How would Generation One have been done differently today?

Discussion in 'Transformers Cyberverse and Cartoon Discussion' started by Swerve, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much as it says on the tin, this is pure speculation of course, musing on what Hasbro has learned, for better or worse, over the years, and how, if it had been some other incarnation of the mythos that had premiered in 1984, and what we know as G1 were just about to start now, how that would have altered it.

    Not just "What mistakes would have been avoided" - that's a significant part, but there are two sides to every coin, since taking risks on something new yields more misses than a winning formula TM, but also higher hits than playing it safe.

    So... to start the ball rolling:

    Far fewer characters, far more "new bodies".
    The lesson of the '86 Movie, that those personalities and stories that Bob Budiansky and others wrote for colour on the back of the box and for characters in cartoon and comic weren't disposable fluff, but were absolutely central to brand loyalty, has I suspect been learned - possibly too much (Hello Bayverse Bumblebee, all 60 trillion of you).

    Had G1 not already established Ultra Magnus as a character, I think its certain that, told nowadays, that toy would have been "Ultra Optimus Prime with transforming battle armour", or similar. By the same token, Bumblebee's rebirth as Goldbug would likely have been alongside Brawn>Rollbar, Chase>Cliffjumper, and so on.

    I could easily see this going further. Idw's intentionally bizarre Transformers vs. GI Joe homage miniseries speculated on the Protectobots being the likes of Prowl, Ratchet, Inferno, rather than new dedicated characters, and Combiner Wars I think suggests that latter day G1 would have taken that route. Indeed, the amount of Optimusishness about Hotspot's robot mode head and chest almost makes me wonder if it was considered back in the 80s.

    By the same token, I'm pretty certain that Micromaster Overload would have been another Optimus in the micro-scale toyline.

    By way of further example, for instance, imagine a world transf... ahem, that is, imagine a world where "The Rebirth" wasn't mostly about introducing a ton of characters we'd never met before, only to say goodbye to them all after episode three, but where, in amongst some new characters, we'd also be seeing old heroes return in new Cybertronic bodies. So, for the Targetmasters, alongside Kup and Sparkplug, Blurr and Marissa Fairborne, and Hot Rod and Daniel (rather more sensible a pairing than Headmaster Arcee), we'd also be seeing Ironhide and Carly (friends from back in The Immobiliser) [Crosshairs with Pinpointer toy], Sunstreaker and Chip (occasionally paired) [Sureshot with Spoilsport toy], and Sideswipe with, well, no idea. Sparkplug, maybe. Could be Dr Fujiyama the Famous Scientist, for that matter, or you could paint him blue and make it Tracks and Raoul. [Pointblank with Peacemaker toy].

    Essentially the point being that I think nowadays, we'd probably see the popular cartoon characters "fed" back into the toyline as new toys and inspirations a whole lot quicker.

    What else? Well, the odds are that the executive decision to cross out Ratchet's feminine pronouns in the profile and make him the grouchy old bloke bot we've known and loved from G1 to Animated wouldn't have happened, and Ratchet (Nurse Ratched joke intact) would instead have been more the snarky, party loving grease monkey girl Budiansky originally described. Something of a robotic Kaylee Frye, perhaps?

    Someone might have proofread Sunstreaker and Sideswipe's profiles and got them right way round, which would have been a plus.

    We would almost certainly never have had gun-mode Megatron. Whether that's good or bad is down to individual taste, or course, but as a practical corollary, it's possible that "size changing" might have remained just an implicit, toy scale related thing, rather than getting featured as an explicit in-store power of the Transformers, had one of the faction leaders not had two modes clearly at different scales to each other. Given the difficulties in making Soundwave and the cassettes translate to any kind of modern storage medium/player analogy play pattern in a realistic way (Why do Titans Return Ravage and friends "Tablet PC" alt modes slot into a portable radio Soundwave, again? I mean other than the obvious "because it made sense when they were cassettes and a micro cassette recorder" reason?) it's likely that wouldn't have happened either, and "mass shifting" etc likely never ever been a thing.

    "Why is Motormaster a much smaller lorry than Optimus Prime?"

    "He's not smaller, he's further away."

    So, any other examples or thoughts to this theme?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  2. ScientistMan

    ScientistMan Well-Known Member

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    If the franchise started today it would probably look alot more like Botbots than anything else.
    • They would've introduced female characters upfront.
    • There would be no villainous factions and the franchise would just be about the Botbots causing mischief.
    • The entire line would be marketed as a blind bag thing, with the occasional larger figure or playset for them to interact with.
    • Instead of 22-minute episodes, the franchise would just have 5-minute shorts released sporadically on YouTube.
     
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  3. ProtectronPrime

    ProtectronPrime Subjectively Objective

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    Transformers devised as a cartoon for the modern audience would be very dependent on the target demographic, seeing as currently we have no fewer than three shows that will exist concurrently - Rescue Bots/Rescue Bot Academy, Cyberverse, and the incoming Netflix series.

