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Fan Interview with Peter Cullen, Voice of Optimus Prime in Machinima Transformers: Titans Return

Transformers News: Fan Interview with Peter Cullen, Voice of Optimus Prime in Machinima Transformers: Titans Return
Date: Wednesday, November 15th 2017 5:34am CST
Categories: Cartoon News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Collider

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You should be aware by now that the second animated series from Hasbro and Machinima featuring the Transformers, Titans Return, is being released in the US on the go90 app platform - and surely soon to follow for non-US viewers by other means, like its predecessor Combiner Wars. Our review of the first episode can be read here, and a review of the second will be making its way to the front page later today, too.

With that covered, you may want some more behind the scenes material, and Collider is here to provide the content - namely, an interview conducted and coordinated via Twitter with the voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, returning to the franchise once more after the live-action movies and the animated shows Robots in Disguise and Rescue Bots. Check out some selected parts below, and read the whole piece here - which touches on a lot more than Titans Return, but always in a Peter Cullen and Optimus Prime shape!

It’s impossible to separate you from Optimus Prime, having voiced the character for over 30 years, but looking into the far-off future, what would make you step away from voicing Optimus?

Cullen: Yeah, well that’s been done before. I’ve already rehearsed that scene. [laughs] I’ve only done five movies since then, so it’s not like we’re talking, in terms of expansive years, since 1986, I’ve done a few games, Machinima, the second series now with them. Other than that, it’s been a very frugal way of making a living as Optimus Prime. What’s in store for him, I don’t know. But I’m not willing to give it up as long as it’s popular and people care for it. I would respect that part and continue on without much debate. But whether or he’s going to? I don’t know. I can’t speak for the multitude of people who are behind the steering wheel of this huge machine. If it all goes well, I’ll be doing it for years to come!

What was his reaction to being approached to play Optimus prime



Cullen: Elation, because I had waited a couple of weeks, which is not uncommon when you’re auditioning for a series and when they inform you that you have that role or that part. But more to the point, I had no idea who Optimus Prime was outside of the small audition that I did. In those days, back in the 80s, we were constantly doing cartoons, Frank Welker and I. We would meet at auditions sometimes or end up on a show and say, “Hey! You got a gig? So did I! That’s great!” That’s how we met by the way. Over the years, you try to add up all those feelings and say, “What actually happened?”

I remember the audition, I remember doing an impersonation of my brother who was a Marine, and heeding his advice, not to be an a-hole. Be real, don’t be Hollywood, that kind of thing. An audition that lasted perhaps a few minutes ended up changing my world, my life. That character has affected many different people’s lives in many different ways; I’m always overwhelmed by that, humbled by it, to tell you the truth.

[...]

What’s his favorite moment or scene as Optimus

Cullen: I would probably have least-favorite scenes. [laughs] I would include, the most important one, when I did the death scene. The other ones are doing all the screaming, yelling, blood-throat scenes; those are my least favorite. My most favorite scenes, which they don’t do enough, are when he’s written to express compassion and understanding. They never really want to express that level of Prime, which I thought was his most important, valuable trait.


Transformers News: Interview with Voice of Optimus Prime Peter Cullen on Machinima Transformers: Titans Return

Interview with IDW Editor David Hedgecock on First Strike, Transformers, Unicron, and More

Transformers News: Interview with IDW Editor David Hedgecock on First Strike, Transformers, Unicron, and More
Date: Tuesday, October 31st 2017 12:45pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): IGN

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Warning - The entirety of this story contains spoilers for First Strike.

This month saw the end of the Hasbro and IDW Publishing controlled crossover event First Strike, which pitted against each other every franchise part of the current Hasbro Universe - GI Joe, Transformers, Rom, Micronauts, MASK - and revealed in-story two new directions for the IDWverse hereafter: Unicron and Visionaries. We knew they were both coming, of course, given previous material about them both (see here and here), but now IGN also brings us an interview with editor David Hedgecock on the new status quo and the series springing from First Strike's aftermath: Transformers vs Visionaries, Scarlett's Strike Force, Rom & The Micronauts.

Noteworthy: some of the material covered in the interview, which you can read in full here, was already hinted at and talked around with the Twincast podcast episode 170, which you can find here. Go back and listen, then find some relevant snippets below!

IGN: Unicron is a character who’s been off the table for a pretty long time now, much to the chagrin of his fans. What made now the right time to finally put Unicron back into play? Did Unicron’s “appearance” in Transformers: The Last Knight play a role in that decision?

Hedgecock: We’ve talked about Unicron for a few years now. Its taken that long to get all the players and storylines onto the table in a way that made sense to use him. We’re (almost) there now, and I’m freaking out!

Unicron’s appearance in the movie is entirely unrelated. We knew he was coming in the comics long before we knew anything about the movie. However, there is always synergy with Hasbro’s strategic vision for the Transformers brand.

[...]

