Podcast The Full Force recently carried out an interview with Mark Weber, former Manager of Global Brand Development for Transformers and G.I. Joe for Hasbro. The interview has some interested revelations about the genesis of the Prime Wars trilogy, and the shift of the Generations line from an 18 month pattern to an annual one themed around a central concept like combining. Mark reveals that Hasbro was initially lukewarm to the idea of a combiner themed line off the back of Power Core Combiners, but that after he explained some of the key ideas in his thinking, Hasbro was won over (he also pointed out how previous attempts like Power Core had missed what made combiners cool in the first place).
Further revelations on the Generations line include how Combiner Wars was actually pitched as the second concept for the new, annual, Generations line, but that Hasbro led with it because it was a strong concept; it also did well with retailers to the point it was extended for an additional six months. The interview also notes Hasbro pitched the package as a trilogy of Combiner Wars, Titan Wars (which this interview confirms was the original name before being changed to Titans Return for legal reasons) and then Power of the Primes. Mark himself just wanted to make Combiner Wars happen.
The interview then goes on to discuss a pitch for a new Transformers series that Mark worked on that never came to pass. Called Transformers Generation 3, it was intended as an all-new series with new characters and styles, including a Decepticon hearse named Tombstone. Another concept was for a snowplow Transformer, whose plow would form a shield. The story concept was to introduce a new crew of Autobots who were on Earth hunting Decepticons, complete with a new Autobot leader who would not see eye-to-eye with Optimus and butt heads with him; Weber calls it a hero vs hero concept like Marvel’s Civil War where you could side with either Optimus or this new anti-Optimus character.
The main watchwords of this pitch seem to be introducing all-new characters into the mythos, rather than just bringing back old ones who has not been used for a while, together with a new take on the story. We’ve seen a few ideas of the Autobots as hunters in the recent Robots in Disguise series, but as pitches for Cyberverse show, we are likely to be sticking with the same core cast of heroes and villains for a while. We can sympathize with the idea of having some “new blood” added to the cast, although we feel a balance would be the best way forward – give us some old favorites in the mix as well, some guys we’ve not seen in a while would be great too.
Check out the full interview and lots more besides in The Full Force podcast, season 4, episode 9.
We’d totally buy that hearse Decepticon.