Transformers Re-Invented The Alien & Robot Genres

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Cryptwire, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper

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    But basically, We've been used to seeing robots that are simply machines from other sci-fi and science fantasy, space opera genres. The robots in these lores are simply machines created and given life to by humans, nothing more than a complex set of algorithms & programming that make them act and move about like humans. There are stories where machines started to think, finally rose up and rebelled against humans and taking over Earth. Essentially, though, they're still machines.

    With Transformers, we know they're living organisms but are different from what we've seen in all of sci-fi, science fantasy, space operas. We've seen all sorts of alien life forms from the aliens in the Alien franchise, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars, Star Trek, to E.T., to The Abyss, to Men in Black, etc. So it makes you ask: why are there no Transformers-like Jedi or Sith or Transformers-like bounty hunters in Star Wars, even in the newer Star Wars prequels where CGI would make such characters like this possible; why are there no Transformers-like characters in Star Trek where since it first aired as a TV show, they've already shown so many types and species of alien life forms, even including silicon-based life forms.

    Which is funny to me because as I think about it, not one of these franchises, though ground-breaking as they were for the concepts of extra-terrestrial life they've introduced, I don't think they've ever thought of & used a concept such as giant living bio-mechanical shape-shifting aliens. From the old Twilight Zone TV shows to the old (and even the new) Star Trek TV shows until today's sci-fi movies, most still use the most commonly used trope for E.T. life - carbon-based organisms or a variation thereof, as opposed to Transformers being made out of sparks/energon, being energon-based or spark-based living organisms that are made of living metal, electronics and computers.

    Which is also funny if you realized that, since Transformers introduction in 1984, not many writers/ authors/ TV show & movie creators (or probably not ever.. I couldn't think of anything else that is remotely similar - aside from Gobots which is now owned by Hasbro - to Transformers in the 80s to 90s throughout the early part of the 21st century until 2007) have tried to cash in on the concept..

    with Aliens, we've had several movies that took ideas from it from movies like Xtro to Pandorum, to its variations like Species, Splice, etc. You have War of the Worlds to movies that took ideas from it like Independence Day, Battle LA, etc. You have Invasion of the Body Snatchers that led to writers coming up with The Thing and next year's Life.

    which i think i probably know why: if they did try to at least cash in on Transformers-like forms of life, they could've probably gotten away with that in the 80s or 90s. today, though, it would probably be harder to introduce living, sentient/sapient, shape-shifting robots without automatically thinking of Transformers. even when Terminator Salvation came out, it was already subject to degrees of comparison, of how the machines (at least the Harvester) started becoming similar to Transformers and giving it names like "Transforminators" (even though Terminator was the most effective story told of a killer robot from the future and was the first effective live-action portrayal of a robot, despite the dopey stop-motion effects from the original Terminator, which years later is followed by Short Circuit, etc.)

    It's just something that I always think about because in that sense, the introduction of Transformers in 1984 until now is original. It has gone through many re-inventions over the years, butI love where the Transformers stand at this point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
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  2. Windsweeper II

    Windsweeper II Banned

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    Yep, our guys are quite unique :) 
     
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  3. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    Transformers really did end up being pretty unique evolving from the whole pilotable real robot motif that the Diaclones/Micro Man were originally based on.

    Also the fact that Transformers are robotic yet very much sentient and personable I think was a major game changer compared to most other robots.
     
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  4. Rexidus

    Rexidus Autobot

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    This very reason is why I really love Cybertronians. With the introduction of the spark and the concept of cybertronian biology ti really makes Cybertronians as a species WAY MORE INTERESTING!

    I always get baffled when people even here on the boards just want the Transformers to be plain robots. Robots are cool sure, but alien mechanical lifeforms more akin to biology than technology are SO unique!

    Now if only they would apply this thought procress and make cybertron a more robust sci-fi world with ecology and flaura and fauna and really run with the mechanical biology stuff...
     
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  5. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    :thumb 

    And it's come a fairly long way from being a toy-based cartoon adventure show.
     
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  6. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper

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    the concept of "energon rivers" (borne out of the whole aligned continuity, specifically WFC/FOC) have always intrigued me.

    But I'm probably imagining Cybertronian flora and fauna to be something really extraordinary. perhaps plants that are made of luminous, fiber optic materials, or transparent structures where energon conducts and flows. This Cybertronian plant life then basically emit energy that form what constitutes Cybertron's ozone structure and serves as a natural energy/force field, thus protecting the entire planet. that's one i could think of.

    which is why i'm excited for Transformers. whoever the next director of the live-action movies is, if he/she is going to be decent and takes the mythos & lore with respect, world building would be great since it's just the beginning (how about "Transformers Begins" for the title of a reboot ;P). it's a whole entire planet. if this director would treat Cybertron the way James Cameron treats his world of Pandora, the next continuity iteration of Transformers would probably be the most kick-ass one. we'd already seen a taste of how Transformers would fare if handled with much love and respect (the creators of War for Cybertron, specially Matt Tieger).

