My 10th year of BotCon
(griffin's 2009 BotCon report)


Transformers Movie Writers - Friday May 29 - noon

Panelists - Greg Lombardo (Hasbro), Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman.

Hasbro banners were set up for this panel because it was being filmed by Paramount, and were left up for the rest of the weekend.
There were a couple of Hasbro 'minders' hovering around this panel as it was being set up, and after it started.

Two weeks before the writers strike, Bay signed them up as writers for the second movie (they would have had an outline by then).

As soon as the strike ended, the writers and Arron Kruger (who was signed on as a third writer) were effectively locked away in a hotel for four months to get the script done. The writers felt that this focussed approach helped them develop a much better script.
Filming started immediatly after this four month lock-down, which apparently didn't cost them any extra time despite the writers strike.

The Studio was initially hesitant in having the robotic characters talk at all, but dialogue proved to be necessary, and proved them wrong.

Shia's injured hand (from a car accident) was writen into the script, and had almost no disruption to the shooting schedule.

Ravage, Soundwave and Arcee are in TF2 because they wanted them in TF1, but couldn't work them into it.

There are some characters in TF2 that Bay created, plus some that Hasbro developed during TF1.

The Movie studio had free reign on TF1, but Hasbro did offer some suggested gimmicks that they could incorporate into toys if Bay wanted to use them.

Scavenger and Demolishor - the two names for the same toy (multi-pack and voyager toy) couldn't be discussed as it is a plot element in the Movie.

Soundwave was one character they worked really hard to get into TF2. They looked at the broadcasting nature of the original and thought that a satellite was a suitable option for a character who couldn't be a tape-player or something similar in the new movie universe.

Arron Kruger is a big fan of Transformers and knew a lot about them, impressing the other writers. He was brought onboard the writing team to shoulder the burden while Orci and Kurtzman were in the middle of other projects at the same time.

The Matrix - No comment by the writers. (but those who saw the five minute clip at the Saturday party already know)

Supporting fiction (comics, books, etc) - The first movie was all secretive, so resticted access, causing inconsistencies. This time everything should tie in better with TF2 as more access was given to licensed fiction.

Sideswipe's car mode not being a Lambourghini - according to the writers, Bay is a car enthusiast, and a control freak, so the car mode was his choice. Apparently Bay initially had it as a Lambo, but later changed it to Corvette Stingray (probably after GM threw more money at him to use more of their vehicles in TF2).

Sideswipe is not a twin in the TFs movies, because the concept is already being used...

Skids and Mudflap - their faces were chosen by Bay for comic relief. He also thought it funny to have them as an Icecream truck, which Hasbro initially weren't going to do a toy of, but the oddity of it grew on them.

The writers also mentioned that they drew up some TFs 'biological' concepts before they wrote TF1, in case anything needed to be explained about their physiology or how they work in the first 'intro' Movie, but was never used, and not likely to be explored now that the audience has accepted the concept of alien robots.

On the way out I saw this sign had been put up for the official taping of the Hasbro/Movie parts of the Convention.  I wonder what they would have to do if you objected to being filmed.  Or, since the sign was put up after some of us were in the panel room, what if one of those people had a problem with being filmed?  And how can it be classed as consent if it isn't done consciously, or by choice, especially if you weren't aware that being somewhere suddenly gave a third party the right to do whatever they want with your image, name, voice, etc?


 


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griffin @ otca.com.au

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