There were only a couple of years during which the stars of the Transformers cartoon would be crammed into a studio together, recording scenes together and cracking each other up -- but franchise star Peter Cullen, who continues to appear as Optimus Prime in almost every subsequent iteration of the series, misses those days.
During a conversation about Transformers: Titans Return, a webseries that brings Cullen back together with Transformers: The Movie co-star Judd Nelson and other legendary Transformers names, the voice acting legend (who long played Eeyore in Disney's Winnie the Pooh franchise) recalled the wild days of early Transformers seasons when none of the cast were sure anyone was watching.
“I’m a Generation One fan, always have been for many reasons, obviously,” Cullen told ComicBook.com. “It’s the beginning and a successful beginning and a continuing journey of success. Generation One, to see it all happening that way again, reminds me sentimentally of the old days. The only thing missing is the cast; I don’t work with the full cast the way that we used to. I miss the days when we would have laugh attacks and production would shut down for five or six minutes due to everyone laughing so hard they couldn’t stop. Those were the days that I cherished.”
He added that in those early days, working with people like Mel Blanc (in some non-Transformers work) and Frank Welker (Megatron), he was constantly floored by the level of talent that he was working with, even if animation was still considered something of an acting ghetto at that time.
“These creative minds, these vocal geniuses playing multiple characters, inventing them, there’s no greater thrill to be sitting and recording with people who are that capable. You’re just in awe; it’s jaw-dropping,” Cullen said. “I have great appreciation for them; and it's great to get someone like Judd Nelson back. What a great, talented person and a special kind of human being. His approach to acting is a great, great asset to the franchise. We don’t have much opportunity to work with too many other people, but Frank Welker I do. We convene together at conventions, et cetera, and we get an opportunity to back and forth with each other, which is laugh-attack-ville.”
Transformers: Titans Return stars Cullen, who originated the voice of Optimus Prime in the 1980s animated Transformers series, along with a host of fan favorites including Judd Nelson, who is reprising his roles of Rodimus Prime and Hot Rod from the 1986 animated Transformers movie, Michael Dorn as Fortress Maximus, Wil Wheaton as Perceptor, Nolan North as Metroplex and Jason David Frank as Emissary.
The series features return appearances from many fan-favorite Transformers characters as well as introduces new Autobots and Decepticons. In the series, enormous Transformers called Titans are awakened and these massive characters bring massive problems. Trypticon, a gigantic lizard-like Transformer, rises to wreak havoc on Cybertron, while Windblade and a rag-tag team of Transformers must resurrect an ancient ally. Not all Transformers will survive, as beloved heroes are changed forever while others’ sparks are blown to oblivion.
You can find it on the Combiner Wars' Go90 page.
The original version of this story erroneously reported that Cullen had played Prime in every iteration of the series. As a fan noted on Twitter, Garry Chalk was Optimus Prime in Armada, Energon and Cybertron. David Kaye took on the Prime role in Animated. We regret the error.