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Why Was Optimus Prime Resurrected in the Transformers Movie?

The Transformers series is an American film franchise that was based on an animated series of the same name that was released in the 1980s. Michael Bay directed the first five of the films of the series. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is set to come out in 2023, and has fans excited. But back in the 80s, a full-length animated film was released in 1986. Due to a business decision, Hasbro decided to make some drastic changes in the storyline. One of which devastated fans all over.

In the 1986 animation The Transformers: The Movie, Optimus Prime was killed off to make way for newer and more expensive toys. He was eventually resurrected as a result of Hasbro underestimating the outpouring of grief over his death.

How Did They Come Up with the Plan to Kill Optimus Prime?

The Transformers animated television series premiered in 1984 to promote Hasbro’s Transformers toys. The Transformers: The Movie was conceived as a commercial tie-in to promote Hasbro’s 1986 line of toys. 

The TV series had no deaths, and the writers had already assigned familial identities to characters for young children to associate with. However, Hasbro directed the film to kill off several existing characters to refresh the cast. According to the screenwriters, Hasbro misjudged the impact Prime’s death would have on the young audience.

Getting rid of Optimus Prime, or physically removing Daddy from the family, wasn’t going to work. I told Hasbro and their lieutenants that they’d have to bring him back, but they said no and that they had ‘great things planned.’

Ron Friedman, Screenwriter

Hasbro basically created the story using characters that they can sell. What they did not consider was the attachment of the audience to the characters as well as the shift in the storyline.

We had no idea he was a celebrity. It was a toy display. We simply assumed that we were discontinuing the old product line to replace it with new products. In the theaters, children were sobbing. We heard that people were leaving the movie. We were getting a lot of negative feedback about it. Some kid once locked himself in his room for two weeks.

Flint Dille, Story Consultant

(Source: Den of Geek)

What was the Budget for The Transformers: The Movie?

The film’s budget was estimated at $6 million, which was six times that of the TV show’s equivalent 90 minutes. Shin’s team of nearly one hundred people normally took three months to complete one episode of the series, so the extra budget did not alleviate the significant time constraints imposed by the concurrent production of both the film and the TV series. Shin imagined Prime’s body fading to grey to demonstrate that the spirit had left the body.
Kozo Morishita, vice president of Toei Animation, spent a year in the United States during production. He oversaw the art direction, insisting on several layers of shading and shadows to give the Transformers a dynamic and detailed appearance. (Source: Den of Geek)

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