he plants in the ground next to them.  "They advance in the standings.  The Gom-tai," says the Gyoji, indicating the warriors that attacked the Turtles (who are now picking themselves up off the floor), "are eliminated from the competition."  With that, the Gyoji disappears into thin air and the Gom-tai bow to the Turtles and walk off, leaving the Turtles with even more questions.

     The Turtles argue/discuss among themselves what’s going on as they wander in the direction of some elaborate, banner topped castle or fort on the horizon (they can encounter some strangeness as they wander – weird plants or animals or geysers, etc.) .  They clearly recognize the Gyoji.  The pick up on some of what he said (i.e. "competition," "move up in the standings").  Leo points out that last time he saw the Gyoji, when he fought the Ultimate Ninja, Master Splinter seemed to know more about that whole situation than he was telling. 

     As they crest a hill they spy a small robed creature fighting for his life against a much larger, multi-limbed foe.  Moving a little closer, they see that the smaller creature is Master Splinter!

     The Turtles race forward to aid Splinter only to be surrounded in a force bubble (which Raph remembers all too well from ep. 36).  Unable to help their master, they can only watch as Splinter fights one-on-one against his substantially more massive foe.  As they look on, they wonder about Splinter’s strange opponent – about ten feet tall, long bowed neck, flowing white beard, six thick sinewy arms and flailing tail, he looks nothing at all like the creatures the Turtles just fought (or the Gyoji or the Ultimate Ninja for that matter).  What the shell is this place?  

     Outside the bubble, Splinter continues to battle.  Using his foes size and mass against him in one final move, Splinter causes his opponent to crash into the strange trees that boarder their field of battle.  The trees splinter at the impact!  Again and again, Splinter strikes, counterstrikes, then maneuvers so his opponent topples more and more trees!  Finally, with on final monstrous impact, Splinter’s foe collapses, several trees falling down on top of him!

     The Gyoji appears.  "Victory for Splinter of Dimension Earth.  He moves up in the standings."  The Gyoji plants a victory banner in the ground.

     The Turtles are released from the force bubble, and run forward to congratulate their master on his victory.  The Turtles are taken aback to find just how angry Splinter is that his sons disobeyed his wishes and followed him to this place.  They will be grounded when Splinter gets them back home until they learn to obey and respect the wishes of their sensei.  They should not be here!  

     The Turtles have never seen Splinter so angry before in their lives!  Something is up… 

     As Splinter rips them a new one, Leo notices Splinter’s fallen opponent rising up behind him!  Leo cries out, and the Turtles leap to protect their master, but Splinter stops them.  The creature comes forward, puts a friendly arm around Splinter’s back and congratulates him on a match well fought.  Apparently, the creature, called D’Jinn, is an old friend of Splinter’s.    

     D’Jinn tells the Turtles that they should be honored to have one such as Splinter as their sensei; Splinter is something of a legend in this dimension.  The Turtles have no clue what D’Jinn is talking about, and much to Splinter’s protests and D’Jinn’s delight, D’Jinn elaborates…

     D’Jinn tells how down through the centuries and across the multiverse, the great warriors have always searched for great challenges to test themselves against.  And so it came to pass that this place was born, a nexus where the beings from a multitude of worlds could pit themselves against challenges they never dreamed, opponents they could never imagine!  And it was here that the competition was born:  The Big Brawl (unless we come up with a different name for the actually event), the competition to end all competitions, where one being could prove himself to be the one of mightiest and most skilled warriors of all.  

     "One such competitor was your sensei’s sensei, the honorable and formidable Master Hamato Yoshi!  Not the biggest, not the strongest, but the most courageous and determined martial artists this nexus had seen in a long, long time."  As we see this story unfold we will see from time to time the Yoshi has his pet rat with him at the competition; Splinter was there, back in his rat days!  Yoshi fought his way to the penultimate match against a mighty competitor, Drako (a massive dragon for all intents and purposes) who was the favorite to win the title.  Drako unleashed his full fury upon Yoshi, but Yoshi would not stay down.  It looked to be an incredible mismatch, but Yoshi summoned his courage, steeled his will, focused his chi, and the tide of the battle began to change.  In the most incredible upset in the history of the Brawl, Yoshi defeated Drako!  Drako was humiliated, and vowed to return to avenge himself upon Yoshi at the next competition.

     But when ten years had passed and the competition was upon us once again, Master Yoshi did not appear.  "It grieved us to learn that he had since perished on his homeworld."  Drako was incensed, having spent the better part of the decade training and dreaming of his vengeance.  

     But in Yoshi’s stead, there came another; a disciple of Yoshi who had heeded the call and traveled the way, and was here to fight in the name of his beloved Master.  The student’s name was Splinter, and he was even punier than his sensei (we will see a younger looking Splinter, with a fresh looking robe and no walking stick)!  But nevertheless, this Splinter battled his way to the penultimate match, where he would face Drako.  Drako was determined to extract his vengeance from Splinter’s hide, to make an example of Yoshi’s puny student for all to see.  Drako savagely beats Splinter, burns Splinter, crushes Splinter, etc.  Splinter’s leg is shattered in the battle (which is why Splinter uses a walking stick to this day).  But despite the overwhelming odds, Splinter managed to triumph over Drako, broken leg and all!  Truly, he was the student of Yoshi!

And he was also the new champion!

     The Turtles are amazed to hear this tale.  Their master… the greatest warrior of all the multiverse?  Holy shit!  "Wow.  This is big.  This is… huge!  This is like finding out your old man is… SUPERMAN!" says Mikey.  

