Transformers needs something entirely new

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Transformers needs something entirely new

Postby Rtron » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:06 pm

Motto: "Stop, please."
Hi, I'm a lifelong fan of Transformers since I watched Beast Wars when I was a kid. My love for the alien robots was cemented when the first live action movie came out, a movie I still love (mostly because of the designs and breathtakingly good visual effects and sound design), even if I consider all of the sequels to be pretty much crap. While I wasn't there for all Transformers fiction as it was coming out, I do my best to dig up the old stuff and give it a chance. My favourite Tranformers fictions are the Marvel G1 comic, Beast Wars, the 2007 movie, Transformers Animated, and the IDW comic.

However... Does anyone else feel that everything since Bayformers/Animated doesn't have enough new elements to be considered something new? Maybe it is because my first TF fiction was Beast Wars, but it seems to me that everything is a retread of G1 this days. The movie, despite sharing names with G1, felt new by virtue of the extremely alien Transformers, and the introduction of the Allspark. But from then on... It's been a constant retread of the old version of Autobots vs Decepticons. There's a lack of brand new characters the way Bulkhead, Lugnut, Barricade, or the whole cast of Beast Wars used to be. Windblade is the only wholly new post 2008 character I can think of. Don't get me wrong, I love the Masterpiece, Studio Series and War for Cybertron lines: design wise, I think that we're at one of the best points Transformers has been in years.

But fiction wise? It feels like nothing new has happened since 2008. Even the IDW comics, which I love, seem to have a huge reliance on old G1 concepts, and even then, it's comics, so very few people outside those who are already fans have probably experienced those stories. Does anyone else feel this way? Like we need a new high profile reinvention of Transformers fiction, the way Beast Wars and the first live action movie were? Something that feels completely new, something that will surprise us and enrage the G1 purists again?
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Re: Transformers needs something entirely new

Postby Munkky » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:44 pm

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The way I see it, the constant re-treading of old concepts and characters is done mainly to keep the older fans who grew up with G1 around, and early G1 is what most people think of when Transformers is brought up anyway. A long-running intellectual property lives or dies on its ability to keep bringing in new audiences, and I'll agree that at the moment I think Transformers is focusing too much on keeping the old fans interested and not enough on enticing potential new customers.
However, ditching the past and going completely all-new all-different would not be the answer. To give a non-TF example, Star Wars tried to bring in new fans by having a massive overhaul, gradually phasing out old legacy characters and pushing less interesting new ones to the forefront, all of the while openly insulting and antagonizing old fans, and it didn't work out for them. Star Wars merchandise isn't selling any more, today's kids aren't really that fussed about Star Wars as much as they are about Fortnite or Marvel, and the brand has become a bit of an Internet laughing stock. So as tempting as it may be to say Transformers needs a completely new cast and new stories, the truth is it would be foolish to try ditching Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Starscream etc. in favour of new characters who people may not even like. Just because that worked before with Beast Wars doesn't necessarily mean it will work again.
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Re: Transformers needs something entirely new

Postby Rtron » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:13 pm

Motto: "Stop, please."
I guess I just think we should have a balance, as this franchise can't live out of old fans only. And even old fans can get tired of having the same thing over and over.
Star Wars is an interesting example however, as it doesn't seem like they are doing anything actually new with the franchise. There's no new radically different elements to be seen, but at the same time it is phasing old characters out. In a way, that is the worst of both worlds: It keeps using outdated elements, ideas and plots that new audiences don't care about (or are outright repulsed by), while alienating the old audience by removing the old characters.
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Re: Transformers needs something entirely new

Postby ctrlFrequency » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:05 pm

Motto: "I'd be fired if that was my job, after killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts."
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Out of curiosity, what is so repulsive about the story concept?
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Re: Transformers needs something entirely new

Postby Rtron » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:36 pm

Motto: "Stop, please."
Repulsed maybe was the wrong word? English is not my first language. But things like the axiomatic and sort of arbitrary good guy/bad guy division based on nothing but plot, where the bad guys are iredeemable down to the last man and the good guys get away with horrible stuff just because the story deems them the heroes come to mind. Sure, there's that token stormtrooper who defects, but afterwards he doesn't care about trying to get any trooper friends to join him, and just kills stormtroopers mercilessly instead. Also the same old boring Dark side bad light side good, perpetuating the same old divisions instead of looking for a new way to express this "balance" the movies insist that the force needs.
Those are old ideas that do not jive with current perceptions of the groups and ideology.

Compare that to the IDW comics, which truly examine the motivations and morality of both sides: Megatron is clearly a fascist, and Decepticons are worse than the Autobots as a group, but both sides have commited atrocities during the war, and each individual bot had the capacity to be morally good or evil despite their allegiance (Prowl was a bastard despite being an Autobot, Thundercracker left the Decepticons when he saw the abuse inherent in their methods, for example), or capable of reexamining their beliefs and branching out, like Soundwave did with his commune. All in all, it better represents the diversity that actually exists in any ideology based group, no matter how homogenous it may seem from afar.
And all of that in a comicbook about robots designed to sell toys, I still can't believe it.
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Re: Transformers needs something entirely new

Postby ctrlFrequency » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:35 pm

Motto: "I'd be fired if that was my job, after killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts."
Weapon: Fusion Cannon
Well, there is more than just the Michael Bay movies. Those are very basic good guy/bad guy trope.

The Bumblebee movie may look like it was more of the same. But I think they might have a longer story to tell than just one movie. If so we may see something more.

The comic reboot definitely has more just good guy/bad guy.
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