Greetings Seibertronians! Fellow Seibertron user, EvasionModeBumblebee has informed us of a recent update to the Hasbro Pulse Unboxed blog! The update concerns an interview with one of the people responsible for the recent Studio Series Devastator combiner, toy engineer Mike B. He shares his thoughts on the process that created the behemoth that is Devastator, from initial planning to conception, to production. He also deals with the question of the time frame the toys were released in.
One of the more intriguing comments is made when asked about the size of the components and which size class they would be:
Mike B wrote:Last was the upper torso and lower torso. We actually thought of two options for this. (1) Scavenger being a Commander scale figure and Overload a Voyager or (2) Scavenger a Leader scale and Overload a Leader scale. We decided to proceed with option 2 of both Leader scales to fit in our existing scales, but more importantly for strength and stability. Having the lower torso as a Leader scale with more mass helped to improve the stability of Devastator.
This shows us that while Commander class has so far been only for WfC toys (Siege Jetfire and Earthrise Sky Lynx), we could still yet see the sizing in other lines.
Through out the blog is various pictures showing the design work that went into Devastator, but they served the best pictures and comments till last.
Working hard or hardly working?
The face you make when Devastator might actually have a good idea
When Devastator thinks he's all big
One of our more productive brainstorming sessions
Check out the rest of the blog for more information on Devastator!
What do you think of this bestial combiner? Have you made him up now? Let us know in the Energon Pub and stay tuned to Seibertron for all the latest news and reviews!
That doesn't mean we're done with Siege stories, however. Seibertron is proud to exclusively bring to you an interview/Q&A with actor Shawn Hawkins, who voiced Mirage in the Siege cartoon! Read on to find out what he knew about Mirage prior to voicing him, how he feels about the Transformers fandom, and find out the 'bot he originally auditioned to voice before landing the role of the disappearing Autobot illusionist, Mirage!
Shawn Hawkins: Taylor! What a great surprise to wake up to this morning! Huge thank you to you and Ryan for having me on!
Taylor: It's our pleasure! So, Shawn, Tell us a little about yourself, your career, and how you came to voice acting. Is it a main focus of your career?
Shawn: Yeah so I’m originally from Upstate New York where I started in music. Ever since I was a kid I had a guitar in my hand and ended up playing in a few bands around New York. Then I went to college in Nashville, TN for music and business and ended up touring with some bands up and down the east coast. But at one point I just knew I wanted to get back in to acting. I had been a part of some theatre in high school but was interested in film and TV. So I ended up joining the theatre department at my college and then moving to Los Angeles right out of school. It was the best decision I ever made but it was definitely a big move. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some really fun and creative projects in my time here. A lot of indie film work and some television stuff as well, but voice acting was something I always wanted to do. I would make voices, probably just like everyone else as a kid but for me it continued and continued haha. I did some smaller (voiceover) stuff along the way but finally got this audition for Transformers WFC and I was sold. It was an absolute blast and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it. Sharing it all with the fans has been an incredible pleasure in my life!
Taylor: What was the audition process like for the Siege series? Did you read or audition just in general, or did you always know you'd be playing Mirage specifically?
Shawn: So I originally auditioned for the role of Bumblebee. We weren't told at the time what the project was. It had a code name and character code names but I knew reading it that it sounded a lot like Transformers. Of course, then I found out it was and that I was up for Bumblebee. Then after a few callbacks, they ended up giving me Mirage. And I am so incredibly thankful they did. I feel right at home with Mirage and I love his role in the series. As well as his role with the fans! I’m excited to share the next two seasons with you all and see what unfolds!
Taylor: How much did you know about Transformers before landing the role of Mirage? How much do you know now?
Shawn: Oh man! Well I grew up watching some G1 and saw all the Bay movies but I didn’t dive in until taking on Mirage. Now I’m learning things everyday. And it is mainly thanks to the fans! The Transformers community has been so welcoming and supportive. I am amazed at the interaction we get to have together. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I look forward to many more meaningful interactions over the years. But yes, my capacity for Transformers material just keeps growing haha!
Taylor: How much interaction have you had with Transformers fans since the series aired? Were you a fan yourself before you got the role?
Shawn: Oh man! A ton!! I love it more than anything. Getting to meet all the fans and hear their stories. I actually pride myself on running a really interactive Instagram account where I connect with the fans on a daily basis, run giveaways and answer questions. If you’d love to connect, hit me up @shawn_hawkins. I was a fan before but not to the extent that I am now. It’s a whole new ball game!
Taylor: What did you know about the character of Mirage from the original cartoon series? Did you ever listen to the original voice actor to get a feel for his interpretation of the character?
Shawn: Well I knew he was the elite and also walked both sides of the fence. I knew that I was diving in deep because Mirage had such a unique voice in the original cartoon and I wanted to live up to that but also bring my own spin to it. Our sound engineer for WFC brought some great ideas and feedback to the table in a way that made me feel comfortable and confident with what I was bringing to set. For me I envisioned him sounding a little younger and I think the WFC team did as well. It was like watching this spunky rich kid who thought he knew more than everyone else but also sometimes.. he did. Haha! I loved it. And from what I’ve heard so far, the fans have been happy with the interpretation. I can’t ever predict that but I just brought my heart and soul to it and I always said, “There’s a reason I’m here on this mission... maybe this is it!!”
