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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nickelodeon TMNT Fan Preview Event - The "Pilot" Animatic

Adding to yesterday's post, now I'm going to attempt to describe the details of the animatic "pilot" we were shown. As I've previously mentioned, this "pilot" was not of the actual first episode and consisted of 2D still drawings (with some animated elements here and there) with voice and music tracks. Once again, this is a Mutation in Progress. This pilot was 25 minutes long, and would need to be trimmed down to 22 minutes to become an actual episode. Also, I make no promises of how accurate my memory is on the details of this one, and I might have flip-flopped some of the scenes. Anyone else who attended can feel free to correct or add details. With all that said, let's go...

The episode started with the Turtles training with Splinter in their Lair. The Turtles' training evolves into an argument about whether or not they can go up to the streets. There is a lot of humorous banter between Splinter and the Turtles using the repeated line, "YES... and no." The argument ends with the Turtles not being allowed to go above.

After training, Donatello presents the others with his newest invention: The world's most advanced MP3 player. He calls it the T-pod; it has a special AI chip inside it and can hold a bazillion songs. Mikey is in awe of it and slips the ear buds under his bandana, into his "ears." How many songs are actually on the MP3 player? Three.

April stops by the Lair with some pizza, which they then eat and add to a chart of "Best Pizza in New York." April invites the Turtles to join her at the movies that night. Donatello is thrilled, as he has an obvious crush on her. However, the Turtles have just been told they can't go to the streets, so it takes some persuasion of Leonardo to decide that they will all sneak out later.

Cut to later that night and we see the Turtles sneaking out of the Lair. Mikey still has the T-pod with him. The Turtles reach the surface and start heading toward the theater. On their way, they come across a man wearing a weird metal "suit" trying to break into a building. The man is Baxter Stockman. The Turtles watch him for a bit, laughing at him because his attempts at breaking in aren't going so well and his "suit" is more clunky than it is intimidating. They eventually show themselves and beat him up, leaving him in a dumpster.

The Turtles continue to the movie theater, scaling rooftops and fire escapes as they go. At one point, Leo (or Mike?) runs through a bee hive. Because of their earlier distraction, it is late and by the time they get to the theater, an annoyed April is just leaving the theater. Mike realizes he no longer has the T-pod,

Back in the alley, Baxter has found the T-pod, which Mike had dropped. He plugs into it and the AI chip empowers his suit, transforming it from clunky scrap and into super powerful armor.

By the time the Turtles get back to the alley, Baxter and the T-pod are gone.

The next day, the Turtles are hanging out in their Lair when April stops by. She shows annoyance at the fact that she was "stood up" the previous night. They are watching TV, and on the TV they see a news report about a man in a super suit attacking an office building. It's Baxter, and he's having revenge against the company that recently fired him (for being late, once). Awhile later, the Turtles sneak out again to find Baxter.

When they do find him, Baxter proceeds to kick their butts in his now powerful suit. Eventually, Leonardo goes back to the bee hive they had run into the previous night, grabs it, and shoves it into Baxter's suit through the face mask. Baxter, who is completely sealed inside the suit, gets stung by many now-angry bees. The Turtles use the distraction to dislodge the T-pod from the suit, and it crumbles into the worthless scrap metal it started out as.

The Turtles return to their Lair and a very suspicious Splinter.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nickelodeon TMNT Fan Preview Event - Details on Story, Characters, and Designs

Nickelodeon has clarified the non-disclosure agreement signed to be able to attend their Fan Preview Event held last week, and we can talk about almost everything that we saw! Woohoo! That said, it does need to be specified that everything seen at the event was a Mutation in Progress, and what we saw may not actually be part of the final product when it comes out in a year and a half. So proceed with caution, but here are the basics of the story, characters, and designs that we were told and shown throughout the day. If you have any additional questions that I haven't covered, you can either comment or send me an e-mail and I'll do my best to answer them. I'll have another post later that details the "pilot" animatic that we were shown, and yet another dedicated to the action figures.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

More Details on IDW's Comic Book Plans for TMNT

The drive up to San Francisco today was worth it, as it turned into a very productive day at WonderCon. I went to the IDW booth mostly searching for Scott Dunbier, who was named as editor of the upcoming TMNT series with yesterday's announcement. However, when I saw someone at the booth wearing a familiar Nickelodeon t-shirt, I took a chance and started chatting with him. That man turned out to be IDW COO Greg Goldstein, who was then kind enough to sit down with me and answer some general questions about what we can expect to see from them in the upcoming years. Here's a summary of the questions asked along with their answers.

Q: Will we see additional reprints beyond the first 11 issues?
Yes, most likely, although the formats of the books may vary.

I mentioned that there is high demand for a "City At War" collected book, and Mr. Goldstein responded very positively to that possibility, especially on hearing that it had never before been collected.

Q: Does IDW have the rights to reprint the Archie comics?
YES. Because those books are based on the [old] cartoon, the thinking right now is to hold onto them until the Nickelodeon cartoon starts next year, but he could be persuaded to start sooner if interest was high enough.

Q: Will the new series be in black & white or color?

Q: Will the reprints be in black & white or color?
Black & white.

I only specified the already announced Mirage reprints with this question, so I don't know what answer would apply to the potential Archie reprints, since I'm assuming those would need to be recolored because of the story from Steve Murphy about how Mirage apparently let Archie throw them all away.

Q: Will the collected books be available in bookstores/

I know that was a really stupid and obvious question and answer, but given Mirage's track record for not doing that, I had to hear a solid yes on this one.