    That said, assuming that the show will be aimed at the same age demographic as it was initially, we'd likely see a release highly reminiscent of what is currently being released on streaming services - small cast, youth to young adult fare in the vein of things like Carmen Sandiego, She-Ra, Voltron, The Hollow, Trollhunters, Dragon Prince, 3 Below, Kipo, etc. etc. As a result, we'd probably be looking at something that straddled the line tone-wise between Prime and Animated - darker and/or mature themes with snappy jokes revolving largely around absurdist comedy and put-down humor. It would likely resemble RID15, but with punched up writing and a more cohesive plotline - serials carry the day for more mature cartoon fare. Even lighter shows like Star v. The Forces of Evil, Adventure Time, etc. have underlying stories that carry the day.

    It would likely be a quest-related show, likely to retrieve or deliver a macguffin of some sort, as TFs are rife with macguffins. While a show of this sort would be keen on Earth, the likely possibility is that it would be set on Cybertron due to budgetary constraints and a need to keep the story from meandering too far off.

    Cast would include the typical well meaning, strong willed but occasionally indecisive leader, the badass female with a heart of gold, a peppier tech wizard type, the brick and the scout/comic relief.

    Picking about the 84' cast and taking creative liberties, you might get something like:

    * Sideswipe as the inexperienced, but bold and quippy leader, prone to overconfidence and making mistakes.
    * His badass murder machine sister, Sunstreaker, aka "Sunny" who is a massive pessimist and grumpface despite being yellow.
    * Brawn, because short, overly strong people never get old.
    * Another gender swap on Wheeljack aka "Jackie", who'd basically be IDW's Nautica.
    * Bumblebee the scout, reprising his Animated appearance.

    Thematically, you'd be looking at something along the lines of Star Wars: Rebels and/or Resistance, Tron: Uprising, or maybe Motorcity insofar as the Decepticons would be in control or close to total control. Our scrappy heroes would be tasked into doing "the thing" by a dead, dying, or lost Optimus Prime. They'd meet other cast members along the way, who would either help or hinder their journey to topple Megatron and his hordes of mercenaries and soldiers.

    I don't think there'd have to be a huge number of world building changes. The idea of Cybertron being a burnt out old rubble filled wasteland suits the storyline well and would provide an almost Mad Max or Trigun style of storytelling. The inference could be that Cybertron's more or less the last pocket of resistance to near galactic dominance by the Decepticons, with a three season plan to accomplish an initial goal, then take the fight offworld, then take the fight to Megatron proper.

    The toyline would be better integrated and likely have better scaling, although plagued with the usual inaccuracies. Toylines would likely be gimmicky throughout, with more emphasis on individual character gimmick instead of line-wide gimmicks like Cyberverse due to the slightly older demographic targeted in order to make each character pop. We'd probably be seeing things that were between what Cyberverse and Generations are offering. Altmodes could vary from season to season, especially in Season 2 & 3 as different planets are explored and investigated.

    I don't think mass shifting would be a thing as you say. I do think that there'd be lots of accessories, including weapons and armor. As you say, I think there'd be more figures based on episodes or arcs than new characters constantly flooding in. Different gimmicks and/or camo - much like Beast Wars who transferred to Transmetals and Transmetal II, Fuzors, etc. Everyone would go through target, powermaster, and possibly pretender phases. Headmasters would likely be an entirely different concept that would be integrated as a lost colony. The IDW concept of Headmasters initially having beastmodes that turned into heads for larger vehicle-based transtectors would probably be the basis for an entire episode or mini arc. Scramble city style combiners would definitely be a must, as the modular interchangeability is marketing gold. There would probably only be 3-4 notable combiners, however, with one combiner representing the core group.

    A partial season one synopsis might resemble the following:

    In the 2 part pilot, the ancient warrior Optimus rolls into town, searching for volunteers to help him on a final desperate quest. Sideswipe is desperate to volunteer, but his parental units (Hot Rod/Rodimus and Arcee?) won't let him. Chaos ensues, parents murdered/captured.

    Part 2 starts. Optimus takes Sideswipe under his wing. Friends gathered. Second attack. Optimus takes a stand, tasks kids with thing. Children beat feet while Optimus takes his stand to battle the Decepticons "no matter the cost".

    Following episode, Sideswipe and crew resolve feelings regarding their destroyed village. Travel starts while backstories are exchanged. Some low level area commander (Motormaster?) hears of what happened, dispatches his mercenary, a female hunter/killer named "Mirage" to take out the cast.

    Season 1 arc continues with Sideswipe and co running into villages and situations ala Avatar: TLA, fixing problems and/or helping out the locals while battling the local Decepticon menace. Frequent harassment by Mirage until she eventually switches sides and assists them in taking down Motormaster and his Stunticons as the mid-season boss, only to lead to taking down the regional overlords, i.e. the Seekers.

