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Should Beast Wars Appear in the Transformers Films?

You know, it is becoming tedious writing these articles about the Transformers film franchise. There are only so many ways to second guess how these things will play out and ultimately be disappointing. I fooled myself into thinking that Transformers: The Last Knight would tell an interesting story, but ended up with another convoluted mess. There is the germ of a cool idea or two in there, yet they are buried under the massive gorilla turd that is the nonsensical directional style of Michael Bay.

Speaking of gorillas, film concept artist Furio Tedeschi posted a piece of art on his Instagram showing a movie design for Optimus Primal, the protagonist of Beast Wars. The boss monkey as a giant Kong-sized ape with the facial features of Optimus Prime is quite an awesome sight. Tedeschi also implied that for The Last Knight, at some point or another, Beast Wars characters were considered for the film, and may still be on the drawing board for future films. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura commented that he doesn’t quite get Beast Wars, reflecting the early reaction of Generation One fans with the idea that Transformers would now become animals instead of cars, but was open to the inclusion of the beloved 90s show.

The big question is would and should Beast Wars be included in the Transformers cinematic universe (which it has done nothing to earn). Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s comments do have some truth in them. Would audiences be open to the idea of swapping flashy cars for giant mechanical animals? I think the idea is a good one, mainly because I love Beast Wars, and considering how people like giant monsters, there is an open window for such a film. However, in all honesty, I don’t think Beast Wars should be adapted to the big screen. For starters it has a very complex story, a small cast but a majority of them have three seasons worth of character development, and certain things which can’t happen in the live action films thanks to their stupid timeline.

The show takes place millions of years after the 1980s cartoon, featuring the Maximals and Predacons, descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons. Two spacecraft carrying the two factions crashland on prehistoric Earth, the Transformers taking on beast modes to survive the toxic Energon on the planet. This version of Megatron stole a Cybertronian relic called the Golden Disk – later revealed to contain a secret recording of the original Megatron instructing his successors to use transwarp technology to go back in time and assassinate Optimus Prime, alter history, and ensure a Decepticon victory. That was genius writing. The few hundred or so problems is that likely none of this could be adapted into the movies’ convoluted timeline.

The Last Knight introduced an absurd idea that King Arthur and Merlin were real, the Knights of the Round Table were a group of Transformers dedicated to protecting Earth, Transformers have been involved in every significant war over the past 1500 or so years, and every famous historical person since the Dark Ages has been part of a secret society keeping the Transformers’ existence on Earth hidden from prying eyes. Give me strength! We also know that a film will be made set in the Roman Empire, cause we all want to see the Transformers pay tribute to Ben-Hur. Beast Wars did the whole time displacement thing first, but the movies continuity has made it clear that the original plot of TV show is now impossible.

If Beast Wars was adapted, a new story could be incorporated using the original characters or use alternating ideas. Perhaps the Maximals and Predacons crashland on another planet where the animals are similar to ours, or they just crash on prehistoric Earth and follow a new plot. What if Megatron works for the Fallen on a mission to exterminate mankind before they evolve, or maybe Quintessa to prevent intelligent life spawning on the planet so Unicron can be killed? Megatron views himself as a hero for the downtrodden Predacons, treated as second class citizens on Cybertron, so perhaps a more personal mission is required.

The characters of Beast Wars, and I mean all of them, are very much loved by the Transformers fanbase, from Optimus Primal to Rattrap, Dinobot to Waspinator. It would be an injustice to portray these characters incorrectly. Just look what they’ve done to Optimus Prime over the space of five movies. I suspect at some point, even if they don’t do a Beast Wars film, that a couple of characters such as Blackarachnia and Waspinator will be incorporated, and if they ever adapt The Last Stand of the Wreckers and its sequel, than Tarantulas will appear too.

Frankly speaking, I don’t believe Beast Wars should be adapted in the film series. Its setup and setting can’t be properly adapted to the movies unless another retooling is done to the films. The films have honoured the Beast Era to an extent with the inclusion of Scorponok (also a much more interesting character in the comic books), and the Dinobots have proven popular. Maybe there is room for the Maximals and Predacons. Only time will tell.

Do you think Beast Wars should be included in the Transformers film franchise? Leave a comment below or on our Twitter feed.

About the author

Mark Russell