A New Direction for Optimus?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Honorbound, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Reclusive Semi-Lurker

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    A little while back, there was a thread about a new idea for a series would be to have a leader that wasn't Optimus Prime. Most of the comments in that thread stated that they were tired of Optimus as he stood, and that Transformers needed a new leader.

    I know that Hasbro won't change Optimus out physically - he's too popular and too iconic. However, that doesn't mean that Optimus can't change. What would those of you, who are sick of Optimus, change to refresh him?

    Even if you aren't sick of him, what would you like to see Hasbro do with him?

    I personally want to see them get into his head and explore exactly what crucible a man has to go through to produce someone of Optimus's caliber. What trials has he endured? What has he lost? Why is he doing this - not just his principles, but what event led him to follow those principles? What does he have to live for?

    I personally think that someone like Optimus can be interesting and even more inspiring if you get down to the nuts and bolts of his character and history, and you find out what really makes him tick. His principles are only part of him - his experiences and his reactions to said experiences are another part.
     
  2. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    What they did in Animated.
     
  3. Alienbot

    Alienbot Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that what Prime's doing? Exodus did a great job of exploring every sacrifice the character has made and in the show he clearly has a great weight on his shoulders.
     
  4. moreprimeland

    moreprimeland Optimus told me to do it! Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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    It would go against his programming. :D 

    Seriously, this fan and thousands of others are in no way tired of Optimus Prime, who he is and what he stands for. Transformers series and Optimus been temporarily changed but the storyline will eventually have Optimus Prime in his leadership role at some point, if not the current series, then a later one. Call it fate, kismet, karma, whatever you want, Optimus Prime will always be the consummate ideal of what is good and inspirational in an Autobot-- that is what he was programmed to be. :thumb 


     
  5. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

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    I know what the OP is getting at, but I want to keep Prime as he is. I'm not sick of him at all.
     
  6. theestampede

    theestampede Wandering Artist

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    More of how animated treated him and how primal was done in beast wars is what I need. None of that characterization done in TF Prime
     
  7. IronicHide

    IronicHide MEME GO HERE

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    I've always been part of the Prime-is-a-dick crowd, even as a 5-year-old.

    An infallible character is not interesting. Starscream, Mirage, Kup, Thundercracker, Octane, Galvatron and Ironhide are.

    So, yes, really enjoyed TFA Optimus Prime, not knowing all the answers and not being the trump card in every episode.

    Also, the idea that Optimus is a cog within a bigger Autobot system/empire/army works for me, even if it's only that he's the latest in (a very limited) line of Primes.

    In short, TFA was the only iteration of Transformers where I've given a crap about Optimus Prime. (I have not seen any Beast Wars/Machines.)
     
  8. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

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    See, for me, Prime is heroic, noble, intelligent, inspirational, compassionate and an extremely skilled warrior to boot. He is a great leader. I can rely on Prime to deliver the goods and I enjoy seeing the way he interacts with other characters.
    There is plenty of room for character development in the hundreds of other 'bots and 'cons and by all means let them have arcs and twists and flaws all day long. But I like Prime being, well...Prime I guess. He is part of what makes Transformers what it is.
    Don't get me wrong, I LOVED Animated and Beast Wars Prime/Primal (especially Primal). Their flaws and growth throughout their respective series is what made them great interesting characters. But for G1, Prime has been there and done that, he's now what he is going to be until he goes offline (again!), and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy and I wouldn't want to change that.
     
  9. Recall

    Recall Player Select

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    I just want him to stop dying.

    I don't think writers are aware that there are more ways to create drama than killing him. It worked once in regards to getting an overwhelming response, by the eleventh time its just flat out boring.
     
  10. D-Unit

    D-Unit #1 Heel

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    As others have said, they did change him in Animated, and in a way, BW Primal as well. I know Primal wasn't the same character, but he was still playing the "Optimus" role ans was done very differently
     
  11. AMG

    AMG Old School

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    I'm fine with Prime the way he is. If any drastic changes were done to the character he would lose his iconic identity.

    This too.
     
  12. Karhukjnsi

    Karhukjnsi Universal Wrestler

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    I want an Optimus like Tom Hanks' character in Saving Private Ryan, started out as a simple humble man who rose to his call of duty. A man who others can look to, is strong for them, but has demons of his own that haunt him.
     
