TFNation 2022 (First Draft of TF:TM explained)

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Ultra Magnus13

Member
Citizen
My head canon used to be that Bluestreak and Huffer died giving Hound and SS cover, long enough for them to get to the space bridge, arrive at Cybertron, hitch a ride to Moon Base 1, and that’s how Prime found out about the attack — that Blaster’s transmission didn’t make it past Earth orbit or something.

Oh the joys of the 90’s and early 2000’s, looking for ways to reconcile a cartoon from your childhood.
I always assumed the road crew (minus Kup) got stuck outside the city. When arriving on Earth Primes shuttle rescues them, but not before Huffer is killed.


One thing I think I actually do like about the concept of this script, is the idea that it attempts to start off like just a regular episode of the series, and then kinda rug pulls you.

This does have a lot more S1 vibes in many parts.
 

Blot

Well-known member
Citizen
In all seriousness, it is neat to see what is essentially the "Pokemon Gold Prototype" for the Transformers movie.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
Here's something else fun that Chris McFeely hosted at TFNation, the Matrix Test:


My score:
30/35.

The ones that stumped me or I ran out of time before realizing the answer were
1.5 (didn't recognize the commonality), 2.4 (didn't remember their names until time ran out), 2.5 (didn't recognize the picture), 3.4 (failed to recognize the pattern), and 5.8 (thought too hardly about the R to realize who it was before time ran out).
 
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Greebtron

Member
Citizen
I've been given clearance for the next stage of showcasing this script. Back in January 2021, I completed a 16k word detailed outline of the script, having read all 210 pages thoroughly to make sure nothing was missed. Done my best to approach it impartially and from the perspective of someone reading it when it was received in February 1985. With no reference to what came later, save for the little sub-headings I've put on the story beats.
Now at last, I can show my work to the public: https://sunbowmarvelarchive.blogspot.com/2022/11/detailed-outline-of-very-first.html

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Kup

Active member
Citizen
Well. That was a fun read. And I’d love to see this adapted into an alternate universe retelling of the original movie, after a few revisions. Gonna spoiler tag my big takeaways since I don’t want to ruin it for those who want to read it too.
So I really liked the fact no pre movie characters die except Prime. It feels less like a movie “to sell toys” and more like just a normal (if you can call it that) movie script. Ironic that featured characters like Prowl, Ratchet, and Brawn specifically mentioned in your summary don’t survive the final movie.

I also liked the fact 84 characters had stuff to do. Huffer, Gears, etc actually had speaking lines and took part in action sequences.

Did I miss the destruction of Cybertron in the slides? First I caught that was reading this today.

Sad that they’re a couple of missing pages. I can see those having been turned in to other parties for revision, since they seem to come at important parts of the script.

Thanks for doing this. Much appreciated.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
I'm not going to pretend that this would have been better than the movie we got, but Unicron was a much better villain here, and I feel Ultra Magnus and Galvarton have a stronger rivalry. I agree that an adaptation would be really cool to see.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
Hopefully the follow-up panel from the next day will be posted as well.

EDIT: Wait, here it is:

 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
Finally had a chance to watch all four videos. Boy, did I sure get a lot of little details wrong in my write-up.

Broad details were fine, but little things were confused in the second-hand reports on Discord and Twitter that I was going off of.
 

Greebtron

Member
Citizen
Care to retype it? My speakers are fried.
This may help. Back in November 2020 when Jim scanned the various pieces of this script and sent the files to me for merging and OCR, I did a quick 5-page "Beats" outline.
Unlike the detailed outline above, which is meant to be impartial, this outline is my live takes from when I first read it as a fan of over 30 years.


