Transformers have returned to Comic Con, and while Michael Bay is busy filming the third movie elsewhere, every other part of the Transformers empire is here. New cartoon, video game, pictures of awesome new toys - we've got it all!
Transformers Prime debuts this October as the flagship program on Hasbro's new TV channel, the Hub. Reuniting Peter Cullen and Frank Welker as the original Optimus Prime and Megatron, the show is being talked up as a huge leap forward for Transformers cartoons, with cutting-edge CGI graphics, ongoing storylines where the consequences of one episode carry over to the next, and themes that aren't necessarily more "adult" - the makers stressed it's for viewers of all ages - but they are more sophisticated than what's been seen before.
Movie writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are deeply, "emotionally" involved in the show, and they're relishing the opportunity to explore Transformers lore in ways the movies can't. This is their opportunity to dig into the robot mythology to an extent that just isn't possible to do in the movies. They also say that the humans partner with Transformers to a greater extent than in the movies, where there are limits to how much the actors can interact with the CGI elements.
They say the show is in the same loose continuity as all the other Transformers project, and the basic premise is that this is set a couple years after the events of the movies. The world has been quiet for some time, but a few Autobots have remained behind in case something happens. According to the writers, SOMETHING DOES. (And it involves Megatron.)
At another panel, the makers of the new video game Transformers: War on Cybertron responded to feedback from fans. When asked about a sequel, they said that they absolutely want to do one, and the sales thus far are definitely strong enough to get one, but there's no word yet. They also responded to criticisms about a lack of ammo in the game, which was something that they said didn't come up in pre-game testing but has been issue during the general release. They're trying to figure out what the best way forward for this, but they did say they could do a patch that ups the amount of ammo you can pick up at a time from, say, 100 to 300.
But now it's time for what's always been at the heart of the Transformers franchise: the toys. Hasbro is releasing a bunch of new toys in the fall, and we took to the convention floor to photograph some of the best ones up close. Enjoy!
Deluxe Optimus Prime
Deluxe Optimus Prime
Battle Ops Bumblebee. The makers said this is the most accurate replica yet of the movie version, and that they really tried to capture both the lighthearted and warrior aspects of his character.
Battle Ops Bumblebee
Power Core Combiners: Double Clutch with the Rallybots. This is one of the new five-pack combiner sets. The creators said that they wanted to bring the standard price of these combiners down from $50-60 to $10-20. They also mentioned that they're doing a bunch of new characters, and they advised fans to think of these as new parts of the Transformers lore, not replacing older characters.
Power Core Combiners: Huffer and Caliburst two-pack.
Hailstorm. The designers explained the amusing backstory they invented for this character. They said that the reason his cannons are on his shoulders is because he's a clumsy Transformer, and he lacks the dexterity to hold them in his hands.
A selection of new Transformers toys.
Constructicons. One of the exclusive toys coming out this fall.
Brawl vs. Jolt. This is one of a line of toys that pairs off specific Autobots and Decepticons that fought in the climactic battle of Transformers 2. With tongue perhaps slightly in cheek, the designers applauded Michael Bay for cramming so many robots into that final scene, allowing them to create tons of these sets. They said that even if some of the pairs didn't get a lot of movie time, this was their chance to get plenty of toy time.
Sea Spray. Another toy, Breacher, is designed to fit in the back of him, and their weapons are interchangeable.
Masterpiece Grimlock. One of this fall's exclusive toys.
Pictures by Caitlin Petrakovitz