Peter Cullen and Frank Welker discuss Hasbro's use of non-union actors at GalaxyCon Richmond

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by convoy84, Mar 6, 2020.

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  1. convoy84

    convoy84 misses you like the deserts miss the rain.

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    Indeed, Peter and Frank were on hand at this show, and were asked at their panel of their thoughts concerning non-union actors being used for the Siege Netflix series to impersonate their voices:

    Yusuf FINALLY GOT THE DELTA SQUAD MEGAZORD on Twitter

    Transcript for the video:

    Q: You guys are excellent, your voices are so iconic. How do you guys feel about other actors taking on that role and then trying to sound like you guys?

    FRANK WELKER: You know, it's funny; uh, it's kind of an unwritten law in the business that we come from, where when we grew up in business, is you just don't do that. You never take over anybody's voice who can't do it themselves. You just don't do it. But... [Frank motions to Peter.]

    PETER CULLEN: Yeah, it's grand theft! [The audience laughs.] Yeah, that's happening now, with Netflix; they're, uh, gonna produce a Transformers series that they're not going union, and...you know, we work in our union. You know, that's what protects us all, as actors, you know, and when other guys go underneath that, and, uh, they literally are, you know, they're, they're destroying our union from the outside, with subterfuge; it's wrong! It's wrong, but that's what's gonna happen with the series, there'll be someone else doing Optimus Prime, and that hurts! That hurts. [Audience boos.] Yeah, don't let it happen! Get on Netflix! They're bad, that's not nice. [Does a "shame, shame" motion with his fingers.]

    FW: But, ultimately, we do everything for you, so you're, you're the, the audience, you're the power, so what you want will ultimately be the end, so you decide what you want, and hopefully it's good.
     
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  2. TheSoundwave

    TheSoundwave Bounty Hunter

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    I said it in the Netflix thread, but I tend to agree with them. Obviously they don't own the characters, but some characters' identities are closely tied to their actors. I'd argue Optimus (maybe Megatron too) is one of those. Cullen drew from his own life experiences when crafting Optimus' voice. Not everyone knows Cullen by name, but everyone knows that voice.

    Obviously Hasbro isn't going to stop using the Optimus character after Cullen retires. But they should find ways to do new takes on him if they're not going to/can't use Cullen. I'm watching through Animated now. Cullen didn't have to voice Optimus there because it was a different version of Optimus. That's what we need more of. Or just focus on new characters. I've never been strictly against recasting and impersonations of characters, but there are times when it just feels wrong. Morally and artistically. Optimus is one of those cases for me. It's not just a job for Cullen, it's something he does for the passion of it. Something that's tied to him as a person. I wish Hasbro would respect that. Even if it means forking over a bit more budget for this stuff.
     
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  3. jungle penguins

    jungle penguins Well-Known Member

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    One underlying problem here is Hasbro not wanting to hire VAs in the union, and opting for non-union folks that are probably very disposable. (then again, some of the cast is from Prime Wars, so maybe Hasbro still wants that consistency but cheaper)
     
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  4. TFXProtector

    TFXProtector Well-Known Member

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    I'm a little surprised they're vocal about it, now, when they hadn't been before. I'm glad, and we should rally behind them, but I think a lot more could've been done if we all knew this was what they wanted to fight against.

    I absolutely get where they're coming from. You don't steal roles from the big guns and they don't even see themselves that way. You do right by people that humble and honest.

    You just do right by them. Dang, Hasbro...
     
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  5. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    Hasbro’s so on the G1 train but can’t fork over the dough to get the actual G1 voices. Pathetic, this Siege series is a total shit show and I feel bad for Cullen and Welker.

    That would involve Hasbro actually giving a shit about growing and expanding the brand, which is not what their current endeavours are about.
     
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  6. MrSoundmeister

    MrSoundmeister Bang,Bang Boom!

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    It also involves having to hire not only Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, but also other iconic G1 voice actors. Well. Maybe ones through out eras anyways.

    Which Hasbro won't even bother doing that. They are paying for playing it safe with G1, and not going all out.
     
  7. power3921

    power3921 Well-Known Member

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    Man, never thought of people doing Cullen and Welker impressions that way. That's definitely gotta be frustrating for them, it sucks that Hasbro's simultaneously unwilling to spend the money to get long time voice actors and unwilling to try innovating in the voices of the characters. I can't believe since Animated ended it's been over a decade since we've had an Optimus who wasnt either Cullen or a Cullen impression
     
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  8. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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  9. Purple Heart

    Purple Heart Some other time..

