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You guys were not originally going to write the sequel. Is that right?Orci: Correct.
What changed your mind?
Kurtzman: Well, we resisted it for a while, because ... the first movie was so ... tough to find, you know? ...the story was not immediately obvious to us. And ... they really wanted us to do it. And we said, "We just can't do it until we know what this is." ...We spent a lot of time thinking about the sequels that we really loved as kids. You know, Aliens and Terminator 2 and Wrath of Khan and Empire Strikes Back and Superman 2. The thing that all of those movies had in common were that they stood on their own as films.
Orci: Yeah, it was both that and we were afraid we were not going to have literally the time to do it. The [writers'] strike was looming, we were in the middle of [writing] Star Trek, etc. So when they agreed to give us help in the form of Ehren Kruger [The Skeleton Key, The Ring 2], who is fantastic, we realized the three of us really could do it and not just phone it in.
And you had a mandate to develop a bigger movie?
Kurtzman: That doesn't really mean anything to us, honestly. Like, we always get to the action last. The action is born of whatever challenges your characters are facing...
Orci: The theme started coming out of Sam leaving home, now. It's two years later, he's going to college. ... What are the responsibilities and the cutting off that goes on when you leave home? And that mirrors the fact the Transformers themselves are away from home. And in a new home. And what are your responsibilities as you kind of step out into the world on your own without your support system? ...
There are so many [Transformers] that you have to pick from. How do you winnow them down, how do you add the new ones, integrate them?
Orci: Well, the easier one, obviously, is the fact that we inherit certain ones from the previous movie and from the fact that Prime and Bumblebee are kind of the two front-and-center relationships. ... In terms of villains, it was again going back to all the source material. ... We got a bunch of the comics again, we got a bunch of the old cartoons, and just started looking for kind of the most elemental bad guy that kind of jumped off the material, and we found one in the Fallen.
And you've got to bring Megatron back.
Orci: Exactly. ...But then many of them were also selected during the strike while we couldn't do anything, as a matter of necessity, by Hasbro and by [director] Michael Bay for some of the action sequences. They literally had to start designing somebody.
What's the name of the gigantic first one that you see?
Kurtzman: Wheelbot. ... (Temp name for Demolisher from call sheets)
Jetfire, RC, Mudflap on the Autobot side?
Orci: Yeah, right. Jetfire was in the treatment. Mudflap might have been one of those in-betweeners. ...
On the Decepticon side, Starscream, Soundwave, the Fallen and then the Constructicons, which are several different ones: Demolisher, Hightower, Long Haul, Mixmaster, Rampage and Scrapper?
Orci: That's them.
So they're all there?
There's still more, right? I mean, there's others?
Orci: There are. ...
You've got a girl robot for the first time, Arcee. Do you ever deal with why she's a girl robot, or is that just one of those things?
Orci: We may still, as we go through and see the final finals, but we've gone back and forth on that. ... Some of the fans debating, "Oh, man, if there's some lame explanation I'm going to hate it" versus "They'd better explain it." So. We'll see how it ends up. We honestly have things in our back pocket; we'll see which one works better.
And you, Bob, were quoted as saying you were trying to get Leonard Nimoy to do the Fallen?
Orci: He originally was the voice in the animated movie, and at one of the conventions, Alex and I actually spoke to him about it, and he's like, "Yeah, I'd be open to that." But it'll be Michael's decision.
Have you talked with Michael about that?
Orci: Oh, sure. ... He's like, "Hmm." And we're like, "You know you're cousins, right?" [Nimoy's wife is Michael Bay's cousin.]
There was also some talk about Frank Welker, the original voice of Megatron, and whether he'd actually end up in the movie after all?
Orci: Exactly, and I think they're in the middle of hashing that out. We'll see who we get.