Earlier this month a Transformer near and dear to my heart faced off
against Ultra Magnus, Star Saber and Deathsaurus in a fan vote for who
would be the next ‘bot to wield the Matrix of Leadership. Move over,
Optimus Prime. It’s Optimus Primal’s time.
As a huge fan of the Beast Wars era of Transformers, in which the
smaller descendents of the Autobots and Decepticons, the Maximals and
Predacons. are thrown back in time to ancient Earth and forced to take
on animal forms to survive, I was puling for Optimus Primal, Optimus
Prime’s ape namesake. Well, he won. Good monkey.
Hasbro announced the winner today on stage at its Toy Fair 2017 event
in New York City. First they eliminated Japanese hero Star Saber, then
Ultra Magnus. They asked the audience who they thought won of the
remaining two, and someone very near to my mouth shouted, “Primal!”
Okay, it was me.
This version of Optimus Primal is a warlord
who dreams of a Cybertron ruled by beasts. As long as they aren’t Beast
Machines, we should be okay.
Optimus Primal will assume the Matrix of Leadership in 2018, when the
Power of the Primes story and toy line kick into gear. Here’s hoping
they call him Optimus Primal Prime.
So my regular parter in crime Ed Pirrie aka http://kingoji.tumblr.com/ have a deep and special love for Beast Wars and we talked about homaging the MTMTE #1 cover (itself and homage) and getting to work with some of our favourite characters.
So here they are, the good guys. Bad guys to follow…
Shattered glass Beast wars Optimus Primal and Megatron. I found out SG BW Megs was in Primal’s color so I made my guess and colored Primal in Meg’s. Re-watching this series over and over again whenever I miss it
This RID talk does remind me of Beast Wars and its more subtle handling of Predacon vs Maximal. It was implied that Predacons had different coding. More than implied, I guess, because Megatron straight up turned Rhinox into a Predacon in one episode.
So basically the Autobots beat the Decepticons in the Great War, and therefore the descendants of the Autobots (the Maximals) rule the descendants of the Decepticons (the Predacons). As a kid this seemed perfectly reasonable to me, because kids are dumb.
At one point Optimus Primal’s crew have a chance at being rescued if they can contact a space probe that is searching for their lost ship. The Maximals are all excited and :D about this, except ex-Predacon Dinobot who is moody and >:/.
And when he’s finally confronted about it:
Rattrap: What’s the matter? Afraid you’ll miss your Pred friends?
Dinobot: You’re what I’m afraid of! You’re all so eager to go home, but my home is not yours. I AM Predacon, despite our alliance. And when the rescue ship comes to bring you back, my fate will be the same as Megatron’s. Perhaps even worse.
Optimus: We won’t let that happen, Dinobot. You’re a Maximal now and we’ll see that you’re treated as one.
Dinobot: *pulling away* And what makes you think I want to be?
Reminder that the factions aren’t military in BW since Cybertron is a peaceful post-war society (except the BEAST WAAAARS), yet Predacons are treated like second-class citizens to the extent that Primal can’t even tell Dinobot that he’ll be treated fairly as a Predacon who helped the Maximals. He can’t tell him that because it’s not true. (See also: the million instances of Rattrap saying he doesn’t trust Predacons, “once a Pred always a Pred”, etc.)
This exchange blew dumb-kid-me’s mind, especially Dinobot walking away from Primal. I started thinking about things I hadn’t before, like if the whole Maximals-rule-the-Predacons government was really fair, and grappling with the idea of culturally “being Predacon” while working with Maximals.
It’s true that subtle writing may go over a kid’s head, but it also is an opportunity to spark new ideas. I know that good writing can have an impact on a kid, even if they don’t fully understand it. I know because I experienced it myself.