Thursday, January 19, 2017

"How We Made Transformers" in 1984

The Guardian article "How we made Transformers", is worth reading for Transformers fan. It isn't a definitive history or anything but just a little insider look at the beginning of the franchise with comic writer Bob Budiansky, basically the "father" of Transformers, and TV series editor Bryce Malek.

The full article is here, few highlights below.

Bob Budiansky:
One name I’m proud of is Megatron. Back in 1983, the threat of nuclear war felt very real – and destructive force was talked about in megatons. At first, Hasbro rejected it for sounding too scary. Gently I said to them: “Well, he’s the main bad guy. He’s supposed to be scary.” Luckily, they changed their minds.

A Hasbro executive told me that any toy that lasts two Christmases is considered a success – that was their barometer. Transformers lasted six or seven years before they started dying out. It seemed like a good run. I don’t think anybody had a clue that they would come back as a multibillion-dollar movie franchise. I certainly didn’t.

Bryce Malek:
Some writers pitched really inappropriate stuff for a kids’ show, such as the Transformers meeting space prostitutes. Oddly enough, no one ever provided us with any of the toys – we worked from photocopies of designs. I actually went out and bought a few but I never got Optimus Prime. He was too popular. You could never find one.

I really wanted to emphasise the human characters in the show, to give the audience something to identify with. But in retrospect, I think the kids just really liked the robots. We were working so fast, the plots were full of holes. But I know from fan letters that kids would simply fill in any gaps with their own stories.

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