the answer isn't to get rid of characters of color

In Which Donny Rewrites TMNT 2014

So I finished playing through the main storyline of the new TMNT game, as well as a number of the side missions, and the game confirms a lot of what I’ve been hearing about the movie and its development. That Baxter Stockman was going to be in it, that Eric Sacks was indeed going to be the Shredder, etc., etc.

I’ve been thinking about why the movie folks might have wanted the Shredder to be someone other than Oroku Saki, and I’ve been thinking of ways to accomplish what I think might have been the goal without getting rid of canon characters of color. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Spoilers for the movie are included, so don’t read further if you don’t wanna be spoiled.

  • There is no Eric Sacks. Instead, Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi are two Japanese scientists who emigrate to New York to set up a tech business.
  • The two main underlings for Oroku and Hamato are April’s father and Baxter Stockman. There are hints from the beginning that while April’s dad thinks the project they’re working on is good and noble and aimed at the betterment of all humankind, Baxter is serving a different and more sinister agenda.
  • Maybe it’s Hamato Yoshi who buys and “donates” Splinter for the experiments? I dunno.
  • In the Foot Clan scenes, Karai gets more screen time and is also saddled with babysitting Baxter Stockman, because he’s a favorite of the Shredder.
  • The video game suggests that Karai is the Shredder’s adopted daughter and follows him reluctantly, because he used to genuinely care about doing good until power corrupted him. I’d put this in the rewrite, because I like there being some sort of backstory and motivation for the Shredder beyond “I am evil, duh.”
  • In the lab fire, April’s dad still dies, and so does Hamato Yoshi. Oroku Saki and Baxter Stockman survive. This leaves Oroku Saki in the same basic role that Sacks was, and things pretty much go the same way when April drives to the mansion to find out more about Renaissance Project.
  • Splinter (and the Turtles) lionize not only April, for saving them from the fire, but also Hamato Yoshi, who tried to stop Oroku Saki and Baxter Stockman from setting the fire to begin with.
  • After breaking Don, Leo, and Mike out of their cells, April faces off with Baxter instead of Sacks. Baxter taunts her about killing her father, just as Sacks did.
  • In the end climactic battle, things also go mostly the same way as they did in the movie. But after the Good Guys get in the Final Blow, the Shredder unambiguously survives and begins limping off to nurse his wounds. The Turtles and April follow to stop him, but then he turns and slowly, deliberately, takes off his helmet.
  • And it is not Oroku Saki beneath the helmet.
  • And Hamato Yoshi smiles, this great big villainy grin, and everyone’s just stunned for a moment, and that gives him just enough time to be rescued by Karai.