  13. optronix72

    optronix72 Autobot

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    Ditto
     
  14. vektsilver

    vektsilver Transorganic member

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    they have totally whored out OPS and I think they could have totally done a better job with him than they have been doing lately as he is just all hero and no heart.

    How about a Wreckers saga? They could always focus on a time line before optimus and or one after he is old and growing metal beards lol. UGH

    but I think a non optimus series would be really cool long as they can find that one character ( not rodimus holy plz no) to carry the torch in a new way.
     
  15. Brooticus

    Brooticus "You bred Raptors?"

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    Ultimately, I wouldn't want the Cullen Prime to change too much, though I'd perhaps like him to loosen up a little and be a little more like he was in the early days of the G1 cartoon. I do sometimes fear that he's becoming a stereotype of himself.

    I absolutely loved the Animated and Beast Wars incarnations though.
     
  16. Shockscream

    Shockscream Chairman of Nerd Day

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    This is it. Something that charts Optimus rising to the challenge. Exodus was a good start, but something over a couple of seasons where he goes from humble Orion Pax-ish beginnings to taking on the mantle of leadership.

    It would be interesting to see someone changed by the Decepticon War. In the beginning I would like it if he were someone shockingly underserving of the rank of Prime. But as the series develops, he should progress -- naturally -- to the heoric, classic version of the character.
     
  17. Black Oracle

    Black Oracle Black Convoy's Dark Angel

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    Let's have a brief look at the various iterations of Optimus Prime:

    G1 Optimus Prime was the quintessential good guy leader - brave, inspiring, heroic, merciful, honourable, protective of the those that required protection, kind to friends, firm to enemies, would never leave a soldier behind, etc. etc.

    Primal was an untested and unintentional hero that rose to great challenges.

    RiD Prime was a noble defender of Earth and its people.

    A/E/C Primes were respected and powerful militaristic leaders.

    TFA Optimus was a hero living with the weight of mistakes and pressures and with something to prove.

    Movie Prime was a harder and more brutal Prime driven by dire circumstances.

    TFP Prime seems to me to be a whole book of history just waiting to be opened up. Battle-hardened, experienced, burdened and grim, he's a leader shaped evidently by a warring past.

    There have been some subtle and some quite noticeable changes in the multiple Prime iterations we've had thus far. I personally am not tired of having Optimus Prime in the role of leader yet, and I don't think we need to give him a drastic overhaul in character to keep him fresh and interesting. I think TFP could be heading in an interesting direction if it explores Prime's past and psychology in more detail.
     
  18. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    My feeling for Prime is informed by the G1 incarnation, specifically the interpretation of him as a mature, world-weary but still idealistic father-figure. A rock and a paragon that exudes nobility while still reflecting great kindness and humility. I always found that there was a tinge of sadness there, though a lot of what I'm getting at comes from Cullen's vocal characterization and the original long bio comparing him to Abraham Lincoln, and emphasizing his role as scientist, a doctor, a philosopher, among other things.

    I realize that this sounds like one of those boring "too good to be true" character types, but the point is that Optimus should not be the main character of Transformers. He exists as an ideal, and a moral center, someone to look up to, but not someone that we relate to on a personal level necessarily. Prime is not our hero... he is what our heroes should aspire to.

    Personally, I never was that interested in the "young Prime" trend, such as seen in Beast Wars' Primal and TFA's Optimus, though there is a certain merit to that kind of character. The young, untested hero, trying to realize his potential as a leader is fine, but it's not Prime to me. While part of this is the result of focusing on a much smaller cast of main characters, I don't feel like the "leader" role should necessarily be the character focus of the story.

    Likewise, the gung-ho over-the-top figurehead seen in RID/A/E/C is somehow not personal enough. These versions of Prime come closest to being the superhero too-perfect cliche of heroism. That said, Prime at the end of Armada was pretty cool, despite not feeling like a "classic" Prime to me.

    Bayformers Prime? There's not a lot there, to be honest... the level of characterization in those films is pretty weak and superficial, and so we get a lot of discordant behaviour, such as his casual bloodlust and erratic logic in dealing with Sam. Basically all of that can be chalked up to bad writing, but the result is a poorly drawn Prime who is more defined by stabbing people than by any professed motives.

