They are teenagers. They are mutants. They are ninjas. They are turtles. AND they are aliens. At least, they will be in next month’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, opening everywhere on August 8.

So says Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, who took to the stage of Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday to help promo Jonathan Liebsman’s new Turtles movie. The team showed much longer action footage that amplified the humor (the turtles, especially Michelangelo, are legitimately funny). But when they opened the floor to fan questions, they had to address one lingering issue surrounding this TMNT reboot: the fact that the Turtles might be aliens. Eastman was asked by a fan during the Q-and-A why they felt it was necessary to make the Turtles "aliens" in this version of the story. And why he never really came out and said that they ARE aliens, he also didn’t say that they are not. Explained Eastman:
We'd been fans of Star Wars from the early days, starting with the ooze being an alien substance in the original comic books... It's fun to keep the soul of the characters, but take a step to the left or the right."

The way he phrased it, this is just a step in the evolution of the Turtles, who have changed over the years. It does betray the origin of the four turtles, who are supposed to have been affected by radioactive goo. (The same radioactive goo that turned Daredevil blind in the Marvel comics, if you believe the history of the characters.)

This should be a drastic change that makes fans angry. In fact, there has been a ton of controversy about decisions going back and forth behind the scenes to make the turtles aliens and then to change them back. Now, it appears that we are changing them back to "alien" again. So long as they’re still pizza-loving ninjas, I think I’m OK with the final decision, especially if it comes directly from Kevin Eastman’s mouth.

On top of the alien controversy, the footage shown in Hall H today just pulled me slightly closer to the line of believing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be an entertaining ride. The footage shown in Hall H today expanded on April O’Neil’s (Megan Fox) first meeting with the Turtles on the rooftop of a Manhattan building (following a violent confrontation with The Foot in a subway station). We watched an extended cut of the "sliding down a snowy mountain" sequence, which was FAR more badass than what is being shown in the trailers. And we see April’s first meeting with Splinter (Tony Shaloub), who greets her with the mysterious, "It’s been a long time."

Do they know each other? Will this be explained? Find out when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in theaters on August 8.

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