IGN: Unicron’s arrival obviously wasn't the only big development in First Strike #6. How will the fallout of this crossover impact the line going forward? What can readers expect from the new wave of Hasbro shared universe comic books?

Hedgecock: FIRST STRIKE was our chance to really explore what it meant for all these different properties to inhabit the same universe. Coming out of the event, the titles are all going to focus on their own stories for a while. The TRANSFORMERS titles in particular are going to focus on just TRANSFORMERS characters for a good, long time.

While we’ve created some interesting mash-ups for the new season of stories, those mash-ups in and of themselves are enough. In 2018, each book will be separate and distinct, and we won’t see much crossover.


Transformers News: Interview with IDW Editor David Hedgecock on First Strike, Transformers, Unicron, and More

Exclusive Interview with Transformers Animators from Sequence Group

Transformers News: Exclusive Interview with Transformers Animators from Sequence Group
Date: Monday, October 16th 2017 9:49pm CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Game News, Interviews
Posted by: william-james88 | Credit(s): The Sequence Group

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Seibertron.com had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive interview with The Sequence Group, a design and animation firm in Vancouver, who recently animated our favorite franchise, Transformers. Teaming up with Kabam, Sequence helped create cinematic trailers for the TRANSFORMERS: Forged to Fight mobile game. Through speaking to Sequence, we were able to gain better insight into the design of these digital 3D characters, not unlike the live action Transformers films. Due to the interview being conducted in a conversational manner, what you will find below is a description of was discussed, followed by two videos showing the step by step process of creating the cinematics for game studio Kabam.


A Love for Transformers

I was glad to hear how overjoyed the entire team was at the opportunity to dabble in the Transformers franchise. These are all people that grew up with the G1 cartoon and the toys, much like the Forged to Fight team, and they poured their heart and souls into the few minutes we have in the trailers.

Speaking of time, this was their main constraint. Sequence and Kabam initially had longer scenes in mind, especially of the characters emerging from the crash landing, but that had to be cut to make the trailer fit within the tight run time. For those curious about other "deleted scenes", Sequence was eager to show a view from inside the Ark as it crashes, rather than seeing it plummet through the atmosphere.


Level of Creativity in Cinematics Based on a Video Game

I was very curious as to what Sequence’s leeway was in terms of creativity, especially since we are talking about an animated trailer sequence based on a game, based on pre-existing characters and designs.

Ultimately, Kabam had already developed a thorough script and a character roster line up (with design cues for the characters to match up with their looks in Forged to Fight), along with prerecorded voice clips of Peter Cullen. There wasn't any leeway in how Optimus Prime appeared, but the rest was up to Sequence, with a little guidance from Kabam’s talented art department.

Working closely with the Art Direction team at Kabam, a huge range of visual elements had to be strategized for maximum impact; including camera angles, lighting effects, particle effects, basically everything in the way a shot is composed and presented.

The example given to me was Megatron's reveal. The script says when Megatron is revealed and his design was provided by Kabam (using his Revenge of the Fallen body), but it was up to Sequence to make this moment stand out as much as possible. Sequence added extra smoke effects, worked with lighting and established the environment to add a sense of foreboding to his reveal, and that of his Decepticon army. By combining creative concepts between Sequence and Kabam, the two companies found a quick but efficient way to establish who Decepticons are (the bad guys), even to someone who may not know these characters.

While the trailer is very quick, a lot of thought went into making each character feel unique, which is important in a fighting game with different classes and different characters that suit different play styles. Sequence aimed to have each main character walk and move in a particular way, for instance, with supervision from Kabam’s game developers.




Lighting and Challenges with Scale

I wondered if Sequence was given any specific directions. It turns out Kabam wanted to use lighting like in a car commercial, highlighting bot shapes to make the models look as good as possible, since many of these models reflect toys we already have. And that is what Sequence was going for, because as I learnt, having 3D models be simpler and smoother makes them lose a sense of scale. Light needs to bounce off of the material in order to make it look realistic to the human eye, so you have to add as many light sources as possible.

This lighting approach ends up working fine if your goal is an awesome toy commercial, which was the goal in this case, but then I realized the big challenges Michael Bay and company may have had with bringing these characters to life. The importance of lighting and its connection to realism was very revealing to me. I will admit, I do prefer a smoother, simpler look to my Transformers over the extremely busy designs in the Michael Bay films, but this helped me understand the choice behind it.

In animation of any kind, it is the studio artists who can control infinite light sources in fictional 3D space but once you mix in live action, the light sources have to be consistent with whatever else is seen on screen in order to keep the realism that both the CG and live action components of a shot are sharing in the same space. So since the light source is limited by the practical environment (for example, take the shot in the 4th movie where Lockdown hunts down Ratchet), the realism of the scale within the shot has to be compensated by the light bouncing off of as many bot faces and facets as possible, hence the very busy character designs. And in a less technical way of seeing it, it is harder to get a sense of scale with a smooth surface so adding a lot of detail, rivets and plating to any design of a robot helps you see and understand how big it is, even in closeups where there is nothing to compare its size to.

