Known for his work on comedies such as The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004) and Beauty, Demure and Home (2016-2021), in addition to the animation Harley Quinn, actor Diedrich Bader gave vent to his more serious side and went into the closet. (literally) to play Mandroid, the villain of EarthSpark, a new animation in the Transformers franchise.
As the voices of the series were recorded at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Diedrich Bader had to find a quiet place in his home to be able to work. “I used my wife’s wardrobe for my audition. The idea of being there alone seemed so strange to me. And even stranger was the fact that I got a job out of the closet!” he said during a Transformers panel at New York Comic Con.
The actor admits he was shocked when he was asked by the producers of EarthSpark to voice Mandroid. “I never play the villain, I’m always the comic relief,” he vented. “And it’s a really cool show and so well written. Wait and see how the story develops, it will change your view of Transformers.”
The plot of the new animation takes place after the Great War between autobots and decepticons, a period that has already been extensively explored in other productions of the franchise. “For our story, we wanted something different, unique, to show what life is like after this battle, with the Cybertronians sharing planet Earth with humans,” Ant Ward, executive producer, explained to Tangerine.
In other words: don’t expect to see a clash between Optimus Prime and Megatron once again. The villain, by the way, even jumped the fence when he realized that the autobots were on the right side of the conflict and is now one of the good guys. And, despite the fact that some Decepticons have yet to register, the bad guy of the moment is very human. Or as human as the Mandroid name allows –Diedrich Bader declined to talk about turning his character into a machine.
“In his effort to protect the planet, Mandroid delves deep into the world of Transformers. He doesn’t have an arm, but I don’t want to say much more. I just find it interesting to see everything people are willing to lose in the fight for something they love. Mandroid has seen the very thing he is so afraid of. He also transforms in an unexpected way.”
The villain Mandroid from Transformers: EarthSpark
One point that the actor wanted to talk a lot about is that the scientist does not see himself as the antagonist of the story. “What I love about Mandroid is that he really thinks he’s doing the right thing, that he’s on the side of good and everyone else is wrong. He believes the Transformers are evil and are here to destroy him, while he wants to save humanity.”
The inspiration to develop this dubious side came from another famous franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “My son was once watching the cartoon with me and asked something about the Destroyer. I said he was the big bad guy, and my son replied, ‘Villains and good guys just want different things.’ And he was right. That’s really fun to play.”
Diedrich told the report that he dreamed of being part of the franchise for some time and remembered a curious backstage. “I worked on Tá Dando Onda  with Shia LaBeouf and he said he had been cast in the live-action Transformers feature. And I said, ‘Oh, are you going to make a movie? Good luck with that’. I thought it didn’t have much of a chance of working out (laughs).”
The production with Shia and Megan Fox, obviously, exceeded all expectations and raised more than US$ 700 million (R$ 3.6 billion, at the current price) in theaters alone. Four other films have already been released, in addition to the Bumblebee spin-off (2018). The next feature, Transformers: Dawn of the Beasts, is scheduled for release in June of next year.
Transformers: EarthSpark arrives at Paramount+ in Brazil in a month, on November 12. Check out a preview of the new animation: