Racist robots not returning for Transformers 3

Remember Skids and Mudflap from Michael Bay‘s magnum opus Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen? Of course you do. Amidst all the unintelligible carnage and lingering shots of Megan Fox‘s derriere, it was impossible to ignore the presence of these “”ghetto”” robot twins (yes, I’ve added DOUBLE quotation marks).

Reaction to the duo was mixed, with many (myself included) acknowledging these characters as gross racial stereotypes. It even drew comparisons with Mickey Rooney‘s lamentable performance as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As Russ Fischer eloquently put it over at Slashfilm:

“both characters speak with voices that sound like urban black stereotypes, have big ears and buck teeth and proclaim that they ‘don’t do much readin’. Skids even has a gold tooth. How did these characters make it through months of development, meetings and rendering to appear on screens [?]”

At the time of the second film’s theatrical release, CHUD attempted to figure out who was to blame for the two characters. The film’s screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman passed the buck when asked at a press conference about the inspiration for Skids and Mudflap.

“I think a lot of what we did was following Michael’s lead. Those characters, more than any other, he had the strongest instinct for. Our job was to keep up with him.”

Bay was quick to throw the hot potato over to the twins’ voice actor Tom Kenny:

“When you work with voice actors, especially with the twins, they did a lot of improv for their parts. We liked their improv and, from there, we would animate to their stuff. When you’re doing character animation and you’re building the character, it’s not like an actor where you shoot the scene and you’ve got it and you move on. With animation, you get the dialogue and then some animation and then a bit more of the dialogue and you keep going back and forth and it just builds until you have the shot you want.”

Orci and Kurtzman eventually discussed the racist claims with Film School Rejects. Kurtzman said:

“It’s really hard for us to sit here and try to justify it.I think that would be very foolish, and if someone wants to be offended by it, it’s their right. We were very surprised when we saw it, too, and it’s a choice that was made. If anything, it just shows you that we don’t control every aspect of the movie.”

When asked about whether or not they were offended, they responded thusly.

I wasn’t thrilled. I certainly wasn’t thrilled,” Kurtman said.

“Yeah, same reaction. I’m not easily offended, but when I saw it, I thought, ‘Someone’s gonna write about that,’” added Orci.

They sure did.

Discuss: Storm in a teacup, or did Michael Bay go too far with Skids and Mudflap? Are you glad to see them ‘fired’ from the sequel, or were you hoping to see them back on the screen once again?

One Response to “Racist robots not returning for Transformers 3”

  1. Were they racist? I liked them! I'm never looking for a miracle of cinematography when I watch a movie, I want to be entertained. Transformers 2 did this for me & I am looking forward to No 3. Are the twins any different to one of the idiot characters in any 'Friday' movie? I haven't seen anyone screaming about them being racist…

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