Transformers Movie Webcast - The Recap

Opening the webcast was the teaser trailer of the Transformers Movie followed by the two screenwriters sitting in a room with Roberto Orci on the left and Alex Kurtzman on the right. The writers alluded that the very room they were in is the writers’ room. Behind them to the right was the Transformers movie poster as well as various iterations of Optimus Prime scattered around the room. (Mr. Kurtzman pointed out later in the webcast that the Prime in front of them was the 1984 Generation One Optimus Prime in mint condition.)

First off, Mr. Orci thanked Yahoo! “for giving us satellite time to do this.” They also said that they wanted to introduce themselves to the fans so they know who to pie if they thought the movie sucked.

Not wasting any time, the screenwriter duo introduced us to the Autobots first. The Autobots in the movie will be Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ratchet, and Ironhide. When describing Optimus Prime, Mr. Orci said, “every society has that noble king. That King Arthur.”

They described Bumblebee as the “same underdog, same G1 character we know and love.” Bumblebee will function as the scout for the Autobots. During the question and answer session, the Bumblebee alternate mode of a Chevrolet Camaro was brought up. “The clothes don’t make the man,” Mr. Orci said, “he’s still going to be Bumblebee.” “No matter what he was, he will still be that,” added Mr. Kurtzman. He also said that Bumblebee will be the “most connected to the humans.”

Mr. Kurtzman described Jazz as a rock-and-roll kind of guy. He also pins Jazz’s attitude as if you “can’t do something with style it’s not worth doing at all.”

Although the duo admitted that Ratchet will be different from his Generation One alternate mode, he will be “most tied to his alt-mode,” Mr. Orci says. He will be the medic and will be able to repair any Autobot damaged in battle.

The duo described Ironhide as “always the first one into battle. Like the classic cowboy,” and “is like the muscle.” Mr. Kurtzman added that Ironhide would make “any Transformer bust an O-ring just with his stare.”

The Decepticons side will consist of Megatron, Starscream, Brawl, Bonecrusher, Barricade, Scorponok, Frenzy, and Blackout. “Obviously you can’t have Optimus Prime without Megatron,” comments Mr. Orci. He adds that an exploration past his evil will also be at hand.

Mr. Kurtzman says that Starscream is “always looking to best [Megatron].”

While describing Brawl, Mr. Kurtzman calls him an “extremely pissed off Decepticon.” He is always ready for battle and is a “heavy lifter.” Mr. Orci commented that during their writings of characters, they were using other iterations of the Transformers franchise as well and hoping to continue that into the other movies, if available.

Next is Bonecrusher. Not much information was given for him, but they said he is the closest to a Constructicon. He is also subservient and only responds to Megatron’s orders.

Barricade will be the hunter of the group, scouting the earth for Autobots and making sure they don’t get what the Decepticons need. Contrary to popular belief, Barricade will be the Saleen Mustang police car.

The next Decepticon was Scorponok, who Mr. Orci described as the “closest thing” to the Beast Wars iteration. He goes on by saying that Scorponok is an example of “little bit of flavors from the other things” while still being Generation One.

Now the shocker is that Soundwave is out, and Frenzy is in. Frenzy used to be Soundwave, as revealed by the screenwriters, but they felt that Frenzy fit more into this character than Soundwave did so therefore they used him. Frenzy will be a stealth spy and will be a stereo as his alternate mode.

Blackout “comes in and takes out all of our ability to fight back,” describes Mr. Kurtzman. Blackout’s weapons will send out pulse blasts, reminiscent to electromagnetic pulses, and take out electronics.

After the descriptions of the characters and their capabilities, the duo took questions. First up was whether they had knowledge of the Transformers universe before coming aboard as screenwriters for the movie. “Hands down, yes. Grew up with G1 generation,” Mr. Kurtzman said. He also added that “[w]e wanted to make sure we did it right. If we couldn’t do it right, we wouldn’t do it at all.”

They also said that they played with the toys that are sitting before them. Mr. Orci jokingly said that when they cannot picture Optimus Prime saying something, they use the toy to see how it fits.

When asked about whether or not there would be a need for incoming audiences to know the backstory of the Transformers, Mr. Orci said that there is absolutely no need to know anything. References may be understood by long-time fans, but this movie is made to “absolutely introduce you to the world of Transformers, “as Mr. Orci put it. With Mr. Kurtzman adding, “[i]t’s a movie for everybody.”

Next they addressed the reviews of scripts online that claim the ratio of humans to robots is 70% to 30%, respectively. Mr. Orci first said that the script is the “wrong script,” and “trust me when we tell you that there will be Transformers in the Transformers movie.” Mr. Kurtzman did say, however, that this movie is about humans interacting with robots. They approached the story with the idea that nobody has ever seen anything like large robots and humans interacting before, just like Jurassic Park and human interactions.

A definitive answer was also given about mass shifting: “There is no cheating. No mass shifting.”

In terms of the ratio of Autobots and Decepticons, Mr. Kurtman said, “[we] want to find the right ratio between Autobots and Decepticons.” And the reason for more Decepticons is that they wanted the Autobots to have a tough fight with the Decepticons, which in turn made for more intense action sequences. They also wanted to emphasize that in order for the Autobots to triumph, they would need to “use togetherness, unity, [and] friendship.”

In case any of the fans wanted to know, Megatron will indeed insult Starscream at least once. Their relationship that has been present in all iterations of the Transformers universe will still be present.

Also when asked why Shockwave is not going to be in the movie, Mr. Kurtzman said, “well, why no [to] a million characters, that’s the real question.” The answer is that they don’t just want to waste characters without using them to their full capabilities. Mr. Orci adds that they wanted to save some recognizable stuff for the possibility of future movies.

In terms of weapons, the Autobots and Decepticons will be using pulse blasts in their robot modes. But when they are in disguise, they will possess the same weaponry as humans (bullets, missiles, etc.) in order to blend in.

Voice actors were also asked about. The screenwriters replied that it is a work in progress. However, Mr. Kurtzman added that “everybody you would want to be considered is being considered.”

Many are worried about Michael Bay’s direction of the movie. However, it is undeniable that Mr. Bay is very good when it comes to attractive battles scenes and explosions. The screenwriters gave a little more insight into Mr. Bay’s attraction to the project as that when the duo pitched the story to him, Mr. Bay lit up “like a five year old.” Mr. Kurtzman and Mr. Orci know what it’s like to work with Mr. Bay – they recently did the movie The Island together.

As the conclusion to the webcast, the duo made an announcement that there will be a contest: Write a line for Optimus Prime! The site for the contest will be live “in a couple of weeks,” and whoever wins the contest will have their line spoken by Optimus Prime!

After that, the screenwriters bid their adieu and signed off.

To keep in touch with the screenwriters, head over to the Transformers Movie message boards.

Join the ongoing discussion over at this TFans thread!

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