Beast Wars: Transformers
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Beast Wars: Transformers (titled Beasties: Transformers in Canada), is an American-Canadian computer animated television series that debuted in 1996 and ended on March 7, 1999, serving as the flagship of the Transformers: Beast Wars franchise. The series featured the Maximals and Predacons, descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons respectively, and was set in the future of the "original" Transformers continuity; however, it was eventually revealed that they had traveled back in time before the series began and were actually on a prehistoric Earth some time in between when Optimus Prime and Megatron first crash-landed on Earth and the time when they awoke (as depicted in the first episode of "original" Transformers). Beast Wars was set up as a sequel to the first Transformers series (which has since been rebooted in limited comic book stories by Dreamwave and IDW among others).
|Beast Wars: Transformers|
|Genre||Animated Science Fiction|
|Opening theme||"Beast Wars Theme Song"|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||52 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22–23 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||September 16, 1996 –|
March 7, 1999
|Preceded by||The Transformers|
The Beast Wars TV series was the first Transformers series to feature computer-animated characters, and was produced by Mainframe Entertainment (now known as Rainmaker Studios) of Canada, specifically Vancouver; its story editors were Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio. All three seasons are currently available on DVD in the USA and other Region 1 territories. In Australia, to coincide with the show's tenth anniversary in 2006, Madman Entertainment released all three seasons in Region 4 format. These boxsets include "world exclusive" special features, such as commentaries and interviews with the voice actors.
Setting and plot summaryEdit
The two main factions of "Transformers" in Beast Wars are descendants of the two main factions in the original cartoon: the Maximals are the descendants of the Autobots and the Predacons are the descendants of the Decepticons. (In the sequel series Beast Machines, the process during which Autobots and Decepticons became Maximals and Predacons is referred to as "The Great Upgrade.")
The leader of the Predacon team is Megatron, a namesake of the original Decepticon commander. He and his forces are a splinter group on the hunt for powerful crystals known as Energon, though in "The Agenda Part 1" it's revealed Megatron got the location of energon as a bonus to be used in a ploy for power and dominance. They do this with the aid of an artifact known as the Golden Disk and Megatron's stolen ship, the Darksyde, which is equipped with a transwarp drive. A Maximal exploration ship, the Axalon, led by Optimus Primal, is sent to stop them. Together the ships plunge through a time/space phenomenon created by the transwarp device during their battle in space, and crash-land on a mysterious planet.
The planet is found to be rich in deposits of raw Energon, in such extreme amounts that it proves to be poisonous to both factions' robot forms, forcing them to take on alternate organic forms for protection until their robot forms are needed. Thus the robots take on the beast forms of recognizable animals including mammals, birds, dinosaurs, arachnids, and insects.
Before crashing, the Axalon deploys its cargo of "stasis pods" containing Maximal protoforms — Transformer robots with vulnerable and undeveloped physical forms, which are left to orbit the planet as an alternative to possible destruction in the initial crash landing. This plays a larger part in the IDW series, The Gathering. Throughout the series, stasis pods lose altitude and crash-land on the planet, and the Maximals and Predacons race and fight to acquire them, as protoforms acquired by Megatron's forces can be reprogrammed to become Predacons. The stasis pods are used as a plot device to introduce new characters.
The teams are divided between the "good" Maximals and the "evil" Predacons, equivalent to the traditional Autobots and Decepticons. Most of the Maximals are based on mammals, while the Predacons are based on reptiles or insects. Dinobot changes sides, starting as a Predacon and becoming a Maximal, and was later created as an artificial Predacon clone by Megatron in season 3. This made Dinobot the only reptile-based Maximal, as he is based on a Utahraptor. Additionally certain "Predacons" like Inferno and Blackarachnia were created from Maximal protoforms, but were fitted with Predacon shell programs, fighting instead for the Predacons. For the Maximals, the emphasis is on team spirit and good-natured arguing, especially from Rattrap, but the Predacons argue and battle for leadership, which impairs their effectiveness against the Maximals.
