1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars

1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021 1:54am CST

Category: Toy News
Posted by: Sabrblade   Views: 28,998

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Instagram user Nathan of RoboticPlanetToys has posted scans of several never-before-seen documents from 1995 for the McDonalds Happy Meal toys of Beast Wars. User Vexwing of The Allspark has written a detailed article providing much information about these scans, which reveal many early concepts from the Beast Wars toyline's initial development.

I will let Vexwing's words speak for themselves, since he has been planning this reveal with Nathan for quite some time:
Beast Wars! 1995 McDonald’s Toy Document Gives Us a Previously Unseen Look at Early Franchise Development and Several Unused Toy Concepts!

Warm up your transwarp drive and grab some drive-through, because we’re heading to the bygone era of 1995 to catch a glimpse at Transformers history! To a time before it was even called…BEAST WARS!

Thanks to Nathan at RoboticPlanetToys on Instagram who acquired a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy presentation binder at auction and has given us scans of the Transformers content within. I say “Transformers” because not only do these concept pages use the Generation 2 logo, the name “Beast Wars” was seemingly not decided upon yet, as it appears nowhere in the document. While we know Hasbro/Kenner initially intended Optimus Primal and Megatron to be the original G1 characters before the show opted to make them new individuals, this document reinforces that, as this predates the change from “Prime” to “Primal” in the toyline proper. Also noteworthy is this was apparently before the faction name “Maximal” was decided upon, as the document states Megatron leads the Predacons while Optimus Prime leads the “Cyberbeasts”.

In the earliest part of the document, several sketches of what would become mainline toys are featured, some with preliminary names, such as Snapper being referred to as “Buzzsaw”, and Scorponok being labeled as “Shockwave”. However, the most interesting thing in this section is the design that would become Cheetor being referred to as “Prowl” while utilizing the color scheme reminiscent of the McDonald’s toy that would ultimately see release as “Panther”. It’s often been suspected that the decision to deco the deluxe toy that became Cheetor as a cheetah may have been a decision that occurred after the sculpting phase was complete; it seems it may have originally been intended to be a panther version of G1 Prowl, which would explain Cheetor’s very Prowl-like head sculpt.

Also mentioned in the document is the pitch for “Auto-Rollers” as the potential auto-transformation gimmick (another carry-over from G2), including four vehicle mode ones, which unfortunately were not included in the document; though Nathan managed to grab an image of the moon buggy Prowl from another auction listing.

Check out the images mirrored below, which include concept sketches of toys that saw release, some that didn’t like sea turtle and dragonfly versions of Megatron, and some that were originally conceived as different characters—like the Predacon Manta Ray who was originally intended to be Optimus Prime! Oh, and a concept sketch for a lion Optimus Prime that pre-dates Lio Convoy, as well as the evolution of the Under-3 toy from a G1-themed Optimus to the lion head that ultimately saw release!

Here are the document scans, complete with Nathan's own comments for each:

It's nearly the 25 year anniversary for Transformers Beast Wars, the Kingdom line has brought the toys back to major retailer shelves, the Masterpiece line slowly brings fantastically accurate robot and animal modes to collectors, and the recent Japanese Beast Wars Generations book has provides wonderful background information about the development of the line. What better time to reveal previously unseen Beast Wars concepts courtesy of a McDonald's presentation binder! Did you know before they were Maximals lead by Optimus Primal, they were known as the Cyberbeasts, and Optimus Prime was their leader? Additionally, two other alternative McDonald's promotions were being considered, the Creature Autorollers and Vehicle Autorollers. Stay tuned for more posts showing off these unreleased concepts that will certainly contain surprises for even then biggest Beast Wars fans.
Also, don't worry Littlest Pet Shop fans, lots of reveals will be presented after this Beast Wars series.
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