     Leo asks Splinter about the "unfinished business" he alluded to when he left.  Splinter tries to put Leo off, but D’Jinn happily chimes in again:

     A huge celebration was held in Splinter’s honor after his victory against Drako.  After the big bash, Splinter was walking back to his quarters, leg bound and splinted, using a walking stick – the walking sick - for the first time in his life, when he is set upon by "thugs."  They grab him and pin him and hold him.  From out of the shadows, the defeated Drako stalks forward.  "Little rat, you think yourself a champion?  You think yourself my better?  Know that you have not thwarted my vengeance… you have only delayed it!"  With that Drako beats the shit out of Splinter, tossing him like a rag doll, working Splinter’s already damaged leg, etc.  Splinter would have been killed if not for the timely intervention of the Daimyo.  The Daimyo leaped in and attacked Drako with his mystical warstaff, blasting and stabbing at the dragon behemoth.  
     Drako fled, and has not been seen or heard from again.

     Before D’Jinn can say any more, there is a magical flash of energy and a shadow falls over the group.  "I recognized your handiwork from several karns back, Master Splinter."  Splinter looks up to see who has made the comment.

     We widen out to see it is the giant-sized Ultimate Daimyo (father of the Ultimate Ninja, last seen in ep. 36) who speaks to Splinter, gesturing to indicate the fallen forest all around them.  He stands there with a mystical warstaff in his hands, crackling with arcane energies.  The Daimyo is accompanied by some kind of royal entourage, several noble personages, very regal looking, in flowing robes and banners (they are the officials of this tournament).  

     "We are honored by your return, sensei," offers the Daimyo, as he bows.  "It is I who am honored," says Splinter as he returns the bow.  "I am pleased to see that you have brought your sons to compete as well," observes the Daimyo.  "That is not exactly - -," Splinter is cut off.  "My own son will compete as well," says the Daimyo, "if you give him leave…"  With that, the Daimyo steps aside to reveal his son, the Ultimate Ninja (ep. 36).  The Turtles and Splinter are surprised and alarmed to see him; Raph puts his hands to his sais, ready to draw them.  "My son has something that he wishes to say to you, Sensei Splinter… it is fitting that your sons are here to witness this as well." 

     The Ultimate Ninja steps forward, drops to one knee before Splinter and bows his head.  He humbly apologizes for his trespass into their world and his unwarranted actions upon Splinter and his house (family).  He humbly begs Splinter’s forgiveness - - he begs all their forgiveness."  

     There is an uncomfortable silence…

… then Splinter grants the Ultimate Ninja forgiveness.  The Ultimate Ninja (we may have to give this guys a name - - I’m getting tired of typing Ultimate Ninja!) thanks Splinter, thanks them all, stops when he comes to Leo, stares in to Leo’s eyes and thanks him most of all.  The Daimyo seems very happy that all this unpleasantness is now behind them and that his son is once again on the right path.  He is pleased to get the competition started.  "Come.  The preliminaries (or qualification matches?) are completed.  The tournament proper is about to begin," says the Ultimate Daimyo.  He spins his mystical warstaff and they all disappear from the field…

     … only to rematerialize on a bejeweled terrace high atop the banner-bedecked walls of the fort/palace that they saw way off on the horizon earlier.  Below, a huge throng of weird warlords and warriors have gathered.  It is festive in a serious way, spectacular like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  Drums sound and trumpets blare.  The Turtles are completely confused, but Splinter takes it all in stride.

     The Ultimate Daimyo raises his hands to the sky and addresses the crowd.  He welcomes all the combatants from a multitude of diverse universes and dimensions to the ultimate competition in all the multiverse.  This is the Big Brawl, where the most skilled martial artists in all creation compete to see who is the best of the best (we will need to come up with a title – Ultimate Warrior, etc.).  As the Daimyo talks, we will catch glimpses of the other competitors, some alien, some more humanoid, all hard, seasoned warriors (we might even catch a glimpse or two of characters we have met before, such as Traximus, or one or two of the creatures and warriors from the weird Kirby dimension in ep.16, and perhaps a supporting character or to from Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo books).  

     First, the Daimyo honors those who have already fallen in battle during the preliminaries (we see the Gom-tai and D’Jinn among the large group of losers’ already defeated [we should probably hide a Foot Elite in with them]).  He salutes them; they salute back.

     Then the Daimyo makes a few closing comments, wishes them all luck, and then officially announces that the Big Brawl will commence immediately!  With a wave of his warstaff a giant fanfare plays and fireworks explode across the sky.  Streamers rain down. The crowd goes wild.

     The Ultimate Ninja offers to take the Turtles to the pits where they will be prepped for the first bout.  The Turtles say their goodbyes to the Daimyo and then to Splinter, but Splinter is still quite upset with them and their parting is a bit strained.

     To get to the pits the Turtles follow the Ultimate Ninja through the Pavilion of Past Champions where the weapons and armor and trophies etc. of past victors hang (and where we will hide some fun tidbits such as a great statue of Master Yoshi, Shredders helmet or claw, etc.).

     In the pits, the Turtles are given some special equipment (TBD) and get their first glimpse of the arena for this bout – a multi-terraced pyramid-like structure with several mystical portals placed in strategic locations.  Ten combatants will start on the bottom level of the structure and battle their way to the top.  The mystical portals are a wild card feature that allows competitors to beam from one area of the pyramid to another for surprise attacks.

     The combatant that makes it to the top wins the match and advances to the next match.  

     All this the Ultimate Ninja explains, then wishes them luck.

