Interviews: Bob Forward (8/99)
1. What have you been up to since the end of Beast Wars?
Greg Johnson and I did "Roswell Conspiracies" for BKN. For those interested, Simon Furman wrote a number of the shows, as did Ian Weir. We're now doing "Dan Dare" (for a different studio -- and again, Furman and Weir are contributing) and Larry and I are supposed to reunite on "Kong" for BKN.
2. There was quite a lot of fan reaction over your leaving Beast Wars. Was it shocking to have the writers of a series develop a fan base all their own?
Bluntly, yeah. That never happens in animation. And it was certainly a heady experience while it lasted. Larry had a taste of it with Bab5, but it was new for me.
3. What is your reaction to the Japanese series Beast Wars the Second, which borrowed some ideas from Beast Wars (such as stasis pods etc.)?
Like we didn't swipe every idea that wasn't nailed down ourselves. This is animation. If they can use 'em, it will only make the Transformer Universe more cohesive. Good luck to them, I say.
4. Was there anything unique about the whole "Beast Wars" experience?
The fan base. The CGI. Working in Canada. Directing an episode. Going to conventions. Meeting people who cared -- a LOT -- about a show. All unique -- all wonderful. Even the people who hated everything we were doing -- at least the passion was there.
5. If there was only one story you could rewrite, re-edit etc. in all of Beast Wars' three seasons, which would it be? How would you change it?
Some shows were better than others, but there were always reasons -- things happening behind the scenes, certain executive requirements, animator inspiration -- that were the real reason for the problems or lack thereof. I mean, I'd love to have done "Nemesis'' the way Simon and I first conceived it, but it just wasn't feasable. We always did the best we could with what we had.
But if I could change one thing, it would have been that dratted "Matrix" holder in "Optimal Situation." :-)
6. In the Japanese translation of the Beast Wars first season, Airazor was made into a male character, what do you think of that?
If the toy didn't sell well here, that may have been a marketing decision.
7. There have been those who have criticized some of the third season of Beast Wars as being too "cartoony". What do you think of this statement?
I agree. But it was being forced down our throats. Hasbro had decided this was what they wanted, and they were out to prove they controlled the show. They were leaning on not only us, but Mainframe as well, to simplify and "gag up" the show. The results may not have tested as well as they thought -- which would have ultimately lead to "Beast Machines" not having the same restrictions. Be thankful. And remember, they did allow us to "end" the series (VERY unusual for a toy company) and for that I am grateful.
8. Was it difficult leaving Beast Wars?
Oh sure. Finishing a show is always a little bit of a pang for writers, because there is never any closure. Everyone else is still busy with production, so it's not like you get a party or anything. No one even calls to say "nice job." You turn in the last rewrite on the last script and then... nothing. Assuming the rewrite is satisfactory, you never hear from anyone again. You just wander around your office for a few days, fiddling with stuff, and then you decide it must have been okay, you toss out all your old scripts and model sheets and stuff, and go look for other work. With BW, after three years, it was harder than most. But not really any different.
9. (This question has been asked to death so I'll ask it to settle it once and for all): Did the Maximals collect all the stasis pods before departing Earth in "Nemesis Part 2"?
I doubt they could have. Otherwise they would have done it already.
10. (Ditto): Where did the Maximals get the transwarp equipment to modify the Autobot shuttle in "Nemesis Part 2" from?
That was actually written and animated, but did not make the final cut of "Nem 2." Optimus rips the Transwarp Cell (installed by Tarantulas) from the Nemesis' control panel before fleeing the ship.
11. Would you ever consider writing a story for the upcoming "Beast Machines Transformers" series?
Never say never -- but I think not. I'd love to work on another Mainframe show, or even another Hasbro show, but there is a feeling of "been there, done that" about Optimus & Co. I'd like to see where new writers take it now.
12. Your three years on Beast Wars have been a major addition to the Transformers mythos. How does it feel to have added to a 15 year old legend?
It wouldn't have worked anywhere near as well without the transfans.