June 25, 2014

Transformers Robots in Disguise Eartly Thoughts

This is kind of old news to most, but there's been an article about the new Transformers series that sheds some light as to the setup and cast, and I figured I'd share my thoughts on that, the project as a whole, and maybe bitch about Predacons Rising for a bit too.

So, basically, Hasbro is gearing up to bring us a new Transformers series in the Spring of 2015, which is awesome. They also said it's going to be a sequel to Transformers Prime, which is pretty awesome too! And then I remembered that the Predacons Rising movie thing happened and I was like "damn, that means Optimus is dead, Bumblebee is in charge, and Knock Out of all people is an Autobot (spoilers)". Now, to be fair to that ending of the series, this did leave us with the distinct impression that things were changing, which I was happy about if only because Prime by that point had become known as that show that kinda played it too safe (one need only look at the end of "Rebellion" to know what I'm talking about). With Megatron going off on his own and effectively disbanding the Decepticons, Optimus sacrificing himself, Cybertron restored, and Unicron gone, things seemed ripe for a sequel of sorts, a chance to explore the ramifications of Megatron's decision to no longer be a part of the Decepticons and the Autobots now having to rebuild and reestablish Cybertron as a planet.

The problem was the way the movie got to its ending. Things felt very rushed, storylines and plot threads were introduced and done away with in five minutes, we didn't need any more world-building for the Transformers so getting the All Spark in there was a pretty stupid idea in my opinion, characterizations were all over the place; everything just felt like it was undermining the great finale that had come before it. So I'm sitting here reading this article about the new Transformers series, and as I read, I began to suspect that perhaps this might be the sequel to Prime that could clean up some of the mistakes of Rising, because the outline for this looks pretty good.

Basically, there's a new faction of Decepticons on Earth and Bumblebee must step into the position of commander and round up a rag-tag group of Autobots (and a Mini Con) to take them down. The final statement on the plot was what really caught my eye:

"Each new bot is a fully capable action hero but inexperienced in working together in a team, forcing Bumblebee to become both squad leader and coach, Hasbro said."

See, this feels like kind of a mix between Transformers Animated and Firefly to me. I get the Animated vibe because of Bumblebee's position being not too dissimilar to Animated's Optimus in that he must work these people into becoming a team. I get the Firefly vibe because of the "fully capable" bit there in the beginning. I get the sense that each of these characters is going to have a secret buried in their past to add dimension to their character, and if that's the case, then this could prove to be as character driven a show as Prime or Animated ever were, and that would be awesome.

The animation studio that helmed Prime, Polygon Pictures, is doing this one as well. I loved the animation style of Prime, and while 2D animation isn't really my thing, I do like the mix of Animated and Prime styles going into these characters. Also, while we haven't gotten any word on who will be writing the show (though like Prime, I do hope they have their own in-house writing staff), we have gotten word on the story editor, Steven Melching: he wrote for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and several episodes of both Beast Wars and Prime, so he should be right at home with this. Jeff Kline and Adam Beechen will be producers too, so this looks like a home-grown project that is sure to breathe more life into the universe of Prime.

While I've pretty much regurgitated the article for you already given how short the article is, here's the link if you want to read it. Robots in Disguise looks to be a neat sequel idea to Prime, and while I'm firmly behind Prime's more adult attitude, I welcome this shift in tone that the new series is taking; a more kid-friendly show might be just what this universe needs to keep flourishing, and hey, it did wonders for Animated, so I'm very hopeful for this series!

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