     A Gyoji appears all calls all competitors to the arena.  Leo decides he will fight first – the others should keep their eyes open, learn what they can.  

     As Leo takes his place, we get to see all the different competitors (some weird, some huge, some alien, all different).  Two of the combatants, Gorrath and Krall, are notable for their sheer size and evil, slimy disposition.  Most importantly, one of the competitors is Miyamoto Usagi!

     The Gyoji gives final instructions, reminds the combatants about the rules of honorable combat, and then sounds the start of the match!

     The battle begins and it’ll be great!  Cool creatures, new and different fighting techniques, weird weapons, etc.  One thing becomes clear right at the outset: Usagi is an incredible swordsman!  Leo is very impressed.

     Off on the sidelines, Don, Raph and Leo watch the proceedings.  Another match is about to begin, and Raph and Mikey head off to compete.  Don is on deck for the next.

     Up in the Daimyo’s box, Splinter and the Daimyo watch as Leo battles.  "You must be very proud of your son, sensei.  He is truly something to behold."  "He… he should not be here," is all Splinter will say.

     Off in a dark corner of the arena, the Ultimate Ninja talks with a very large figure that keeps hidden in the shadows (we will reveal him to be Lord Drako [or another better name], terrible, fire breathing dragon creature).  "I see you made nice with your new friends," hisses the hulking shadowy figure with a chuckle, his eyes glowing a bright red.  The Ultimate Ninja is annoyed.  "Bowing to them and their vermin-master sickens me!  How much longer must we continue this charade?"  The shadowy figure reminds the Ultimate Ninja that patience is the key to their success.  

     Soon, the plan that they have put into place will come to fruition; the Daimyo will be destroyed and the Ultimate Ninja will assume his father’s place and power.  For his part, Lord Drako has been promised a position second only to the Ultimate Ninja’s, as well as the Daimyo’s mystical warstaff.  And as an extra added bonus, Master Splinter and his brood will be dealt with once and for all!  "I know the plan," growls the Ultimate Ninja.  "I regret only that I will not get to take the life of the one called Leonardo personally!"  The shadowy figure chuckles evilly.  "No,’ he replies," but you will have the pleasure of watching him fall in battle.  I’ve instructed Gorrath and Krall to see to it the little turtle does not leave the first match alive!"  They both turn their attention to the King of the Hill match in progress.

     Leo battles his way up to another tier on the pyramid, taking out one and than another opponent.  Looking up, he sees Usagi a tier above him, fighting with spectacular skill and swordsmanship.  As Leo tries to make his way up to the next tier, Krall suddenly is on him, beating him back and back and back.  Leo is almost up against on of the mystical portals when Gorrath ‘ports through and attacks him from the rear.  Now beset on both sides by two huge combatants, Gorrath and Krall, clearly more than his match in sheer strength, Leo is hard pressed!  The assassins have many strange tricks and techniques that Leo has not seen before (the ability to walk or run up walls and ceilings as easily as if they were walking on the floor, and the ability to summon strange throwing blades from thin air).   

     Leo and Usagi get pretty badly beaten until they adapt to their attackers strange abilities.  He fights valiantly, but the huge Gorrath pins him from behind and urges Krall to run Leo though so they can collect the rest of their reward.  But just as Krall is about to disembowel Leo, Usagi leaps from the level above and comes to Leo’s aid (it will be made clear that Gorrath and Krall’s attack is against the rules/an attempted assassination and that Usagi comes to Leo’s aid as a point of honor)!  He lands a flying kick to Gorrath’s side, freeing Leo, and together, back to back and sword to sword, they fight!  Leo disarms Gorrath and kicks him back thorough the portal.  When he rematerializes on another level, weaponless, another competitor grabs him and beats the crap out of him!  

     Usagi is a streaking white blur as he takes on the deadly Krall.  He spins and slices and avoids Krall's every thrust.  Krall is not so lucky.  Slice!  Slice!  Slice!  Usagi carves the pants off Krall (literally)!  His pants now around his ankles, Krall stumbles precariously to the edge of the tier.  He flaps his arms, desperately trying to maintain his balance.  Usagi saunters in and gives Krall a final kick that launches him over the edge.  He bounces hard, hitting each level as he goes down, finally landing hard right on top of Gorrath!  The two of them crumple to the ground and do not get back up.

     Seeing that their assassination attempt did not go as planned, the Ultimate Ninja is furious.  He is about to race in and dispose of Leo himself, but Lord Drako restrains him with his sinewy red tail.  This is not the time.  Remember our plan.  Patience.

     Leo thanks Usagi for his intervention.  "Do not thank me just yet," says Usagi.  Leo looks around to see that he and Usagi have each arrived on the top tier of the pyramid... which means of course that they must now battle each other! 

 Episode 50 - The Big Brawl pt. 2

     Leo is reluctant to fight Usagi, who just saved his life, but Usagi is keen to match swords with Leo.  They spar, two-swordsman against two-swordsman, an amazing display!  

     Don watches Leo fight from the pits.  Then, hearing a fanfare off to his left, he turns to see the start of Mikey and Raph’s match (TBD) against several other competitors.  Mikey’s a little worried about what they’ve gotten themselves into as he looks at the massive warriors and freakish competitors he and Raph are up against.  But Raph is chompin’ at the bit; he cannot wait for a chance to mix it up!

     In another part of the arena the Ultimate Ninja and his shadowy co-conspirator watch Leo and Usagi go at it.  The Ultimate Ninja wants Leo dead!  "The long eared rodent may just grant you your wish," says the shadowed Lord Drako, "but if not, I have other agents in place.  One way or another, the green swordsman will pay for your humiliation on his world.  And any minute now, so will your beloved father!" 

     Up in the Daimyo’s viewing box, Splinter, the Daimyo and the royal council watch the proceedings.  "An outstanding match, is it not my friend," says the Daimyo, clearly enjoying Leo and Usagi’s performance.  The Daimyo fills Splinter in on who Usagi is; a shugyosha (student warrior) who trained under an amazing hermit sword master. He has been a wandering ronin for quite some time.  He is young, but put a blade in his hand and he will prove that he is skilled far beyond his meager years!

     A messenger comes up to the Daimyo, bows and hands him a message.  The Daimyo reads the message and then excuses himself from the box   "<SIGH> So many details to manage when hosting a competition of this magnitude.  A small matter I must attend to," he explains to Splinter.  "When the bout is done, you will join me in my chambers and bring news of the outcome, won’t you?"  "I will be honored, Daimyo," says Splinter, bowing.  The Daimyo leaves. 

     Meanwhile Leo and Usagi continue to battle it out!  Incredible attacks, reversals, etc. 

     And Mikey and Raph also battle in their match.  Raph battles very gung-ho, diving in, surprising his foes with the ferocity of his attacks.  Mikey on the other hand, goes in kinda reluctantly, slightly overwhelmed, but his innate natural abilities (Mikey is the most natural athlete/ninja of the group) still reflexively see him through.

     As Leo and Usagi battle, the Ultimate Ninja loses his patience.  Lord Drako insists the Ultimate Ninja stay calm and stick to the plan.  The Ultimate Ninja turns to Drako with fury in his eyes.  "You council has been heard and overruled Lord Drako.  Do not forget your place!  You would to well to remind yourself which of us is to be the next Daimyo!"  In the shadows, Drako’s huge bulk tenses and his red eyes glow even brighter… but he controls his rage.  "Of course.  My apologies… master."  The Ultimate Ninja pulls an ornate blow gun from the folds of his robes and loads it with a black, barbed, glistening dart.  "Besides, Drako," adds the Ultimate Ninja, "I’m not deviating from our plan… just expediting it a little!"  With that, he creeps forward for a better shot.  Drako grumbles from the dark shadows that when all the plotting and scheming comes to an end, it will remain to be seen just who the new Daimyo will actually be!

     The Ultimate Ninja moves from shadow to shadow, leaps up atop an awning and catapults to a higher position that affords him both concealment and a closer, clearer view of Leonardo as he continues his swordplay with Usagi.  He raise his blow gun… takes aim… and fires!

     The dart strikes Leo in the back of the neck and then magically dissolves.  Almost instantly Leo’s movements become sluggish, and his vision becomes cloudy, doubled (he might even seem hallucinations, a monster coming towards him instead of Usagi).  For a moment, Usagi seems to notice that something is wrong, but Leo continues to come at Usagi and Usagi has no choice.  With a parry, a side step and a sweep, Leo is taken down!  The Gyoji appears and declares Usagi the winner.  

     In the stands, Splinter watches as Leo gets shakily and bows to Usagi.  Splinter is pensive; he senses that something is wrong..  Looking to a shadowy corner of the arena, he thinks he saw something.  But when he looks again…no, it was nothing.  He asks one of the Daimyo’s men which why to the Daimyo’s quarters and heads off.

     Back in the arena, Usagi compliments Leo on his sword skills and asks Leo if he’s all right.  Leo attempts to answer, but the effects of the dart are becoming worse.  Leo falls to the ground, weak and woozy.  Donatello rushes up to his fallen brother and tries to bring him around, but Leo begins to spasm and convulse!  Usagi demands the Gyoji transport Leo to the healer’s pavilion.  The Gyoji nods, and he, Don, Leo and Usagi disappear from the arena with a mystical flash. 

     Meanwhile, back at Raph and Mikey’s battle, the last few competitors are taken out until all that is left are… Raph and Mikey!  "Uh… maybe we shouda thought this through a little better," Mikey wonders aloud.  "Are you kidding?  This is great!" smiles Raph.  He sees this as his opportunity to pay Mikey back for all the annoying little things he’s pulled on Raph!  Raph attacks full out! Mikey calls him a maniac, teases him, taunts him, and actually makes Raph look pretty darn foolish.  And in the end, just like usual, Mikey manages to use Raph’s temper against him and win the bout!  Raph winds up flat on his back and Mikey winds up the winner!  "What a revoltin’ development this is!" mutters Raph as the Gyoji appears and declares Mikey the winner.  

     In the Daimyo’s palace, uniformed sentries open a set of huge, ornate oaken doors and allow Splinter to pass through.  As Splinter strides down the inner corridor that leads to the Daimyo’s private chamber, he hears sound of a struggle.  There are loud shouts, a huge crash!  Splinter races forward only to find dark robed assassins leaping out of the arched windows of the Daimyo’s chamber. Splinter moves to give chase when he hears a gasp behind him.  There on the floor lies the huge form of the Daimyo, near death. Splinter races to the Daimyo’s side.  

     Master Splinter makes his way to the Daimyo’s private chambers; he has come to check on his old friend.  But when Splinter enters the chamber, he finds one of Drako’s assassins’s (or it could be the Ultimate Ninja himself) standing over the Daimyo’s body (which has spilled out of his huge bed onto the marble floor).  Splinter leaps for the assassin, but the assassin dives out the window.  Splinter leaps to the window ledge about to give chase, but the Daimyo’s strained, weak voice calls him back.  Splinter rushes to his friend’s side.  