Taylor: What kind of direction were you given for the character? How is direction given for voice acting? Is the director in the studio with you when you record?
Shawn: Yeah so the direction was great. The VO director, Phil Bache, the engineer and the rest of the team had a really great idea of what they wanted already which made my job a lot easier. So we would go over individual lines and what they meant and I would just give a couple takes of each that were my interpretation of that. And we would go back and forth until we got something we were happy with. But yes, the director was always in the room and the guidance was top notch. I felt incredibly comfortable and free to play as well which is something you really appreciate as a voice actor.
Taylor: What's next for Mirage? Do you know if you'll be reprising him in the follow-up series to Siege?
Shawn: What’s next?! Well I’ve got some things on the plate. I don’t know what I’m allowed to say but I believe you’ll be seeing more Mirage in the near future! I am so stoked for the next two seasons to air and to celebrate with the fans. Other than that I’ve got a few smaller projects in the works and I’m also launching a Youtube channel for the Transformers fans and community. I’m incredibly excited to share that with you all. Be sure to check me out on Instagram @shawn_hawkins for when that drops and more cool Mirage stuff!
Taylor: What's next for you professionally?
Shawn: Professionally, I’m going to take a nice vacation haha. We have planned to go visit some family in Sedona Arizona here in October to just relax and reconnect. I keep myself pretty busy all the time so remembering to relax is important for me. But lots of cool things. I’m working on that Youtube channel and I also oversee a couple small businesses as well as audition regularly here in LA. There are a few films and shows on the horizon so I will have to keep you all posted! Thank you guys so much for having me and keep up the awesome work you’re doing at Seibertron! Such a pleasure to chat with you and connect with the fans.
And as for keeping connected with fans, Shawn has some exciting news for you, Seibertronians!
We wanted to do a special GIVEAWAY with everyone who keeps up with Seibertron. I will be giving away a signed Mirage figure from the WFC Netflix series to one lucky winner. If you’d like a shot at winning this you just have to follow Seiberton (Instagram @seibertroncom) and go over and give a follow to @shawn_hawkins. After you follow me, shoot me a DM with the word SEIBERTRON! So stoked to get to meet you guys and good luck with the giveaway! We will run this for two weeks from the date of posting. Much love to you all and thanks for letting me be a part of your world! )
Many thanks to Shawn for your time and talent, and willingness to share with us some fun insights into the world of a Transformers voice actor!
The Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Siege series is being well recieved by many fans and critics but you may be curious as to what some of the most prominant Optimus Prime voice actors had to say about it.
Firstly we have Garry Chalk, who was the voice of Optimus Primal in Beast wars and the voice of Optimus Prime in the Unicron Trilogy. Here is what he stated on Facebook:
"Ok I watched the first episode of the new Transformers on Netflix .....um...
Everyone tries to sound like a tough guy and as a result they all have the same pace and delivery. Visually it's pretty good but I am sorry the voices were kind of low energy."
And then we have Peter Cullen who was asked how he felt about other people doing Optimus Prime back in March (when conventions were still a thing that happened). He specifically mentions the Netflix series when mentioning that it hurts that he isn't the one doing Optimus Prime and that it is wrong for the production to be using non union talent in order to cut costs. You can tell he cares deeply for the character he voices and his legacy. Now, while it may seem like he is speaking ill of other voice actors or of the idea of others being Prime, his emotional responses are really towards the producers who are using cost cutting tactics that may hurt actors' wellfare in general. Frank Welker, the voice of G1 Megatron, also shares how wrong he feels it is for others to be hired when the known voice actors are available and willing to work.
Thanks to Seibertronian DecepticonFinishline, we have some big news regarding the Transformers brand's management. John Warden, the Transformers brand Design Manager since 2014, has now moved on to another Hasbro property. According to the Twitter account @PwrRngrSite, Warden has moved to the Power Rangers and Ghostbusters brand.
John Warden (former Design Manager, Transformers 2014-2020) is now the Global Design Lead for #PowerRangers (and Ghostbusters). If you held a Transformer in your hand in the last 6 years, chances are John had a part in its creation.
Click on the photo above to be taken to the Tweet.
It's unknown at this time who his replacement will be, but he's certainly overseen the design for some very well received lines (Siege, Earthrise, Prime Wars Trilogy), not to mention the biggest Transformer to reach production, Unicron!
How do you feel about this news? Please feel free to speculate about his successor, his influence, and what you think below!
One of the most influential comic book writers, Denny O'Neil, has passed away. While most sites refer to his work on Batman, which was phenomenal and shaped the character into how we know and love him today, he holds a special place in the Transformers fandom as well. He left DC to become an editor at Marvel in 1980 when Jim Shooter stepped to save the company. Under his guiding hand we got gems like the Frank Miller Daredevil run.