  1. The Transformers The Movie
    Ron Friedman first draft
    November 18th, 1984, revised February 13th 1985

    General note: No named characters die unless stated

    1. Decepticons besiege Autobot encampment at steel mill. Introduced to Magnus, Hot Rod, Tanker (proto-Kup) and Arcee. Decepticons use massive fusion cannon to drop “fire snow” (think Cybertronian napalm). Autobots concerned as running out of rocket fuel, hoping for Optimus Prime to arrive with supplies and reinforcements
    2. Freight train loaded with rocket fuel, Prime and other Autobots headed for the battlefield. Introduced to General Blaze (Patton-type) and Col. Rusty Steel (Indiana Jones-type. Think Springer in human form. “Big brother” figure to Daniel). Autobots and humans on the train fend off multiple assaults led by Megatron. When Starscream attempts to derail the train, it transforms to a battle mode and sends him packing.
    3. Siege reaches apex. Decepticons send in Assault Towers and prepare to fire massive fusion cannon at approaching train. Train transforms again into giant robot snake and smashes Decepticon artillery
    4. Prime confronts Megatron. They fight, Hot Rod interferes, Prime is wounded, Megatron is taken back to Cybertron for his essence to be interred. The Autobots take the wounded Prime back to the Autobot volcano.
    5. The Decepticons argue and fight over leadership all the way back to Cybertron and into the Hall Of Heroes (coronation chamber). They continue to fight, ignoring Megatron who is crawling on the floor and begging them to inter his essence in the urn to be preserved. A stray shot melts the urn. Megatron's essence leaves his body, which crumbles to dust.
    6. Autobots bring the wounded Prime back to HQ which is upgraded to a fortified city-state, including human military and scientists. Introduced to Daniel and his mother Ellen Prentiss. As Ratchet works on Prime, Hot Rod blames himself.
    7. Megatron's essence drifts through space, destined to extinguish, vowing revenge.
      Encounters The Entity (Unicron), makes the deal, is changed into Galvatron. Heads back to Cybertron.

    8. Prime dies, passing on his matrix (All Transformers have one, which in this case looks like a ghostly miniature version of Prime) to Ultra Magnus. Who then announces that while the construction of a new space battle fleet - intended to finish the Decepticons - nears completion. Earth is to be fortified against future attack.
    9. Back on Cybertron, the fight over leadership is STILL going on as Galvatron arrives. Instead of killing Starscream, a cold ray of energy turns all of the Decepticons present and the entire population into “Servants Of The Entity”. Mutated, scaled versions of themselves that draw power directly from The Entity itself. It orders Galvatron's army to head for Earth, after which Cybertron is shrivelled up and absorbed into The Entity. Galvatron objects, but is cowed into submission. He obeys, but secretly vows vengeance for Cybertron.

    10. General montage of cruisers being built and Autobot volcano being fortified. Banter between Rusty, Daniel and Ellen setting dynamics for the rest of the movie. Start of recurring “gag” where Arcee demonstrates hyper-competence behind Wheeljack's back. Only for an oblivious Wheeljack to make an exasperated comment about “she-bots”. Autobots realise Cybertron is gone, at which point Galvatron's armada begins the attack. Drawing power from The Entity, the combined force destroys the new battlefleet and melts the Autobot volcano to the ground. Ultra Magnus leads the retreat into the mountains.
    11. Autobots hiding out in mountains, avoiding detection by Decepticon sweep parties (described as “Gestapo men”). Arcee reveals Decepticons' construction of an “energy-drain cage” out in space that will absorb the Earth's energy and leave it a shrivelled husk within four days. Magnus decides to get one cruiser operational to seek the Decepticon's new power source in the Shadow Nebula. Hot Rod and Tanker are sent to find recruits for the mission. As sweep party closes in, humans escape down waterway on rafts while a combination of Hound's holograms and other tricks keep the sweep party confused and off-balance long enough for the Autobots to retreat.
    12. Hot Rod and Tanker in the desert, find and recruit Springer (straightforward muscle, not like we've come to know him). Then they go to an oil refinery base holding out against Decepticons, after fighting off an attack, they recruit Mentlar (proto-Perceptor) and the Dinobots (only Grimlock, Sludge and Swoop). Blurr arrives and swiftly joins their team.

    13. Fortified ice dome where the cruiser is about to launch. Ultra Magnus, Blurr, Mentlar and Rusty inside the cruiser. Hot Rod, Tanker and Dinobots riding on hull. Daniel and Ellen say goodbye to Rusty, but are forced to board the cruiser as Galvatron attacks. Ice dome is melted. An intense battle to get the cruiser into space, including evading the energy cage which attempts to close on them. As Galvatron blames his troops, The Entity speaks, orders him to pursue the cruiser and destroy the Autobot force. General Blaze, Wheeljack and Arcee lead human and Autobot survivors on Earth into hiding.

    14. Cruiser in space. Light-hearted character stuff with humans trying out Exo-suits. Decepticons catch up and attack. Magnus orders Tanker's group to split up and rendezvous on the far side of an asteroid. Galvatron sees through the plan and orders Laserbeak to maintain surveillance. Mentlar plugs into the ship's computer, learns the precise nature of the Entity energy source and devises a plan. Tanker's group on the asteroid comes under attack. Galvatron senses the presence of Optimus Prime (matrix). Mentlar ignites flares to blind their pursuers and the cruiser lands on the asteroid. Galvatron attacks and humans use exo-suits in fight (suggested that exo-suits work by telekinesis?). Massive warp storm disrupts the battle. Thundercracker and Hook set off explosives which blow Hot Rod, Tanker and the Dinobots off the asteroid and send them hurtling through space. Storm badly damages Galvatron's cruiser overhead, causing it to crash on top of Decepticon force. Magnus and co. emerge from rubble, return to the cruiser and set off again for the Shadow Nebula.

