Hasbro Cartoon Creation Panel

Good Morning Allsparkers.

This morning we are going to be reporting on all the panels and updating as soon as they are done.  For our first panel we are sitting in on the Hasbro Cartoon Creation.  Leading this panel we have Aaron Archer and David McDermott.  Here are some notes from the (still ongoing) panel:


  • Cybertron space concept came about on a taco bell napkin. – We knew this.
  • Aaron was on a tight schedule and had a day to come up with the concept.
  • We are being shown several pictures of hand drawings of the concept of going from each planet and how the Transformers will jump from planet to planet.
  • Hasbro did the story for Cybertron and Takara was responsible for writing it.(Or whoever Takara hired to do it.)
  • Newsy is taking pictures of the pictograms that they are showing you.  We should be able to get these on the site right after the panel.
  • They have a matrix which shows when the toys come out in relation to the episodes that were airing that week.

Click the link below to read the rest of the notes as well as all the questions and answers from the Q&A section.

  • About half way through the cartoon design David McDermott came in to flesh things out and give  the characters more characterization and organizing the lay out for the introduction of new characters in later episodes.
  • Co-produced with Gonzo which David McDermott feels they are the best production house in the business at this point.
  • They had to make sure that Optimus was there in battle with almost every episodes.  There was an edict from Japan to help move the higher priced toys that made this necessary and necessary for Optimus Prime to go into some kind of super mode in each episode.
  • Once the concept, basic story line, and layout was done it was given to Japan for creation.  Then they receive the cartoon back after animation and a copy of the script in order for them to write the English script.
  • They count lip flaps and timing gaps in order for proper animation.
  • Japan needed Cybertron to be swallowed by the blackhole first off.  They aren’t really sure why.
  • Cartoon Network wanted more females which was why Override was made female.  We knew this.
  • David McDermott isn’t a big Transformers fan.  He stopped watching after G1.  But the movie for him is sort of a religious document on Transformers.
  • They struggled with how important the Autobot leadership matrix was in relation to how each leader lead each planet.  That is how they ended up with Planet keys.
  • Q&A

    Q=At what point did you decide the accents were necessary.

    A=There was concern about differentiating all the robots.  Who’s the greatest engineer?  It’s Scotty! (From Star Trek).  So accents are shorthand in animation to make sure each character stood out.

    Q=The human character were written a lot better.  Were they intentionally written to be more mature.

    A=They were given specific directives by Hasbro.  David didn’t have any imput into previous series humans, but he intentionally tried to make them believable.  Aaron Archer was responsible for the previous series human character being included in the last episode of Cybertron.  They had to pay extra.

    Q=Why does Megatron have to die in every series?

    A=RID Galvatron sold so well and therefore they have been ‘encouraged’ by marketing guys to include it.  Also, killing a character is fun!

    Q=Why are there so many episodes in the last few series.

    A=Japanese format is to run 1 year and to never rerun and go to immediate DVD release.

    Q=For other planets besides Earth have the initial concept to be much more indepth.

    A=Yes, but the realities of design and implementation limits imagination.

    Q=How did Crosswise monsters come into play?

    A=The Japanese.

    Q=Was Cybertron intended to be a separate universe from the Triology?

    A=Hasbro took it as a literal progression.  Japan doesn’t see them as the same series.  Aaron wanted everyone to understand the trilogy concept and that is why they added the addition to the last episode.

    Q=Was there a marketing decision behind the planet name and whether there was a plan for a name for Jungle planet.

    A=There was a marketing decision.  It was intended to be easy to remember for kids.  The Jungle planet being a less civilized placed there was less of a need to give it a name, they thought.  Aaron didn’t have time to help out with the names so he delegated.

    Q=Is it Cartoon Networks decision to break up the series so much and actually post cartoons online before airing on TV.

    A=Yes, it was Cartoon Networks decision.  They wanted to restart the series each time they moved it because they felt it was a new batch of kids watching.

    UPDATE: Bainreese had to leave the panel midway through, so it's Fang to the rescue with the recap of the second half:


    • The Coby Scrapmetal was never actually intended for US release: the head on the mold is actually the original design for the figure, but Aaron and team decided it seemed far too heroic for the cockroaches left on Cybertron, “a desolate place where no one wants to be”, and they redesigned the head; however, Takara-Tomy had already constructed the toolings for the head, and it was then decided that the head was meant for the Japanese exclusive Coby Ramble.


    • Stock Footage use: Galaxy Force utilized a lot of stock footage, both for transformation sequences and “roll outs” from the base: it was a Hasbro/McDermott decision for the sequences to have witty banter during.


    • New series is coming.  That’s all Aaron is allowed to say.


    • More or less than 52 episodes in a series?  If Hasbro partners with Takara-Tomy, it would be 52 episodes.  If Hasbro goes it alone, like with BW and BM, Aaron ballparked 13-24 episodes.


    • Color change vs. New Mold (i.e. Cybertron Defense Team vs. Galvatron): More of a Hasbro design question, though Aaron fielded it: He likes repaints from a cost-reduction standpoint, and if “I’m gonna do it with my main characters, I should do it with Red Alert AND Megatron.”


    • Different writing styles in the Unicron Trilogy vs. Beast Era: do they work with Hasbro’s marketing strategy?  Character first, marketing second or vice versa?  Aaron: The ideal would be a Beast Wars model for a Hasbro or a US audience; for the partnership we sacrifice that dynamic for the sake of getting all the episodes.  I think it’s kind of cool that’s it’s a bigger story.


    • Ransack and Crumplezone, comic villains, are David’s favorites in any show.  He has a horrible “plastic addiction” and lost his big office, so he can only keep his favorite villains.  Intended as George and Lenny (from Of Mice and Men).


    • McDermott involved in later season 3 of Digimon, when the storyline became very labrynthian and adult.  As the episodes would come in from Japan, the people making it would watch and be riveted.


    • We had closure on Alexis, Carlos, and Rad.  What happened to Billy and Fred? They’re in the South of France, living together.