Transformers War for Cybertron Siege is getting ready to hit Netflix in just a couple days, officially dropping on July 30th worldwide. The show focuses on the last days of the war on Cybertron, with the Autobots and Optimus Prime battling it out with Megatron and the Decepticons. It’s heavily based on the Hasbro toys from last year, so far that the CGI models of the robots in the show come from Hasbro’s toy design files. It’s also part of a trilogy – there will be two more seasons, one for Earthrise which is the line out now, and one for KINGDOM which we assume is coming next year in toy form.
TFW2005 was able to check out the entire series a bit early thanks to the Netflix and Hasbro PR teams. Read on to check out our thoughts, there may be some minor spoilers but we will keep all the major stuff out so you can enjoy the series yourselves!
Transformers War for Cybertron Trilgoy: Siege Overall Thoughts
NICE. That was my reaction after the trailers, the start of the first episode, and the end of the last episode. I’ve been quite picky about the cartoons Transformers have put out over the last 20 years now. Armada / Energon / Cybertron had the animation and import issues. Animated, while well done, wasn’t my thing. Prime was beautiful in still frames, but felt stiff and rehashed. RID201x dipped below my demo threshold. Cyberverse is still on my to do list, skews a bit young for me (which is fine). The Go90 Prime Wars stuff was severely under funded even though it had some potential. Really I think the best story that moves in the last 20 years were the War/Fall of Cybertron video games from High Moon and Activision. Second being the Devastation game. So I went into this with a little hesitation.
All in all, it’s legit. Gets the job done. Feels good, looks good. There is a deep story compared with previous outings, that is linear in nature. No filler. The core characters are there, with the basic tone for each in place. There are some changes, some twists, to original G1 lore (comics and/or toon), but nothing that made me throw my popcorn at the TV. They also do a good job developing some characters that were never done in the originals. That being said, there is a lot of nostalgia here, lots of call backs to things we know and remember. Some subtle, some not.
The animation is MUCH better than the Prime Wars stuff. Still frames, close ups, backgrounds are all great. The light in the eyes really bring the characters to life. It is however still a bit clunky whenever fast movement or fighting is going on. Part of that might be budget, part might be due to the designs, part might be just the medium : non-artsy (think Spiderverse) CGI. Several other CGI based shows I’ve checked recently have similar issues. I may just be old at this point and prefer well done hand animation to CGI, so don’t ding the show for that. One thing that stands out, and I’m not even mad – lots of re-use of the core bots CGI models as “Cybertronians” in the background. There are repaints available for about 20 years I think. Apparently there are like 10 or 12 body types on all of Cybertron. 🙂 But hey, I’m ok with that, it costs coin to develop new bots just for the background shots.
Voice cast did a great job. In the Prime Wars stuff I think it was less about the cast and more about direction, engineering, execution. That gets upgraded here. Sound is overall well done, including voice. Jake Foushee as Optimus Prime was a concern, he’s relatively young and doesn’t have a ton of work under his belt, yet. But, I think he did a great job. At times it’s straight up G1 Prime. Other times he adds his own flavor to it. Overall though it feels like G1 Optimus Prime. I’m sad Peter Cullen and Frank Welker weren’t involved, but I’m guessing they demand serious cash for their time and budgets are tight. The star of the voice cast however is Frank Todaro as Starscream. I thought he did a good job in the Prime Wars stuff, but he REALLY upped his game here. He has all the nuance of G1 Starscream with a bit of devious evil mixed in. I hope he is used for Screamer going forward. The one ding to the voice angle – Soundwave. Character was executed well, but voice effects were not right. I’m ok with different, but this was a poor attempt at the OG.
Bottom line, it was a great story over 6 episodes, new and old at the same time, and it was a kick seeing our toys up on screen moving around. It’s a worthy addition to Transformers lore and cartoon history, and worth a watch for any fan, any age.
Check out my running notes from each episode below for a bit more insight. These are just things that popped out to me as I watched it the second time around. I’ve deleted a lot, and made other things vague on purpose. Make sure to get your Netflix account squared away and get ready for the drop on July 30th!
First scene – nice throwback
Right off the bat, clear it’s a new universe, specifically angles with Bumblebee.
Wheeljack VA – captures OG VA feel.
Frank Todaro as Starscream – very good, even better than previous outings.
Jetfire -full on Decepticon, no ambiguity.
Close up, slow moving shots are beautiful, action and fast movement is a bit clunky.
Megatron’s speech is a bit slow, drawn out. Gets old quickly.