    15. Back to Earth, which is shrivelled and sunken as energy drain continues. Starscream contacts Galvatron (reprise of old relationship with Megatron). Who believes Autobot forces are dead, and is returning to Earth to complete the operation.
    16. Hot Rod lands in the ocean of an unknown planet (what would become Quintessa). Scene with the robot squid and rescuing Tanker plays out like the finished movie.
    17. Magnus' group in the cruiser arrive at Planet Unicron. The ship is damaged by an energy forcefield, on a collision course with the nearby moon.

    18. Blaze, Wheeljack and Arcee are on the run, evading aerial assaults. Arcee brings down Starscream, sending him crashing through a freeway overpass on top of a blockade of Decepticons barring their way. Allowing the group to escape. Galvatron arrives to berate Starscream when The Entity speaks. Telling Galvatron that the Autobot force in space is alive and he must annihilate them. Galvatron feigns obedience, but as soon as The Entity's presence is gone, he defies it and continues to lead the assault on Earth.
    19. Hot Rod repairs Tanker, both set out to find Dinobots, encounter Sharkticons, Universal Greeting, taken prisoner. The two take hope in readings of Dinobots nearby, but find Sludge and Swoop frozen (only Grimlock unaccounted for). All are carted off by Sharkticons, intended to be eaten.
 
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Greebtron

Member
Citizen
Part 2 (Beats 20 to 34).

  1. Magnus' group emerges from the crashed cruiser and starts exploring the surface of the moon they've landed on. Mentlar collects a sample of crystal embedded in the surface, not realising that this is one of Unicron's moons, it is linked to him and he senses their presence.
    We cut back to Earth where the Decepticons are engaging the last remaining resistance in California. The Entity tortures Galvatron for his disobedience and orders him to come at once with a large force, leaving Starscream to mop up. Wheeljack and Arcee watch them go, then radio other Autobot teams in hiding to begin the counterattack.
  1. Hot Rod and Tanker are brought to the Sharkticons' compound, ruled by the Quintessons (the original humanoid versions). They are thrown into a cell with Granix, last survivor of the expedition from Lithone. After explaining the situation, Granix is seized and taken to his sentence. Hot Rod and Tanker are forced to watch as Granix is thrown into a fighting pit with a stun stick. He fights bravely but is devoured by the Sharkticons.

  2. Back on the moon of Unicron, the cruiser is repaired. Mentlar's examination of the crystal leads them to realise that the moon is linked to the core of the planet, and destroying that core is the only way to cut off the Decepticon's power source. Blurr reports that Galvatron's armada is on its way.
  1. Hot Rod and Tanker ruminate in their cell when Hot Rod realises the Sharkticons have primitive eye sensors and starts devising a plan to escape.
  1. As Galvatron's force closes in on the cruiser, they don't suspect that the Autobots in view are 2D cut-outs. The real Autobots have rigged charges in the pass to drop the surrounding mountains and bury the Decepticons. Magnus calls Rusty over for a private conversation. The discuss a plan that Rusty calls “suicide” for those involved and Magnus tells him to go with Springer, Ellen and Daniel and make a run for it. Rusty rejoins his group and tries to reassure Daniel, who can sense something wrong.
  1. Hot Rod and Tanker are taken to be sentenced. As the Sharkticons close in, the two use axle grease to blind them and cause them to start devouring each other. In turn, they inspire the other prisoners to rise up. The Quintesson leader creates new Sharkticons from piles of junk with beams from his eyes. In turn the new Sharkticon eye-beams away the axle grease. As the two are about to be swarmed, the Dinobots arrive and promptly smash, slice and melt both Sharkticon and Quintesson alike. The lead Quintesson is stopped from running, but the prisoners stop Grimlock from killing him so that Hot Rod and Tanker can tap into the Quintesson's mind scan ability and learn of what is happening with Magnus and the others. The Autobots and Dinobots leave the Quintesson in the custody of his former prisoners and fly off into space.
  1. Magnus and co. spring the trap, burying the main Decepticon force under the mountains. But a secondary force had been held back just in case. Magnus tells Rusty to take the others and go. As the humans transform their exo-suits and move out with Springer. Magnus, Blurr and Mentlar begin a suicide charge. The escape party continues on, grieving for the loss of the others, running through a wall of fog. On the other side, they see Unicron in space above them, knowing that's where they have to go to complete the mission. No sooner than they see it, they are set upon by the Junkions and forced to flee. Meanwhile Mentlar is dead, Blurr is exploded and Magnus fights to the last, but the Decepticons eventually wear him down and blast him apart. Galvatron cuts his chest open and extracts Optimus Prime's matrix as a symbol of conquest. Placing it in a bottle he wears around his neck, Galvatron goes to “renegotiate his contract” with The Entity.
  1. Springer and the human continue to be chased by the Junkions, who reform their bodies as soon as they get smashed. Eventually the chase is over, and the group are surrounded.
    Hot Rod's group approach Unicron and its moons, hiding in an asteroid belt to avoid the battered remnants of the Decepticon armada as it flies back to Earth.
  1. Galvatron seeks an audience with The Entity and demands to be set free from servitude. He is denied and mocked, so he sets off a bomb that tunnels its way down through Unicron's core.
  1. Springers and the humans are tied to metal stakes in the Junkion's village. Just as they are about to take cutting tools and blowtorches to Springer, Hot Rod's group arrives ready for a fight. The battle is only averted once both sides realise they have a common enemy in The Entity. Wreck-gar reveals that the Junkion's ancestors built the planet Unicron to be a protector until jealousy and hatred corrupted its core. The Junkions fought The Entity for generations, living behind a wall of fog in order to be free of it. Wreck-gar then reveals The Entity's one weakness (crucial page is missing). The combined force takes off towards planet Unicron (including Grimlock's massive new Junkion friend Scrapo who feeds him metal).