    And so on and so forth.
     
  4. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    Interesting- I remember a while ago discussing with you, I believe, a comic series "take" similar to the old MOTU minicomics- which doesn't sound dissimilar to this in a way; that a modern G1 could get around its character bloat by featuring them - but not all at once, rather a travelling quest visiting different regions of Cybertron, such as the Realm of the Savage Dynobots, or the Island of Doctor Scorponok, where his strange experiments have created Headmasters etc, in an attempt to find and reclaim the Orb of Power, the Celestial Matrix, which when returned to Iacon by the right Autobot, and set upon the pommel of the Master Sword, will rouse Fortress Maximus from his sleep to drive out the terrible Decepticon invaders.

    Initial set up perhaps similar to Animated in reverse; the Decepticons have won, Megatron is Emperor of Destruction, his minions lording it over the Autobot peasants across the planet, before a hero arises...?
     
  5. ProtectronPrime

    ProtectronPrime Subjectively Objective

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    Yup. That was me. The idea was much more generalized and more steeped in Conan-style hijinx than this iteration of the pitch, however. While the flavor would be the same, I'd think the overall presentation would be much more Fallout and/or Wasteland-y. Overtones of stuff like Trigun or Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita would carry the day:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    But I'd want to import the wonderful irreverence/silliness of stuff like Motorcity:



    But you're definitely on the square with my concept of the pacing of such a series, which I think would allow for a lot better character study than what we originally got. I'd even submit that some flash action over any serious character study would be okay, provided they put the time in on the animation.

    That said, I think Megatron would make a fun Wasteland proper antagonist on the same vein as characters like Immortan Joe and his cronies. Going full bore Anime with it, Megatron could even share the imperial duties as part of some sick triumverate with Galvatron and Gigatron, which would make dealing with the series antagonist(s) far more interesting. If we wanted to do some series plumbing, we could have them battling it out for supremacy while a bigger bad, such as Jhiaxus was pulling the strings using some amoral scientist types as his all seeing eyes (Tarantulas and Shockwave) as the cats paws for his machinations.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  6. Swerve

    Swerve Well-Known Member

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    Well, the Decepticons could easily be a bunch of warring tribes as well- Megatron shares his Rank 10 status with Overlord, Gutcruncher, Falcon, Calcar, Clench, Skyquake, and Fearswoop.
     
  7. Bass X0

    Bass X0 Captain Commando

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    And it would have an art style to similar to Thundercats Roar.
     
  8. Prime Noble

    Prime Noble Well-Known Member

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    The Animation would be better. Less, if any, self contained episodes.
     
  9. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde シン・ブリュンヒルド

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    Ideally it would've been done like the Duck Tales reboot or TMNT's 2012 series.

    Unless you mean how it would've turned out if it was made in the present day with no prior history / establishment. Meh, I like my idea more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  10. Mega scream

    Mega scream Tyrannical Freedom Fighter

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    I think that it would be more like a superhero show considering the success of Marvel.

    Optimus and the Autobots, a bunch of superheroes protecting the world from the evil Megatron and his deceptions.

    Wait a minute, that's sounds like Animated.

    It could go both ways:
    1) a kiddy, soulless(solus lol) cartoon full of fart jokes like whatever they're playing on CN nowadays.

    2) a dark, edgy "cool" show for "cool" kids.

    Honestly the idea of giant robots battling sounds better for a movie than a cartoon
     
  11. Gaastra

    Gaastra Well-Known Member

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    It would be in the gumball art style like all shows today.

    It would be in flash animation to save money.

    Only 3 to 5 transformers on each side. Can't have full armies. Kids won't like that right?

    Optimus would have funny one-liners and bumblebee would burp and act like a jerk.

    One main female transformer also. (hey that's better then the 80s s1 and 2 with no main female transformers)

    And that would be cartoon networks transformers. They then would shove it to 5am with no promos for it then kill it off a month later.

    Cruncyroll or Disney xd transformers on the other hand could be really good in the right hands.
     
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  12. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    YOU, SIR!

    3ED02DE3-A2AF-4F63-A13D-5D211A3AEA0E.gif AA63236C-DC8A-4433-8CC0-D1B5FB64EFBF.gif
     
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  13. ScientistMan

    ScientistMan Well-Known Member

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    Looking back at this thread, I do wonder how Hasbro plans on capturing the fickle child market after Cyberverse. Taking all their creative output together as a whole, Hasbro hasn't had a hit cartoon in like 8 years. For company that goes on and on about how they're "entertainment company" now that's a pretty dismal track record.

    I forgot that show on the right existed.
     
  14. Mako Crab

    Mako Crab Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea what it is. I just searched for slap gifs & it came up.