     A moment later, the sentries arrive, the Ultimate Ninja with them.  They find Splinter standing over the Daimyo, the Daimyo’s blue blood staining Splinter’s hands and robe.  The sentries advance and raise their weapons at Splinter.  The Ultimate Ninja announces that Splinter is to be imprisoned for an unprovoked attack upon his father, the honored Daimyo of the Nexus!  The guards arrest Splinter!

     Meanwhile in the healer’s pavilion, Leo lies on a mat, groaning, shaking and sweating profusely.  The healer turns to Don and Usagi and shrugs.  He’s never seen a competitor with these symptoms.  Perhaps it is exhaustion?  Overexertion?  Just then, sentries burst into the healers pavilion with the rapidly failing Daimyo!  The healer excuses himself, and races off to try and heal his liege.  There is flurry of activity as the healer and his minions do all they can to save the Daimyo’s life.

     Don wipes Leo’s brow with a damp cloth.  Usagi moves close to Leo and reaches out for Leo’s head.  Don quickly grabs Usagi’s hand and stares at him.  "Please," asks Usagi, "may I examine your brother?  I mean no harm."  Don hesitates for a moment, and then releases Usagi.  As Usagi examines Leo’s arms and shoulders, he tells Don that he has seldom crossed blades with a swordsman as skilled as Leonardo.  Yet, just before their battle ended, Leonardo became sloppy in his movements, imprecise in his swordplay.  "What does that suggest to you?" Usagi asks Don.   

     By now, Don has joined Usagi in examining Leo. "Poison," says Don grimly.  "Poison," says Usagi as he removes a tiny black dart-nub from the back of Leo’s neck.  "Hit in the spine," says Usagi.  "We must act quickly." Don begins to suck the poison from Leo’s neck, while Usagi opens a pouch and begins to mix powders.  "I have some powders that can help," he explains.  Don spits the poison and sucks some more.  Usagi applies the powder.  All they can do now is wait says Usagi.  "Maybe we can do more than just that," offers Don as he looks into the other room at the Daimyo.  He asks Usagi if perhaps his powders could be of use to the Daimyo too?

     Up in the arena, Mikey is busting Raph’s chops about his victory over some of the greatest warriors in creation!  Mikey pushes it and pushes it and pushes it until Raph can’t take it any more any holds Mikey’s mouth shut!  He threatens Mikey.  Mikey promises to stop (though with Raph holding his mouth shut, it’s mostly a bunch a muffled sounds and head nods).  "There’s no sign of Leo, or Donny, or Master Splinter," Raph says, releasing Mikey.  "You don’t think they could have possibly…. Missed my incredible triumph in battle against some of the multiverse’s greatest warriors, do you?"  Raph baps Mikey one.

In a dank dungeon deep below the Daimyo’s palace, the Ultimate Ninja comes to visit  Splinter in his prison cell.  Splinter protests the charges against him, swearing he would never harm the Daimyo.  "I do not doubt your word for a second, oh mighty Sensei Splinter of legend," mocks the Ultimate Ninja, "for it is I who ordered my father slain!"  The Ultimate Ninja taunts Splinter.  He tells him that even as they chat, the Daimyo lies dying in the infirmary.  "And your son Leonardo lies dying there as well… poisoned by my hand!" 

      The Ultimate Ninja brags of his plan to become the new Daimyo and usurp the power of the nexus for his very own.  Splinter questions the Ninja’s honor, but he is answered only by a cold laughter that comes from the shadows behind the Ultimate Ninja.  Splinter’s eyes widen as a hulking figure with red glowing eyes stalks forward, suddenly making the large dungeon chamber feel tiny and cramped.  It is Drako (revealed out of shadow for the first time)!  Splinter’s eyes go wide with surprise, and then despair.  "Honor?!" hisses Drako.  "This is nothing to do with honor, little rat-ling!  This is about power!  Power… and vengeance!"  

     Raph and Mikey search for their master and brothers.  Mikey tries to question several passing warriors, talking at them rapidly, stepping in their path to slow them down long enough to chat with them.  But these two warriors from other dimensions don’t speak Mikey’s language.  They think he’s just some lunatic wandering the arena grounds.  And even though they don’t speak English, they manage to make it very clear that they are cursing Mikey in their native tongue!  Mikey takes offense and starts calling them names and making fun of them. 

      The two warriors begin to get hot under the collar and yell gesture wildly back at Mike.  Raph is about to bap all three of them, when suddenly the start of the next round of competition is called.  The two warriors move to their assigned arenas.  A Gyoji comes and asks Mikey why he is not advancing to his assigned arena.  Mikey tries to explain that he’s looking for his master and his two brothers, but the Gyoji insists that Mikey must compete.  As one of the victors of the previous round of competition, Mikey is honor bound to participate in the next round, no exceptions or substitutions.  Mikey protests further, but the Gyoji gestures and suddenly he and Mikey disappear, leaving Raph all by him self!  "Great.  Just great!  If Mikey wins this thing I’m gonna hafta kill myself..!" mutters Raph

     Mikey reappears in a new arena, and a new competition (TBD), sandwiched between the two warriors he was just previously harassing!  Yikes!  The two warriors grin and crack their knuckles.  They’re going to enjoy this!  The match begins and Mikey is seriously under attack!

