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Derrick J. Wyatt Q&A... answers! 
12th-Jan-2009 05:50 pm
And here we have Derrick's responses to the questions that were submitted! Thanks to everyone who submitted one, guys! There were lots of good submissions, and my apologies to those who didn't make the cut.

Of course, a big thanks to Derrick, for agreeing to do this with us! You rock, Mr. Wyatt!

Now, without further ado...

from vegiraziel
I have a question in regards to the design of the characters. I would like to know why some characters seem to be so reminiscent of their G1 counterparts while others seem so much different aside from certain distinctive details. Ratchet is one that comes to mind as being so different, while I see Starscream as a character that keeps, baring the obvious art style and vehicle mode diffeences, a very similar design to his G1 counterpart.

DJW: Usually it boils down to how precious the characters are to me, and how much I like the design of the originals. The more I like a character, the more aspects I will try to retain in redesigning it. That's probably why the Decepticons retain even more of a classic feel than the Autobots. Ratchet is a little bit of a different case. He was originally planned to be called Red Alert in the show, so there are various design cues taken from previous Red Alert incarnations. I remember especially liking the Binaltech Red Alert package art. So while the Animated version of this character's personality and design remained the same, he eventually took the name Ratchet instead of Red Alert because most of us in the CN crew identified much more with the name Ratchet.

from kookaburra1701
Mr. Wyatt, something I've always wondered is what the timeline/turnaround time is for completing an episode? What are the stages that it goes through before being ready to go on the air?

DJW: The turn around time for each episode is generally around six months or more. All episodes go through the stages of pre-production, which begin with writing and design, dialog recording, then story boarding, and color. Once the pre-production materials are complete they are shipped to Japan for animation. Once the animation comes back from overseas, post-production begins. This involves retakes, editing, music, sound fx design and sound mixing.

from wingus
Second, given the GaoGaiGar influence in Jetfire and Jetstorm, are there any other non-Transformer Japanese robot shows that you're fond of that we may see referenced in the future? (I remember seeing a number of toys on your desk in your pictures on your blog...)

DJW: I would consider anything from Takara to be fair game, though any of these homages would probably not be quite as "in your face" as the normal Transformers homages. The GGG influence in Jetfire and Jetstorm probably comes straight from Takara! Eric Siebenaler had been working with the Takara engineers on the twins for quite some time. So the engineering of these characters had been worked out before I got my hands on them. Once Eric passed off his ideas to me, I added the bits like the head details, the Beast Machines Jetstorm homage elements and the color.

from an anonymous user
Seeing as how you mentioned being fond of certain Japanese characters, like Dai Atlas, Deathsaurus, and Grandus, I'm curious as to your opinions of the various Japanese-only TF shows (Headmasters through BW Neo if it's not too much trouble.) On a related note, I'm also curious if you're a fan of the Brave series.

DJW: I got the UK edition Takara Transformers box set a couple years ago, and I have watched a bunch of episodes from the different series, but I've never had the time to sit down and watch any of the series completely from start to finish. I really think that they have some of the coolest characters and concepts in of all of Transformers history. Although at times the story and the characters' personalities can sometimes get kind of bland.

I have only seen two episodes of Gao Gai Gar. I will tell you that I pretty much spent the entire time watching them with my jaw dropped. Probably some of (and maybe THE) coolest transforming animation ever. I need to see more, but I would definitely say that seeing what I have, and seeing the designs, I am a fan. Captain Shark is one of the coolest robot designs ever.

from purajo
"Why did they end up designing Prowl and Jazz as Ninjas"?

DJW: Prowl was characterized as being a ninja before I ever started working on Transformers Animated. I never really questioned the reason behind it, or who's idea it was. It was Marty Isenberg's idea to make Jazz sort of the "Elite" version of Prowl, which just really seemed to fit his character.

from arwydd
Can you tell us a funny story about your work - perhaps interacting with colleagues, a funny mistake, etc?

DJW: Well, we work with famous actors all the time, but it was really funny how star struck we all were when "Weird Al" came in to record the voice of Wreck-Gar. Tom Kenny (who wasn't even scheduled to be in that show) came in just so his son could meet Al. It was pretty cool ( and a little funny) to see even our normal actors get a little geeked out over him comin in.

from senchou
Which is your favorite TFA toy? I know you have tons, but there has to be one you play around with more than the others. XD

DJW: Swindle is totally my favorite TFA toy! He was always my favorite Transfomer from when I was a kid. His classic G1 toy was always a little disappointing to me because he was so different from the G1 cartoon (although they did get the big purple eyes right on the toy, and that is the most important part!). So, I'm super happy to finally have a really dead on show accurate Swindle toy.

from an anonymous user
When designing a Robot character for the show, are all of the abillities for the character planned up front, or is there space left open for unplaned abillities to be added later that might be needed later for a given story? (for example, Bulkhead has his wrecking balls but we've never seen the saw blades that the Leader class toy has, so we would have to assume he has them but they haven't been shown yet in a story.)

