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Interview with Transformers: The Last Knight Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura: Dinobots, Villains, Bumblebee, Spoilers

Transformers News: Interview with Transformers: The Last Knight Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura: Dinobots, Villains, Bumblebee, Spoilers
Date: Thursday, December 29th 2016 12:48pm CST
Categories: Live Action Movie News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Collider

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Via entertainment website Collider, we have a new interview with film producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, which touches upon plot points of the upcoming Paramount live-action movie Transformers: The Last Knight. There are some definite spoilers about the plot, among some pointers about names, more names involved in the future Bumblebee spin-off movie, and so steer away

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.

Harry Orenstein Interview on Life, Music and Bringing the Transformers to the US

Transformers News: Harry Orenstein Interview on Life, Music and Bringing the Transformers to the US
Date: Saturday, December 24th 2016 1:40pm CST
Categories: People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Newsweek

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In a recent issue of Newsweek, the magazine featured an interview with Harry Orenstein - a Holocaust survivor and a the man practically single-handedly responsible for bringing the Transformers to the US way back when. Check out the whole piece in the magazine here, or read some relevant snippets from the interview below!

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.

Interview with John Barber and Kei Zama on IDW Optimus Prime Series

Transformers News: Interview with John Barber and Kei Zama on IDW Optimus Prime Series
Date: Tuesday, December 13th 2016 1:53pm CST
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Comicosity

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From comics and entertainment site Comicosity, we have another interview with creators John Barber and Kei Zama about their upcoming (i.e. tomorrow) first book together: Optimus Prime #1! Part of the post-Revolution phase in the IDWverse, Reconstruction, you can find out more about the book below and here, check out the full preview here, and read our review once the book is released.

AL: Based on the cover I can assume Optimus won’t be alone in this series. Can you discuss who will be working with and/or against him in the series?

JB: There’s a big supporting cast. He’s still got a team on Earth—Soundwave is at his side, and we really see what’s going on psychologically betweem them in issue 3. Optimus blackmailed Soundwave to join him back before Revolution, but Soundwave has essentially come over to Optimus’ side pretty completely. How strong the bond is, how deep the trust between Autobot and Decepticon can be, is a big question. There’s a flashback story going on through the first six issues that goes back to Pre-War Cybertron, and we see how Soundwave and Optimus (then called Orion Pax) first met… and how deep the trust and mistrust goes.

Arcee is on Optimus’ side, but she’s a little wary of what he’s doing. She’s been around a long time, and she’s seen a lot of stuff happen, and is worried about Optimus overstepping the boundaries of right and wrong; but she’s really struggling to see if there is a real boundary between those things.

Pyra Magna, who leads the team that combines into Victorion, is becoming more hostile toward Optimus—and really, with good reason. She’s a strong believer in the Primes, and in the meaning of the Matrix of Leadership, which Optimus holds but doesn’t believe is a holy object. Pyra thinks she should have the Matrix, and is disturbed by Optimus’ attitude toward it.

Plus we’ve got some other favorites, Aileron (who’s a new character we introduced in the Transformers series and who had a key role in Revolution), Jetfire, Sky Lynx, Jazz. And a new G.I. Joe team featuring some surprising characters will be on-scene in the first story. Plus, Thundercracker and his dog Buster are still out there somewhere.

One of the big new additions, though, are the Colonist Soldiers—these are Transformers from Cybertron’s colony worlds who are fiercely loyal to Optimus Prime, who see him as a True Prime, a sort of space messiah figure. They’ll follow him anywhere… and Pyra Magna, in particular, is disturbed by that.

[..]

AL: Kei, you’re working with one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture with Optimus Prime. From a design perspective, can you discuss what elements of Prime’s look you are tweaking to make the design your own?

Kei Zama: I’m so honored to be able to draw him. At the same time, I’m feeling pressure to draw a character that’s everyone’s hero.

I’m always trying to draw him to look “heavy.”

In actuality he has big heavy metal body but on top of that he has struggled from pre-war to the current era and is now carrying the future of the Earth and universe—I don’t express him emotionally so much, but try to give just a glimpse of his hidden emotions and aggression.

And I try to draw him as a warrior. Not just with Optimus Prime, though—I usually add many scratches, bullet wounds, and rust on everyone’s body.