     Back in the healer’s pavilion, the Daimyo lies unconscious, shaking and sweating. In the next room, Leo is sleeping fitfully.  Suddenly, two assassins silently swing into his chamber through the large arched windows.  One of them creeps forward and steals Leo’s katana.  "What are you doing?!" whispers one of the assassins, alarmed.  "Our orders were to end the Daimyo’s life."  The assassin with Leo’s swords makes his way into the Daimyo’s chamber, the others following him.  "And so we will," he says as he stands over the Daimyo and raises up the swords.  "But it will look as if the Turtle creature finished the work his master started!" 

      The assassin brings the sword down, but instead of hitting the Daimyo, it strikes a wooden staff.  Don’s wooden staff to be precise.  A sword flashes, knocking the blades out of the assassin’s hands! Usagi’s sword to be precise!  He and Don make short work of the two assassins!

They are congratulating each other when they suddenly realize that they are not alone; there in the large arched windows and crawling across the ceiling are twelve more black clad assassins.  Don and Usagi are in for the fight of their lives!
 Episode 51 - The Big Brawl pt. 3

In the healer’s pavilion, Don and Usagi face off against a group of deadly assassins.  The battle is joined!  Don and Usagi find it difficult to battle the assassins, for not only are they skilled fighters, but each time one of them finds an opportunity, they try to assassinate the Daimyo!  Usagi and Don must not only fight them, but they must protect the Daimyo as well!  

     To make matters worse, the assassins have many strange tricks and techniques that Don has not seen before (short-distance dimension-hopping [using inter-dimensional doorways to seemingly disappear right before your eyes only to reappear directly behind you], the ability to walk or run up walls and ceilings as easily as if they were walking on the floor, and the ability to summon their strange throwing blades from thin air!

      Meanwhile Mikey battles in the second round of competition against many opponents, and the two guys in particular who wanna clean his clock.  

      Drako insists the Ultimate Ninja award him the Daimyo’s mystical warstaff as promised.  The Ultimate Ninja questions Drako’s hurry.  He has the staff in a safe place and will give it to Drako only when all their machinations are done and the Ultimate Ninja is officially declared new Daimyo!  Drako is not happy.

     Raph learns of Splinter’s whereabouts and goes off to spring his Sensei

     The battle against the assassins rages on.  Don and Usagi are winning when Usagi is almost chopped into hasenpfeffer.  Fortunately, a surprise intervention by the newly conscious Leo saves Usagi's bacon!  Together the three of then defeat the assassins

     The competition rages on.  Mikey advances.

     Lord Drako steals the warstaff w/o the Ultimate Ninjas knowledge (savagely and silently taking out the Ultimate Ninja’s best men)

      I totally forgot about him somewhere along the way, but didn’t we wanna do something with Traximus being involved in the competition?  

     Raph stages a cool prison break (TBD) and rescues Splinter.  For being the one who rescues Splinter, Splinter "un-grounds" Raph ( but the other three are in deep doo-doo when they get back home).  Eventually he and Splinter hook up with Leo, Don and Usagi.

       The Ultimate Ninja announces that his beloved father, the Daimyo, is near death, attacked by Splinter.  He is profoundly sad that his father is not present for the final round of competition, but duty demands that he must be strong and assume his father’s place.  As acting Daimyo, he begins the final phase of competition.

       Mikey is one of the finalists.  There are several others.  In a move that takes even the Ultimate Ninja by surprise, Drako invokes a loophole in the rules of competition that enables him to enter the final stage of competition.  Not only that, but he questions the Ultimate Ninjas right to assume the Daimyo’s position!  He challenges the Ultimate Ninja for the title!  As Daimyo, one must be prepared to take on any and all comers, and so Drako has trapped him into a battle; as acting Daimyo he cannot refuse the challenge!  Furious that he is being betrayed, he has no choice to comply.  But at least he has his ace in the hole; his father’s warstaff.  But when he signals his men to retrieve it, Drako reveals that he already wields the mystical warstaff!   

       The final contest of the competition is joined, and it is totally @#$%^&* crazy (TBD).  The Ultimate Ninja decimates anyone who gets in his way as he makes for Drako!  Drako crushes five other finalists without even looking at them!  It’s all Mikey can do to stay alive!  

       Drako begins to use the warstaff to open dimensional rifts in the nexus right in the middle of the battlefield.  Anyone who gets too near it is sucked towards it only to be ripped apart atom by atom and scattered across the four corners cross-dimensional multi-verse!  Drako is awfully keen on tossing the Ultimate Ninja in there!

      But a voice calls out to stop the proceedings, and everyone is so surprised, that for a moment the battle does subside.  It is Splinter who calls out.  With Don. Leo, Raph and Usagi at his side. He denounces the Ultimate Ninja and Drako.  He reveals that they are the ones who had the Daimyo attacked!  They are the betrayers!  Drako and the Ultimate Ninja laugh at them.  They have no proof. 

       Not true!  From the shadows behind Splinter, the weak Daimyo appears and confirms Splinters words!

      Huge fight breaks out!  Ultimate Ninja summons all his followers against Splinter, the Turtles, Usagi (and Traximus?) 

      Leo gets to kicks the Ultimate Ninja’s ass

      Splinter gets to kick Drako’s ass

      In the end, the Ultimate Ninja and Drako (along with the warstaff) together get sucked into one of the nexus rifts Drako created!  Their blood curdling scream echoes long after there atoms are scattered (they will return as a new, scary-ass combo-being; a new arch foe for the Turtles to battle against next season).

      In the aftermath of it all, it turns out Mikey is the only finalist left standing, so he’s crowned the best of the best.  Raph is beside himself!

