SDCC 2011 – Hasbro Studios “Making of Transformers: Prime” Panel Report

{mosimage} Hasbro Studios' panel on "The Making of Transformers: Prime" is beginning!

What went on in the early months, how they went about character selection…what else do they have to say? Other than "Covenant of Primus?"

Read on for more details, or follow our live coverage here!


Hasbro Studios' "Making of Transformers: Prime" Panel

Thursday, July 21st – 3:30pm PST

Mike Vogel up 

Prime narrative on war on Cybertron  – Prime montage clips

Roberto Orci, Line Producer Therese Trujillo, Jeff Kline, Hartman, Lopez, Duane Capizzi, Vinton Heuck

Clips of older episodes 

Orci's transition from film to Prime more "Free" on being able to tell story again. Gave him chances to do things he couldn't in the films

Getting Prime to TV in under a year. Jeff sat with Bob and Alex Kurzman in '09 on doing the show right. 3 weeks later, 1st meeting with Hasbro (Goldner, in fact); figures that he had to work with Therese

Jeff learned that Hasbro wanted "TF Prime" as close to Hub's premiere. and "most complicated CG show" 

Jeff checked out Hasbro Studios, called some of the others to come onboard – actually not much of a Hasbro Studios yet. Therese had to start up in-house 60-70 ppl studio 

1st 6 months or so working in Alex's "conference room" and figuring out story while rest of the crew working on design. They're STILL figuring out stuff
Hartman made up a lot of TF stories as a kid. – Thank Hartman for zombie robots.
With all the versions/iterations, complicated process on picking characters that had to be in the show. Some couldn't make it for some reason or another
TF universe is huge, but at every step the various partners (Hasbro, Studio, others) were on the same page 
Therese is line producer for the show. She meets the executive producers and key team to figure up schedule + budget to get work done, bringing in production crew for support 
Unique challenges that Transformers brought with them? Question to Lopez. Biggest challenge at beginning was overcoming designing TF. He spent hours and hours drawing and meeting on figuring out what are the big elements of the characters. Start with writing, type of characters, and then endless of hours of drawing. Go through many variations, pick things they like/don't like, G1 version, Animate version, film version, etc. Technical point: design cool character that works with cool vehicle, and then also have to figure out for animation + story purposes + toys
Lopez was worried about Soundwave – He wanted to go in a certain direction, but it'd be opposite direction from before. Iconic elements in designs wanted to keep, but wanted to keep it fresh so that it fits story and character.
Moving so fast on a brand new show? Jeff says that they are TV people and they start with character design first. Brand starts with vehicles first and then create character from there. 
Heuck's a director on the show. "Big moment" for him was ep 5. Heuck praising Polygon (animation studio)
What are the things that surprise them?  Didn't expect Knockout to become popular. Orci surprised by Emmy nomination. Lopez surprised at Polygon's animation on the final results. Hartman was surprised about Ratchet – Combs took Ratchet's lines to a new level. Kline was about the love between the cast, especially bringing in Peter and Frank
Actually, various Prime crew members in audience 
Q&A starting 
The 5-part, how about doing another 5-part in 2nd season?  Jeff says 5 nearly killed them. They  will be building multi-part for ender. Opening multi-part arc in Season 2 – things spiral out of control and fans are "going to flip". Steve Blum in audience – Blum says "NO!" in Screamer's voice
Will they be bringing in more G1 voices?  No definite answer
Crossover with MLP? "More manlier" than a crossover with Joe?! "zombie ponies"! – No answer yet but under consideration
Anything they wanted to do but network said no?  Network let them do pretty much everything within reason. They try not to be too gratuitous, but always with emotional component. Always the possibility that audience lose attachment to characters
Cliff is NOT coming back except in flashbacks. 
Wanted to make great story first. Hub is family audience, so had to find right way but tells great story that kids will enjoy as well older fans. 
Maybe see guest writers from past TF series? Like Furman or Ditillo? Maybe see VAs from BW era?- Reality is they cast character first. June will MAYBE see more female TFs (They keep joking/teasing)
Exosuit question – Maybe.

They have discussed possibility of combiners. 

Do they consider potential toy usage in animation model or leave it up to Hasbro? – They coordinate with Hasbro to make sure animation/transformation can work both ways 
Any Dinobots in Prime? – They plan for long term, depends on various factors like how many eps allowed. Orci doesn't like Dinobots, similar response to "not in disguise" reply from in the IDW panel
Sticking with core cast but with "guest stars" like Animated? Or just core cast? – Limited, unlike Renegades, because CG you can't just easily add more characters.  Definitely add more characters in S1 and S2, hoping a bigger ensemble.
Teasing 1 death of a major character between now and beginning of S2 
Teaser vid: "Covenant of Primus"! "Shadow of a rising darkness", "I awaken", "He is coming…"
end of panel!