I have just finished watching the yahoo webcast with the writers of the new Transformers movie that will be released on July 7, 2007. (For some reason I am expecting to see at least one Boeing in the movie. ) I must say some of my fears have been put to rest. These guys really seem to get the G1 characters.
One of the reasons they used more Decepticons than Autobots that they wanted the Autobots to be at a disadvantage.
Secondly, even people new to the franchise will be able to follow the story, although there will be quite some references for the fans.
Thirdly, I got the distinct impression that Michael Bay might not have been a fan originally. However, Bob and Alex felt that at the very least he was great at directing vehicles, and at their first meeting Michael was already figuring out how to shoot the transformations. Bob and Alex also worked together with Hasbro to determine which Transformers to put in the movie, so we can expect some cool toys.
That's also why Bumblebee will no longer be a VW bug: they wanted him to be cool. Personally, I always thought the character was pretty cool - and I happen to like bugs - but the switch might be good.
Although some Decepticons might still transform into flying machines (like Blackout, for example), quite a few will transform into everyday object. I am hoping that Frenzy will transform into an iPod; it would be great to finally have one of the "evil" guys having something to do with Apple.
Finally, there will be a contest in a few weeks. You have to write a line for Optimus Prime, which will then be put into the movie. No swear-words, though. (I am guessing "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings." and "Roll Out!" will be disregarded.)