When reached by phone, Executive Producer Jeff Kline answered questions about "Transformers Prime Beast Hunters" and what fans can expect as the final season plays out.Is "Transformers Prime" reaching a logical conclusion or did you want to take the story further? All of the people involved in making "Transformers Prime" would have loved to take it for another 100 episodes, but the reality is that it is very nice to know upfront that this will be your last season. And we did know that, so we could plan accordingly. We were able to, I think at least, wrap up the various story threads we had unraveled in Seasons 1 and 2, and create a satisfying conclusion to our particular "Transformers Prime" tale.
We've been playing with Decepticons versus Autobots for two seasons now. And when [Hasbro Corporate] pushed us with the idea of introducing Predacons into our story for Season 3, we jumped all over it because the idea of bringing in this new faction -- this incredibly powerful faction -- mixes things up in a way that we tried to do throughout the entire series. We always try to play with shifting allegiances and changes in the power structure, and the Predacons let us do that in a big way.
So it's safe to say that it's not easy to predict the alliance that will form in Season 3?Hopefully, it never is [easy] for "Prime." Hopefully, there are question marks for a number of characters in "Prime." Quite often, where characters begin is not where they end up. It's safe to say that's going to be true for some of the Predacon faction.
Because we are a CG show, we do have limitations on the number of characters that we can introduce in an episode or over the course of an entire season. The most difficult part of a CG series is that you have budgetary and time limitations. The most expensive and time-consuming part of it is building new characters.
We tend to dig really deep into the characters that we have and by shifting allegiances -- or at least putting questions in people's minds -- we are able to get a lot more out of characters that might otherwise get a little stale.
So how much does it cost to bring in one new character? Is there a dollar amount attached to each character?When we begin each season, we go back and forth with our partner studio in Japan, a studio called Polygon, who is unbelievable. They sort of break down for the money we have this year, how many new characters can we have, how many new locations can we do, how many props are needed.
It really gets very specific because, in an animated series, you have to build and/or draw everything. It's not like when you are doing a live-action series, and you can go and get a cheap table and chairs. You actually have to -- in CG -- build those props. There are limitations on all that.
Over the course of the season, you are constantly negotiating, both with yourself and your partner studio: "If we don't do this, can we have three of these?" "If we do a clip show in Season 2, can we get an extra character in this episode?"
This sounds more complicated than balancing the budget for the United States.I don't know if that's true, but we probably do a better job of it.
Optimus Prime is not going to get furloughed, is he?No, we aren't going to sequester anyone. We've got it figured out.
Season 3 of "Transformers Prime" debuts Friday 3/22 at 7:30 ET/4:30 PT on the Hub Network.
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