What’s up wit those green windows on Prime?
Prime’s VA is great at times, but it almost feels like a parody of Cullen at others. I had to double check it wasn’t Dr. Smoov. Also speaks overly slow in stretches.
New backstory hints Prime, Megatron and Magnus being connected.
Elita 1 is a bad ass. VA does a good job.
Classic Transformation sounds, yes, thank you. Mostly well applied. Wish they had a bit more blending or remixing for modern soundscapes.
Cybertronian environments look great. Gives tone to different landscapes of the planet.
Flashy Face. 🙂
The Autobot ship/base – very G1. Like how they are using, addressing it’s existence.
Lots of re-use for existing CGI models. Non-named Autobots and Decepticons are existing character models in different colors.
Red Alert – acting as doctor.
Bumblebee – VA & timing good, in tone with recent versions of his voice style.
Hound has more of a movie Hound style vibe to him than G1, not as over the top though. A little G1 Ironhidey too.
Megatron at arena rally giving speeches has comic callbacks.
Seeker repaints for years incoming…
Starscream – hints at his ambition, always looking to start something with Jetfire, kiss up to Megatron. Seekers ambition.
Magnus cape – I want it.
Ultra Magnus surrenders. Trying to play the peacemaker with Prime and Megatron. See how that turns out…
Shockwave – VA – new direction. Not bad, but different.
Decepticons looking for Allspark – hasn’t been seen, some think myth. Not seen in 10,000 stellar cycles. Source of life. Nefarious plan if they get a hold of it.
Jetfire – hints at honor, shouldn’t win this way.
Soundwave – voice – silly. Disappointing. I’m ok with change, but that’s a cheap knockoff. Character dev – about same. If you want to replicate – need raspy deep voice with Vocoder effects and a touch of reverb. Not the “tin-can reverb effects pack” on 11.
Prime and Elita 1 – good development, shows a connection, backstory is there.
Lots of cameos, Barricade, Spinster, Skytread, Ravage, Laserbeak / Buzzsaw. Lots of Cog repaints floating around.
Impactor plays big role. Cog in multiple scenes.
Play on Energon Cube, physical box with pink glowing slots showing through.
Seekers are feared by name.
Weaponizer gimmick used well.
Ratchet is solo, acting as a medic for anyone wounded.
More movement on the Allspark, choices split Autobot ranks.
Starscream riling up ranks with how Megatron’s plan is no good for Decepticons, changes gears when superiors come in.
Mirage’s fight tech is hot!
Transforming seems to be saved for special events. Way more walking that expected.
Shouts to other planets / areas previously known in lore, here and earlier (and later).
Ratchet has a previous life that he gave up to help the wounded.
Impactor – plays a large role in series.
Lots of references to pre-war Cybertron and the dynamics that led to it.
Shockwave character dev good, make him out to be evil scientist with no morals.
Removing someone’s com module is apparently a very icky thing to think about.
Jetfire showing more issues with how the Decepticons are fighting the war, has issues with other Decepticons about it.
Nice flip of the Till All Are One phrase there…
Tarnhauser gate, big battle, war memorial there.
Rain present on planet, shows weather.
Stuff is going DOWN.
Starscream calls out Jetfire, Jetfire admits it, shenanigans.
Really good air battle with the Seekers.
Guardians exist. Stay neutral. Continue to stay neutral after a chat.
Starscream gets promoted and gets grandiose, veteran Decepticons like huhwut?
Bumblebee’s role is expanded, leading him more towards a place where we know him.
Jetfire continues to be influenced by his G1 story while deepening the details around it.
Megatron’s war decisions getting more aggressive and merciless.
Talk of the Golden Age.
Sea of Rust name dropped.
Prowl – law enforcement in past, more lore names dropped.
Arcee makes an appearance, joins Cog and Bumblebee going to Soundblaster – a non-aligned black market trader.
Tape bots vulturing dead bots.
Cliffjumper cameo (they shared the clip).
Ironhide sounds younger, not G1 esque.
Soundblaster – quick backstory line about him, but cool. Character dev also cool.
More Mirage tech, this guy is boss.
Buzzsaw hangs with Soundblaster.
Sea of Rust has some serious stuff waiting for everyone.
Deleted most of what I wrote here. All spoilers.
There is a noticeable character reveal here, and one that is quick, so keep an eye out.
There is an epilogue, but not after full credits. Stays black a bit before picking back up.
Things are set up for Earthrise.
And that’s it! See you all on the 2005 Boards to talk about this in a couple days!