On the movie’s 30th anniversary, we got in touch with The Transformers: The Movie director Nelson Shin to talk about one of the more iconic moments of the franchise: the death of Optimus Prime.
As revealed by the writers of the movie in other interviews, the decision to kill of the Autobot leader was made by Hasbro to discontinue his toy and launch a new one, but Korean-born Shin argues that a lot more discussions took place around it.
“We had a serious issue of whether to kill Optimus Prime and the Matrix transitioning onto Ironhide, which we could not decide for several weeks,” he told us. “Optimus Prime was the leader of good guys. In the story board of mine, he should be killed, but when I asked if there would not be Optimus Prime toys any more after he was killed, no one answered it. I put much time into telling his death. In the movie, we all grieved for it.”
It’s interesting to note that Ironhide was an option to take on The Matrix of Leadership, which goes to Ultra Magnus and then Hot Rod in the eventual movie while Ironhide dies in the opening scenes.
He also told us that the use of “shit” was added in much latter in the edit. “As a director, I didn’t want to put swearing in my film, but it was intentionally put in after the movie was almost completed,” he told us. “Generally the film would have received a G rating, but with the swearing, it would be given a PG. It would mobilize more audience by letting kids bring their parents (adults) as well, which was the idea of executive producers.”
You can read more from Nelson Shin as well as composer Vince DiCola and musician Stan Bush about the making of the film in ‘Till All Are One: A Production History of The Transformers: The Movie.
The Transformers: The Movie – 30th Anniversary Edition is available now on Blu-Ray.