AL: Can you discuss the process of giving each Transformer a visual personality? Is it a challenge at times to infuse them with emotion considering facial limitations or vehicle modes, etc.?

KZ: I always think it’s difficult to express their emotions on their face, because head-parts or helmets often cover their features. Then I’m trying to express by gesture and lights/shadows/shadings, not only facial expressions.

I don’t think about alt-modes deeply. Instead of alt-mode, I try to add various personality on the robot mode. In Japan, a lot of robot characters are often drawn handsome or cool. I feel that’s boring, so I try to draw their appearance in various ways. For example, the colonists that entered in Optimus Prime #1 each have an individualistic design. There’s a cute boy, bad looking guy, tough girl, etc. Especially Gimlet, who’s my favorite!

John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing

Transformers News: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing
Date: Tuesday, December 6th 2016 3:37pm CST
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Previews World

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Lost Light is not the only new title coming out from IDW Publishing in the next weeks - as John Barber and Kei Zama join forces for the new Optimus Prime ongoing spinning out of Revolution! Previews World has an interview with ex-editor still-writer and continuity master Barber, which you can read in full here, and snippers are copied below. Optimus Prime as statesman and military leader..?

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.


Transformers News: John Barber on new IDW Optimus Prime Ongoing

Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Date: Thursday, December 1st 2016 11:21am CST
Categories: Game News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Gamespot

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Via fellow Seibertronian Mindmaster, we have some new information about the Kabam studios mobile MMO featuring our favourite Cybertronians - Transformers: Forged to Fight. Gaming website Gamespot has sourced an interview with both Kabam and Hasbro, which you can view in its entirety here, and some snippets offered below. Read up on the background of the upcoming game - which seems to blend classic Transformers elements with the movieverse - and join the conversation in the Energon Pub!

Developer Kabam and toy company Hasbro today announced Transformers: Forged to Fight, a mobile game based on the well-known franchise.

Described as a "high-definition, action-fighting role-playing game with strategy elements," Forged to Fight claims to offer trademark Transformers action. You will assemble an "ultimate" team of Transformers, including Autobots and Decepticons from across almost every era of the Transformers history, and then do battle. The game is set in a colorful 3D world, and battles take place in a number of varied and unique arenas. Click through the images in the gallery below to get a closer look.

The game is set in a "strange new world where multiple realities collide," which in turn creates a "massive planetary battlefield." So, you know, Transformers stuff. Some of the features include 1v1 battles, RPG elements described as being "deep," and base-rading. Some of the playable Transformers include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, and Grimlock. These characters can be leveled up through gameplay, unlocking more abilities over time.

Forged to Fight enters beta in some territories soon, and will be released widely across the world in Spring 2017. The game is in development at Kabam Vancouver, which is the studio that made Fast & Furious: Legacy and Marvel Contest of Champions.

[...]

The release teases a "unique" story that goes beyond purely good and evil--what more can you say on that front--and is this canon?

McCartney: We've worked closely with our partners at Hasbro to create the story of our game. In doing so we've ingested every classic cartoon, comic book, movie, that you can imagine. Our team has immersed ourselves in the Transformers Universe in order to understand each character’s unique personality and quirks. As the game begins Optimus Prime is returning to his home planet of Cybertron after many years of conflict on earth. During the course of his travels his ship encounters a strange anomaly in space and crash lands on a strange planet. Through the course of the game Optimus is attempting to unravel the mystery and escape the planet.

[...]

How much freedom are you afforded in the Transformers universe? It's obviously a massive, revered franchise--but I'm guessing you want to push things forward with your own unique voice, so to speak, as well.

McCartney: We work closely with our partners at Hasbro to ensure that we stay true to the franchise and lore established over the course of the last 30+ years. We also take the history of the Transformers franchise very seriously. For example, before we start work on a new character we have a bit of a classroom session for everyone working in that character. Our Transformers experts walk everyone through the history of the character and his / her personality traits. This gets everyone in the right mindset before starting work on a character. With regard to the story and character dialogue, Hasbro has been amazing. They give us the freedom to create our own vision and then feedback if something isn't true to lore, or if we're pushing something too far. For the most part this interaction has been minimal. We're excited about continuing work with Hasbro in the future and we have a lot of ideas we can't wait to collaborate on.


Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Transformers News: Kabam Mobile MMO Transformers: Forged to Fight Interview

Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence

Date: Monday, November 21st 2016 5:24am CST
Categories: Comic Book News, Site Articles, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Jack Lawrence, Va'al

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We return, once more, to the IDW ever-shifting stables and rosters of creatives, for another interview in the Seibertron.com folder of 'the minds behind the hands behind the robots' that we read and love and hate and hate to love and love to hate. This time round? It's an entirely new addition, for an entirely new title, riding the wave of an established story...

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


Readers, please welcome the co-artist on new title Transformers: Lost Light, the newly renamed brainchild of James Roberts and Alex Milne - Jack Lawrence!

Va'al - Jack, we are ever so grateful to have you find some time for us, with all the new workload you undoubtedly have! You are the latest victim collaborator of James Roberts after all... but, first things first: where does the Lawrence story begin? How did you first encounter Transformers?

Jack Lawrence - Right at the start. I want to say 1984 now of course, but I can't be sure whether it was end of '84 or early '85. My brother was into them first; the only ones available locally at first were the mini Autobots.



He got Bumblebee and Brawn, and not being interested in cars, I got a Skeletor to replace my broken one. Very soon after that I saw the TV show and it all snowballed from there!

Va'al - So you started from the toys, and went into the show - but it sounds like they didn't grab you immediately: do you remember what the actual turning point was for you? Was it a later toy? An episode, a comic issue, or magazine?

Jack - I remember the actual turning point exactly. It was a couple of weeks later, and we were on holiday here in the UK. My brother had Bumblebee and Brawn with him, and another kid here had Optimus Prime.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


I was still pretty unimpressed, until I saw the leaflet that came with Prime and there were the Decepticons. I'd had no idea they existed until that point. Megatron, Soundwave and the Seekers just grabbed me and the obsession began!

Va'al - Another one for the bad boys, huh? So the toys have caught young Jack's eye - which was one was your favourite as a kid? Are there any you still kind of miss or would go back to obtain if you could?

Jack - I was 100% Decepticon until the Prime TV series. That show changed the whole thing for me and I've defected to the Autobots (even got the symbol tattooed on my leg to prove it!). As far as the toys go, Soundwave was the one I wanted the most, but didn't actually get him until I bought a second hand one when I was 13 or 14. He was SO hard to find.

But it was the characters and their personalities that kept me hooked rather than the toys themselves. Back during G1, I inevitably tended to be disappointed when I got a new toy. They never seemed to live up to their box art or the Bio card. Powermaster Optimus Prime really stands out for that; the illustration of him on the back of the packaging made him look just absolutely incredible and I was so excited to get him for my birthday. Of course, we all know he's kind of a brick, and kid me was hugely disappointed with his two points of articulation!



So there aren't really any toys I want to go back and get. I tend to look ahead rather than to the past. I absolutely love what Hasbro are doing with the toys now. I'm on the lookout for Weirdwolf, sorry, Wolfwire, at the moment, and I do want a really good Ratchet. He's one of my favourites, but the only version I have is the Prime toy. None of the others have really done it for me. I'm hoping Hasbro will do a nice, chunky one soon.

Va'al - That's fascinating, I can see some of my own thoughts about toys in there, too! If the toys could leave you a little disappointed, then, when did the art and fiction love start? Was it all with the G1 cartoon back in the day, or did something later really stoke the fire (before we reach Prime, as you just said)?

Jack - It was always the bio cards that fired my imagination and kept my love for them going. The mottos alone often gave such incredible insights to these complicated characters. I loved the show, but it was hard to catch over here, so I had all the videos they released and watched them over and over. The Movie still stands as one of my favourite films; I just love it.

I got the Marvel UK comic every week from about issue 23 I think, until it ended. It kept my interest because it was Transformers, but again, it never really lived up to the seeds that were planted in those bio cards. It actually wasn't until the entire Prime universe that it finally clicked into what it had always been in my head. The two video games and the TV series are absolutely perfect as far as I'm concerned.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


As a matter of fact, Transformers did lose me in 2009 after Revenge of the Fallen. I did not enjoy the film, and the toys for that and the main line left me cold. The whole landscape of Transformers seemed to lack any of what I originally fell in love with. Not long after that decision, I started to see previews of Prime and a little fire reignited in me. Again, it was tough to catch over here, so as soon as the complete season DVD was released, I grabbed a copy and fell in love again.

