In between getting to see Bay work up close for the first time and watching tons of explosions and gunfire, I was able to participate in a group interview with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
During an extended conversation with one of the few people that’s been involved in all the Transformers movies besides Michael Bay, he revealed how The Last Knight came together, how the film explores the Transformers mythology, what’s different about this sequel, how they determine which characters to include, if they listen to the fans when making the films, future sequels, the status of the Bumblebee spinoff, if people need to have seen the first four installments to understand The Last Knight, how Grimlock plays a larger role, their relationship with Hasbro, and so much more. If you’re a fan of Transformers, I promise you’ll love this interview because it’s loaded with info. Check out what he had to say below.
Are there direct connections, though, that you would see to the Bumblebee spin-off of things in this movie? Does this set things up?
Di Bonaventura: Sometimes is the answer. It’s not always, because I think then it feels like you’re really trying to widget it all together, and it becomes a little too neat. But I think–I don’t think, I know–some of the things will have a very direct relationship. You’ll see some things in here that are laying a pipe. You won’t necessarily know that it’s laying a pipe for another movie, but it’s there.
So there’s probably, in a really meaningful way, two or three things in this movie that really have a meaningful aspect in terms of it, and then there’s a bunch of little things. But we’re not making this movie to set up the other movies. That’s what I’m trying to say. If you get too carried away with that, you stop thinking about this movie.
And this movie, the two lines of mythology in a sense give you freedom to go a lot of different places later on that may or may not directly relate to another movie, but it’s opening up the universe in a way that I think, in that way it’s probably the most provocative, in terms of the movie. It’s opening a really large universe of what Transformers is, and where they’ve come from, and how we relate to them, and how they relate to themselves.
I’m curious where you guys are at on the Bumblebee?
Di Bonaventura: It’s being written.
Can you say who the writers are?
Di Bonaventura: Christina Hodson is the writer.
Is there a plan–I think it has a release date, if I’m not mistaken.
Di Bonaventura: I think the Paramount release said ’18. I think it said 2018. I don’t know if they put an actual date, but I believe they–honestly, that release came out about 4 months ago, and all I’m trying to do is get it ready as soon as I can!
Is this one of these movies where–will people have to have seen the first four to enjoy this film?
Di Bonaventura: No, no. That’s another conscious thing. The opening of the film will introduce the sort of exploration of the mythology that we’re going to do. Therefore, it’s not necessary to have seen the films before, because it’s going to establish the–let’s call it the mystery of the movie, and the direction the movie is going to go in.
That was a very conscious attempt, because that’s the other thing you forget as a film maker. Not everybody–you kind of fell like everybody’s seen it, so they can come right along for the ride. So the opening sequence, which is probably–I don’t know, it’s been a while since I counted the pages, but I’ll say ten pages, sets the mystery of the movie, of this movie. If you’ve never seen another Transformers movie, you don’t need to.
Was that Grimlock being more in the film–was that a nod to fans that wanted to see more Dinobots, or more action with the Dinobots?
Di Bonaventura: I think everybody wanted to see more Dinobots, including ourselves, you know what I mean? We all were like god, we wish we could have found a way in that story to include them more. So that was one of the hopes/priorities going into this, was to try to find a way to bring them back into the stories?
So is it more than Grimlock, or mostly Grimlock?
Di Bonaventura: There’s a few others, but Grimlock is, to me–I like Grimlock the most, so that’s probably why I talk the most about it, you know? And I just saw a sequence, so that’s probably why it’s on the top of my head. He’s funny. He’s like a naughty dog in this movie. He’s really sheepish when he does something wrong. He’s a great character. He’s really–we’re bringing out a side of him that you’re going to like–you’re going to relate to.
If you’re introducing a new villain, is Galvatron/Megatron still around? Does he play any role in this?
Di Bonaventura: Yeah, Megatron for sure is around. I mean, are we talking about some of the ones that are…
Staffer: You can talk about some of the new ones.
