FANDOM


The Hasbro Cinematic Universe (HCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe that is centered on a series of films, independently produced by Hasbro Studios and based on products by Hasbro including G.I. JoeTransformersM.A.S.K., Tonka and My Little Pony. The franchise has expanded to include comic books, and digital series.

The first film released in the HCU was Transformers (2007).

The franchise has been commercially successful as a multimedia shared universe, though some critics have found that some of its films have suffered in service of the wider universe.

Development Edit

For the first Transformers film, Don Murphy was planning a G.I. Joe film adaptation, but when the United States launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Hasbro suggested adapting the Transformers franchise instead.[1] Tom DeSanto joined Murphy because he was a fan of the series.[2] They met with comic book writer Simon Furman, and cited the Generation 1 cartoon and comics as their main influence.[1] They made the Creation Matrix their plot device, though Murphy had it renamed because of the film series The Matrix.[3] DeSanto chose to write the treatment from a human point of view to engage the audience,[4] while Murphy wanted it to have a realistic tone, reminiscent of a disaster film.[3] The treatment featured the Autobots Optimus PrimeIronhideJazzProwlArceeRatchetWheeljack, and Bumblebee, and the Decepticons MegatronStarscreamSoundwaveRavageLaserbeakRumbleSkywarp and Shockwave.[5]

Steven Spielberg, a fan of the comics and toys,[2] signed on as executive producer in 2004. John Rogers wrote the first draft, which pitted four Autobots against four Decepticons,[6] and featured the Ark spaceship.[7] Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, fans of the cartoon,[8] were hired to rewrite the script in February 2005. Spielberg suggested that "a boy and his car" should be the focus. This appealed to Orci and Kurtzman because it conveyed themes of adulthood and responsibility, "the things that a car represents in the United States. The characters of Sam and Mikaela were the sole point of view given in Orci and Kurtzman's first draft. The Transformers had no dialogue, as the producers feared talking robots would look ridiculous. The writers felt that even if it would look silly, not having the robots speak would betray the fanbase. The first draft also had a battle scene in the Grand Canyon. Spielberg read each of Orci and Kurtzman's drafts and gave notes for improvement. The writers remained involved throughout production, adding additional dialogue for the robots during the sound mixing (although none of this was kept in the final film, which ran fifteen minutes shorter than the initial edit). Furman's The Ultimate Guide, published by Dorling Kindersley, remained as a resource to the writers throughout production. Prime Directive was used as a fake working title. This was also the name of Dreamwave Productions' first Transformers comic book.

Ed Redlich, the show runner of Without a Trace, came onboard to assist with the story. Redlich told Rogers, Orci, and Kurtzman he felt the story had too many human plots and didn't give much connection with the Transformers characters. Despite knowing the draft was already done, and it would cost additional time to alter it, the writers agreed with Redlich. Redlich re-wrote the prologue which included the Autbots and Decepticons crash land on Earth in the Ark.

Michael Bay was asked to direct by Spielberg on July 30, 2005, but he dismissed the film as a "stupid toy movie". Nonetheless, he wanted to work with Spielberg, and gained a new respect for the concept upon visiting Hasbro. Bay considered the first draft "too kiddie", so he increased the military's role in the story. The writers sought inspiration from G.I. Joe for the soldier characters, being careful not to mix the brands. Bay based Lennox' struggle to get to the Pentagon phoneline while struggling with an unhelpful operator from a real account he was given by a soldier when working on another film.

Orci and Kurtzman experimented with numerous robots from the franchise, ultimately selecting the characters most popular among the filmmakers to form the final cast. Bay acknowledged that most of the Decepticons were selected before their names or roles were developed, as Hasbro had to start designing the toys. Some of their names were changed because Bay was upset that they had been leaked. Optimus, Megatron, Bumblebee and Starscream were the only characters present in each version of the script. Arcee was a female Transformer introduced by Orci and Kurtzman, but she was cut because they found it difficult to explain robotic gender; Bay also disliked her motorcycle form, which he found too small. An early idea to have the Decepticons simultaneously strike multiple places around the world was also dropped.

For the first G.I. Joe film, In 1994, Larry Kasanoff and his production company, Threshold Entertainment, held the rights to do a live-action G.I. Joe film with Warner Bros. as the distributor, but instead chose to concentrate their efforts on their Mortal Kombat films. As late as 1999, there had been rumors that a film from Threshold Entertainment was still a possibility, but that project never panned out. In 2003, Lorenzo di Bonaventura was interested in making a film about advanced military technology; Hasbro's Brian Goldner called him and suggested to base the film on the G.I. Joe toy line.[9] Goldner and Bonaventura worked together before, creating toy lines for films Bonaventura produced as CEO of Warner Bros. Goldner and Bonaventura spent three months working out a story, and chose Michael B. Gordon as screenwriter, because they liked his script for 300.[10] Bonaventura wanted to depict the origin story of certain characters, and introduced the new character of Rex, to allow an exploration of Duke.[11] Rex's name came from Hasbro.[12] Beforehand, Don Murphy was interested in filming the property, but when the Iraq War broke out, he considered the subject matter inappropriate, and chose to develop Transformers (another Hasbro toy line) instead.[13] Bonaventura felt, "What [the Joes] stand for, and what Duke stands for specifically in the movie, is something that I'd like to think a worldwide audience might connect with."[11]

By February 2005, Paul Lovett and David Elliot, who wrote Bonaventura's Four Brothers, were rewriting Gordon's draft.[14] In their script, the Rex character is corrupted and mutated into the Cobra Commander, whom Destro needs to lead an army of supersoldiers.[15] Skip Woods was rewriting the script by March 2007, and he added the Alex Mann character from the British Action Man toy line. Bonaventura explained, "Unfortunately, our president has put us in a position internationally where it would be very difficult to release a movie called G.I. Joe. To add one character to the mix is sort of a fun thing to do."[16] The script was leaked online by El Mayimbe of Latino Review, who revealed Woods had dropped the Cobra Organization in favor of the Naja / Ryan, a crooked CIA agent. In this draft, Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute. Mayimbe suggested Stuart Beattie rewrite the script.[17] Fan response to the film following the script review was negative. Bonaventura promised with subsequent rewrites, "I'm hoping we're going to get it right this time."[18] He admitted he had problems with Cobra, concurring with an interviewer "they were probably the stupidest evil organization out there [as depicted in the cartoon]".[16] Hasbro promised they would write Cobra back into the script.[19]

In August 2005, Paramount Pictures hired Stephen Sommers to direct the film after his presentation to CEO Brad Grey and production prexy Brad Weston was well received.[20] Sommers had been inspired to explore the G.I. Joe universe after visiting Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island.[21] Sommers partly signed on to direct because the concept reminded him of James Bond, and he described an underwater battle in the story as a tribute to Thunderball.[22] Stuart Beattie was hired to write a new script for Sommers' film,[23] and G.I. Joe comic and filecard writer Larry Hama was hired as creative consultant. Hama helped them change story elements that fans would have disliked and made it closer to the comics, ultimately deciding fans would enjoy the script.[24] He persuaded them to drop a comic scene at the film's end, where Snake Eyes speaks.[25]

Feature films Edit

Main article: List of Hasbro Cinematic Universe films

References Edit