      Mikey may be awarded some kind of inter-dimensional travel thingy (though he doesn’t really realize what it is or what it can do at this point).  Perhaps it’s the trophy he wins; it will take them all home, but nobody realizes that it can be (and will be) used again for new adventures

      With a heavy heart the Daimyo speaks with Splinter about his son.  Splinter tries to comfort his friend.  Seeing the Daimyo like this prompts Splinter to glance over at his sons.  They are across the way, taking to Usagi.  They look a bit sheepish when they see Splinter looking over at them.

      Splinter approaches his sons and apologizes to them.  They do not understand.  Splinter explains that this competition was created to be about honor and courage and giving your all, not about vengeance.  Splinter says that his pride and desire to avenge himself here in the nexus blinded him to all else.  Including his sons, who tried to talk sense into him.  A teacher should never stop learning from his students… or a parent from his children.   

      They say goodbye to Usagi.  They hope to meet him again.  Splinter gives Usagi a parting swordsman tip, and the trophy transports…

      … right to the lair!  It’s almost like it never happened.  Except for the trophy, which Mikey proceeds to torture everyone with, where to put it, how mighty he is, etc.  Raph starts screaming how he only got the trophy on a technicality!  Mike reminds him that technically, he kicks Raph’s butt in one of the bouts!  Lots of screaming ensues.  Splinter smiles.  All is as it should be.  Camera pulls out.  Fade to black!



Below are my comments on the "Big Brawl". Basically I like this concept a lot, though I think at this point it is still pretty raw and needs significant honing.


1.) I don't think Splinter is "communing with his master Yoshi's spirit" through the device the Utroms gave him. I think that was just a recording of Yoshi, a memory keepsake for Splinter -- NOT his master's actual SPIRIT or a conduit to same. It's sort of like when Jor-El talks to Superman in the first "Superman" movie -- it's not really Jor-El himself, but rather a sophisticated memory device which approximates the personality of Jor-El.

I also question whether we even need to do this scene, as it really isn't necessary for the story, as far as I can tell. One of the problems is that later in this outline, in the flashback as told by D'Jinn, after dishonorably beating up Splinter after losing to him, Drako is blasted by the warstaff of the Daimyo and "has not been seen or heard from again." If this is so, how does Splinter know Drako is going to be at the competition so he can "settle old scores"? Isn't Drako's presence there a secret until the third act? I think we really don't need the vengeance angle for Splinter... it really doesn't fit his personality. And what is he getting vengeance FOR -- getting beaten up by Drako? That doesn't seem like an appropriate motivation for vengeance in someone as spiritually evolved as Splinter.

2.) I think it works better if Splinter has gone away before, and the Turtles have never followed him... until now. Perhaps they do it because they are older and more experienced now (or at least THINK they are).

I wonder if it might also be better if instead for Splinter doing all this meditating and communing with Yoshi, he is doing a lot of sparring and practicing his martial art moves -- a wise thing to do if he is getting ready for the competition. This might also be a good thing for the Turtles to comment on/wonder about. The Yoshi stuff is sweet but really doesn't go anywhere. Maybe we should save the communion with the memory of Yoshi thing for another episode where it could be more integral to the plot.

3.) It is implied here that the "Big Brawl" only happens once every ten years. Why? It seems to me that a yearly event might be better, as it would allow us to return to it more easily in future episodes, if further "Big Brawl" stories are desired. A ten year schedule would make that a lot more difficult. And Splinter doesn't have to go every year.

4.) I'm not crazy about the way Splinter leaves and tells the Turtles not to follow him -- it's too provocative and clearly a set-up for them TO follow him. Instead, I think we should play it a little more subtly: Splinter appears before the Turtles with his traveling gear, and tells them he is going away for a while (to meditate? do a pilgrimage? whatever), and the Turtles say "Okay, Master... we'll try not to get in trouble. Have fun!" 

        Of course, after he leaves, the Turtles start talking -- "Master Splinter does this every year!" "Yeah... he gets into this training frenzy for a few weeks." "He never tells us where he's going." "This time it's going to be different." "Let's go!" We can play on the idea that they think they have grown a lot in the last year and Splinter should let them in on what he's doing. Don has secretly placed a Turtle Tracker device somewhere on Splinter, and they follow him, tracking him down to wherever it isit is that he makes the jump to the nexus.

5.) The way Splinter gets into the nexus seems WAY too easy and casual. And what if somebody else leaned against that fountain, like Mike did? I would prefer to do something similar to what I suggested when we first started talking about this, which was to have Splinter do some kind of weird ninja ritual with lots of arcane hand gestures, which is what makes the portal to the nexus open, briefly (getting to the nexus should be DIFFICULT). The Turtles, who are secretly observing Splinter, have to replicate these moves to be able to enter the nexus. Maybe Don has a video camera as part of his Shell Cell (not an unreasonable idea, given the proliferation of camera phones these days), and he records Splinter's moves so they can try to duplicate them. Maybe Leo recognizes some of the mystic gestures from his study of Splinter's ancient ninja scrolls.

In any event, this is how the Turtles find their way into the nexus -- but maybe not right away. Maybe it takes them days to make it work.

And it might be fun to do something to show that while it DID work, it didn't work PERFECTLY. Maybe when they emerge into the nexus, they are underwater, or up in a tree, or waist deep in a mudhole or something.

6.) The Turtles' fight with the Gom-Tai is very cool looking, but its denoument doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I mean, the Turtles appear without notice and suddenly they are an accepted part of a scheduled bout? What's up with that? Remember, this is a competition which has been going on for many years and has a well-defined set of governing rules. Competitors should have to register and sign up for bouts. I think this scene could work with some changes -- I suggest that the Turtles show up and are MISTAKEN by the Gom-Tai for the group they are supposed to battle. So when the Turtles win, and the REAL opponents of the Gom-Tai show up, there is great confusion, and the Gyoji overseeing the fight scolds the Turtles for interfering with a match, and for not having registered properly, etc.. The Turtles then go and do this, leading to some potentially interesting and funny scenes. The scene with Splinter fighting D'Jinn could then follow.

