- Interview by Transfannabeel; May 2005
Marv Wolfman has written and created for a wide range of mediums and properties, including the Superman, Batman & Teen Titans animated series, the comic-to-film vampire hunter Blade, and many educational projects. His work for Transformers includes episodes for the 80s series and Beast Wars, progressing to writing, editing and development work on Beast Machines.
You can check out his full resumé, current projects & online journal at - www.marvwolfman.com
First of all, could you tell us how you got involved with writing for Beast Wars and Beast Machines?
Beast Wars I was asked by another writer to work with him on the script. But with Beast Machines I was one of several writers asked to come up with a pitch for a new Transformers series. My idea for Beast Machines was the one they picked.
How much contact did you have with Hasbro when writing/developing Beast Machines?
I was working with Mainframe and after I came up with the idea, I simply pitched it. I didn't work directly with anyone on what I was supposed to do.
With a darker storyline (the 'good guys' hounded across their home planet, several of them reformatted as Vehicons) were you ever worried that things came across as too heavily stacked against the Maximals in Beast Machines?
No. I think heroes have to fight their way out of bad spots to prove they're heroes.
Following on from that last question, did you ever feel that it was too easy for characters to have their personalities forcibly reprogrammed?
No. I don't remember all the ramifications these days, but no. I didn't think so.
Even the personalities of the Maximals changed quite a bit—such as with Rattrap—which some fans disliked. What were your feelings about the personality changes and why were they changed?
Frankly, I don't remember it well enough to answer.
Beast Machines had a mixed reception with existing audiences. Were the intentions of the production team geared towards bringing over fans of Beast Wars, or was there more impetus to attract new viewers? Would you suggest that someone new to Beast Machines watch Beast Wars first, in order to emphasize the changes in style and to characters?
I think they wanted new viewers as well as old. I wanted to do a story that went back to their roots.
We know that the show contained links and references to both previous cartoons and comics, especially with concepts such as Primus and the matrix. Was there any link you were aware of between the decision to reveal Cybertron as having an organic core, and the creation of the planet around an existing asteroid as told back in the old Marvel comic?
No thoughts were ever made re: the Marvel version while I worked on the concept. Fact is, I never even read that. I did what I thought would make a good series concept.
Megatron is determined to eradicate organics, whilst Optimus Primal for a long time considers fighting back by wiping out the technological. How important do you feel it was for both 'leaders' to be shown as misguided and affecting others with their extreme viewpoints? Was there always a conscious desire to explore this duality, or to show for the younger audience that even well-intentioned authority figures often need to learn and grow?
I think heroes and villains need to be two sides of the same coin. They both have to believe in their mission and it can't just be power for power's sake.
Going back to your work on the 1980s TV series, do you feel producers these days are more receptive to shows with longer plot arcs, and has this trend changed anything in the way you write? Is there more emphasis on collaborative writing, or does continuity tend to primarily be handled through an assigned editor or team?
I think these days there are longer story arcs, but partially because they are shown on network TV rather than syndication where you can't control exactly when each episode will air. Continuity is usually created by the story editor and the team rather than individual writers.
What were your favorite scenes (of any TF series) that you wrote or had chance to see? Who was/were your favorite character(s) to script for?
I frankly don't remember it all that well. Sorry.
Have you seen any of the new Transformers cartoons or Dreamwave comics (before they were canceled)? If so, what was your opinion of them?
No, I didn't.
You've worked recently with Devil's Due on Defex—if Devil's Due are successful in getting the Transformers license, would you be interested in writing a Transformers comic for them?
Someone else I believe got the license and I'd love to work with them.
There have been some rumours that you're writing a new direct-to-video Transformers movie. Can you confirm or deny this? Also, do you have any stories in mind that you feel would particularly suit changing robots from another planet?
Not true. Was never asked. And I know nothing about it. Also, I don't think of stories unless I need to.
Would you be interested in working with the Transformers franchise in future?
If it's wrapped around a good premise, yes.
Looking back on your Transformers work, was there anything you would have liked to have done differently?
I wish I had had more time to write "The Return of Optimus Prime."
Can you tell us a little about the upcoming projects you're working on?
I just finished a direct-to-video movie called El Condor for POW! Entertainment. And I'm working on educational comics and some other stuff.
Many thanks for taking the time to chat with fans!
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