The word is out -- and the good guys are outnumbered. There's a full rundown of everything said at Friday's live webchat over at MTV, but here's the basics. The Autobots you'll see next Independence Day? Optimus Prime (described as "Shakespearean" by screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci), Bumblebee, Jazz (Kurtzman: "the loyal friend. He's the guy who believes if you can't do something in style, it's not worth doing at all"), Ratchet (who "will have a new form," according to Kurtzman) and Ironhide (a tough-talking van Orci described as "the first one in. He's the first one to clear the field." "Ironhide is the muscle," Kurtzman added. "Ironhide is the tough one.").
Okay, bring on the bad guys. For the other team, of course you'll have Megatron. "Megatron is a little bit more realistic," Kurtzman said. "As opposed to pure evil, [Megatron] thinks it's his God-given right as one of the most advanced creatures in the universe to do [to humans] what we sometimes do to animals." At his right hand will be scheming second-in-command Starscream. The writers assured fans that their beloved bickering will be present in the Michael Bay blockbuster. "Yes, the dynamic you know between Megatron and Starscream will be alive and well," Orci said. "Why would we try and change that?"
Also batting for the purple team will be Barricade, "the hunter of the group," who changes himself into a police car to take advantage of foolish humans who run to him for help. "In a way," Kurtzman explained, "he's like a camouflaged hunter." You'll see Scorponok, a giant scorpion-creature who attacks the soldiers in the Iraqi desert. "When you see him in the movie," Orci said, "You're gonna see that in the environment he's in, he comes in very handy." Frenzy wil be an MP3 player, "and is able to infiltrate smaller spaces around you and not be seen," said Kurtzman. You'll also have Brawl (loosely based on the Combaticon of the same name), Bonecrusher and Blackout, and Blackout, "the guy who comes in and takes away all of our ability to fight back," Kurtzman said, using a firepower that wipes out human technology. "[Blackout is] kind of the first-tier attack." They made a point to say Shockwave will not be in this movie.
There's also an update on the official message boards at Michael Bay's website, saying shooting on a Pentagon set has been completed, transformation times are between three and four seconds, that some leaked images are early but legitimate, and more. Some final quotes from the webchat are over at Sci Fi Wire.
... and now for something completely different. The official website and trailer for the animated series have been launched.
Meanwhile, our pals at Latino Review have posted a script review for the sequel to the Ron Perlman-fueled big screen adaptation.
There's a note at Comics Continuum that caught Frank Miller at an event for "300" where he discussed the Will Eisner-based project. "Just getting started, but I intend to do an extremely faithful adaptation of Will Eisner's book and to make it as visually true to his vision as possible," Miller said. "I want to base it more on his early Spirit books because he got drafted in World War II and had to turn it over to his assistants and the characters seem to get softer and more sort of funny. I want to go right back to the beginning where The Spirit is more of a mysterious figure, more like The Shadow. Just like with Sin City or Calvin & Hobbes, much of what made The Spirit special was his look. And why go to a real place when you can build an Eisner place? That's exactly what we did with Sin City. So it's going to be largely green screen." Production could begin as early as May.
30 DAYS OF NIGHT
Ghost House Pictures has posted a third behind-the-scenes clip for director David Slade's Steve Niles adaptation.
Speaking of video features, there's a fresh QuickTime video blog going into Eva Mendes' character over at the official site.
FANTASTIC FOUR 2
Has Doug Jones been confirmed as Norrin Radd? One scooper at Ain't It Cool News thinks so. "I had the great pleasure of meeting Doug Jones today at our local comic book store here in Bowling Green, KY," the scooper wrote. "I asked Doug if it was true that he would be playing the Silver Surfer. He told me that the contracts were being signed at this moment and that he was going to begin shooting in Canada here in the next couple of weeks."
THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD
More Mignola madness -- the entire pilot has been posted at the Sci Fi Channel website. Mmm, digitized.
WORDS FAIL ME ...
... and so did the engine on the beloved Comic Reel 'Mobile, so look for your faithful reporter out on the streets of LA, checking for a new ride. But forget all of that ... here's where you get in on the action. Did you see a link we didn't catch? Have you snuck into a closed movie set, and have inside data? Maybe your cousin is dating somebody who knows something, and they had to tell you? Whatever it is, we wanna know it all -- fire off an email and let us know whether you want your name used or your contributions to geekdom to go down anonymously. Broadcasting live from Los Angeles, this is novelist/karaoke host/all-around lunatic Hannibal Tabu saying thanks for your time and indulgence, and [tagline sent back to development hell until something hipper can be dreamed up].