DJW: After we choose a new character to be in the show, I usually start doing some sketches of the new Transformer while Marty Isenberg figures out what kind of personallity and powers the new bot will have. Marty and I will work with our supervising producer, Matt Youngberg and Eric Siebenaler at Hasbro until we are all happy with the look, personality and powers of the character.

It was Eric's idea to put all the extra weaponry on the Leader Bulkhead toy. Eric's thought was that the additional armament would represent upgrades the Headmaster had added to Bulkhead's body to make him more dangerous when Headmaster had control of him. Bulkhead himself doesn't have any of those weapons in the show. Even if the Headmaster had added that stuff on in the show, I'm sure Bulkhead would have removed it after he got his body back.

from mmouse15
Could you please tell us a little bit about how an episode comes to be, ie do you and your team brainstorm ideas, then work up some sketches, then vote and work the most popular idea? Or does everyone get to contribute an idea and the team works them up in turn? I am more interested in the creative approach to such wonderful work in general rather than specifically. Thank you for your time.

DJW: It's kind of different each time. Eric and I will start doing sketches of characters we want to see in a new season, everyone has some ideas of stories they want to see. Marty has tons of story ideas and comes up with an overall story arc and wrangles everyone's varrious ideas into 13 episodes. Then Marty, Matt and I will usually meet with each of the episodes' individual writers. Everyone contributes ideas, but most of the biggest (and best) ones that really drive the plot forward come from Marty.

from ishimura
My question is how you came to the unusual design of TFA Optimus? For once, his colour scheme is an odd mix of clashing colours and clear area separation (blue helmet, mostly red torso, blue hands, silber legs, blue feet). And then there is his face: While most most bots have grey faces, he is one of the very few having a different coloured one (not to forget the black markings around his optics). And how did you come to having him as the only one such pouty, visible lips?

DJW: I don't consider Optimus' colors to be unusual or clashing at all. They are very classic super hero colors, and colors that Optimus Prime has always had. The blue face comes from Beast Wars Optimus Primal, and the lips were inspired by Primal's from Beast Machines. Since our Optimus Prime was going to be an inexperienced novice leader, I wanted to infuse some of Primal's design into him.

from bean_bunny
Also, what side of Starscream does Girlscream represent?

DJW: I try not to think about that one!

from... many people
Is there a chance we might get to learn more about Prowl; who he is, and where he comes from, or get some more focus on him? (Note from Raz - so many people asked this, I decided to condense them all into one question)

DJW: Well, I hate to be so vague, but I really don't want to give specific plot points away. All I can say is that more characters will have their history explored in season 3.

from an anonymous user
Also, was the Samurai Armored Prowl planned as a toy first, or was the toy based on the episode?

DJW: The episode came first. Hasbro wasn't even going to make a toy at first, but I think they liked the episode so much that they went ahead and made it.

from dreg4life
Derrick, with the TFA UK comic character who was previously named "Sideswipe" renamed as "Afterburner," is there still a chance that a new version of Sideswipe or the entire Sunnyside duo (I believe this refers to Sunstreaker) could appear in a future episode of TFA?

DJW: It would be possible in theory. The UK comic wouldn't have any kind of creative restraint on us. We could even have our own version of Afterburn if we really wanted to.

from... many people
So many people asked questions about season 3, so I decided to condense them all, as I know there are certain things you need to keep a tight lip about. Can you give us any insight about what to expect that's within the bounds of what you're allowed to say? Maybe something you can reveal to us for the first time? If not, we all totally understand.

DJW: Season 3 is the most ambitious undertaking yet on Transformers Animated. I'm sure many of you have seen the new designs that have been coming out of the internet woodwork. There is a lot going on. Optimus is continuing to grow into his place as leader. The mystery of Sari and her story continues. We get to see some of how the military Elite Guard interacts with the civilian Autobot High Council. We will have new characters, and old favorites will return. And just what is Megatron going to do stuck in outter space with the head of the bot he dispises most?! Tune in and find out!

And there we have it. Thanks to everyone, once again, and give Mr. Wyatt a big round of applause!
13th-Jan-2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Ohh, awesome, my question was picked! And wow, that is something I wasn't expecting about Ratchet, at least I don't think I had heard about that original 'origin', pardoning the redundancy, for Ratchet.

Thank you to Mr. Wyatt for taking the time to answer to our questions!
13th-Jan-2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Thanks to Raptor and Mr. Wyatt and everyone who submitted questions! <3
13th-Jan-2009 01:45 am (UTC)
from [info]bean_bunny
Also, what side of Starscream does Girlscream represent?

DJW: I try not to think about that one!

Oh, copout. :P
13th-Jan-2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
On one hand, completely agree w/ you.

On the other, what he says can & has been posted for public consumption, and giving a real answer (esp if it's the one many fans think of), will cause much outcry... whatever the answer ;)

I'll just stick to thinking it's a nod to the older fans & the teasing about Screamer.
13th-Jan-2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
That's what I'm thinking. If it was something more "benign" like snarkiness or annoyance I think he'd have said it. Since he hasn't...well, his feminine side seems to be the best explanation.