Di Bonaventura: So if you go back in the mythology, how Transformers were actually created, where did it start, where did they go from being a sort of a slave-race to a sentient race–we’re delving into that aspect of the mythology, so the characters that are involved in there are Megatron before he’s Megatron, Optimus before he’s Optimus, the Librarian, the Quintessons, there’s a whole group of things that have to do with how, in a sense, the Transformers were birthed, and also with how they were divided. What brought up the division, and what were the jealousies involved.
So I think on that level, you’re going to deal with things that feel from a stakes level higher, because of the importance of the sort of thought, right? There’s still, of course, the threat to the world and that sort of threat we have, but I think that threat is amplified now, because you’re going to feel why certain aspects of our world, why we’ve been fighting in a sense.
Orenstein is now 93, and his wife, Carolyn Sue (Susie), is 72, but he is too busy having fun to sink placidly into his dotage. Three days a week, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., he hosts a high-stakes game of five-card stud in his Manhattan apartment with his poker buddies. “He calls ’em friends,” Susie says, grinning. “They’re sharks!”
Ken Oakes, Orenstein’s longtime driver, brings him a glass of water and a few cough drops. “I’ve been driving Henry for 24 years, since I retired from my regular job as a manager for Sears,” he says. “I managed the toy department there. When the Transformers came out, we used to talk about it.” That’s because Orenstein was the man who saw the potential for Transformers in America. They made him a very rich man. Again.
“Transformers, more than meets the eye!” Orenstein croons.
“He sings all the time,” Susie says. “He sings himself to sleep!”
Henry turned the small toy car over in his hands, gauging the weight of it. He’d spotted the thing in a showroom at the New York Toy Fair, on a shelf off to the side, so far away from the main display he assumed it had been discarded. He gently flipped the front doors open and nudged the backseat, and poof: The car transformed into a plane. He thought, This is the best idea I’ve seen in many years!
“He went into a trance,” recalls Susie, who was with him that day. “I didn’t know what he was talking about!”
It was the early 1980s; Topper had filed for bankruptcy in 1972 after the bank called back their loan (Susie calls it “the blemish on his career”), but Henry had remained in the business, pitching ideas to large toy companies. He always had an eye for the overlooked, so when he saw that car turn into a plane, he got the feeling he’d had many times before. “Ideas don’t come in little pieces. It’s in; it’s out. It’s there, or it’s not. It’s like a sparkle,” he says. “I was just an inventor. You needed a big company to do what I thought should be done: making real transformations from complex things to other complex things.”
That tiny car was manufactured by a Japanese toy company named Takara. “I knew the president,” Orenstein says. “I went to him and said, ‘I think this could be a great thing, building a bridge between Japanese ingenuity and American marketing.’” He then went to Hasbro, the toy giant behind G.I. Joe and My Little Pony, and became a matchmaker, pitching his vision for a line of transforming toys that went far beyond cars turning into planes. “Very definitely, Henry was the bridge in this one transaction with Takara,” says Alan Hassenfeld, former chairman and CEO of Hasbro. “Henry basically had a sense that Transformers was going to be something that would be transformational for the toy industry.… To be able to take a car and, with a little bit of dexterity, change it into another toy, that was something magical.”
“It was Henry who really saw the magic, the potential, that was inside all these different brands that Takara was presenting,” says Tom Warner, Senior Vice President of the Transformers franchise. “There’s a lot of toys out there, but it takes a very special individual to look at something, identify it, and say it will be a big hit in the U.S. ”
Henry didn’t style Bumblebee or create Optimus Prime’s backstory—teams of writers, designers and artists at Hasbro developed the ubiquitous Transformers we know today—but he was there first, the one who saw the promise. “Henry was absolutely the catalyst that made this happen,” Hassenfeld says.