Transformers News: Exclusive Interview with Transformers Animators from Sequence Group


Challenges with Posing and Positioning

Lighting and complexity of design isn't the only challenge when it comes to animating Transformers. The thing is, as explained by The Sequence Group, Transformers don't usually have the same proportions as humans. When keeping the more blocky character designs, which they do in this case, the action can be obscured by a bot's chunky features so it's all about positioning and layout. Since the characters are blocky, certain poses will result in the viewer having a hard time understanding the intended action.

Sequence pointed toward a shot of Bludgeon entering the scene. They wanted to capture the most dynamic angle possible as his sword dropped down. After much discussion, Kabam and Sequence decided on having the camera fall under him and off center, so the audience could see as much of his pose as possible. This is very different than having two humans fighting with swords, I was told, where several clean and readable angles are possible.

This also gives me another tip regarding recent choices in the Michael Bay films where the robots have gotten much closer to human proportions starting in Age of Extinction with Optimus Prime, Lockdown, Crosshairs and Drift (followed by all those knights in The Last Knight). Perhaps their solution to having clearer action scenes was to make the bot character models more humanoid than ever before in the franchise, instead of limiting possible camera angles.


Difference between Trailer and Game Graphics and Trailer Breakdowns

From a technical aspect, I was curious as to how these trailers differed from cinematics in the game itself. For instance, why couldn't the game's engine be used for trailer cinematics? As it turns out, the difference lies in the amount of light-sources available and the overall quality. If graphics were all in engine (rather than pre-rendered), you wouldn't be able to run the game.

Now here are two videos showing the breakdown of two trailers. You will see how it starts with an illustrated 2D storyboard, then transforms into rough 3D models, and then rendered models, followed by all the environmental effects.





Special thanks to founder and Creative Director Ian Kirby and Executive producer Dan Sioui for the interview as well as Georgia at Grammatik PR for helping this interview happen and connecting us with The Sequence Group.

Vague Details on Transformers Universe: Bumblebee and Wider Cinematic Universe

Transformers News: Vague Details on Transformers Universe: Bumblebee and Wider Cinematic Universe
Date: Wednesday, October 4th 2017 1:21pm CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, Toy News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): LTW

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We have some more news concerning both the wider cinematic universe after The Last Knight, not much more on Transformers Universe: Bumblebee, and the company's approach to licensing, courtesy of a very business-y interview with Katherine Buckland, Senior Director Of Consumer Products at Hasbro, found in the Licensing Today Worldwide issue accompanying the Brand Licensing Expo 2017. Do not expect too much, but the emerging details have been transcribed below.

One of the bigger news stories coming out of the Hasbro stable is the big screen movie release of My Little Pony in October 2017 and the Bumblebee movie in 2018. Tell us more.

KB: [...] Next December, Bumblebee will hit theaters from Academy Award nominated director Travis Knight and will star Academy Award-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena to offer fans a rich storyline surrounding fan favorite Autobot Bumblebee.

[...]

Let's move on to Transformers - Hasbro has really created a Transformers Cinematic Universe here. With each new film, what approach does the team make to its licensing programme?

KB: Hasbro takes a pragmatic approach when developing product ranges for upcoming films. From the start, we pay specific attention to detail to ensure the characters and storylines fans see on the screen translate into products people see on the shelves. The product needs to deliver a level of innovation that’s more than meets the eye [geddit?]. Consumers and fans expect that from us. The robust Transformers entertainment offering - which spans television, gaming, and full length features - lends itself to products, and we’ve enjoyed finding like-minded partners to grow the brand and its consumer product portfolio.

Talk us through the next steps in the movie franchise for Transformers.

KB: We still have several action-packed years coming up for the Transformers brand. Beginning this year, there will be a movie every year for the next three years, helping fans connect with the brand and its characters like never before. With Michael Bay at the helm, Transformers: The Last Knight – the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise – hit theaters in June 2017, and featured leading actors like Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Isabela Moner and Josh Duhamel. For December 2018, Hasbro is working on a film centered on the never-before-heard story of Bumblebee, and in June 2019 Hasbro will unveil an entirely new exciting storyline for the beloved brand.

Do Hasbro ever find themselves at a crossroads with brands such as Transformers? How do you ensure you are catering for all aspects of your fan base that spans such a wide range?

KB: Hasbro is always innovating for the new generation of kids while ensuring that it maintains the brand promise to fans. We like to say that Hasbro is always at a point of departure with the key franchise brands, so it's constantly evolving to reach new fans in unique ways across multiple entertainment and product categories. [...] Legendary fashion house Moschino featured Transformers in a collection available globally now. Inspired by the original Transformers look from the 1980s, the line is kept up to date with a vibrant gender neutral palette, action packed graphics and stylish silhouettes across men’s, women’s and kids’ apparel and accessories.