He's at least narrowed down the possibilities, no?
13th-Jan-2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
yup...I think it wouldn't be as much an...item of discussion, if in the actual episode, Screamer hadn't said "don't ask".

Probably one of those mysteries we'll only get confirmation of upon the show's demise, similar to the whole gay-Sunny from DW comics, and other tidbits from the various offerings.
13th-Jan-2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
Well, I suppose we should hope we won't know the truth for a long time.
13th-Jan-2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I hope so! My 6 y/o has finally gotten hooked on TFA, and we're able to play together w/o me glazing over LOL

I hope TFA is on for at least another year or two (or longer). We enjoyed Ben10, as well as the new incarnation of B10. Miss Teen Titans though.
13th-Jan-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Lucky. I can only get my brother to watch if there's Dinobots.
13th-Jan-2009 01:58 am (UTC)
We get to see some of how the military Elite Guard interacts with the civilian Autobot High Council. --- This makes me really intrigued on a totally selfish level. Where I'm going with my G1-reboot-ish-sorta fanfic, I'm exploring similar themes - the intersection and conflict between military authority and civilian authority; who decides who's in charge of whom and when; what happens when military is unhappy at being trumped by civilian or vice versa. I'm excited to see something similar in the current canon!

And the Weird Al story is just gold. It gives me this wonderful feeling that the people involved in Animated are part of Geekdom, like some of "our own" have gotten the keys to the kingdom.

Thanks for this, Mr. Wyatt and raptor and everyone involved!
13th-Jan-2009 08:51 am (UTC)
me too! In the first and second season, it almost seems like all Cybertronians are in the military. I'm excited to see the other aspects of their society.
13th-Jan-2009 03:24 am (UTC)
oh, heh... he replied mine =D

Jazz as an elite version of Prowl, eh? Hmmm....

Thanks for this Mr. Wyatt... I think we can safely say we're all waiting eagerly for Season 3 to start..
13th-Jan-2009 03:37 am (UTC)
By the way... would it be okay for me to link/reproduce the Q&A bit over at TFW2005 ?
13th-Jan-2009 03:52 am (UTC)
Already did that. ^^
13th-Jan-2009 03:53 am (UTC)
Ahh.. hehe ok.
13th-Jan-2009 03:30 am (UTC)
D'aw, seems I (Or rather my question) did go offline. :C

But, nonetheless, I am glad Sir Wyatt graced all of us here with an opportunity to ask questions to him regarding TFA.

Our deepest gratitude for the rare chance to interact with you, Sir. More power and success to you and the rest of TFA production team.. Especially the upcoming and exciting Season 3!

Transform, and Roll Out!
13th-Jan-2009 04:02 am (UTC)
Thank you, Mr. Wyatt, for answering our questions, and thank you, raptorscribe for compiling and facilitating the Q&A. I loved the stories Mr. Wyatt told and the great details he gave us! I'm very excited about season 3 (as if I wasn't before!). There will be so much awesomeness!
13th-Jan-2009 08:52 am (UTC)
Thank you very much Mr. Wyatt! And especially for the insight into what goes into making an animated episode!
13th-Jan-2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
This just makes me want season 3 so much more. *glee!*
13th-Jan-2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Mr. Wyaaaaaaatt♥
Seriously, is he one of the best people on the planet, Y/Y?

:C Looks like Femmescream is still a mystery.
Although he didn't exactly give an okay about Prowl's backstory, I'm still excited about hearing the histories on other characters. Plus we get to see more about Cybertronian society~

S03 is going to be so explosive. :D

Thanks for doing this, raptorscribe!
13th-Jan-2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Ugh - S3 cannot come fast enough!!
13th-Jan-2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
I admit, I got the warm fuzzies when I saw my question had been picked. :D And I can totally imagine how cool it must have been to work with Weird Al!

And yay for Swindle being his favorite toy! :D Cause he is by far my own favorite, too~~ *squee*

Hasbro wasn't even going to make a toy at first, but I think they liked the episode so much that they went ahead and made it

I'm glad they did! Cause quite frankly, Prowl looks supremely badass.

And just what is Megatron going to do stuck in outter space with the head of the bot he dispises most?!

I am very much looking forward to this! XDD SEASON THREE, PLEASE COME SOON!

Thank you so much, Mr. Wyatt, for answering our questions - it's an honor! And we're so lucky to have you on the TFA team!
14th-Jan-2009 03:14 am (UTC)
I would kill-or do some serious injuries to someone-to meet al.
Tom kenny is such an awesome dad for doing that. Also, I didn't know he was a dad.
14th-Jan-2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
I'm disappointed that nobody asked about Blitzwing such as, is he 3 separate entities in one or just one with terrible mood swings, and how aware of the other personalities is each one? The burning-est of all questions...will we learn more about why he is the way he is and how he got that way in future seasons? Alas, there ARE just some questions that the fates do not allow to be answered. (Which often opens the door even wider to fanfic writers to fill in such gaps as those with their own creative minds!!)
16th-Jan-2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
WAHOO!!! We know sari and her story is coming!!! Please air the season soon!!! Finding out about Sari's past one of the biggist things I'm waiting for!!! *faints from excitement*
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