Hasbro, working with Takara, created the Transformers in 1984, and since then those multifaceted robots have become one of the most successful action figure brands in history, touching all outposts of popular culture, from comic books and a popular theme song to numerous TV series, imitators (GoBots, anyone?) and a blockbuster movie franchise. In 2007, the first Transformers movie made over $700 million worldwide. Three more films followed. Hasbro says the Transformers franchise has brought in more than $10 billion since 2004.
Transmission ID: 00005
Operation: Two guest announcements?
The TFNation crew wish you all a Merry Christmas and, in celebration of this festive season, we have two announcements lined up. The first is to announce that one of our most popular guests will be returning for next year’s event.
JOHN-PAUL BOVE to attend TFNation 2017
Currently bringing colour to classic UK stories as part of Hachette’s Hachette Transformers: The Definitive Collection, John-Paul Bove is not only an extremely talented colourist and writer, but his positive and engaging approach to meeting members of the Transformers community represents much of what the TFNation team work towards…. So it’s no surprise that JP is the first returning guest we are pleased to announce!
John-Paul was the principle colourist for Transformers: ReGeneration One, including its’ stunning issue zero, Drift: Empire of Stone, several Bot Con comics and a host of cover colours for many other IDW transformer titles. Outside of Transformers, John-Paul’s work has graced subjects including G.I. Joe, Dr Who, Action Man and Judge Dredd.
As a writer he has lent his talents to the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as the Beast Wars BotCon 2016 story “Dawn of the Predacus. He has also written and coloured his own independent one-shot comic, UNEARTH - https://www.comixology.com/UnEarth/digital-comic/260925
If that news doesn’t leave you full of cheer this festive season, just image JP and Perez, sat in our convention, cooking up mischief….. good isn’t it?
Present no.2? Well that is the announcement of our first voice actor guest for TFNation 2017. Expect that gift to be flying your way, on 1st January.
Further transmissions to follow.
Where all are one
Your road to TFNation 2017 just got real.
This will be a longer and more detailed post than usual, because we have a lot of information to convey, and we want to do this as clearly as possible. Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more posts on this topic, to answer any questions that arise.
OVERVIEW: TFNATION 2017 TICKET RELEASE SCHEDULE
11th January 2017 – We will announce our updated ticket pricing for 2017.
18th January 2017 - We will announce prices of the TFNation allocation of Hilton hotel rooms, along with advice on booking your stay at the Hilton, or elsewhere.
1st February 2017 - We will release TFNation 2017 tickets for general sale. (Exact time to be confirmed nearer the date).
Applications for The Forge and for other events such as our Cosplay competition will be announced at a later date. Likewise, volunteer applications shall be dealt with later.
TICKET TYPES AND PRICES
After our first year, we have looked at our ticketing structure and made some adjustments, based on attendee feedback.
WEEKEND TICKETS will still afford access to the entire convention from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th August, with entry times to be confirmed. This includes access to the Saturday night event. A weekend ticket is the ONLY ticket which will grant you access to the Friday programme and the Saturday night event. Weekend tickets also give you earlier access to the trading hall on both SATURDAY and SUNDAY.
DAY TICKETS will be available from the first day of sales. This year we will be introducing a SATURDAY ticket as well as the SUNDAY ticket. Day tickets will allow you access to the hall and convention activities, with a delayed entry time (compared to the weekend ticket), on either SATURDAY or SUNDAY. They will NOT grant access to the Friday programme or the Saturday night event.
To clarify, FRIDAY is a non-trading day and we will NOT be releasing day tickets for this date. Access to Friday’s convention events will be for weekend ticket-holders only.
We will be expanding the age range for free child tickets, allowing more adults (the big kids) the chance to bring their families with them. Further details to follow.
Due to the impact of Brexit (many of our guests and suppliers are based overseas) as well as our desire to implement more ideas, we will be amending our adult ticket prices. As a fully registered UK company, we have to ensure we are run efficiently… but as members of the community ourselves, we’d rather let you know that there will be a price adjustment ahead of time.