Transformers News: Vague Details on Transformers Universe: Bumblebee and Wider Cinematic Universe

Seibertron.com interviews Hasbro's Transformers Brand Team at #HASCON 2017

Transformers News: Seibertron.com interviews Hasbro's Transformers Brand Team at #HASCON 2017
Date: Thursday, September 14th 2017 2:40pm CDT
Categories: Toy News, Event News, Interviews
Posted by: william-james88

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Seibertron.com was able to speak with Ben Montano (Head of the Transformers Brand) and John Warden (Transformers Design Manager) from Hasbro's Transformers brand team at HASCON. Below is a transcript of the interview. The interview was done by our very own Megatronus and it includes Hasbro staff using "CHUG" as an actual term and them speaking of Machinima as a source of inspiration for their continued stories within the brand, among other neat tidbits. A video of this same interview can be found below for the full experiences and line dissection, enjoy!



Megatronus: A few years ago you guys released news of a design bible, or the brand bible I should say, that kind of guides the entire Transformers Universe. And I know you guys have a very long road map, so can you tell us about any changes that have been made in this brand bible recently or any other content in that repository that you are thinking of using for the road map 3 to 5 years out?

Ben: There's things, there's characters designs, there's stories, continuity that we have mapped out in this bible, but it is an ever living document. There are certain constants that will be there; like certain characters, what they stand for and their roles they play as they get introduced into content. But 100%, as we look into the Bumblebee film, there's new additions to that, and twists to that, that will have a ripple effect on the brand and we are fortunate enough to be part of those and those ripples in our continuity. Some of the fun is we give creative license to Machinima and the great writers there and on the new and upcoming Cyberverse series that we want to bring freshness to the story so we want to bring freshness to the story so we create the canon but the canon flexes and constricts when it's needed but the constants are there and John is one of the stewards as we go forward.

John: Yah, trying to align the continuity as much as we can in a natural feeling way has always been a challenge on Transformers going way back even before my tenure on the brand. It's kind of a rolling stone and as new toys come out and as the spotlight shifts, we adjust accordingly. And honestly, the brand does too as it's affected by pop-culture and things in the world.

Ben: And the fans are helping us write this book too, like with the fan polls.

Megatronus: When can we expect the next fan vote and can we expect anything to happen with the runner-ups to those fan-votes like Omega Supreme, Scorponok, Deathsaurus, etc?

John: Oh, absolutely. I mean, as you guys have witnessed with a lot of the previous fan-votes, I think it's an opportunity for us to kind of just get a consensus from the fan community. Honestly, it's too early at this time to speak in any kind of definites, but we reach out to the fan community, it's a great opportunity to gauge the excitement level. Also kind of test out, you know, is Beast Wars becoming more popular? Like when we put Deathsaurus and Star Saber in a fan-poll, for example, it was actually an opportunity for us to understand the depth of exposure that people had to the Japanese Headmaster series. Like, is that too deep or as it turns out a lot of people know about Deathsaurus and are asking about it. So a lot of times I say "stay tuned", but in this case really we've got some things on the horizon that will make fans happy.

Megatronus: So you're saying we can definitely expect another one in the future sometime soon?

John: Yah, I think we can safely say that.

Ben: For sure. When? To be seen. But yah.

John: Can't say which one or ones.

Megatronus: We can't probe too deeply here, we can just give crumbs and hope for more. After you exhaust the nostalgic G1 type gimmicks, I mean we're getting to Pretenders even, how do you see the brand moving forward? Do you think that we will be looking at brand new concepts and new characters, adding them to the fold in the vein of Windblade, or do you think that you might integrate other Transformers continuities like Unicron Trilogy, Animated or RID, into the Generations line?

Ben: Can we say all of the above?

John: No absolutely, all of the above. And, you know, one of the things is too if you think of the CHUG characters and things like that, its possible to go back and do figures of again and again and again. Once you get removed from Combiner Wars, you could hypothetically do Combiners again in a couple of years. It's about how do you bring that innovation and freshness back while not corrupting the original intent or awesomeness of the character in the first place. I think we've really tried our best to take the essence of the what made the characters cool in the first place and add detail, add articulation, and take the spirit of somebody like Skullcruncher or Highbrow, and do the ultimate version of it. I think as we look to the future, there's a lot more that we haven't even thought about, a lot of awesome anniversaries on the horizon and things like that, so I think fans can rest assure that even though the Prime Wars Trilogy is coming to an end, there's lots of awesome stuff on the horizon.

Megatronus: That's good to hear. Speaking of Prime Wars and Power of the Primes, you mentioned Combiners, can you tell us what inspired you guys to come back to the Combiners concept after Titans Return?

