Transformers: Robots In Disguise showrunner Adam Beechen continues to answer fan questions regarding the show via his official blog.
Since there were quite a lot of questions asked on the connection RID has with Transformers: Prime, Adam Beechen decided to give his take on the matter. He also explained how Robots In Disguise show came to be; what sort of options they were given as the direction for the show.
Another popular question was the decision on giving animal forms for the escaped Decepticon prisoners.
Mr. Beechen also mentioned that the IDW comic series for the show is non-canon.
Additionally, questions regarding the Combiner Force extension and the ending of the show was also addressed.
With season 3, RID has passed an important milestone: The show is now the third longest running Transformers Animated Series to date (No. 1: Rescue Bots, No. 2: G1).
It’s very clear that Adam Beechen has given a lot of care and attention to Transformers: Robots In Disguise to make it as perfect as it can possibly be. We thank his work and look forward to see him returning for another Transformers cartoon series.
You can check out the lengthy yet informative answers for some of the questions, after the jump.
Question: What was the best part about writing the Combining plot point of Season 3? Was it included for fun, because Hasbro wanted to sell toys, or both?
Mini-Cons play a big part in RID. Is this also due to toy sales or were the different types created for fun by the showrunners and became toys?
The best part was coming up with personalities and abilities for the new characters. Hasbro asked us to include Combiners because they were preparing new Combiner toys and wanted to feature them in our show.
We used the Mini-Cons because Hasbro requested them in conjunction with new toys they were planning on putting out.
Question: When Starscream said he killed the Predacons, we only Saw Darksteel and Skylynx, and the comic series showed us that Predaking is still alive, is this true?
Speaking of the comics, are they and the Chapter Books canon?
Answer: Our show doesn’t have any connection to the comics.
Question: You told us “…we’ll be done, you can forget all about us, and you can start planning how you’re going to complain that the next series isn’t exactly like Prime either…”. Well, with all due respect to you and your work, I should admit that it sounded really weird. I don’t know, what did these words mean, but I understood it as “Watch more scrappy episodes which definitely will disappoint you, and you will be free to write more comments full of disappointment!”
Of course, I may be wrong. But you know what do we (fans) like, right? That’s why you have returned Starscream, Ratchet and Soundwave. You just wanted people to get interested in your show and now you proceed making stuff people don’t like.
Answer: There are plenty of people who like RID, and I’m grateful. However, I tend to hear most from fans of Prime who are either upset that our show isn’t Prime, or want to know when the characters from Prime or Prime itself is coming back. It’s very frustrating, and it begins to feel like, no matter how well we tell our stories, those fans are going to want Prime and only Prime, and they won’t be happy with anything we do. My comment was written sarcastically, but it correctly illustrates the frustration I sometimes feel about being asked over and over about Prime when I’m trying to write a different show, exactly the show (it should be noted) that Hasbro wanted and approved, as best as possible.
We included Starscream, Ratchet and Prime as a nod to the fact that RID takes place in the same continuity as Prime in the sense that, for these characters, the events of Prime occurred and they have a shared history. That was what RID was created to do – acknowledge Prime happened, but tell a DIFFERENT story. For more information, see below.
We do not try to deceive fans by showing them characters they love and then purposely “making stuff people don’t like.” No one in my profession sets out to make “stuff people don’t like,” and to suggest otherwise is deeply insulting.
Question: You know, it is very weird when almost all “bad guys” are animals. And your show is not called “Transformers: Beasts Escaped From The Zoo”. So don’t create those characters for one episode, because people don’t like undiscovered characters they will never see again and this number of remolds. And there is a little number of people who like watching episodes out of main storyline. Most of us call these episodes “useless trash out of context”.
Answer: Well, our bad guys are almost all animal-based, it’s just a fact. That was a decision that was made very early on (I’m guessing to accommodate toys that were in development), as was the decision that RID would be far less serialized and gritty than Prime. The intent all along was to tell “stand-alone” episodes in which we’d have a “bad guy of the week” that could either return in later episodes or not, depending on where we decided to take the stories or the characters. Mostly, we wanted a framework in which to create new villainous characters. Having a prison ship with a large number of prisoners crash on Earth gave us that framework in which the heroes could chase different villains every week.
