Is the story about how the decision to kill off Duke in G.I. Joe was what led to Optimus's death?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Proud Nintendo, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. Proud Nintendo

    Proud Nintendo Well-Known Member

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    Buzz Dixon claims that they had decided to kill off Duke since his toy wasn't being made anymore and to show that yes, people die in wars, much to his surprise, Hasbro approved the idea and demanded the movie writers do the same to Optimus Prime and the reaction was... not what they expected from 6-year olds and their parents. So they quickly inserted obvious added in later lines that had Duke live... but I imagine that Hasbro wanted to get rid of Optimus and the 84 toys anyway... after all, their toys weren't being made anymore so why devote screen time to them?
     
  2. Venixion

    Venixion Its always the middle of the night in Moonside

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    As for the actual question, I don't know.

    I'll never understand why they didn't think killing off characters in a kid's or family movie wouldn't make little kids cry? Like, didn't these people ever see Bambi or Old Yeller? Its a death scene. They are meant to provoke that specific reaction.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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  3. Cyberbot8460

    Cyberbot8460 Pretty Fly, For A Bi Guy

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    Hasbro didn't realize what Optimus meant to little kids across the nation and abroad. They saw him as a toy to be sold, and when the toy wasn't sold, you could say goodbye to Prime.
     
  4. 1mBr0k3n

    1mBr0k3n -

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    There's a few documentaries on the subject on YouTube and Amazon. There description of the one one Amazon literally says how the greedy decisions made by Hasbro made TFTM a better film.
     
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  5. Venixion

    Venixion Its always the middle of the night in Moonside

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    The horse only got one heart-warming moment during Never-ending Story with Atreyu and kids bawled their eyes out when he drowned.

    OP was a main character, in probably every episode, and very likeable. It baffles me that Hasbro wouldn't think otherwise. Besides, if a scene in a movie gets a heartfelt reaction from at least some of the audience, it means the creators did a good job.
     
  6. AutobotAvalanche

    AutobotAvalanche Number One in Boogieland

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    Maybe I'm crazy but I thought it was the other way around. Prime's death having such an impact is why Duke is just "in a coma" in the movie. The Joe movie came out after TFTM anyways.

    I could be completely wrong but that's what I remember.
     
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  7. TheUltimateBum

    TheUltimateBum Nautica Lover

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    Buzz Dixon did say that Duke's death came first, and the producers and Hasbro decided to kill off Optimus (Joe was already in production before TF). Now, the audience for Transformers was a bit younger than that (at least, that's what Buzz said), and when they saw Optimus die, they started crying and running out of the theaters.

    It's whack that Duke's death was changed into a coma, because it's the only sore spot in a perfectly fine and rather creative movie. I honestly preferred it over the TF movie: Falcon's character growth was a lot better than Hot Rod's rather meh personality in the TF movie, Golobulus was a much more interesting villain than Unicron and I really felt the celebrity casting was much better than that in the TF flick (Don Johnson is a much better young protagonist than Judd Nelson ever was and Burgess Meredith delivers a much more enjoyable and interesting performance than Orson Welles).
     
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  8. Proud Nintendo

    Proud Nintendo Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to see it.

    Here's the thing...

    I'm not sure Duke's death would've had the same impact that Optimus's did.

    Duke wasn't the gentle loving father to the Joes that Optimus was to the Autobots.
     
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  9. TheUltimateBum

    TheUltimateBum Nautica Lover

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    In my case, the scene already was impactful as it was, especially with the animation and Michael Bell's performance. Plus, I always felt Duke was a much better character than Optimus ever was for me, so that added to the impact.
     
  10. Proud Nintendo

    Proud Nintendo Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but I can't agree with it. Optimus Prime is basically your Dad. He is kind, gentle and loving. Duke was more stern, yes. That's why his death was so devastating.

    I think what Friedman was going for... was that Optimus achieved a more natural immortality through Rodimus while Megatron received an unnatural immortality as Galvatron.

    Pretty interesting really.
     
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  11. 1mBr0k3n

    1mBr0k3n -

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    I can't seem to locate the one on Amazon but there's a bunch on YouTube
     
  12. TheUltimateBum

    TheUltimateBum Nautica Lover

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    Actually, the Joe movie started production first, but it was delayed. I don't really know if My Little Pony was before Joe or not, but Buzz Dixon has stated that Joe was before Transformers.

    In the end, because of the backlash and poor box office performance of both Pony and Transformers, Sunbow changed Duke's death scene and released the movie directly to video.