John: Honestly, it's you guys, it's fans. It's coming to events like this, we talk to fans, we listen, we read online, and we just have to kind of always be cognizant of what people are talking about and thinking about. We heard loud and clear that fans wanted the Dinobots, and we wanted to take it to the next level and make it a Combiner. We've heard loud and clear that fans want Terrorcons and things like that and there's lots of things that we're listening to and even Pretenders, we heard, Pretends are on the horizon. There's things out there that fans want. We're always listening and kind of being aware of it, and what the future holds we can't really say but know that there's always excitement to kind of bring back things so if fans of Titans Return are like "Oh man, I didn't get my Apeface or somebody that I really wanted" don't feel like it's the end-all-be-all at the end because as stewards of the toy franchise we are able to weave these things in where they make sense.

Megatronus: So I know there are a couple of people very high up at Seibertron.com that are quite obsessed with Pretenders, so I'm glad to see that some of them are here.

John: Oh, really? [Laughs]

Megatronus: In Power of the Primes, you have both combiners and Titan Masters present so those are both very independent stand-alone concepts. So what kind of play patterns are you looking to inspire by having them included in a single line?

John: [Laughs] Well, Ben and I, early on, when we were talking about this thing, it's kind of like the last act at a really awesome rock-and-roll show so you've got like the first band comes on stage they do an awesome job and the second band, maybe a different music style ...

Ben: Maybe acoustic.

John: Yah, and then in that final act, it's both of those guys with an encore, they come on stage together. In Power of the Primes, we've got Primes Masters which are the physical embodiment of the Power of the Primes, some of them deceased, some of them missing in action, but it's the power and essence that they carry. So in a sense, those guys still fit backwards compatible with Titans Return. We also wanted to bring to life all of those great things or tidbits with Combiners. There's lots of cool things that we can still do, that we can still explore, so if you combine those two things together, I think it's a great final act and it's a great final act in our rock show which is the Prime Wars Trilogy.

Ben: Right, I think a lot of what inspired and motivated us too, to be honest with you, was Machinima and their writers there in the storytelling too, when we really started Combiner Wars, it was totally rooted in G1 and G2 kind of lore, it was character first. But as we progressed with this toy line and the stories, we started to introduce new spins, new twists, bring new characters together and stories that hadn't been told and a lot of it for us was "Hey, wait a second, we didn't see this character and that character back in the 80s but there's a story that wasn't told" so we're gonna show that to them in Titans Return or the Power of the Primes series with Machinima. And that for us, it was a creative license and we can do something that didn't happen exactly as it did in 84 through 87. We have a new story universe, we have a new fan community that are going to be engaged in this new idea. So I think that part of it, I don't want to say that the shackles are off, but if we did we looked at it and said we're creating new continuity and extension of continuity. Let's have some fun with it and not be as precious with exactly what may have been celebrated back in the 80s. So that was kind of the fun we had.

John: Absolutely.

Ben: So having writers in the new series expanded our minds and hopefully will blow yours.

John: And honestly, the same can be said with our great partners at Space Ape and all of our other aligned partners across the franchise. And I'll be speaking to this at the Prime Wars Trilogy panel on Sunday. We actually feed off each other when you think about all of the different stories that are happening at the games and the animation and it gives us, like Ben said, a license to try awesome new stuff.

Megatronus: That's great! I am very excited for Power of the Primes. It sounds like you are really excited about Power of the Primes as a highlights reel of kind of the last couple of years, which is awesome to think about in that way, so we've seen two Autobots leaders. Are we gonna see some Decepticon leaders soon in the Powers of the Primes line?

John: Uh ... hmm ... [Rubs chin] Leader class right? unfortunately I can't comment at this time, I don't want to break any hearts or anything.

Megatronus: So, that's fine, we'll ask about a different product. Since we are at HASCON, what's the potential for future crossover products? Because we are in the Transformers booth right now, Marvel's over there, Star Wars is just a skip away, and there's a huge Nerf play center over there. Do you see a lot of potential future crossover products like a new Transformers Nerf gun, a Transformers My Little Pony, something like that?

Ben: We are always looking at that and the Comic-Con Revolution is one step in that direction. There is a really awesome Rubik's Cube mash up we just did which is super cool which I have not ...

Megatronus: Rubik's Cube!?

Ben: Yah, it's like an 8 piece Optimus' head, and I have not yet solved it. It's absolutely insane. So, that one might be obscure, but that's kind of the fun we're having. As long as it's brand right, brand relevant, then we're open to those types of plays. But I would say we have a lot of great stories that we're telling on our own right now, so we'll be pumping out a lot of toys to support those.

Megatronus: That sounds great. Well, I think I have one last question. One of the big reveals of recent days has been Predaking, Titan Class, so ...

John: Sort of. I'm not sure what was that silhouette? I have no idea what that was.

Ben: Well, there was a really cool silhouette.

Megatronus: I've seen some interesting art that would indicate that there might be a large Predaking on the way.

Seibertron: You meant that's not Elita-One?

Ben: It could have been a winged Optimus Prime.

John: Yah, I think it's Winged Optimus Prime.