- Garry Chalk as Optimus Primal and G1 Megatron
- Scott McNeil as Rattrap, Dinobot, Waspinator, Silverbolt, and Dinobot II
- Richard Newman as Rhinox and the Vok
- Ian James Corlett as Cheetor, and Sentinel, the Maximal computer
- Blu Mankuma as Tigatron, Tigerhawk, Vok and Unicron
- Pauline Newstone as Airazor
- David Sobolov as Depth Charge
- David Kaye as Megatron
- Don Brown as Scorponok
- Alec Willows as Tarantulas
- Doug Parker as Terrorsaur and Starscream
- Venus Terzo as Blackarachnia
- Jim Byrnes as Inferno
- Colin Murdock as Quickstrike
- Campbell Lane as Rampage
- Elizabeth Carol Savenkoff as the Predacon computer
- Lee Tockar as Ravage
There have been two Beast Wars video games. The first game, simply called Beast Wars: Transformers, was released for the PlayStation and PC. It was a third person shooter, based on the first season of the show, in which you can control either the Maximals or the Predacons in a series of missions to undermine the other faction's attempts at gaining enough resources to win the war between them and escape the planet. It was given a multiplayer feature (removed from the console releases) that allowed up to 8 players to play over LAN, with its own play rooms in the MS Gaming Zone (they have subsequently been removed).
The second game, Beast Wars Transmetals, is a Fighting Vipers-style fighting game based on the second season released by Bay Area Multimedia. This game was memorable for having most of the cast members from the show reprise their voice roles.
The series was originally released on DVD in Region 1 by Kid Rhino Entertainment (a division part of and distributed by WBFE and part of WEA/Warner Music Group) (under its Rhinomation classic animation entertainment brand) in 2003/2004. These releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.
On February 8, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned to re-release it. They subsequently re-released season 1 on DVD on June 7, 2011 as well as a complete series set on the same day. Both releases contain extensive bonus features including interviews, featurettes and special 24 page comic book- Transformers Timelines "Dawn of Future's Past." Season 2 & 3 was re-released on October 4, 2011.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released all three seasons on DVD in Australia in 2006. On June 24, 2009, they released Transformers: Beast Wars - Complete Collection. The 10-disc box set features all 52 episodes of the series as well as many bonus features.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|Season 1||26||August 12, 2003
June 7, 2011 (Re-release)
|March 17, 2006|
|Season 2||13||March 23, 2004||July 25, 2006|
|Season 3||13||March 23, 2004||November 10, 2006|
|Seasons 2 & 3||26||October 4, 2011 (Re-release)||N/A|
|Complete Series||52||June 7, 2011||June 24, 2009|
While the toyline was lauded for its innovative joint construction and the show is overall liked by fans, the show was initially derided by a large portion of loyal Generation 1 fans for using animals, dinosaurs and insects instead of vehicles for the line's alternate forms. For the majority of season 1 developers were confronted with hate mail from disgruntled fans. An internet social battle emerged between old school original die hard fans and the new age fans. "Trukk not Munky" became the banner and popular argument material for unhappy watchers.
Ironically Beast Wars turned out to be mutually adored by both old and new fans alike. Mainframe integrated enough G1 cameos and easter eggs to win over any watcher old or new. Beast Wars is still known as one of the greatest Transformer story incarnations and has stood the test of time—so much that a 10th anniversary toy line was released by Hasbro in honor of the show's success over the years. Even now Hasbro is still producing new toy molds of fan favorite characters of the show. Overall, Beast Wars was well received and is often praised for its mature tone and character development, in addition to its blend of comic relief and darker storylines.
The season two episode "Code of Hero" became regarded as one of the best episodes in Transformers history. Dinobot became the first Beast Wars character to be inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame in 2010. Waspinator, Beast Wars Megatron, and Optimus Primal later followed.
The Beast Wars franchise would go on for years worldwide. In animation, the show was succeeded by Beast Machines, with a new creative team in charge of production. The traditionally-animated Japanese series Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo were created to fill the gap while the second and third seasons of Beast Wars were being translated into Japanese (called Beast Wars: Metals). Several comic books and video games were also produced. Beast Wars was also the second television series created by Mainframe Entertainment and Alliance Atlantis Communications, two now-defunct companies who are the same creators of the world's first ever entirely-CGI television series ReBoot, which aired two years prior to Beast Wars.
On June 21, 2017, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura announced that a film adaptation of Beast Wars was not in plans, as he explained: "I'm probably not the one to be asking that question to because I don't get Beast Wars, but you know, thankfully I'm not the only vote on it. I've never quite understood, they kind of feel like incompatible to me, you have animals, robots, we're used to cars."
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- Transformers Producer Not Too Sure About Beast Wars Potential. Screen Rant. By Dan Zinski. 06.21.2017
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Beast Wars: Transformers|
- Transformers Beast Wars: Complete Series at Shout! Factory
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- Beast Wars: Transformers (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Beast Wars: Transformers at TV.com
- Beast Wars: Transformers at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- A3U Podcast Audio Interview With Voice Actor Scott McNeil
- A3U Podcast Audio Interview With Voice Actor Garry Chalk