    Personally, despite liking TF a bit more than Joe, I always felt the story was much more engaging, the villains were a lot more compelling and the character quest was much more satisfying.

    Yeah, but Duke had a much more interesting dynamic with the other characters. He got easily exasperated and didn't take any nonsense when someone like Shipwreck screwed up, which added a lot of amusement. Plus, I felt his connection to Falcon in the movie just added another dimension to the character that Optimus lacked.

    Also, whenever a character was around Optimus, they always acted with reverence toward him, which really is another reason why I couldn't get into him as a character, especially compared to Rodimus, who was much rougher around the edges.

    Hell, I felt even General Hawk was a better character than Optimus.
     
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  13. Skyfire98

    Skyfire98 You can’t beat the original!

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    They killed them off just for toys lol.
     
  14. Primeultra

    Primeultra Well-Known Member

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    I’ve heard the story several times from different sources so I’m willing to bet it’s accurate

    You’re not completely wrong

    The G.I. Joe movie was in production before the Transformers movie so the decision to kill Duke came down the pipeline first and then someone had the bright idea to do the same to Optimus

    The timetable on the transformer movie was moved up and After it’s released and the reaction from children on Primes death lead to the decision to change Dukes to death to a coma
     
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  15. ABrown

    ABrown Well-Known Member

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    As far as Optimus Prime's death goes, I think it would be really cool if Hasbro/Sunbow still had some of the letters that parents apparently sent after the movie was released, and they released them for people to see. It would be really neat to see them.

    As far as Duke's death goes, I would love to see/hear an unedited version of his death scene, as well as the final scene from the movie.

    If I were to guess, I would assume that neither the letters, nor an unedited version of the movie still exist. One would think that as least one or they other would have surfaced by now.
     
  16. NeilJam

    NeilJam Resident Audiophile

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    I guess this was prior to Hasbro planning the Joe & Cobra repaint teams as Duke was later released again as part of Tiger Force.

    The first time I saw the GI Joe movie I realized Duke was supposed to die. When Scarlett says "He's gone into a coma" the "into a coma" part was obviously tacked on. Just edit that part out and you'll have the original death scene. However, there could have been some character reactions that were cut out.

    I think Duke's death would have had a better impact, not necessarily bigger. It had better intentions: spotlighting the fact that war isn't all fun and games and sometimes people die in battle. Transformers can gloss over that by bringing characters like Optimus back to life, but they wouldn't have a way to do that with a human character.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
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  17. ABrown

    ABrown Well-Known Member

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    I could definitely see "he's gone into a coma" having just supposed to be "he's gone". But there's still the question of what did Hawk say instead of "Falcon, don't worry. We'll do everything we can for Duke" and "Men, Doc says Duke's gonna be A-Ok!".
     
  18. Ambrojh

    Ambrojh Well-Known Member

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    Wait didn't you all cry in 84, when Vader died? It was stupid to kill OP and Duke. Prime is the leader of the Autobots and Duke (while others may technically out rank him) is the leader of G.I. Joe. Hasbro should of learnt from Star Trek, you do not kill off Spock.
     
  19. Proud Nintendo

    Proud Nintendo Well-Known Member

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    If anything, Hasbro learned their lesson from this.

    Y'know... come to think of it, I'm amazed the death toll in G.I. Joe wasn't higher... Duke couldn't have been the only character whose toy was discontinued by that point.
     
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  20. TheUltimateBum

    TheUltimateBum Nautica Lover

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    Well, I dunno about that... they just keep killing and reviving Optimus Prime to no end (which really annoys me), plus, Duke did die in G.I. Joe Retaliation, so...

    Actually, the only characters that were supposed to die were Duke, Pythona and Nemesis Enforcer. Golobulus' fate remains unknown.

    And yes, there were characters discontinued, but they were mainly used for cameo appearances over the course of the movie, while other discontinued characters were taken out of action in different ways. Roadblock, Shipwreck, Dusty, Snow Job, Lady Jaye, Snake Eyes and Quick Kick spent the majority of time trapped in Cobra-La until Roadblock escapes with Cobra Commander.

    Flint, Iceberg and Lifeline are sent to search for Roadblock's unit very early in the film, and they don't make an appearance until near the end of the movie.

    And finally, Gung-Ho, Alpine and Bazooka (or as Buzz Dixon referred to them in the movie commentary, the Elite Mustachio Squad) are taken down by Nemesis Enforcer and sent to the hospital.

    So yeah, they did phase out characters, but the way they did it was much more clever and less cynical than the approach Transformers took.