    But basically, when you mentioned Cybertronians are a whole different species and forms of life, a different type of biology, is actually what sets them apart from other robots in science fiction, like Terminator or Cylons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  7. Starscream 91

    Starscream 91 Mech With A Mouth

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    Transformers sure are creativity aren't they?

    I've always liked them over most mecha (I hate the mecha genre). And for me they stand out as the greatest of Sci-Fi robots (they do compete with the T-800 & HAL though) AND aliens.

    I mean the way most media portrays aliens as the typical grey's is kind of getting old and I welcome change.
     
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  8. Rexidus

    Rexidus Autobot

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    That's cool! I've always been super intrigued by a cybertronian forest. I see it full of extremely tall slightly glowing trunks with flower pedal like leaves that glow with energon. Kinda like this actually:
    [​IMG]


    I love me some giant mecha personally but even then, Transformers have evolved into something wholly unique. It just doesn't compute in my brain box why some people want Cybertronians to be "just robots" (despite that opinion being just as valid as my own).
     

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  9. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper

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    Yup. that's exactly how I pictured it in my head. also emitting a variety of radiant colors, depending on the color of the particular fiber optic plants. these plants only exclusively grow and thrive on Cybertron from what constitutes as natural metallic soil on the planet.

    average temperatures are probably warmer than usual (because the metal surface of the planet is a good conductor of heat from its sun), but in the opposite polars of the planet, it is colder than usual. the surface area of the polars of Cybertron are larger since Cybertron is a planet that is the same size as Saturn (or Jupiter) so there are going to be areas on Cybertron where it's colder where temperatures are similar to spring/fall seasons on Earth, but in all likelihood there won't be any snow or ice (as per Rescuebots when Boulder was amazed seeing snow on Earth).

    Cybertron is probably the only planet in that solar system that circles a yellow sun and in turn the planet is surrounded by two moons which Cybertronians have turned into bases/colonies. Cybertron's two moons were created as a result of a collision with another planet orbiting that sun. There used to be another planet in that solar system, but that planet spun out of orbit (went rogue) and collided with Cybertron eventually, and that collission created Cybertron's moons 200 billion years ago.

    this is just the "science"-y part. That whole lore where Primus is within Cybertron and the spiritual aspect of Cybertron i'm sure could be figure in.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
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  10. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

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    The main reason franchises like Star Trek etc. never toyed with Transforming robots is simply because there was no way to achieve such a thing on a live-action TV budget back in the day.

    Besides which (and I'm going to be bit controversial here), the central concept of sentient battling shapeshifting robots is more than a little hokey, when you think about it. To make it work, TF writers have to make Cybertronians think, feel and emote exactly like humans do. Transformers are actually far less alien (and interesting) than fictional races such as (say) the Menoptera or the Vogons, purely because they are, essentially, written as humans in robot bodies. With the Data character, Star Trek explored 'sentient robots' (as a concept) far better than Transformers has ever done.

    If I was going to tackle a sci-fi idea, I'd personally steer well clear from a race of alien robots, simply because (as many TF writers have discovered), it's bloody hard to make them work unless you tone down the alien-ness and write them with human personalities.

    The old G1 comic story "Man of Iron" is probably the most truly alien the Transformers have ever been portrayed, and it's telling that it stands out as a massive tonal oddity within the G1 Marvel canon - even compared to other UK stories.
     
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  11. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper

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    i get that part. i understand what you're saying. i know one of the old Star Trek episodes referenced silicon-based life. i'm not sure about other characters like Data.. i've always assumed Data was an android and was basically a robot created by humans.

    the only point i was trying to make is up til Transformers (epsecially up til the live action movies although we already know Transformers as living organisms during Beast Wars era), the aliens we've known were mostly carbon-based forms of life who could have super powers and super strength and could look like a variation of reptilians, insects or humanoid. where we see robots, they were purely mechanical in nature, not a forms of life and not another species unto themselves.

    i guess being human archetypes, and as an engine to tell their story, it would be easier for those us that watch or read Transformers stories to identifty with them and we have a point of reference as to their desires and motivations. so their feelings, emotions, traits are not alien to us.. what is alien is their physical attributes, their shape-shifting and other abilities, etc. after all, James Cameron's Na'vi race on Pandora are basically also human archetypes. my whole thing is basically the concept of bio-mechanical forms of life is what fascinate me, and a whole different take on the Transformers' entirely genetic make-up. yes, different from Vogons or Menopterans or from any other fictional alien races, or from any other fictional robots that we've seen (Terminators, Cylons, etc.).
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
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  12. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking "Don't touch it! It's Zvil!"