Q: Can we expect to see the TMNT be a part of IDW's digital publishing platform?

Q: When can we expect to start seeing new material?
There will be new material by the end of the summer.

I think that last one was covered in the press release, but oh well. Consider it extra confirmation.

And that was about it. I didn't really push for more information on the new series, because they had clearly announced everything there was to announce about it - so far - yesterday. However, it was a really positive conversation and Mr. Goldstein is clearly excited on a personal level about being able to publish new and old TMNT books and he intends for the title to be an IDW staple for many, many years to come.

Friday, April 1, 2011

IDW Announces TMNT Comic Book Publishing Rights

Naturally, the day I decide to skip out on going to WonderCon is the day of a big announcement. :p Just a short while ago, comic book publisher IDW announced at WonderCon that they have secured the comic book publishing rights for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

From the press release:
IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will kick off with an ongoing series this summer, featuring new and exciting storylines that also maintain the “turtle power” core beloved by millions of fans. In addition to the all-new series, TMNT fans will also be treated to newly remastered collections of classic Turtles comics, beginning with the original 1980s series that started this worldwide phenomenon.

An article on also states:
The new series will not continue the "Tales of TMNT" series Mirage published, Dunbier said, but will be based on the original comics. "We'll be doing all new stuff. But we'll also be doing collections of the old material. We'll be doing a beautiful hardcover collection of the first 11 issues, one giant hardcover volume, over 400 pages of material."

I'll give IDW a visit tomorrow at WonderCon and see if I can dig up anything more.

Inspiration For Nickelodeon's TMNT Revealed!

I know I risk going against my non-disclosure agreement by revealing this, but it just seems too important to keep secret for a year and a half. During the visit to Nickelodeon a couple days ago, we were shown a lot of concept art and there was one piece of inspirational art that was clearly at the heart and soul of the entire series. Well, in an exclusive to Ninja Pizza, that piece of art has leaked to the web. I am proud to present that piece here and now, in all its glory.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nickelodeon TMNT Fan Preview Event - Official Images

If you haven't seen them yet on Facebook, here's all of the pictures that were provided to us on a neato little USB thumb drive.

Yes, that's a third toe. No, I do not like it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nickelodeon TMNT Fan Preview Event - Report

I suspect that I'm going to have to break this report into a series of entries over the next few days. The short of it, as you may have picked up hints of if you follow Ninja Pizza on Facebook or Twitter, or visit some of the message boards, is that Nickelodeon earlier today (it is still just barely March 30 as I type this), hosted a TMNT Fan Preview Event to give selected fans a glimpse of what they've got in development for the CGI TMNT series scheduled to debut in the fall of 2012. To give you an idea of how big of a deal this was, and just how seriously Nickelodeon is taking the Turtles, they have never done an event like this. Ever. Not for any other series, not for any other property. Never.

I'm going to show and tell you as much as I can, but all participants were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before arriving, so please don't bother asking me questions that I just told you I can't answer. Really, I'd love to tell you everything, but hopefully you can be content with what I can present (vague as it will be).

The event took place at Nickelodeon Studios in Burbank, CA. Upon arrival, we were all given badges with our names and had breakfast provided for us. After a brief introduction from some of the Nickelodeon executives, we got a studio tour, which included a really neat peak into a recording session for Fanboy and Chum Chum.

After that, we were shown a Power Point presentation that included a look at various character designs, as well as set designs. All of this consisted of 2D stills. At the end of the slide show, we were shown a look at a short animation of CGI Leonardo swinging his sword. After that we were shown the completed 2D animatic "pilot." In this case, "pilot" didn't mean it was the first episode - it clearly wasn't based on the context. But what it did do was present what the look and feel of the show would be through the use of still drawings, complete vocal tracks, as well as a music track.

Next, we were treated to something I wasn't expecting - a look at the new toys Playmates has in development. We saw final painted prototypes for the four basic Turtles, a near-final unpainted prototype for Shredder, and a not-final sorta painted prototype for Splinter, among other things.

I have to admit that I was secretly hoping that the next surprise would happen, so kudos to Nick for actually making it happen: We were treated to a brief table read of parts of a script featuring the four voice actors for the Turtles, as well as Splinter. Unfortunately, not all of the people we saw today are officially attached to the actual series yet, so we are not allowed to reveal them. However, as they have been previously reported as being the parts of Leonardo and Donatello respectively, the group did include Jason Biggs and Rob Paulsen. During lunch I managed to get autographs from the four Turtles. *fangirl*

After lunch we split into "breakout" sessions, where we were able to give feedback on what we liked and didn't like of what we had seen. We were also able to talk some about what we wanted to see that we hadn't seen.

Next we regathered and had some questions answered by the executive producers on the show. We were also shown a short promo video that looks like something that could air on Nickelodeon whenever they decided they wanted to. It was similar to the previously released teaser video, but showed more clips of full-CGI action. And that was pretty much a wrap on the day. After receiving some goodies and taking group pictures, we were shuttled off to the airport to go home. As I go through all my stuff I'll have more images to share, but if you haven't yet you can check out some stuff provided by Nickelodeon that I've put up on the Ninja Pizza Facebook page.

In closing I'd like to just extend extreme thanks to Nickelodeon for being such fantastic hosts. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and important, and they took a lot of time to talk and mingle with us in between everything that they had us seeing and doing. It was a great experience and I'm really glad that I was able to participate.