The decision to call it RID was made by Hasbro. It seemed strange to me at the time because our characters wouldn’t be spending very much time in disguise, but their decision was final. Their title did not dictate the content of our show.
You may consider episodes of our show “useless trash out of context” (which, frankly, is also pretty insulting, at least to me). I’d say they’re not in the context of the story YOU want told. And we can argue about how “little” is the number of people who like watching episodes like the ones we make. Fans who share YOUR specific concerns may not like watching the episodes we make. That’s different. And it’s your right not to like something. It’s unfortunate, but there’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is tell the best story I can given the parameters of what we as a creative team and what Hasbro as a business entity set up.
Question: You told us RiD is not “TFP2” so you won’t show us Other characters from TFP. So why did you say that RiD is the sequel of TFP? Why did you show us Starscream, Ratchet and Soundwave? And if your answer is “This show is about Bee and his team” then tell me why did you call it RiD, when you could call it “Transformers: Adventures of Bumblebee and His Team”? Please tell us WHY?
Answer: Saying RID isn’t Prime 2 is NOT the same thing as saying we’re not going to show you any characters who were also in Prime.
*I* never said RID is the sequel of Prime. In fact, I’ve been very careful NOT to say it, and if you’re able to dig up a quote where I appear to have said it, trust me, I mis-spoke or I was misquoted (unfortunate, but it happens). At a New York Comic-Con a few years ago (shortly after our premiere), I very carefully described the show more as a “spin-off” than a sequel. Spin-off to me means “featuring some of the same characters, but telling a different story.” For example, Star Trek: The Next Generation Miami was a spin-off from Star Trek. They exist in the same universe, and their characters may have crossed over from time to time, but they were independent of each other. Star Trek: The Next Generation did not exist primarily to clear up or further Star Trek’s plot threads, but to tell its own stories and develop its own characters… and its own fan base. It took place in a new setting and told different kinds of stories. Characters from the original series showed up very occasionally, and storylines from the original series were occasionally addressed or furthered, and that was fun for longtime fans, but it didn’t happen every episode.
As I knew our show followed this model, I took care not to call it a sequel, but to describe it accurately as a spin-off.
Now, I didn’t see the quote(s), but I understand someone, somewhere, at some point (maybe early in the show’s development when its tone and content hadn’t been settled) described RID as a sequel to Prime. Let me set the record straight: THAT PERSON WAS WRONG. Whether they accidentally used the wrong term or whether they were misinformed, they were wrong. I feel confident in saying that person didn’t set out to deliberately mislead fans.
AT NO TIME after I was hired was I told RID was a sequel to Prime and/or that I should make it one. In fact, here were the directives for RID, as agreed upon by the Executive Producer, the executives at Hasbro Studios, the executives at Hasbro (the people who develop and create the toys and are the true keepers of the series lore), and by me:
- Make the show less serialized than Prime – So a viewer that misses an episode doesn’t feel penalized.
- Make the show more accessible than Prime – A primary goal of the show was to attract new viewers who may not have any experience whatsoever with Transformers. Transformers has 30 years of lore behind it, and Prime played heavily into that lore as a key part of its storytelling. Thirty years of lore can be daunting to a new viewer. We wanted new viewers to be able to come to our series cold, at just about any episode, and grasp quickly who the characters were, what their general mission was, and what the stakes were. That necessitated a different and simplified kind of storytelling and arc plotting. Our individual episodes were meant to be self-contained stories. A larger arc would be present in each season, but in an unobtrusive way… Dealt with most heavily in season openers and finales. Episodes in between could mention the larger arc, but for the most part needed to stand separate so they could be enjoyed on their own, even if viewers never saw an episode before or watched another one after.
- Create and develop new characters – To give a sense of freshness, and to provide new viewers with a sense that the characters were “theirs.”
- Make the show a lighter tone than Prime – To intentionally target a newer and younger audience, the decision was made to give the series a more comedic tone and to de-emphasize the darker and grittier tone of Prime.