Then, a couple of years later, MTMTE came out and was the book I'd always wanted to read, and the book I always knew James was capable of. It very quickly became my favourite comic; I actually stopped buying comics except that one because what was the point? It had everything I needed!

Va'al - So this is talking about the aesthetics and appeal that Transformers had and has on you - what about the interest in actually creating material (art, fiction, anything else), rather than just consuming it? When did that start?

Jack - Well, before I owned any of the toys, I was drawing them based on the photos in that first leaflet. I knew seriously that I wanted to be a comic artist from about the age of 12; Up until then it hadn't occurred to me that it was a job that I could aim for. At that point, it seemed only right that Transformers be one of the comics properties I was aiming to work on.

I got involved with TMUK, the UK-based fan club, in 1995 and started contributing to fanzines. I illustrated "Atonement", a Christmas Optimus Prime story written by James Roberts in 1997, and it's also how I met and became friends with Nick Roche all those years ago.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


I've been working as a pro creator since 2003, mainly on UK books. The pay is good, and I sort of fell into a comfortable, but unsatisfying rut. Once IDW got the TF license, I planned on getting some samples together, but work was plentiful and I just couldn't find the time. I worked on Skylanders with them last year and loved every second of it. I knew then that I had to at least try for Transformers. So towards the end of last year, I decided to gamble; stop taking jobs on, work through what I had, then put something together to show IDW. The gamble paid off and, though I can't quite believe it, I'm working on my favourite comic book!

Va'al - For someone working in the robot field for so long, that's actually the first time I've heard that version of the story! We've established that you've been following the fiction for really quite some time - but why become part of its creative team? What really drew you towards making Transformers comics?

Jack - I enjoy drawing them and I have a burning need to create, so I've never really analysed why I want to work on Transformers; I just do. I can tell you I was hesitant to go for it for a long time for two reasons. Firstly, I was nervous that working on something I love would somehow taint it and I was NOT prepared to lose my love for them, and secondly, I wasn't confident that I could do them justice. I started to find, for some reason, that I was getting Transformers commission requests at conventions and as that became more common I realised that not only was it increasing my love for them, I was making people happy with what I was doing. People keep telling me I'm overly critical of my own work and that was obviously what I'd been doing.

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


The real turning point came when I'd become frustrated and dissatisfied with the stuff I was working on because it all seemed to lack emotional depth. I'm an emotional person, and respond to highly emotive storylines, passionate characters. James has brought a level of that to MTMTE that I rarely see in other comics and I just thought, "That. That's what I want." I'm honestly enjoying my job now more than I have at any time over the last 13 years.

Va'al - That's heartening to hear, as the More Than Meets The Eye fandom has been very vocal in both its appreciation and criticisms of the series! How does it feel to join the ranks alongside Alex Milne? Do the two of you cross paths at all?

Jack - So far, Alex and I haven't really crossed paths at all, other than some brief greetings on Twitter. I've been a fan of his work since the Dreamwave days though, and just love his MTMTE work. Love it.

I'm most excited to be playing in the same sandbox as James and Nick though; we've all known one another for so long, created stuff together as fans. I've rabidly consumed everything they've done at IDW and now the three of us have just been invited to a signing together in Manchester this December. It's really exciting.

Va'al - Yes! You're all TMUK alumni too, right? How are you finding working with James Roberts' scripts, now that you get to not only read them, but materialise them? Do you have any input in the creative process?

Jack - Before I got the script to issue 1, I had people warning me about the length of James's scripts and I had to really hold back from saying, "Look, I've worked in comics since 2003. I've worked to countless scripts; long, short, good, bad. Sometimes terrible! MTMTE, to me, has been the best comic on the shelves since day 1, bar none. Maybe, just MAYBE, part of that can be attributed to James's scripts?"