Starting off this series from the McDonalds concept binder, you'll be familiar with the alligator Megatron, but might be surprised that no only is the bat Optimus known as Optimus Prime, but there was a possible plan for a lion Optimus well before Lio Convoy from the Japanese Beast Wars II series existed. Also notice Scorponok was named Shockwave and Snapper was named Buzzsaw. Lastly the generically named "Panther' toy at one time had a familiar Transformers name: Prowl.
Only Prowl/Panther' made it to Happy Meals in 1996, Scorponok in 1998, and Optimus & Megatron made appearances on the happy Meal boxes. The other concepts though give a peek at alternative ideas Hasbro/Kenner was considering strongly enough to relay to their licensees. Would "Shockwave" been fitting for Scorponok? Trukk not Liun???
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


The Beast Wars Creature Auto Rollers was an entire concept line that never made it off paper. Check out these cool illustrations of potential toys that would have completely changed the McDonald's Beast Wars Happy Meal promotion.
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


The last proposed Happy Meal Transformers were not the familiar Beast Wars animals, and would have included Prowl, Starscream, Hound and Rumble as Vehicle Auto Rollers, functionally similar to the Creature Auto Rollers. Sadly when I acquired the McDonald's concept binder it only included this description page. The moon buggy Prowl picture was eventually found online, but I was unable to reach the owner to recover that page or find out if they have the others.
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


Here it is, the last two pages of the McDonald's Transformers Beast Wars Happy Meal concept binder. The proposed, but unreleased Under 3 toy was a very G1 looking Optimus Prime toy. Quite a bit different than the unnamed final product that better aligned with the Beast Wars theme.

... but wait, there is more to come! I will have another series of posts from a subsequent iteration of concepts for the same Beast Wars promotion, and it gets a lot more colorful too. Stay tuned!
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


In April 1996, one year after the previous Beast Wars Happy Meal concepts were presented Vehicle Auto Rollers were out, and character decisions and toy colors were being refined. Take a look at these pictures of Megatron as a Sea Turtle, and Optimus Prime as what would become Predacon Manta Ray. I have no information suggesting if these were original ideas by McDonald's or if Hasbro provided some input.
Who do you think would win in an aquatic robot battle?
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


Beast Wars Megatron concepts didn't stop with the Sea Turtle shown in my last post! A dragonfly Megatron was also being considered that had some interesting wasp-like coloring. Swipe to see the other pictures of a brilliantly colored Iguanus, as well as Panther/Prowl in nearly final colors.
Next up I'll be posting what all these characters would have looked like as Creature Auto Rollers.
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


Next in this series of McDonald's Beast Wars concepts is the familiar characters from my last post, but now as Creature Auto Rollers. Nothing too surprising except some color changes. Unfortunately this is the last that's seen of the Creature Auto Rollers, as the fold out toy concept moved on into product. One more post remains in this series and it may be quite a surprise. Stay tuned!
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars


Here it is, the last post of the McDonald's Transformers Beast Wars concept series. If you remember way back to the second post of the series, I showed line art of Optimus Prime/Primal as a fold out lion toy. Later I showed an alternate Under 3 toy concept of a G1 Optimus Head. Of course that means Under 3 was indeed supposed to Optimus Prime, and here is the evidence of that. The robot head on the produced toy certainly resembles Optimus' masked face and crown, but the lack an actual name for the toy, and the early Optimus lion toy concept are two pieces of the production history that finally identity Under 3.
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars



To add my own two cents to all of this, the Prowl/Panther concept brings new insight to this early Cheetor concept sketch:

Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars

This artwork was scanned from the Beast Wars Reborn Golden Disk CD-ROM, and when it recently appeared in the Beast Generations book the book's text accompanying it referred to its beast mode as a cougar.

Evidently, this Prowl concept is the origin of both the Cheetor toy and the McDonalds Panther toy, explaining why they both have a very Prowl-like robot head.

Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers Beast Wars Cheetor Gallery
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers Beast Wars Panther Gallery


And now that we know that McDonalds Panther and Manta Ray were originally supposed to have been Prowl and Optimus Prime, respectively, it is likely that Beetle was supposed to have been Megatron and Rhino was Rhinox.

Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers Beast Wars Manta Ray Gallery
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers Beast Wars Beetle Gallery
Transformers News: 1995 McDonalds toy documents reveal early development concepts for Beast Wars
Transformers Beast Wars Rhino Gallery


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Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091297)
Posted by Deadput on January 2nd, 2021 @ 9:35am CST
The dangerous Decepticon leader Lord Megatron and his most absolutely terrifying alternate form yet...