  2. As the blasts from the bomb fade and nothing seems to have happened. Metal cylinders (Unicron's pores) rise up, protruding razor edges which are about to cut Galvatron to pieces.Meanwhile the combined Autobot/Junkion lands on the surface of the planet, dislodging another crystal, again making The Entity aware of their presence. The Entity begins its long transformation into robot mode, with those on its surface struggling to hang on. Once it has finished transforming, the channel to the core shown on the Junkions’ blueprints becomes visible on the side of The Entity's neck. With the Dinobots and Scrapo running interference, the Autobots and humans make their way into the channel and descend towards the core. Making their way through the circulatory system, they come under attack from The Entity's antibodies. Tanker and Springer hold them off while Hot Rod and the humans keep going towards the core
  1. The Entity has reached its full transformation and is devouring asteroids, meteors, planets. Galvatron fires on it and blows its finger off...only for another finger to immediately grow in its place. Hot Rod and the humans reach the atrium chamber before the core, with the only access being a small porthole that only Daniel could fit through. Hot Rod realises that only Prime's matrix can destroy the core and they make their way back outside to get it.
  1. The Entity has reached Earth's orbit. The battle on the surface halts as all look up at it. Wheeljack and Arcee believe Magnus has failed, but Jazz is determined to go out fighting and leads one last charge.

  2. Hot Rod's group is back on the surface of The Entity and demands Galvatron hand over the matrix. A chase ensues, with Galvatron being cornered against The Entity's neck. Driven mad, he threatens to destroy himself and the matrix. For if he cannot rule the universe, he would rather be nothing. Just as he is about to ignite an explosive flare to blow himself up, Ellen in her exo-suit floors him, letting Hot Rod grab the matrix.
  1. The Entity prepares to devour Earth, while Wheeljack and Arcee make their peace as comrades-in-arms. Hot Rod's group brings the matrix back down to the core. Daniel jumps through the porthole opening into the core and opens the bottle, unleashing Optimus Prime's essence. Unicron is flooded with light, tearing him apart and blowing Galvatron out into space. The Autobots and humans escape as The Entity tears itself apart, its pieces destroying the energy-cage and restoring the shrunken Earth. Hot Rod's group links up with the other Autobots on Earth and overrun the remaining Decepticons. The humans watch through binoculars as Galvatron hurtles through space, clinging to a piece of The Entity's hand.
We fade out on the Autobots and humans of the story in a huge victory parade.


END
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
Thanks.

It obviously needed some trimming, but I'm still surprised by how much of this version I do like. We got robbed of an interesting Unicron.
 

Kup

Active member
Citizen
Thanks.

It obviously needed some trimming, but I'm still surprised by how much of this version I do like. We got robbed of an interesting Unicron.
I was thinking the other day about how we now have two (mostly) complete drafts of the movie and how different yet similar they are.

That got me thinking about how I wish we still had IDW or a comic license holder with a few years under their belt. Then, they could do a couple of “What If”-style miniseries featuring these drafts. I’d love to see the Anibots and Rails canonized, and Kranix’s original death sounds like it would have been fun to watch.
 
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