USING THE TFNATION SITE TO BOOK TICKETS
This section is incredibly important, so please read it carefully.
IF YOU ARE NEW TO THE TFNATION SITE, you simply need to head over to www.tfnation.com on release day, to book your tickets. Once your payment is received, the website will automatically create an account for you, to make the process easier for you in the future.
IF YOU HAVE AN EXISTING PROFILE, please sign in and check your information is up to date BEFORE release day. If you cannot remember your password then there is an option to reset it.
PLEASE NOTE – everybody who booked a ticket to TFNation 2016 should already have a website profile. We strongly recommend that you go to the website NOW, to check that you know your log in details. If you have forgotten your log in, the TFNation Tech-Bots will have more opportunity to help you now, than if you wait until the date tickets go on sale, when our team will be incredibly busy.
The following issues were all experienced by attendees last year, in the months after booking tickets:
1) Signed up under a fake name (to preserve identity) and then forgot fake name meaning they could no longer access the website.
2) Booked ticket under a friend’s profile then forgot which friend or assumed they had booked themselves.
3) Used parental email (for security) and then forgot their details.
4) Changed email server due to house/job changes, but did not update TFNation with their new email address.
If you think any of these issues may apply to you, we advise you to try to log in as soon as possible.
Remember, if you cannot retrieve your log in details, the TFNation Tech-Bots can assist. We simply ask that you please do you best to minimise their workload, by checking BEFORE ticket release day. If you fail to check your details now, and then find you cannot log in on release day, you may well miss out on that all important hotel room.
Once an attendee has purchased their ticket, they will then be directed to a TFNation section of the Hilton’s booking website. We will explain this process (and hotel room prices) in more detail closer to the time.
We will also provide information on alternative accommodation as we expect the Hilton allocation to sell out very quickly.
GUESTS, EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Over the next 9 months, we will be rolling out more guests, including voice actors and other notable members of the Transformers community. Along with this, we will also be providing more information on the convention’s structure, as well as guides to travel and advice on how you can submit your own ideas for TFNation 2017.
PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced that its Board of Directors has agreed with the Company’s Chairman, President and CEO Brian Goldner to extend the term of his employment agreement another three years through 2020.
"Through the differentiated strategy he has set for Hasbro and the progressive organization he is building, Brian has been instrumental in transforming Hasbro from a traditional toy and game company to a global play and entertainment leader,” said Basil Anderson, the Company’s Lead Independent Director. “Brian has proven himself to be a strategic visionary and innovative leader and the Board of Directors is confident he is the right individual to lead Hasbro to new levels of success into the future.”
As the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hasbro, Inc., Mr. Goldner is responsible for bringing Hasbro’s brand blueprint strategy to life globally through innovative play experiences and engaging storytelling around Hasbro’s premier brands, and the development of long-term relationships with strategic partners. This includes the execution of brands across demographics and consumer touch points including entertainment, digital gaming, marketing and e-commerce, as well as the Company’s burgeoning consumer products business.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to further lead the evolution of this tremendous company and I look forward to building upon the progress and momentum we’ve developed so far,” said Mr. Goldner. “We are in the early stages of unlocking the potential of our brands and our partner brands, and together with our Board, our first-class management team, and our incredibly talented teams around the world, we will continue to create the world's best play experiences and drive enhanced shareholder value.”
Since joining the company in 2000, Mr. Goldner has held a series of leadership positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to being named CEO, he served as Hasbro’s Chief Operating Officer from 2006 to 2008.
Further details on Mr. Goldner’s contract extension may be found in the company's current report on Form 8-K filed today.
Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global play and entertainment company committed to Creating the World's Best Play Experiences. From toys and games to television, movies, digital gaming and consumer products, Hasbro offers a variety of ways for audiences to experience its iconic brands, including NERF, MY LITTLE PONY, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY, LITTLEST PET SHOP and MAGIC: THE GATHERING, as well as premier partner brands. The Company's Hasbro Studios and its film label, Allspark Pictures, are building its brands globally through great storytelling and content on all screens. Through its commitment to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to make the world a better place for children and their families. Learn more at www.hasbro.com, and follow us on Twitter (@Hasbro & @HasbroNews) and Instagram (@Hasbro).
