A Brief History of the Racist Autobots Exiled from Transformers 3


My heart can't take all this bad news today! First, Jeff Fahey attempted to drag me out of denial, forcing me to finally acknowledge that Lost's Frank Lapidus was really, truly dead. (But we didn't see a body, Jeff!) Now, Michael Bay has revealed that the racist, gold-toothed Autobots named Mudflaps and Skids will not be returning to Transformers 3 after their jaw-dropping introduction in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Though I have no doubt that Bay will replace them with something equally mind-boggling, I think we need to pay those two their due first.

We first met these robots last June, just prior to the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, when Movieline singled them out as one of the 9 most shameless aspects of that movie:

There are two robots in the film called Mudflap and Skids, and despite being red and green, respectively, they are voiced in a way that clearly designates them to be the "black" robots. Also, Skids has a gold front tooth (no, I'm serious) and both cannot read.

We were so innocent then! Little did we know that these two creatures would jive-talk their way into our hearts, all summer long. First, though, we had the blame game: When Movieline asked writers Alex Kutzman and Robert Orci whose idea it was to give Skids a gold tooth, they passed the buck. "That was Michael," Kurtzman said, laughing. "That was definitely Michael." Later, Orci told Film School Rejects, "I'm not easily offended, but when I saw it, I thought, 'Someone's gonna write about that.'"

"But what's to be offended about?" Bay argued. In an AP piece called "Jive-talking twin Transformers raise race issues," the director laid out his case:

"We're just putting more personality in," Bay said. "I don't know if it's stereotypes -- they are robots, by the way. These are the voice actors. This is kind of the direction they were taking the characters and we went with it."

Bay said the twins' parts "were kind of written but not really written, so the voice actors is when we started to really kind of come up with their characters."

"I purely did it for kids," the director said. "Young kids love these robots, because it makes it more accessible to them." [...]

"Listen, you're going to have your naysayers on anything," he said. "It's like is everything going to be melba toast? It takes all forms and shapes and sizes."

And yet, now they're dead. Which is also a stereotype.

The Twins Won't be Back for Transformers 3 [SuperHero Hype]


  • cameron says:

    they said they couldnt read the ancient cybertron language, they didnt say anything about reading english, i never thought of them as being black, actually they seemed mexican or spanish to me just by the way they looked and talked to each other
    but theyre neither! they are robots who learned english and earth culture through the www, as said by Optimus in the first movie, so who knows what sites they were on where they learned to talk the way they do
    plus in the frst movie, one of the autobots was talking jive (ironhide i think) and nobody ever said anything about that

  • Robert says:

    this isnt the first time the Transformers franchise has done this. For those who dont remember there was an Autobot in the first movie named "Jazz"... the first time you see him in robot form he does this windmill dance and his first line is "what's crackin lil bitches?"... are you gonna tell me he wasnt a "black" robot? his name is Jazz for crying at loud, which was also the name of Will Smiths best friend on Fresh Prince of Bel Air... haha, see... im right... but to make things worse, Jazz was also the only Autobot to die in that movie, being torn in half by "the man" Megatron... his last line, "You want a piece of me?"... why does every "black" Autobot end up dead or left out?

  • DecepticonsRule says:

    Jazz in the original Transformers cartoon was voiced very urban and he was perfect that way. I was glad they carried that into the movie. Not so glad he died (even though he's an Autobot).
    I never liked these "twin" robots, though I never considered the 'jive' aspect. What I disliked was their stupidity and their dumb looks. Buck teeth and lopsided eyes? On a robot that can choose what it looks like? Why even go there? It's not adding personality, it's making a joke out of the very thing the movie is about.
    Michael Bay would do best to stick to the original personalities from the shows and comics. It's not like Marvel and Hasbro didn't make hundreds of them to pick from already. Including twins, triplets and ones that combined with people for cryin' out loud.

  • Garwulf says:

    Sorry, but you've got that wrong.
    It's wasn't the jive talking alone, or even the gold tooth that made them black racist stereotypes. It wasn't even the illiteracy (and it's very clear in the movie that they don't read much period - the line has no room for ambiguity). It was all that combined with the monkey faces. That's a cartoon stereotype from the 1920s-40s.
    If they hadn't had the monkey faces, then yes, they could have been passed off as posers. But they did have the monkey faces. The only thing that was missing was liking watermelons and fried chicken.

  • Daniel says:

    It may sound lame but I haven't watched this movie as yet. But this post made me so curious that now I'm gonna give it a short asap. 🙂

  • Grimlock says:

    Well, if you want an answer, just take a look at Bay's history.....I still say that having him direct the Transformers franchises was the single biggest mistake of the "Trilogy". He's an arrogant a$$hole and a terrible director to boot....

  • Larry says:

    Well said.

  • There are certainly a good deal of details like that to take into consideration.

  • Yes, but why on earth would you want to eat rabbit food when there's so much else to chose from?

  • Deadpool FTW says:

    do you know Michael Bay? No you dont, its probobly cos he called you fanboys morons, who are you to say otherwise. Grow up and just enjoy the film.