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    IMO, Hasbro is just finding another way to cheapen out, one we really dont need. That isn’t to say I don’t want the new VAs to not get expose, but we all know it boils down to money, and union actors cost more money, and for good reason.
     
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  10. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    :lol  Well that's certainly impartial, now isn't it?

    It's not just cheapness either, it's laziness. They don't want to take risks or put money and effort into new ideas and creativity, they just want to lowest common denominator appealed to for the lowest possible price. They don't want to grow and diversify the brand because that's work, they want to keep things samey and milquetoast because it's cheap and easy. Everything about Transformers these days is cheap and easy, from the toys to the cartoons to the very identity of the brand: G1 is the face of Transformers because it's already ingrained in people's minds and requires no work by Hasbro to establish, yet they won't spend that little extra to do it properly.
     
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  11. Proud Nintendo

    Proud Nintendo Well-Known Member

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    I mean... with Garry Chalk and David Kaye, they were doing their own takes on Optimus and Megatron... whereas Hasbro is trying to get people to sound like Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. Just get the real things.
     
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  12. kaijuguy19

    kaijuguy19 Keyblade Wielder

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    I agree with the other posters here on how it's pretty ironic that for a company that prides itself on going back to its roots and wanting to spread it all over people at the expense of both the other TF eras and new ideas in general, it's not willing to go all the way like actually hiring two of the very people who helped made the G1 era beloved in the first place. If it was a matter of Cullen and Welker actually not being able to do acting anymore and gave blessings to the people who'll carry on their legacy that's perfectly understandable but this really does reek of both Hasbro and Netflix taking a page out of Swindle when it comes to getting cash the dirty way.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this practice ends up driving away the G1 fans the very people they're aiming to please like how they've basically driving away every other TF fan that didn't grew up with G1 too. I'd say that'd be a good wake up call for them to stop practices like that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
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  13. G1 Cassette Hunter

    G1 Cassette Hunter Hunting the Elusive G1 Cardbacks

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    It is possible that the series on Netflix turns out to be so much rubbish that they are happy to not be a part of the dumpster fire it became....just saying....

    Remember too - they just dropped billions on Entertainment One - Why would you put effort or resources into stuff that ultimately gets dropped to avoid conflicting projects with your new in-house waste bucket?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2020
  14. Capirus

    Capirus The Gray

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    Looking at some of the other "most ethical companies" listed, I don't think being on that list is really a thing to brag about. Plus the year has barely started.
     
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  15. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde ‎‎ㅤ

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    Very very well put.
     
  16. SG Roadbuster

    SG Roadbuster SG Wrecker

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    I'm with Frank and Peter on this. Labor Unions are very important. They are what keep corporations from steamrolling over worker's rights. Just look at how Walmart and Amazon treat their employees.
    If you want a machine to run well, you have to maintain the parts it's made of.

    If the Optimus and Megatron resemble the geewun versions, then misters Cullen and Welker should be the ones playing them, as long as they are willing to do so.

    Me personally, I'd prefer fresh takes of the characters like what we got in the 90s and early 2000s. New designs. New voices.
     
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  17. Olivus Prime

    Olivus Prime Space Ranger

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    Yeah the problem has nothing to do with other actors "impersonating" the originals, this has gone on for years. What's problematic is that Hasbro seems to now be consistently avoiding union VAs for costs' sake, which undermines the security of the industry.
     
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  18. Chopperface

    Chopperface Chadwick Forever

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    I’m all for new blood but it’s pretty ridiculous that they’re still sticking to a Cullen impersonator when Cullen is still alive and well. There is a vast array of talent outside this union, no question, but it’s just silly. If you’re going to have a Cullen and Welker inspired Optimus and Megatron, just have Cullen and Welker voice them and do right by the people who do have that much passion for their characters. If Cyberverse/Netflix Optimus had not been clearly in the mould of Cullen’s Optimus, I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but he’s very clearly imitating Cullen and it’s distracting. At least Marnocha is bringing something new to the table and isn’t just imitating Welker.

    If I ever make a Transformers show, I’m going to wait until I’m a multibillionaire, if that’s what it takes to work with the union. I will be damned if I don’t have the rich pool of talent on my show.
     
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  19. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    And this attitude, right there, is the very reason why you will most likely never be a multibillionaire.
     
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  20. Chopperface

    Chopperface Chadwick Forever

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    I’m just saying! :lol 
     
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