THE SEA TURTLE!
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091300)
Posted by Hellscream9999 on January 2nd, 2021 @ 11:19am CST
Deadput wrote:The dangerous Decepticon leader Lord Megatron and his most absolutely terrifying alternate form yet...


THE SEA TURTLE!

Honestly, it would have been drop-dead hilarious to see a sea turtle raving about race wars and changing time all while going yyeessss
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091301)
Posted by Hellscream9999 on January 2nd, 2021 @ 11:20am CST
This was a really cool read, thank you to everyone involved in making this available to the public :D
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091302)
Posted by AllNewSuperRobot on January 2nd, 2021 @ 11:24am CST
Sabrblade wrote:
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:The Turtle Bot design got thrown around a lot. Considering its overall absence from Beast Wars media. Although 'Buzzsaw' as a name for a Turtle makes zero sense.
Twas probably just a Trademark-friendly placeholder.


That's what I assumed also. Weird that the McDonalds toys were following the brief from the mini comic though. Literally the one completely untapped vein of Beast Wars lore...
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091304)
Posted by Overcracker on January 2nd, 2021 @ 11:47am CST
The first Prowl / Panther concept is clearly more canine looking rather than feline which is weird for a panther. Though the later concept does make it more feline.

However what is most interesting, is that even though Prowl clearly became Cheetor at some point, we got both an actual beast Wars Prowl later (Mechanical Owl alt mode not withstanding), and Cheetor was repainted into Shadow Panther providing a twisted homage to his roots as this Prowl. It kind of makes you think what kind of character development Cheetor really went through before actually becoming Cheetor and why they scrapped Prowl.

Also, What's up with Prime taking so many alt modes Later used for other characters? Also, it appears Lio Convoy was clearly already a concept even before Takara decided to appropriate it. :lol:

Not sure what a Manta Prime would have been like in the end, but it clearly looks like they wanted an aquatic sub-line there Though not sure why they thought Megs turning into a turtle was a good idea. Odd since he already turned into an Alligator also.

And the oh so majestic Dragon Fly - tron. Interesting choice considering some bats eat insects like the Dragon Fly. Also looks a lot like Waspinator doesn't he? :-D
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091305)
Posted by Sabrblade on January 2nd, 2021 @ 11:50am CST
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:
Sabrblade wrote:
AllNewSuperRobot wrote:The Turtle Bot design got thrown around a lot. Considering its overall absence from Beast Wars media. Although 'Buzzsaw' as a name for a Turtle makes zero sense.
Twas probably just a Trademark-friendly placeholder.


That's what I assumed also. Weird that the McDonalds toys were following the brief from the mini comic though. Literally the one completely untapped vein of Beast Wars lore...
This was from 1995, when the toyline's development was still in its infancy, long before the final versions of its first wave toys would be released in 1996. The cartoon wasn't even a blip on the radar yet.

At this point, Kenner and Hasbro were only just coming up with the animals idea and, from the looks of these documents, were initially considering making the Beast Wars line like Kenner's Batman line, in that it would comprise of multiple different variant toys of big name (as in, G1) characters (Optimus Prime, Megatron, Prowl, Starscream, etc.) instead of all of the wholly new characters we ended up getting.

The "Maximals" name hadn't even been thought up yet, hence the name "Cyberbeasts" seen here.

If anything, the mini-comic spun out of these ideas, not the other way around.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091306)
Posted by Sabrblade on January 2nd, 2021 @ 11:52am CST
Overcracker wrote:Also, What's up with Prime taking so many alt modes Later used for other characters? Also, it appears Lio Convoy was clearly already a concept even before Takara decided to appropriate it. :lol:

Not sure what a Manta Prime would have been like in the end, but it clearly looks like they wanted an aquatic sub-line there Though not sure why they thought Megs turning into a turtle was a good idea. Odd since he already turned into an Alligator also.