If Hasbro had wanted to do more episodes of Prime, they simply would have continued producing it instead of ending it when and how they did. For a variety of reasons – business, creative, changing interests priorities among key executives (NONE of which have to do with wanting to anger or deceive the fans) – they decided it was time to end the series and try something new and different from Prime, while existing in the same universe as Prime. Our series was the result of that. The decision not to continue Prime’s story in the way Prime’s story had been told was a very deliberate part of the creation of RID.
We were all well aware of the passion Prime’s hardcore fans had for the show, and we didn’t want to lose them as viewers. There were many people on the creative team who worked on Prime, loved it dearly, and wanted to include more elements of Prime in our series. However, we all intentionally agreed to limit the number of those elements because of the purpose of OUR show. It wasn’t done to anger anybody – It was done because continuing Prime wasn’t what OUR show was ever intended to do.
Question: You didn’t want children to be frightened by your show. But you have forgotten about “adult guys” who wanted it to be more epic. Also kids have their own series about Rescue Bots. It looks very strange, when ’Bots always win and ’Cons always lose. It will be cool when finaly good guys wil get victory, but you could show that no one can rice without falls. You know it would make show more useful even for children.
~Of course, I understand that you try to do your best. I want to thank you for Steeljaw with his ideas and his team, for those cool guys from Decepticon Island (Saberhorn, Glowstrike, Scorponok), for returning of Soundwave, Starscream and Ratchet, for Stunticons and Combiners. Of course it’s all great, and I tried to stay positive. I hoped you will see all those mistakes of your work and stop making them, but you made them in the third season (especially episodes 3, 4, 8,13, 17, that got me VERY furious).
Answer: RID was intended to be a “transitional show” in terms of tone between Rescue Bots and Prime, to target audience members between the young age of Rescue Bots’ viewers and Prime’s older audience. Whether or not we succeeded is up to personal interpretation.
– With all due respect, it’s your opinion we made “mistakes” in our work. I have a different opinion. We made exactly the series we set out to make, and we’re very proud of it. Are some episodes better than others? Are there moments, scenes, decisions we’d do differently in hindsight? Inevitably. But every episode was made in a sincere effort to meet the goals listed above – and to be as funny, exciting and engaging as we could make them. A large group of people worked very hard every day for more than three years to make this series, and a tremendous amount of energy, creativity, thought and love went into each and every decision. We all love the series and the characters, and we respect and appreciate the fans – new and longtime – deeply. I was there every day we were making the series, and I know all this to be true.
Now our show is done. All the episodes have been written, and we’re putting the final polishes on the last couple episodes you’ll see. They couldn’t be changed if we wanted to, and we don’t want to. You didn’t like our show, you wanted it to be something it wasn’t, you’re furious.
I hope you like the next series better. We did our best. At the end of the day, that’s really all I can say.
Question: Hasbro Studios initially said that Transformers: Robots In Disguise was commissioned for 2 Full Seasons + a TV Movie. However, the TV Movie turned out to be “The Starscream Arc” and a 3rd full season (Combiner Force) was also commissioned later. What led to the change? I’m assuming that the popularity of the show led Cartoon Network to ask for more.
Answer: There was never a change. The Starscream arc was written as a separate unit, and Hasbro and Cartoon Network decided to package it into season 2. Season 3 was ordered because Hasbro had new toys they wanted to roll out.
Question: Was there any specific reason for ending the show or there was nothing else to explore and so RID reached the ”natural” end not the ”forced” one?
Answer: Hasbro didn’t tell me a specific reason, so I assume it’s for the same reasons most shows end: Hasbro wanted to create new merchandise, and wanted a new series to accommodate that.
Question: I don’t know if you were notified about this but RID has actually surpassed a milestone. It is officially the third longest English running Transformers series. Second of course to the “The Transformers” from the 1980s and “Transformers: Rescue Bots.” Congratulations! You even surpassed Transformers: Prime, which only had 65 episodes along with a 3-episode movie.
Answer: Yes, we know. 🙂 Thanks!