It’s an odd decision for Hasbro and online animation group Machinima to do a series promoting a toyline on their way out, but that’s how they’ve been handling the Prime Wars Trilogy, the grown-up collector line featuring new takes on the classic characters. (Robots In Disguise is for the original kid target demographic, and that promotional cartoon only gets a poor showing because Cartoon Network’s scheduling is garbage. Meanwhile Discovery Family is still airing it’s predecessor, Transformers Prime, and the preschool-targeted Rescue Bots at decent times, and those lines are pretty much done. Rescue Bots is getting a spinoff line and tie-in cartoon…in TWO YEARS!) It wasn’t until the end of the first leg of the Prime Wars Trilogy, Combiner Wars, that we got an animated series of 5 minute shorts, and now they’re waiting pretty much before the start of the final chapter in the toyline, Power Of The Primes, before Titans Return, the second part, finally got released, coming next week.
The Titans Return toyline is basically “everyone are Headmasters now”, with some of the classic Headmaster characters not even getting to have their bodies, while figures who were never Headmasters now becoming them, even if they had originally been Targetmasters (the little guy turns into a gun instead of their head) or Powermasters (turning into the engine…for some reason) or if they hadn’t been any kind of “Master” but were just the popular characters. A plot to keep the copyrights perhaps? However, you won’t see any sign of that in the trailer that was just released on Hasbro’s YouTube channel.
Quite the all-star cast they put together. Combiner Wars didn’t feature Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime but they brought him in for this one, but no Frank Welker for Megatron. And yet we’re getting Judd Nelson, who voiced Hot Rod in the original animated Transformers movie, coming back to that role. We also get the likes of Wil Weaton (who will be Perceptor from reports) and Jason David Frank (voicing new character Emissary, who I don’t think has a toy in the Titans Return line). Tay Zonday, the guy behind the famous “Chocolate Rain” viral YouTube video, is only credited (according to the TF Wiki) as “Chorus Of The Primes”, whatever that means. Matthew “MatPat” Patrick of Game Theory and Film Theory, and creator of both Theorist YouTube channels, will take over the role of Computron, and Victorion (a female Combiner created for Combiner Wars) will be returning as well with Kari Walgren replacing THAT voice actress. They’re all good actors but why not stick with the voices you had?
Marketing. The only reason. I’m sure they’ll be good though, and I kind of like getting to hear Nelson voice Hot Rod once more. Dick Gautier, from the TV show, did a good Rodimus Prime, but I liked Nelson’s Hot Rod better. (Concurrently I didn’t like Nelson’s few lines as Rodimus.) Weaton and Frank are good voice actors, although I don’t know if Frank has done any voiceover work besides Tommy on Power Rangers with his helmet on, and Patrick I mostly hear hosting but this is the first time I’ve seen him act despite his short stage career. So that will be interesting.
But like I said, the lack of Titanmasters in a toy series that was primarily about the rechristened Headmasters is a disappointment. Instead they’re focused on the actual Titans, Metroplex and Trypticon, with promises in reports of Michael Dorn as Fortress Maximus. Will we see actual HeadTitanmaster show up in the actual story? Or is this like a Simon Furman story where the gimmick is shoved under the bus as soon as possible?
Like the previous series, Titans Return will be posted in parts on Go90’s website. To promote this Hasbro finally released Combiner Wars officially on YouTube, which I’ll put on Saturday Night Showcase next week, since this week is going to be devoted to Art Soundoff’s participants. If you don’t want to wait for me, here you go.