In Prime, you have this unique lead with literally millions of years of history. Will you be digging into that?
We’ll definitely be digging into Optimus Prime’s past. The first arc has a parallel story set before the war — back when Optimus was Orion Pax, a police officer on Cybertron. It’s another view, on another world, in another time, of a lot of the same issues at play in the present day: the relationship of a protector to the protected, and how Optimus/Orion looks at his enemies. Back then, Cybertron was on a downward curve, historically speaking. Orion’s on the precipice of a four-million-year-long war that he winds up being an essential part of.
Optimus tends to have a crew around him. Will that be the case in here? Who can fans expect to see at his side?
Optimus still has a big crew with him. The real difference here is that Optimus’ actions are so big, the people around him can’t help but be pulled into the orbit of what he’s doing. Soundwave is still at his side, and Pyra Magna and the Torchbearers (who form Victorion) are there, but she’s not exactly standing at his side. Arcee is cautious toward him, but in a different way. And Aileron, who was a Colonist who sees Optimus as a space-messiah, has had her worldview shattered a bit. She sees Optimus is just a guy – a big, metal guy – dealing with things as best he can.
But then Optimus brings in a half-dozen new Colonists, all very eager to follow his every word. This decision doesn’t sit well with all of his crew, but it introduces some very obscure faces into the fold – characters like Oiler, Slide, Gimlet, Bump, Midnight Express, and Roulette. Don’t be worried if you don’t know them — nobody else on Optimus’ team knows them, either. But Aileron and Pyra are both colonists themselves, and seeing these hopeful ‘bots willing to lay down their lives for Optimus, right or wrong…well, they get a little uneasy with the situation.
How does bringing in a new artist like Kei change your approach to Optimus and these other characters?
When I thought about what a comic drawn by her would look like, it was like a whole new approach to the Transformers opened up. I mean, I’ve been writing these characters for a while, and I’m always super-excited to get to do this stuff, but the idea of Kei’s vision of the characters, of the way she’d draw G.I. Joe characters, and how she’d approach all this…it seemed like such an exciting idea.
Carlos Guzman, our editor, didn’t take too much convincing, and he brought in Josh Burcham to color and Josh has brought a very unique, very cool color palette. The book has an amazingly distinct look to it. It doesn’t feel like anything else out there, which is amazing.
IDW Publishing To Establish Satellite Office In Portland
VP of Marketing Dirk Wood To Spearhead Operations, Start New Imprint
San Diego, CA (December 8, 2016) – IDW Publishing is headed to Portland, Oregon! While the company’s main base of operations will remain in San Diego, IDW is officially branching out to the burgeoning comic book scene in Portland, establishing a beachhead for its new phase of development, headed up by VP of Marketing, Dirk Wood.
Wood will serve as Creative Director for Woodworks, a brand new imprint of IDW to be run out of the Portland office. Woodworks will consist primarily of a new line of books, anchored by a high-end, curated magazine, featuring contributions by, and conversations with, the most talented and diverse creators in the industry. While the primary focus will be comics, it will also have a dash of general entertainment and culture features; film, TV, art, music, history, and more. Further details will be unveiled in the coming weeks as this budding line continues to develop.
“This was born from a conversation that Ted Adams and I had,” said Wood, “We were talking about our similar taste in books, and some of the projects we’d like to see happen. This led to talk about the incredible comics scene that’s taking off in Portland, and how we should be a part of it. Suddenly, we realized that these two thoughts fit each other perfectly. To be able to start this new chapter of the company I love, and expand our reach into the hometown that I love, is an incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”
IDW Publisher and CEO Ted Adams adds, “Dirk and I are both Oregonians -- we even went to the same university in Southern Oregon -- and this new line will represent the independent streak that's part of the DNA of everyone born there. That independence will include not just the books and magazines we make but also in the way we get them into the hands of readers. As everyone who has met him knows, Dirk is a one-of-a-kind talent and I can't wait to get started on this new venture with him.”