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    While shifting alien sentient machines were novel for Western audiences, there's older cartoons out there that share a similar concept. Back in 1981, there was Golden Warrior Lightan about a group of alien robots that transform into everyday objects and fight against an evil alien invasion. Golden Warrior Gold Lightan - Wikipedia
     
  13. Ryan F

    Ryan F Transform and Roll Out! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Funny you should mention Cylons and Terminators, because - conceptually - they are a perfect analogue for the Transformers of the G1 cartoon: slave/worker robots who achieved sentience ("evolved") and overthrew their masters.

    I think of all the various TF origin stories we've seen, the cartoon one remains my favourite, simply because it's quite an elegant explanation, and potentially a great springboard for other stories.

    I can see why the other two main origin stories (naturally occurring gears and levers / the Primus-Unicron thing) are a bit more unique in fiction - basically because they are utterly preposterous!

    I can perfectly understand why those two origin stories are confined to a kid franchise like Transformers, and why "harder", more serious, more grounded sci-fi shows would shy away from the whole "gods who become planets" and "metal camshafts that evolved" angle.
     
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  14. Murasame

    Murasame

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    They are not organisms, they are machines.
     
  15. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking "Don't touch it! It's Zvil!"

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    That depends on which continuity you're talking about. In Prime, they consider transformation cogs to be organs. If Transformers have organs, wouldn't they logically then be organisms?
     
  16. Lucas35

    Lucas35 Well-Known Member

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    They also had CNA.
     
  17. Murasame

    Murasame

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    I mostly care for the pre-movie continuities and especially G1.
     
  18. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking "Don't touch it! It's Zvil!"

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    Okay, but even in the G2 comic, Transformers were grown during a weird seance ritual...which would imply they are somehow organic rather than built.
     
  19. Murasame

    Murasame

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    Never read that. Then I rule that out as well.
     
  20. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer/Sniper

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    Since Beast Wars and the whole introduction of sparks within Cybertronians, there are more years now that they're known to be living organisms than simply robots/machines, even to the point so that current iterations of the stories where they are living organisms are retconned into G1. I'm pretty sure there's a general consensus among Hasbro and related parties that lean towards Transformers being living organisms, and I think that happens to be a smart move and a move that makes more sense actually.

    Indeed, nothing else, no other explanation would sufficiently be logical as to the diversity of Cybertronians than them being living organisms, each individual being of which are determined by their unique genetic signature, known as CNA, cybertroxynucleic acid, the building blocks of Cybertronians, and this is now all part of the general lore of Transformers.

    I mean, nothing else would make sense. Take any A.I., for example a Skynet, it would always look for the most logical approach in creating its machines. So this is why Skynet, if it were a logical construct, and it is logical to save precious resources and time, would more than likely construct its machines with a uniform appearance, give or take some differences in appearances when it upgrades its creations. Skynet would not waste time or resources to make its creations with differing colors (it probably would just even create them without color, again, to save time and resources). Skynet would not waste time or resources to make its creations with different radiant colors of optics. A Skynet A.I. would not waste time or resources to even make its creations transform into a car or a tank or a jet fighter (just a waste, not only of resources and time, but also energy). It just simply would not make sense from a logical point of view..

    But slap your creation with something with its own genetic architecture to account for the differences in each individual and the diversity amongst them, then you have an over-arcing device that effectively explains everything about them, their motivations, desires, personalities, characteristics, capabilities, etc. This Cybertronian has wings on its back, that's nice. Could shape-shift into a flyer like a jet and is capable of flight. That's the unique additional ability his/her genetics gave him/her. This Cybertronian looks like a humanoid? CNA. This guy has a orange-colored optic? CNA. This Cybertronian is fat (Why would Skynet create a fat robot? hmm.)? CNA. There are female Cybertronians (Yes, they were in G1.. Come to think of it, why would an A.I. like Skynet create a female one? again, a waste of time, resources and energy)? CNA.

    So i guess, whether one likes it or not, Cybertronians as living organisms are very much part of the lore now, even moreso emphasized in the aligned continuity and I'm sure is going to be very much a part of future iterations of Transformers.

    So it's safe to say, Transformers, as presented currently as canon, are known to be living organisms.
     
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