Megatronus: So that's all we're going to say about that. For now. Okay, so I'll let you guys off the hook. Well, I really appreciate you guys talking to us over at Seibertron.com. We're big fans of the work you do, we look forward to seeing more at the panels this weekend. And HASCON has been amazing!

John: Thank you. I can say one thing about that crazy silhouette. It's big. It's bad. And it's the most awesome thing Hasui and I have worked on since Devastator.

Megatronus: So, since Devastator, so ... so that silhouette is Titan Class, no?

John: No, I can't say that. I'm just saying he's big, he's bad, and uh ...

Ben: Except for those who made it to the Villains panel, any Villain is big and bad, right, especially in the Transformers universe.

[Banter continues ...]

John: Honestly, it's been an honor to have a chance to meet you guys, to talk to you again, and honestly I hope you have fun here at HASCON. We're having a lot of fun. It's crazy!

Ben: Yah, we're psyched and we've seen you guys and a lot of your fans and a lot of past events, whether it's Botcon, and this is special for us, a chance to share this. What I think is really great is that we're having a lot of fun in this conversation and that we can joke about things and what excites me the most is that we can talk about or not talk about things in the future. The fact that we're able to do that is because you guys share the love for our brand, what we're doing, and people keep asking for more. So we want to do this at the next convention and the next HASCON, and so the more everyone can support our brand and property and have fun like this the more we can share in news.

Megatronus: That's amazing. You know. the last BotCon was my first BotCon. So I got to go to the last BotCon, which was great, it was a cool honor to be there. It's an even more interesting journey to see how that's transitioned to this HASCON.

Seibertron: [directed at Hasbro] Are you accidentally inadvertently confirming a HASCON 2018?

Ben: No, I think, like I said, there's a lot of conventions we'll be part of. You'll see us at New York, hopefully I'll be able to drag this fine gentleman there as well.

Megatronus: Coming to my home turf!

John: It's just a train ride away!

Ben: Plenty of conventions to get to hang with you guys at.

Megatronus: We're very much looking forward to it.

John: Awesome.

Megatronus: Thanks so much guys, really appreciate it.

John: Thanks a lot.

Megatronus: John, Ben [shakes hands] Be good, enjoy the rest of HASCON!

John: Same to you.

Megatronus: See you at the panels! Thanks guys! Thanks everyone at Seibertron.com. We'll catch you later!

IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017
Date: Wednesday, September 13th 2017 4:11pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): Paste

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From Paste magazine, we have some news about another upcoming First Strike consequence in IDW Publishing's, regarding the current GI Joe series (featuring Decepticon Skywarp as a member - the best member - of the team), and its rebranding after the crossover event: Scarlett's Strike Force! The interview can be read in full here, you can find a snippet below, and you can check out some concepts, cover art - and even interior art for upcoming First Strike tie-ins for MASK and GI Joe!

This December, Sitterson continues his mission with artist Nelson Daniel in a new series titled Scarlett’s Strike Force. Announced at Hasbro’s industry event Hascon today, Scarlett’s Strike Force will pit the titular character and her crew against the newly reemerged threat of Cobra Commander. Paste chatted briefly with Sitterson about the decision to relaunch G.I. Joe under a new title, Daniel’s contribution to the franchise and how the duo plan to produce “The Best Action Comic Ever.” We’ve also got an exclusive first look at interior art from this fall’s First Strike tie-in issues of G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K., both written by Sitterson and drawn by Ilias Kyriazis, as well as concept art for Scarlett’s Strike Force from Nelson Daniel.

Paste: What prompted the name change? Is there a shift in tone or mission statement with this new iteration?

Aubrey Sitterson: In the previous Joe series—by me, Giannis Milonogiannis and Lovern Kindzierski—Scarlett was the leader of a team that included not only Joes, but the Decepticon Skywarp, and in the new series, they’ll be joined by Matt Trakker of M.A.S.K. as well as another face that might be familiar to long-time fans.

So, coming out of the First Strike event, we thought it made sense for the name of the book to speak to the nature of the team. Don’t worry though—the reception to our unique take on G.I. Joe has been amazing, so there are no plans to stop giving you the bombastic, sci-fi-action-packed character drama that you deserve!

Paste: Should we expect a team shakeup or any new faces?

Sitterson: While the focus of the book will remain on the characters you know and love—including Scarlett, Roadblock, Salvo, Quick Kick and Skywarp—one of the G.I. Joe concept’s greatest strengths is its deep roster. We’ll be pulling from it, and even introducing the classic Action Man character, The Intruder, into the Hasbro Universe. Plus, our brand-new Cobra Commander has assembled an organization including Destro, Storm Shadow, Cesspool, Croc Master, Raptor and an army of new, serpentine Vipers.


Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

Transformers News: IDW Hasbro Universe - GI Joe Relaunching as Scarlett's Strike Force in December 2017

More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage

Transformers News: More Details on IDW First Strike Tie-in Issues, with Barber, Sitterson, Gage
Date: Wednesday, September 13th 2017 8:42am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): IDW

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With the third issue of the IDW Publishing Hasbro crossover First Strike out today - review coming soon, too, so stay tuned - we also have some additional information on some of the upcoming tie-in issues featuring the various titles involved: Optimus Prime, Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, the Micronauts and Rom. Check out the backmatter of the issue below, and join the conversation in the Energon Pub!

Welcome back, IDW Faithful! This month, we’re talking to writers John Barber, Christos Gage and Aubrey Sitterson about their First Strike one-shots featuring Optimus Prime, Transformers, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, the Micronauts and Rom!

Where do your stories take place around the First Strike event?

CG: Concurrently. Basically, while all the Cybertronian action is occupying G.I. Joe and Earth's other homegrown defenders, the Dire Wraiths see an opportunity to enact a new and exceptionally brutal attack on our world. But Earth isn't completely defenseless...Rom and the Micronauts are still around, and they're our only chance!

AS: G.I. Joe: First Strike and M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand: First Strike both take place concurrently with the main First Strike series. But while First Strike is set primarily on Cybertron, my two-parter with Ilias Kyriazis is Earth-based. With Scarlett and Roadblock both
off-planet, Shipwreck finds himself in charge of the team, and when a Cobra-backed V.E.N.O.M. attacks, things go about as well as you'd expect for someone with the codename "Shipwreck."

JB: Optimus Prime: First Strike starts during issue one of First Strike, in Colton's initial attack on Cybertron. That fight keeps going for the first few issues of First Strike, so it covers some of what's
going on during the whole battle—Optimus doing stuff you don't see in the First Strike comic itself, including a special attack on a particular Cybertronian character.

How is the status quo set up for the new series and new arcs coming out of the one-shots and First Strike?

CG: You're going to see the first encounter of any real length between Rom and the Micronauts, so we're laying the groundwork for them knowing of each other and working together. There are a
number of things Rom has in common with several Micronauts, which we'll touch on. And as the heroes come together, so too do the villains…

AS: Coming out of G.I. Joe #9, we've got a reinvigorated Cobra and a brand-new Cobra Commander, but we haven't really seen them in action yet. That changes in our First Strike issues, where Cobra begins piecing together a devious scheme that we'll see play out in the pages of our new G.I. Joe series, with art by the amazing Nelson Dániel! Additionally, with V.E.N.O.M. getting folded into the evil organization, G.I. Joe counters by bringing M.A.S.K.'s Matt Trakker onboard! and considering Trakker's particular set of skills, you'll be seeing some notable upgrades on the
team's equipment…

JB: These will bring in some of the characters and stuff that's been happening in Revolutionaries into the ongoing Optimus Prime series. We'll see where that leaves us in the next Optimus Prime arc, "The Dead Come Home."

If you could team up any two characters in the universe, who would it be? And have you done
it yet?

CG: I would love to do an entire series that is just Baron Karza and the head Wraith sorcerer, D'rge, being haughty frenemies. Which I guess kind of gives away that they meet up. Oops!

AS: What kind of question is this, when The Crown Jewel of the Hasbro Universe already features the most iconic odd couple duo in not just comics, but all of fictional entertainment?! I'm speaking, of course, of Rock 'N’ Roll and Skywarp.

JB: In the Hasbro universe? Kup and Action Man, and yes I have—right here, in fact!

#HASCON 2017 Transformers Brand Panel Q&A Video

Transformers News: #HASCON 2017 Transformers Brand Panel Q&A Video
Date: Tuesday, September 12th 2017 5:14am CDT
Categories: Toy News, Event News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al

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This next story featuring a recording from Hascon should be seen as a follow-up to our first report on the Transformers Brand Panel, as it was taken during the second instance of the talk given on the Sunday - see our Friday report here! Featuring both Hasbro and Takara Tomy designers for several toy lines, such as Sean Isabella Carmina, Lenny Panzica and John Warden and legend Hideaki Yoke-san, the clip specifically focuses on the Q&A section of the talk, which we've transcribed below the video, too.

In addition, we're including all previously posted videos from the weekend that deal with the toys talked about in the clip, all in one convenient viewing spot!




The panel are talking about how the issues that Hideaki had 30 years ago are pretty much still the same

Would you make a combiner out of combiners? Lots of excitement, but no - nothing in the plans.

Power of Primes compatible with Titan Masters? Yes, Prime Masters and Titan Masters are interchangeable. Optimus Prime can wear TR Optimus' head in his chest.

Any plan on Titan Masters/Prime Masters multipack? It's really cool - maybe around holidays (but no solid plan).

When designing, do you start in vehicle or robot? Depends on the designer, some start from the vehicle 'as armour', but vehicle to robot makes life a little easier. Combiners start from the way out, combined mode first. Always carry a sketch book. Yoke-san also starts with vehicle first.