And the oh so majestic Dragon Fly - tron. Interesting choice considering some bats eat insects like the Dragon Fly. Also looks a lot like Waspinator doesn't he? :-D
From the looks of these documents, Hasbro and Kenner were, apparently, initially considering making the Beast Wars line like Kenner's Batman line, in that it would comprise of multiple different variant toys of big name (as in, G1) characters (Optimus Prime, Megatron, Prowl, Starscream, etc.) instead of all of the wholly new characters we ended up getting.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091307)
Posted by Overcracker on January 2nd, 2021 @ 12:00pm CST
Sabrblade wrote:
Overcracker wrote:Also, What's up with Prime taking so many alt modes Later used for other characters? Also, it appears Lio Convoy was clearly already a concept even before Takara decided to appropriate it. :lol:

Not sure what a Manta Prime would have been like in the end, but it clearly looks like they wanted an aquatic sub-line there Though not sure why they thought Megs turning into a turtle was a good idea. Odd since he already turned into an Alligator also.

And the oh so majestic Dragon Fly - tron. Interesting choice considering some bats eat insects like the Dragon Fly. Also looks a lot like Waspinator doesn't he? :-D
From the looks of these documents, Hasbro and Kenner were, apparently, initially considering making the Beast Wars line like Kenner's Batman line, in that it would comprise of multiple different variant toys of big name (as in, G1) characters (Optimus Prime, Megatron, Prowl, Starscream, etc.) instead of all of the wholly new characters we ended up getting.


So.. Aquatic Defense Optimus. Marine Attack Megatron?

Makes sense, as that's what Kenner liked back then.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091308)
Posted by Sabrblade on January 2nd, 2021 @ 12:05pm CST
In addition to the pre-Cheetor Prowl/cougar concept, the Beast Generations book also has a retool of the mold as a lion, much like the Happy Meal toy concept seen above.

However, whereas that one is Optimus, the one seen in the book is not. Rather, its robot head is a generic-looking new character with a large visor worn over its face, while its mutant head is very freaky-looking and covered in spikes pointing out in all directions.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091311)
Posted by Rtron on January 2nd, 2021 @ 1:51pm CST
Love this. Also explains why Prowl, the Magnaboss component lion, has such a Prime-esque head.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091312)
Posted by bluecatcinema on January 2nd, 2021 @ 1:56pm CST
So they were originally going to be "Cyberbeasts" instead of Maximals? Interesting. And so many transformation options for Optimus and Megatron...
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091318)
Posted by Jelze Bunnycat on January 2nd, 2021 @ 2:34pm CST
Overcracker wrote:Not sure what a Manta Prime would have been like in the end, but it clearly looks like they wanted an aquatic sub-line there Though not sure why they thought Megs turning into a turtle was a good idea. Odd since he already turned into an Alligator also.

And the oh so majestic Dragon Fly - tron. Interesting choice considering some bats eat insects like the Dragon Fly.


Don't underestimate turtles and tortoises, they can be quite mean. "Buzzsaw" is a Snapping Turtle, those guys can eat human fingers! And sea turtles can eat jellyfish like nothing. Dragonflies are predators, but wait till you see the nymphs :shock:
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091331)
Posted by Sabrblade on January 2nd, 2021 @ 5:17pm CST
bluecatcinema wrote:So they were originally going to be "Cyberbeasts" instead of Maximals? Interesting. And so many transformation options for Optimus and Megatron...
It's not that the name was "going to be" Cyberbeasts, but that it was a preliminary name before deciding on what the new good guy faction would be called.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091347)
Posted by meanguns on January 2nd, 2021 @ 8:49pm CST
So Under 3/Unit 3 is a Prime? ...Yes. Do it.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091388)
Posted by Deadput on January 3rd, 2021 @ 11:33am CST
meanguns wrote:So Under 3/Unit 3 is a Prime? ...Yes. Do it.


Well no

The toy was Optimus Prime himself, not Under-3 the character.
Re: 1995 McDonalds Toy Documents Reveal Early Development Concepts for Beast Wars (2091493)
Posted by Solrac333 on January 4th, 2021 @ 8:52am CST
I remember seeing these back then and thinking, "What the hell is THIS?!"

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