7.) I think we need to be really clever AND careful in setting up the Splinter/Drako battle, so that we don't push the limits of believability TOO far. I mean, Drako is described as being "a massive dragon for all intents and purposes" -- how is a little mutant rat like Splinter supposed to beat something like that? How big IS Drako, exactly -- the size of a Triceraton or the size of Draco the dragon in that movie "Dragonheart"?

8.) In the flashback, we see Splinter beat Draco and become "the new champion". As we had originally discussed, the ultimate battle to determine the overall champion of these games was to be held in the "pyramid" thing, where 16 competitors would enter via 16 doorways in the lowest level -- doorways which were actually transporter portals which would transport the competitors to the first level of combat, randomly pairing them up. The winners of each of these eight bouts would step through the next set of doorways, then being transported to the next level, randomly paired with the other winners, and so on, until you end up with the last two winners, who fight each other for the final prize. If we still want to use this concept -- and I still like it -- then are we saying that the fight in which Splinter bests Drako is that last battle in the pyramid? 

9.) And connected to that last point is this one -- the Turtles fight a battle, their first "official" bout, in something very much like what I just described. Do we want to do this right away, or should we save the pyramid battle for the final?

10.) The two warriors Leo and Usagi fight -- Gorrath and Krall -- are said to be able to use many "strange tricks and techniques", including the ability to walk on ceilings and walls and call weapons out of thin air. Later, the assassins who attack the Daimyo as he lies injured also have these abilities AND the ability to teleport. I question whether we should do this -- it seems to me to open up a big can of worms, especially the weapons from thin air (why stop at a knife or sword -- why not pluck a disintegrator pistol out of the air?) and the teleporting bits. 

      Maybe we should be more clever and find other confounding ways for them to fight. (I don't have a real problem with the wall-walking bit.) Perhaps some of them are REALLY double- or triple-jointed, allowing them to bend their limbs in unexpected ways. Maybe one or more of them have the ability to teleport the weapon they hold in their right hand into their left hand, or swap TWO weapons they have in their hands. Maybe one of them has a disorienting sonic shout. And so on.

11.) There appear to be two similar but different scenarios posited for the attack upon the Daimyo in his bedchamber. Which is the preferred one? I prefer the latter one.

12.) Do we really want to have Don sucking the poison out of Leo's neck? Maybe he can improvise a suction device. I suggest this because Don has no idea what this poison can do -- and if he's sucking it out of Leo, he could be affected by contact with it too.

13.) Don and Usagi are described as "congratulating each other" after having defeated two assassins who have come to kill the Daimyo. That seems out of character.

14.) That Splinter should "un-ground" Raph for breaking him out of his prison seems silly. And come to think of it, I think we should lose -- or at least downplay -- the whole "Splinter is pissed at the Turtles for following him" bit.

15.) I'm a little concerned about Drako using the Daimyo's stolen warstaff to "open dimensional rifts" -- seems like a bit too much power. What if we save that for the Daimyo to do -- somehow (maybe with the aid of one or more Turtles) he gets the warstaff back from Drako and HE opens a rift which sucks in Drako and the Ultimate Ninja? Or it's something that Drako TRIES to do with the warstaff, but he can't get it to work right and it backfires on him and the Ultimate Ninja.

16.) Somewhere in this story I think we should do a little bit with one or more of the Turtles and Traximus (the Triceraton). Why have him in there if we don't acknowledge him?

17.) I wonder if we should run these preliminary "Big Brawl" ideas past Stan Sakai -- he might have some interesting and useful comments.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: The Big Brawl!
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2003 2:10:22 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Stan Sakai

In a message dated 8/20/03 11:16:04 AM, Stan Sakai writes:

<< Hi Peter,

I like the story.  It has a BloodSport feel to it, but with a lot of intrigue that adds dimension to the plot.  Besides Usagi, you're welcome to use any other characters from the Usagi universe, such as Usagi's own Sensei Katsuichi could make an appearance when the Daimyo explains to Splinter who that rabbit is.>>


Thanks for the quick reply. What you said raises a question -- should the Usagi who appears in these episodes be at a particular era of his life as you have laid it out so far in your comics? Do you have a preference? Is this important?

Thanks also for opening up the options for other characters. I'm hoping we can get some more of them in these episodes. I don't know if it would work, but I'd love to see that rhino guy with the clipped horn (whose name escapes me at the moment... is it Jen? I hate getting older!) who wandered around with Usagi in a number of issues of your comic.

<<Why didn't Splinter ever tell the Turtles about the competition?  Perhaps he could explain that he did not think they were ready to participate, and was planning to bring them next year.  This could bring up some argument about Splinter's confidence in their abilities.>>

That's a good point, and it actually is close to something that's been in the back of my mind while we've been working out this story arc and the whole concept of these interdimensional games. I always felt that at some point Splinter was planning to tell the boys about the games, and even bring one or more of them with him, but didn't think they were QUITE ready yet. Part of the fun about this story is the way that the Turtles' curiosity and assertive actions actually prove that they ARE ready well before Master Splinter THINKS they are.

<<Thanks for keeping me in the loop.

Stan >>

You're welcome! I'll continue to keep you posted.

-- Peter