In years past, WonderCon movie panel content has often reused reels shown at SXSW, but this year, in the city of motion picture making, that would not do. TMNT 2: Out of the Shadows had by far the highest-profile of the big studio panels, and with a lineup that included producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, and Stephen Amell and Megan Fox in person, it did not disappoint.
In an apparent sign that L.A. audiences for WonderCon have yet to find their bearings, however, the Microsoft theater looked to be barely a fifth full, if that – in my reserved press area, there were all of four people (self-included), and I could have easily found another seat, but chose to stay where people would understand and forgive the incessant typing and glow of the laptop.
Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy was the moderator, and started by reminding us all that he was imagining us in our underwear, and saying the new footage would kick “major booty.”
Form and Fuller enter to “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.”
Form cites the hugeness of the canon, and says the sequel has almost every character they wished they could have had in the first one. Five new characters in the sequel: Bebop, Rocksteady, Casey Jones, Baxter Stockman, and Kraang. The Technodrome is confirmed.
Baxter is the super-scientist of TCRI; originally was in about six frames of the first one, but got cut. He’s working for Shredder; responsible for creating Bebop and Rocksteady.
“Dumb and fun” were the mandates for Bebop and Rocksteady, who were referred to on-set as “the idiots.”
You’ll soon see more of Kraang in the marketing. Fred Armisen has just been signed as his voice.
Stephen Amell comes out. “Casey Jones has a beef with two of the people the Turtles are after.” He clarifies: Bebop and Rocksteady. Casey begins the movie as a corrections officer, and may eventually evolve to having longer hair.
Polowy intro’s Megan Fox, saying she will school anyone in Turtles trivia.
“It turned out way better than I anticipated it was gonna be” – Fox, on the previous Turtles movie.
Fox says it’s not so focused on April’s job this time, and about finding your place. Says her favorite turtle is Mikey, whom she can call Mikey because she knows him.
In the early development of movie 1, Form says Mikey was based design-wise on Bill Murray, Leo on Tom Hanks, Raph on Clint Eastwood.
They showed a clip, in which April is being chased by Foot Clan, who now look like Snake Eyes in the G.I. Joe movies (an improvement, for sure). They surround her, trying to get a cannister of blue ooze she has. Then they start going down, as if hit by an invisible force. It’s hockey pucks. Casey, looking like Casey should, does his hockey-puck fu and takes them out. April asks his name. He says, “Casey Jones” but it’s muffled under the mask, so she says, “What?” twice, then “Stacy Moans?” He removes the mask, says, “Casey Jones,” and then a sai hits the nearby lamp post. The turtles drop down as Mikey says, “Question: are you guys a thing, or..?” Then we cut to a crazy montage of action, including Rocksteady driving a tank and shooting its cannon, and the Turtles para-surfing after diving out of a plane, though Raph goes too soon and hits another plane’s windshield, his tongue sticking and dragging on the glass. Casey says he has to choose between being a corrections officer and a crazy-ass vigilante, and April tells him crazy-ass vigilante is the right choice.
“Oliver would be beating Casey Jones and he stupidly wouldn’t kill him, and then Casey Jones would come back and ruin his life” -Amell, on who would win between Green Arrow and Casey Jones. Amell says he likes the bow and arrow best as a weapon: “The peak of weponary technology at one point!”
Fox says she doesn’t let her kids watch TV. Amell says he lets his daughter drive the Turtle van, but he doesn’t show pictures to anyone, because he’s afraid giant Michael Bay robots will come and get him.
“I loved Vanilla Ice,” says Megan Fox, making her one of my most favorite people ever as of right now. Form and Fuller prove unable to quote his song, but Fox can at least do “Go ninja go ninja go!”
Amell says one of the best things about Casey is that whipping full pint glasses into liquor bottles is really fun, and he recommends we all do it if we get a chance. His philosophy is “See Foot Clan, hit Foot Clan.” Says once they found out he wanted to do stunts, they let him do anything, and he did more stunts for this than Arrow, but he had to break himself of reaching into his quiver.
Fox says she’s a germaphobe, and hated shooting in alley where drunks go to pee. Says she wasn’t quite broken of her germaphobia, but came close after crawling on that ground. Calls it good therapy.
The Turtles will go to Brazil in this film, though most of the movie was shot in New York City.
Fox tries to ID the cloak of a little girl in the crowd: “An invisibility cloak? An Elven cloak? What are you?” Her dad answers: “She’s cold.”
Is there any more Turtle beatboxing? Producers say you’ll have to wait for the movie.
The panel ends, sadly without a second clip. That first one, though, should make a lot of people excited. Like the design of the Turtles themselves or not, it really seems like the visuals and story will do better this time.
Stay tuned for more panel recaps, and more general awesomeness from WonderCon, all weekend!