In addition to this exciting endeavor, Wood will be staying on with IDW in an advisory role concerning Trade Shows and Marketing, particularly as it relates to the Direct Comic Market.
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IDW Media Holdings, Inc. (OTC:IDWM) is a fully integrated media company, which includes publishing, games, entertainment, and the San Diego Comic Art Gallery.
IDW Publishing’s comic book and graphic novel catalog includes some of the world’s most popular entertainment brands, including Transformers, My Little Pony, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, and Disney’s classic characters. At IDW’s core is its commitment to creator-owned comics including 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, Wormwood, Ragnarök, V-Wars, and Archangel by bestselling sci-fi author William Gibson.
IDW Publishing is also home to the acclaimed and award-winning imprints; Top Shelf, The Library of American Comics, Yoe! Books, and Artist Editions, showcasing the greatest original art ever published in American comic books.
IDW Games’ diverse line-up includes the international phenomenon Machi Koro, as well as hit licensed games such as X-Files, Back to the Future, The Godfather, and TMNT.
IDW Entertainment currently serves as the worldwide distributor of Wynonna Earp airing on the Syfy Channel in the U.S. and is producing BBC America’s Dirk Gently, based the best seller by Douglas Adams starring Elijah Wood and Sam Barnett, and Brooklyn Animal Control for USA Network.
John Barber: Not to give anything away, but as Revolution starts, Optimus is in a fairly antagonistic relationship with ... well, almost everybody. He’s come to Earth and said the whole planet is going to be part of Cybertron’s Council of World, without asking if the people of Earth wanted to be in it — or if the people of Cybertron wanted them. He’s doing this because he thinks he’s out of options to protect the Earth — he’s tried fighting evil Cybertronians, tried leaving the place alone. But bringing Earth into Cybertron’s fold is the only thing he hasn’t tried.
In Revolution this comes to a head: there’s a big, dangerous thing happening with Ore-13, which is a form of Energon that’s on Earth, and it looks to G.I. Joe like Optimus is behind it, so the threat becomes immediate. This isn’t a spoiler — Optimus is not behind the problem, and in the process of resolving the complex web of Revolution, alliances are formed and new relationships are established.
So...Optimus still has the goal of bringing Earth into the cosmic community of Cybertron. But who’s with him and who’s against him have shifted a bit.
Vince Brusio: How will Optimus’ origin be relayed in this new series? Is there room for the past? Or is the present too busy to spare time for reflection?
John Barber: The first arc goes full-steam-ahead into the present, but there’s a parallel story in pre-war Cybertron, when he was still Orion Pax, before he became Optimus Prime. It’s important for this series to see why Optimus is doing what he’s doing, what’s motivating his actions. He’s not just taking over, and he’s not just being decisive out of nowhere.
There’s a particular point in his life that we haven’t seen that’s really important to how he became Optimus Prime. He has some regrets — there was a war fought between him and Megatron, and that war lasted four million years and destroyed planets — including Cybertron, and very nearly Earth. And the ultimate goal of both sides was sort of the same — both sides were against an evil and corrupt system that had taken over Cybertron.
The first arc is called “New Cybertron,” so the war — and the events that led to it — weigh on Optimus’ every action.
Because Optimus made such a bold move in annexing Earth, the story was necessarily going to focus on him — or, at the very least, he becomes the axis on which the story pivots. There’s still a big supporting cast — Soundwave, Arcee, Jazz, Victorion, many others; plus the human contingent — but the shadow of Optimus’ actions is so big they can’t help but be pulled into his gravity. We’ll be seeing Optimus through their eyes.
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