Titans Return line had less paint than Takara, are there going to be similar changes in Power of the Primes? It's all down to value for consumers and price points: more details, more cost. Case by case basis, really.

Came up with a Transformers zodiac - but what are your signs? Warden - Leo, Panzica- Cancer, ISabella-Carmine- Aries, Yoke- Leo.

What type of background would get you a job like this? School, industrial design degrees. Blend of engineering and art, also fashion design with toy specialisation portfolios (Panzica's experience).

Level of discussion between Powermaster Prime and Super Ginrai, there was some, yes.

Importance of spark / allspark - distinctive difference between other mech: Transformers have a 'soul'.

Transformers can scan anything and transform into it. Ejector, Erector, ice-cream Transformers in Japan.

Sharkticons - are there any other designs planned to come out? Sharkticon that turns into jet, maybe?

Packaging: product converts vs transformers transform - not able to comment at this time, but it's way they do, they convert. (question by Seibertron, answer by Warden)



HASCON 2017: Transformers VIP Event TOY and Hall of Fame Reveals


HASCON 2017: Transformers Brand Panel featuring Dinobots, Optimus Prime, and more!



New IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Comic Series Announced, by Mags Visaggio & Fico Ossio

Transformers News: New IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Comic Series Announced, by Mags Visaggio & Fico Ossio
Date: Friday, September 8th 2017 3:21pm CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): AV Club

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Via the AV Club, we have a full reveal of a previously hinted at new IDW Publishing series - just not quite this way. We knew that Visionaries was coming back to the Hasbro Universe at the end of First Strike ( see here ), and we know have a look at how the actual series will be called and what it will look like: presenting... Transformers vs Visionaries!

Written by Magdalene Visaggio, art by regular Fico Ossio, the series will feature a new spin on the 80s property and include the Transformers to piggy back into the mainstream (take that, Crown Jewel). Check out below covers (by Andrew Griffith, Ossio and Angel Hernandez) to the first issue and some character designs - and make sure to head to our database page for more information as it comes out!

The Hollywood bump is all it takes to pull a property out of obscurity, and IDW is showing what an updated Visionaries might look like by bringing it back in comics. December’s Visionaries Vs. Transformers pits a forgotten property against one of the world’s biggest, and IDW is making a smart move introducing this new version of Visionaries by attaching it to a far more popular franchise.

Even smarter is teaming Magdalene Visaggio, writer of the Eisner Award-nominated Kim & Kim, with artist Fico Ossio to put their own fresh spin on the characters as they introduce them on the Transformers’ home planet of Cybertron. “”As someone who grew up on a host of Hasbro/Sunbow animated shows, I’m very excited to help revive Visionaries for modern audiences,” says Visaggio. We’ve worked hard to keep it fresh enough for new readers, but faithful enough to the source material for old fans. It has all the same scheming wizards, dastardly villains, and flawed heroes of the original, but with a stunning new twist.” Ossio adds: “I’m very excited to be working on Visionaries and teaming up with Mags and [editor] Sarah [Gaydos]! Happy to be able to update them for a new generation! Mags’ script is really great and I can’t wait to have them stand against the Transformers.”


Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers News: IDW Transformers vs Visionaries Discussion Thread

Transformers Universe: Bumblebee Interview with Jonathan Hook on Location and Production

Transformers News: Transformers Universe: Bumblebee Interview with Jonathan Hook on Location and Production
Date: Thursday, September 7th 2017 5:15am CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Va'al | Credit(s): THO

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According to the Times Herald Online, who were able to talk to Jonathan JJ Hook - the supervising location manager a co-producer for Transformers Universe: Bumblebee - about what goes into finding the right location to shoot a movie, and some more details about his approach to movie-making in general. Find out some snippets below, and the whole piece here!

For “Bumblebee,” a spin-off of the Michael Bay franchise “Transformer” movies, plenty of it is in Vallejo. This week on Mare Island, count on evenings with helicopters, special effects and pyrotechnics, followed by two days of downtown action.

The supervising location manager and co-producer oversees around 15 people on his team, though he’s handled movies orchestrated as many as 50 others working simultaneously in numerous states and countries.

It’s not a job for the timid, said Hook, a Los Angeles resident and native of England.

“You are dealing with change and pressure,” he said. “But if you’re creative and have a good imagination, you can climb the ranks quickly.”

Hook started as a personal assistant in England doing a period piece that included a shipwreck.

“My job was running out with blankets, tea and coffee,” Hook said.

[...]

It wasn’t difficult to create exactly what was needed in town here, Hook said.

“Vallejo has got great bones,” he said of the town’s infrastructure. “It’s an Anywhere America, Back-to-the-Future type vibe. The great thing about Vallejo is there aren’t these huge chain stores. There a few other cities in California like it, but not that many. The city hasn’t been turned into a strip mall.”

Mare Island’s drydocks have been perfect for “Bumblebee,” said Hook.

So good, he noted, “the ending of the movie was re-written after finding the location.”

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