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Read This: An under-the-hood look at the production of 1986’s Transformers

Tansformers (1986)

This week marked the 30th anniversary of the best toy commercial ever released to theaters, Transformers: The Movie. Jabbing aside, the film does use a classic hero’s-journey story to great effect, portraying an epic battle between good and evil. Look no further than the film’s director Nelson Shin and writers Flint Dille and and Ron Friedman to see that while Hasbro’s intent may have been more capitalistic, the creative types were interested in making an authentic slam-bang, sci-fi adventure with some gravitas. Flickering Myth ran an exhaustive piece earlier this week featuring quotes from Shin, Dille, and Friedman proving this further.

According to Flickering Myth, the first draft of Transformers: The Movie from Dille was titled Transformers: The Secret Of Cybertron and featured Optimus Prime on a quest into the innerspace of the Transformer’s home planet to find the origins of the Autobots and Decepticons.

“It was pretty wild,” Dille explains. “A certain amount of it found its way into the movie and the third Season [of The Transformers], but some of it—like Cybertron transforming and being Unicron’s brother, if robots can be brothers—never found its way back in. ”


The piece also tries to determine who came up the Quintessons and Unicron, coming to no definitive conclusion, but instead offering gems like these where Dille argues that it was actually producer Joe Bacall’s idea:

“I wanted to create a large-scale force, which would force the Autobots and Decepticons to join together.” Friedman says of Unicron, whose planet form is called Ingestor in the script. “I needed something that was like the guy from out of town who shows up at the dinner, fucks the hostess, steals the cake, robs the minister, and vanishes with two kids, a donkey, and a car.”

But something no one will take the credit for is killing off Autobot leader Optimus Prime. For as brutal as the onscreen deaths remained in the final product, Friedman was tasked with adjusting the darker tone of Dille’s original script to remove some of the violence. He also fought to introduce the only female Autobot featured in the film, Arcee.

“That was a battle,” explains Friedman. “They were absolutely resistant to Arcee. I said I had a daughter who loves this stuff. There are other girls that like it. Put in a female Autobot.”


Transformers: The Movie will be getting a complete overhaul from Shout! Factory with a Blu-Ray release September 13th.

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