- Michael Bay’s original script for Transformers focused more on human characters, with Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox at the forefront.
- Developing the first Transformers movie was a challenging process, as the initial draft centered on the realistic experiences of a kid discovering a transforming car.
- The second draft allowed for expanding the world of Transformers and intercutting different storylines, but finding the right balance was a difficult task for the screenwriters.
Michael Bay’s original script for Transformers barely featured any Autobots or Decepticons according to screenwriter Roberto Orci. During an interview with IGN, the screenwriter spoke about how the first live-action Transformers changed from initial conception
Bay’s Transformers released back in 2007 and starred Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Racheal Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Michael O’Neill, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Amaury Nolasco, and Zack Ward.
While discussing the challenges of developing the first Transformers movie, Orci revealed that he and Bay first focused on human elements over the robot stories. Ultimately, that decision impacted how the pair developed scenes that involved interactions between humans and Transformers.
Orci said, “In terms of how hard, it was very hard. The first draft was almost exclusively just Shia [LaBeouf] and Megan [Fox] – that was basically what the entirety of the movie was: A kid realistically is trying to get his first car, and then it turns out to be this thing… It was more, ‘This is maybe what would actually happen if you were a kid and suddenly realized you had this thing’… So it came out of that and we looked at it as a byproduct of being in a realistic situation.”
The screenwriter went on to note that the first draft of Transformers served as a foundation for the plot.
Roberto Orci Said That “The Second Draft Is Where You Need To Open up the World”
Orci said, “The second draft is where you need to open up the world and that’s where the other stories came in. Having done the first draft with what is essentially the spine of the story, Shia, that was able to be then stretched out and the rest of the world intercut with it.”
The screenwriter then admitted, “But yeah, that was a pain in the a**; normally you would want everything to be in that first draft, and it wasn’t quite right. So we had to go back and turn it into what it is.”
Orci served as a screenwriter on the first Transformers film and later returned for the 2009 follow-up Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Still, according to the screenwriter, Orci would’ve left the project if its storyline hadn’t contained “a real human element.”
Orci said, “We came in ready to not do it. [Steven] Spielberg asked us to come in and talk about doing it, and we had to ‘see’ it, we don’t want to sign on and say yes just because you’re asking. So our approach was to say there’s got to be a real human element to this.”
He continued, “It’s going to have to be a little bit of the paradigm or the point of view, and absolutely I agree that the path should be a boy and his car. And that was enough for us to realize that was the entrance point to the movie that we were able to [develop] the rest of the movie from.”
Orci added, “It was essential for us to know what that human story would be just as a starting point and then extrapolate the rest.”