Collider Interview with Peter Cullen for Machinima’s Titans Return

On the occasion of Machinima’s Titans Return series, Collider interviewed Peter Cullen to reflect on the character of Optimus Prime and his role over the years, including a selection of fan-submitted questions that offer insights into developments in the character back to the original audition.

Despite some prodding, Cullen seems reluctant to dig into the changes in Optimus Prime’s character over the years. He jokes that the most obvious change is his height, emphasizing the consistency of the core character throughout, while noting that each new story’s physical appearance for the character shifts his performance.
But he does reluctantly commit to a personal favorite portrayal (G1), discuss his emulation of his US Marine brother in his initial audition, describe his fears in 1986 that “my character must suck!” when he saw that Prime was set to be killed off in the film, and explain what he feels are the core values of Optimus Prime and what they mean to the characters who interact with him:

Originally, the character stood out for his very demonstrative sense of trustworthiness and leadership qualities that were deeply embedded into this steel body, for one reason or another. It was the qualities of human leadership within that character, and they were all there: Strength, honesty, nobility, trustworthiness, a wonderful sense of courage that is not egotistical courage, it’s more of a giving courage, a caring courage. Those qualities really stood out back then.

A particularly interesting answer came in response to a question about Cullen’s favorite scenes for the character:

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.

See the full interview for more questions (ten in total with some thorough responses) and more details, and join our discussion of the interview on the Allspark Forums to sound off on what aspects and portrayals of Optimus Prime you find most compelling.
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