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Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Barely Rewrote Mikaela Into Carly

Any "Transformers" fan worth their salt is likely to be pretty familiar with the controversy after Megan Fox wasn't in "Dark of the Moon." Fox's character of Mikaela Banes was initially positioned as a cool, mechanically-inclined dream woman for Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) to first yearn for and then become romantically involved with. But after a series of battles in the press in which Fox claimed Bay was terrible to work with and Bay claimed Fox was distracted on the set, the character of Mikaela was quietly removed from the film series in its third volume.

Sam's new girlfriend, Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), is introduced during "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" without much fanfare. Mikaela's disappearance is never discussed by the film's characters, and Witwicky himself is subsequently phased out of the franchise in favor of two further films centered around Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and William Lennox (Josh Duhamel).

If you found Carly's character to be under baked — or felt as if she were a thin shadow copy of Mikaela– then it turns out there's a reason for that. It seems that there wasn't much change in the script when "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" swapped one heroine out for another.

Did Carly assume Mikaela's character arc?

Per an interview clip featuring "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" screenwriter Ehren Kruger (who also penned "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Transformers: Age of Extinction"), if you found Carly and Mikaela to be similar, that's because it doesn't seem that much was changed at the script level for Sam's new girlfriend. In the video, Kruger addresses the switch between the two characters and says, "We decided basically right away we weren't going to throw out the plot for the rest of the movie and come up with a new plot."

And so it seems when you watch the film and realize that when it comes to Carly, there isn't much new under the narrative sun. During "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Carly and Sam settle into adulthood, with Sam working a nine-to-five job that keeps him away from the Autobots. There is no significant discussion of where she came from, though Sam has Mikaela's dog. We do receive a flashback of how Carly and Sam met. We learn she manages a classic car collection — Mikaela, of course, loves cars. When Sam becomes tangled up in the Autobot-Decepticon war, Carly is kidnapped. She does influence the film's ending, convincing Megatron (Hugo Weaving) to kill Sentinel (Leonard Nimoy) and reclaim leadership of the Decepticons. All of these events feel like extensions of Mikaela's character, not Carly's.

You can judge for yourself by reading a transcription of the "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" screenplay on the "Transformers" fan website, TF Archive. Similarities and dissimilarities aside, at least things between Fox and Bay simmered down enough to allow Fox to land the role of April O'Neil in the Bay-produced "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" duology beginning in 2014.