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


Nevertheless, I was prepared to settle in for a day and wade through a potentially unwieldy script. That's not the case at all. What I sat down to was 45 minutes of pure entertainment that I couldn't wait to get drawing and I told him as much as soon as I'd finished. And again, working on Lost Light is the most fun I've had in my career to date.

As for input in the creative process, I'm not interested in co-scripting with him; I am a writer, but in this I want to leave James to do what he does. The stuff I'm most interested in exploring creatively is body language and character work. In that I'm given tons of creative freedom.

Va'al - That last part is also very good to hear, but now I'm curious: how do you approach those elements? Do you use references (toys or models or other), do you do rough layouts and drafts, do you jot it all down and go back to it? And, I suppose relatedly, are you a digital or paper kind of artist when it comes to comics pages?

Jack - Usually, when I'm working on a toy line-based property, I buy all the toys and have them constantly at hand for reference. That's how I did it when I was working on Skylanders. But with Lost Light, the character designs are too far removed from the toys, so you can't really do that. I used Alex's designs as reference, kind of finding my own voice in them while keeping continuity with what came before in MTMTE. We'll find out if I was successful in December!

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence


In terms of the process, I do thumbnail layouts which I scan and print out in blue line, then pencil over them. Then I scan the pencils and print those out in blue line and ink them. And yeah, always paper and ink! I love the physical relationship between artist and materials too much to ever go fully digital.

Va'al - That sounds like a very long, and careful process, actually - must come in handy for shows and events where paper sketching is only option available though. I'm curious about your work though: in building your own voice, do you look at any other artistic influence, in robot-designs or anything else in the comics or art world at large?

Jack - My influences for Transformers come mainly from the old box art, back during G1. But it's more an ingrained sort of thing, rather than constantly using it as reference now. As for my comics style, I'm pretty much set in my ways at this point. Besides, deadlines tend to necessitate a "get up and get on with it" attitude!

Transformers News: Seibertron.com Interviews Lost Light Artist Jack Lawrence
Autobots Assemble!


There are a few artists who have inspired or influenced me over the years; Ed McGuinness, Humberto Ramos, Ryan Ottley, Sean Galloway to name a few contemporary guys. John Romita Jr was THE guy who made me want to be a comic artist, so I have a deep love of clear, uncomplicated storytelling from him. I think, in some ways, my comic style is quite old-fashioned in terms of layout, etc. I like things to be clear. I did get a very simple piece of visual advice from Didier Crisse, ooh, about 10 years ago that I won't bore you with, but that echoes in my mind and I use every single day.

Va'al - I won't pry, but you have definitely piqued my curiosity even further... and I do think this is a good note to end on, actually! Is there anything you want to add to what we've discussed so far, any last words before we see your work in the comics next month?

Jack - No, I think we’ve covered just about everything. I don’t do blogs and stuff, but if you could add my Twitter account, that’d be great!

Va'al - In that case.. thank you for your time, Jack, and we'll see you soon aboard the Lost Light!

You can find Jack on Twitter, and can meet him and James Roberts at the Lost Light #1 signing in London, in December - more details on that event here.

We Have Achieved Something: An Interview!

Transformers: The Last Knight Isabela Moner on Filming with Michael Bay

Date: Sunday, November 13th 2016 10:20am CST
Categories: Live Action Movie News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): JustJaredJr

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Views: 33,166

Via JustJaredJr, we have a glimpse at an account from Transformers: The Last Knight cast member Isabela Moner, as shown in her interview in Girls' Life, of her experience filming with director Michael Bay, the rest of the cast, and her approach to the movie's demands. Check out the snippet below, and head to find the magazine if you want to read more!

Isabela Moner had quite the eventful first day on Transformers: The Last Knight!

Chatting with Girl’s Life mag, Isabela dished on the very first scene she shot for the upcoming flick.

Director Michael Bay greeted her with this: “Welcome! Today you’re going to put out a fire. Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher?”

Good thing she could!

“Michael lit this huge fire so I could practice, and kept shouting, ‘You have to get closer! Closer! You’re not in the shot yet!’” Isabela shares in the December/January issue. “All I could think was, ‘My face is going to melt off!’”

Another scene found Isabela sprinting while hauling three huge para-chute bags. “I grabbed them and I ran through the scene with all this wind blowing in my face and dust getting in my eyes and smoke and things on fire. When I finished it, it was just the most amazing feeling to know that I’d done it.”

Pick up Isabela‘s Girl’s Life cover on news stands on November 15th!

Transformers Design Team (RID, TR, Generations) Interview

Date: Sunday, November 13th 2016 10:14am CST
Categories: Toy News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): GeekDad.com

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Views: 24,576

Karen Walsh of GeekDad/Mom.com was able to have a fairly lengthy conversation with the current Hasbro Transformers designing team, from John Warden to Ben Montano, via Sean Carmine Isabella and Louis de Armas, and talked about a range of topics concerning was goes into the planning, designing and marketing of the current lines, their trends, and what the people behind the robots see of the toyline. You can check out some snippets below, or head here for the full read!

Throughout the interview, the team’s dedication to the characters and the stories was inspiring. To this team, products are more than the end result, they are a labor of love and a passion. Mr. Warden continued by telling me that his plan for the designs “depends on the toy line and where they start. My work on Generations might not be the same as for Titans Return. Although Generations and Titans Return are playing with characters from the late ’80s, these characters are really resonating with new and old fans, so we’re trying to keep in that universe. We want to look at the range of fans and at characters’ universal appeals. We have to choose characters based on not just popularity but also purpose into the line.” It’s this commitment to both the toys as an item as well as the stories within the Transformers universe that was ultimately inspiring.

[...]

Whether it’s the play pattern, the names, or the colors, the integration of these multiple factors matters. Sean Carmine Isabella shared, “we want it to good look, but the biggest challenge is to not put a barrier in the play patterns. Play pattern starts with the core audience, so we talk to the age range. We look at what TV shows they’re watching, what cartoons they’re watching. We want to see what’s speaking to kids today.” Ben Montano follows up by noting that the different age ranges “definitely complicates things. The duality [of both toy and consumer are] what makes us unique.” Mr. Carmine Isabella shared that the integrative approach matters because “it’s a back and forth process. We’ll think about the colors and if it doesn’t make sense with the story backroad then it’s not going to work. The kids need to be able to connect to it.”

Transformers: The Last Knight - Mark Wahlberg Interview, Mini-Dinobots, Surprises

Transformers News: Transformers: The Last Knight - Mark Wahlberg Interview, Mini-Dinobots, Surprises
Date: Thursday, September 29th 2016 12:01am CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Metro UK

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Views: 40,349

Via the UK branch of the Metro newspaper (or at least its online incarnation) we have a new interview with Transformers: The Last Knight cast member Mark Wahlberg, who plays the returning Cade Yeager, and drops hints as to what we might expect in the fifth Michael Bay movie with the Cybertronians - from the recent Nazi set dressing controversy to the rumoured mini-dinobots, to Anthony Hopkins' involvement. Check it out in the embedded clip below!

Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Mark admitted that by announcing there would be mini-dinobots in the upcoming sequel he had ‘already revealed too much’ but that fans should also expect ‘a few other surprises’.

The film currently has confirmed autobots, decepticons, mini-dinobots, King Arthur, Nazis – and Sir Anthony Hopkins.



Transformers 5: The Last Knight - Sir Anthony Hopkins Praises Michael Bay

Transformers News: Transformers 5: The Last Knight - Sir Anthony Hopkins Praises Michael Bay
Date: Sunday, September 25th 2016 10:13pm CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, People News, Digital Media News, Interviews
Posted by: Bronzewolf | Credit(s): Transformers Facebook

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Views: 30,065

Seibertronians, it looks like Sir Anthony Hopkins, legendary actor and member of the Transformers 5 cast, has released a statement praising Michael Bay and the Transformers filming experience. In a video posted on the Transformers 5 Facebook page (available embeddee below), he calls it

...one of the best experiences (he's) had on a film...since Speilberg

and

Directors like...Bay...just say "Let's do it". I love that, because I'm like that


Good words like these are crucial, as the production has been swamped in controversy recently, with the disputed choice of draping Nazi flags on the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Watch the video below and tell us in the comments what you think! What character is Hopkins playing? King Aurthur? Merlin? Winston Churchill? What do you think of his final comments about how he'll be back? what do you think he'll reveal?

And, as always, keep your optics tuned to Seibertron.com!

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