Transformers 3: Character Changes & Shooting Locations

Today we have a double bill of Transformers 3 news for those curious as to what's happening with the big-budget sequel. We have info on some changes to a couple of the franchise's main characters (hint: it's a couple of the robots, not the humans), and info on where director Michael Bay is looking to shoot the movie.

Character Changes

SciFiWire recently got a chance to speak to a couple of the guys from visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic and they revealed that both Optimus Prime and Bumblebee will be getting a bit of a makeover. Don't worry, they're not radically changing the color or size; for fanboys of the films (more so than the average moviegoer) there will be some differences to be found. Animation supervisor, Scott Benza, said:

"Our two lead characters, Optimus and Bumblebee, needed to be updated for the next chapter in the Transformers series... We always want the robots to look cooler than they did the last time, so [Optimus Prime's] going to look a little more heroic, I would say."

Visual effects supervisor, Scott Farrar, added:

"Bumblebee's matured a little bit, so I would just say look for subtle changes to his physique that have him look more mature."

"[Prime will have] little tiny things that maybe the average viewer isn't going to notice but probably the fanboys will... You actually will run into pieces that are maybe always in the way, and wouldn't it be nice if that part wasn't there? Maybe you make a shift in the shoulder, in the chest or what have you. So it might be proportioning, but it also might be for usability, so [the animators]' task could be easier, too."

Count me as one of those regular folk who doesn't know one Transformer from the next. I guess the only way I'll know the difference between the old and new designs is by covering this stuff on Screen Rant :) .

The script (being written this time by Ehren Kruger instead of the usual Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci) is not finished yet but ILM have enough important details to be hard at work:

"There's an outline and most of the script is done," Farrar said. "It hasn't been released to us completely because they want to keep that under wraps, but we certainly know enough. Michael [Bay] turns over sections of the script, and then the art department is full steam ahead right now, the L.A. art department. We also have an ILM art department working on this at the same time. So we take their 2-D work and start turning it into 3-D models, because we like to get a jump-start on this. Any model that looks like it could start, we want to get going, because it'll take us 30 weeks to build it."

Benza and Farrar also confirmed we'll be seeing some new characters (hopefully robots and not humans). I just hope they're a helluva lot better than Mudflap and Skids... Oops, didn't mean to bring up that "Twins" fiasco again...

Shooting Locations

Moving on from the character stuff, word came a few days ago from Michael Bay's official website which let us in on a couple of the planned shooting locations for Transformers 3: they are Chicago and Moscow. Chicago we heard about a while ago when Bay was scouting locations, but Moscow is a new city thrown into the mix.

But keep in mind, as /Film reminds us, this doesn't necessarily mean those are settings within the movie. For example, the Asian power plant opening sequence in Revenge of the Fallen (see above) was actually shot in a factory in Pennsylvania (near Sr. Editor Kofi Outlaw's hometown).

Transformers 3 is gearing up pre-production this month and could starting shooting as early as this May. The movie already has a set release date of July 1st, 2011.

Sources: SciFiWire, Michael Bay Official Website and /Film

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