    See, this would be great because it implies a rich history. I'd love to see this type of story be told, because unfortunately most of the fiction's "origins" for Optimus are cheap shortcuts, such as Orion Pax the naive dockworker spontaneously becoming Prime after a rebuild, or sulky archivist Optronix being given the mantle of leadership and all the power that comes with it, by way of a contrived "chosen one" plot device. Neither of those origins give Prime the dignity of growing into his role over time and earning his position as leader of the Autobots.

    The danger in telling such a story is that you trivialize it by not giving it it's necessary cope. One need look no further than the Star Wars prequels to see how the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker, and his evolution into Darth Vader, which had seemed epic, was instead made arbitrary and trite, capped off with an instant-villain transformation in the closing scenes.

    That works too... but you have to be careful with those demons, otherwise you end up with Mike Costa Prime from IDW... who is so wrapped up in his "demons" that he becomes completely, laughably ineffectual, and prone to random self-indulgences like abandoning his Autobots completely because he "needs to think".

    zmog
     
  19. Backpack

    Backpack Scattershot who?

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    I've always wanted to see Primes leadership role challenged. Rather than have him die and another Autobot step into the possition of leader.... Prime could lose in some sort of hand to hand combat against a superior Autobot.
     
  20. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Reclusive Semi-Lurker

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    General Points:

    To those of you who don’t want to change his core nature, I am in perfect agreement. Optimus’s core personality is what draws so many people to him; in many ways, Optimus’s heroism, compassion, and wisdom has helped solidify the Transformers brand, enabling it to last while other 80s franchises have died out or faded into obscurity. I was wondering what ideas other fans had, and what the writers could add to Optimus.

    Several folks brought up his constant deaths and how said deaths are annoying. You are not alone. His deaths have become a running gag. Part of me would suggest the reverse: kill the Autobots around him. For a guy like Optimus, his own death isn’t a tragedy; he came to terms with the likelihood of his death a long time ago. Having everyone he cares about die around him, now that’s what hurts him. You can heighten the danger to the supporting cast and explore his grief and his determination to keep fighting, all the while putting him through the wringer (a big school of thought in writing is to create a sympathetic, heroic character and make his life hell).

    Specific Replies:

    Black Oracle: You raise a very good point, now that I think about it. Each Optimus, while they have been similar at their core, is different in how they approach things. You’re also right about TFPrime Optimus; I can’t wait to see what the show does with him.

    SMOG: Why shouldn’t he be the main character? He’s the face of Transformers, and with a little character development, a very interesting and sympathetic face. I have to disagree with the father figure thing as well. Why should we look up to Optimus when we can aspire to be like him. Even when I was a kid watching the Gen1 reruns during the G2 era, I never saw Optimus as a father figure (partially due to having a cool dad around already). I wanted to be him. I also disagree with the leader characters not being the focus. You can do it well, if you explore what makes a good leader, along with the sacrifices a leader has to make. Of course, the leader in question would be much more interesting if they led from the front instead of the rear.

    Now, on Michael Bay’s Optimus, we’re going to disagree forever. I personally think that this version of Optimus is genuinely furious at the Decepticons. They’ve butchered millions of Transformers and rendered an entire planet uninhabitable, and they want to do the same on Optimus’s new home. He’s already seen one home destroyed, and he won’t let it happen again, even if it means he has to rip some faces. By the way, the line before “Give me your face” explains it well: “You picked the wrong planet.” He’s not tolerating the ‘Cons’ crap anymore, and if he has to kill every last Decepticon to ensure that they don’t hurt anyone else, then by God, he’s gonna kill every last Decepticon.

    Your point on the young Primes makes sense, though – Optimus’s original incarnation was an older, more experienced hero. He’s been tested already. And you are right, a lot of the origins for Optimus have been rather cheap. I personally liked the concept of the Orion Pax story, but oh boy did the writers drop the ball on it. They turned it into a morality tale and they altered his personality. What they should have done was upgrade him only on a physical level and allow him to mature mentally.

    As for giving him demons, you are absolutely right. Optimus shouldn’t let whatever is bothering him to interfere with his mission. In a way, his needs and wants come last. You could also extend this into a flaw: he completely ignores his wants and desires, running roughshod over his own feelings.
     

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