It was during this time that Hasbro approached Marvel to write the fiction for the Transformers brand. While it was ultimately Jim Shooter and Bob Budiansky who developed most of it, the initial treatment was by Denny O'Neil and one of the things kept from it was the name of the leader of the good guys, Optimus Prime. Other characters you may know that he created are Green Lantern John Stewart and Ra's Al-Ghul. He died at 81 years old, may he rest in peace.
News on the comics front was a bit slow due to IDW and other big publishers choosing to postpone their release of new comics during part of the pandemic. Well, we got a lot of news all at once and some of it is pandemic related and quite sad. Quite a bit of the senior staff at IDW who were furloughed initially have now been laid off. This includes Managing Editor Denton Tipton, Associate Publisher David Hedgecock, Senior Graphic Artist Gilberto Lazcano, Senior Graphic Designer Christa Miesner and Brand & Marketing Manager Spencer Reeve.
On the Transformers side of things, we have some new art with Freddie Williams II's retail incentive cover for Transformers vs. The Terminator 4. You can see it below. It will be coming out June 24th. And you can discuss about that series here.
Last but most certainly not least, we have Simon Furman discussing the first 4 pages of the upcoming Transformers '84: Secrets & Lies. This is set before Marvel's first issue of Transformers, and we have a nice shot of Jetfire working alongside his Decepticon brethren. The article comes to us from SYFY. This book is coming out in July and you can discuss that series here
“The attack on Stanix is also referenced by Optimus Prime in Transformers ’84 #0, dovetailing the narratives somewhat. Ratbat made his U.S. comic book debut in TF US #27, which established his role (on Cybertron) as the Decepticons’ fuel auditor, and here he plays a bigger role in the unfolding events. By the way, Shockwave’s solution (on the following pages) provides another key twist to established/formative events in Transformers (Marvel) #1.”
We bring you some somber news now from Japan where prolific voice actor Keiji Fujiwara passed away on Sunday 12th April after a fight with cancer. He was 55. His agency announced his passing today. While he worked on numerous anime over the years including Mae Hughes in the Full Metal Alchemist series, Reno in both the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children movie and the recently released Final Fantasy VII Remake game, he has also starred in many Transformers series over the years.
In the Japanese dub of Beast Wars, he played the role of Dinobot. In Transformers Armada, he gave Scavenger his voice. In Transformers Animated, he dubbed Grimlock. In Transformers Prime and in Q Transformers, he gave Megatron his vocals.
We have sad news to bring to you on this Wednesday evening: David Wise, who wrote many of the Generation 1 cartoon episodes, has passed away. He died following a long battle with lung cancer, and passed away peacefully surrounded by family. The original news was written on his Twitter account by a family member.
David Wise was heavily involved with the original cartoon, and wrote more episodes than any other member of the show's staff. The episodes that he wrote included:
"Attack of the Autobots"
"Day of the Machines"
"The Secret of Omega Supreme"
"The Girl Who Loved Powerglide"
"The Key to Vector Sigma, Part 1"
"The Key to Vector Sigma, Part 2"
"The Rebirth, Part 1"
"The Rebirth, Part 2"
"The Rebirth, Part 3"
We remember David Wise this evening as a great writer and a huge contributor to the Transformers cartoon and the fandom. He will be greatly missed.
After a tough battle with lung cancer, David Wise passed away peacefully at home last night surrounded by family. Please feel free to tag this account to express your condolences. All are welcome here, just as they were in David's life: friend, family, peer, fan, all of you.
We had a whole fanfare of upcoming movie news for a while until everyone was burnt out of the unreliable nature of the news (even though it was coming from the producer) to the point that most movie news sites chose to just stop reporting anything unless there was something truly concrete. Well, we actually have some concrete news now. We learn through Variety that two script writers are currently writing two different scripts that are meant to become the next Transformers films in the franchise. Variety states that these two films are in active development. One of the scripts is written by Joby Harold who wrote the Guy Ritchie King Arthur film, and who also wrote the script for the DCEU Flash film Warner Bros has yet to deliver. The other script is written by James Vanderbilt whose most recent films are the Adam Sandler Netflix movie Murder Mystery, The Meg and Independence Day Resurgence.
Thanks to a post on their Twitter page, we have word that the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences has announced this years Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Award is going to none other than our very own Peter Cullen, the longtime voice of Legendary Autobot Commander Optimus Prime!
The 6th annual Voice Arts Awards are scheduled this year for Sunday, November 17, 2019 at the Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California. The Voice Arts Awards celebrates the voice actors who have made up our favorite TV shows, movies, video games, and other types of media. Awards winners include voice actors themselves, agents, creative directors, authors, and more. The Lifetime Achievement is an award dedicated to special people who have dedicated their lives to giving us the gift of their voice and their vision.
Peter Cullen is well known in the Transformers community for his voicing of Legendary Commander Optimus Prime in both the Generation 1 cartoon, the Live Action movies, Transformers Prime, and Transformers Robots in Disguise. He has also provided the voice to other famous fictional characters such as Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh), K.A.R.R. (Knight Rider), the Predator (Predator), and many many more.
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