Transformers: Beast Wars is a Transformers toyline released by Hasbro between 1995 and 2000, and a Daytime Emmy Award winning full-CG animated television series spawned by it that debuted in 1996. The series was set in the future of the "original" Transformers universe as a sequel to the first Transformers series (which has since been rebooted in limited comic book stories by Dreamwave and IDW among others).
The Beast Wars TV series was produced by Mainframe Entertainment of Canada; its story editors were Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio. All three seasons are currently available on DVD in the USA and other Region 1 territories. In Australia, to coincide with the show's tenth anniversary in 2006, Madman Entertainment released all three seasons in Region 4 format. These boxsets include "world exclusive" special features, such as commentaries and interviews with the voice actors.
- Gary Chalk - Optimus Primal, G1 Megatron
- Scott McNeil - Rattrap, Dinobot, Dinobot II, Silverbolt, Waspinator
- Richard Newman - Rhinox, Vok
- Ian James Corlett - Cheetor, Sentinel, Maximal Computer
- Blu Mankuma - Tigatron, Tigerhawk, Vok, Unicron
- Pauline Newstone - Airazor
- David Sobolov - Depth Charge
- David Kaye - Megatron
- Don Brown - Scorponok
- Alec Willows - Tarantulas
- Doug Parker - Terrorsaur, Starscream
- Venus Terzo - Blackarachnia
- Jim Byrnes - Inferno
- Colin Murdock - Quickstrike
- Campbell Lane - Rampage
- Elizabeth Carol Savenkoff - Predacon Ship Computer
- Lee Tockar - Ravage
Leslie West and Joe Lynn Turner provided the voices that said Beast Wars during episodes of the show. Perhaps by coincidence, a majority of the voice cast, including Cortlett, McNeil, Murdock, Chalk and Terzo, also voiced characters in the 1997 film Warriors of Virtue. Most of the cast went on to provide voice work for other Transformers shows.
- Takehito Koyasu - Optimus Primal (Convoy), Vok
- Kappei Yamaguchi - Rattrap
- Keiji Fujiwara - Dinobot, Dinobot II
- Mitsuo Iwata - Silverbolt
- Kensō Katō - Waspinator
- Daiki Nakamura - Rhinox
- Wataru Takagi - Cheetor
- Kōichi Tōchika - Tigatron, Tigerhawk
- Hidetoshi Nakamura - Unicron
- Tetsuya Iwanaga - Airazor
- Kiyoyuki Yanada - Depth Charge
- Shigeru Chiba - Megatron
- Masashi Endō - Scorponok
- Yūichi Nagashima - Tarantulas
- Nobuo Tobita - Terrorsaur, Quickstrike
- Kazuki Yao - Starscream
- Ryōka Yuzuki - Blackarachnia (Blackwidow), Predacon Ship Computer
- Shin-ichiro Miki - Inferno
- Nobuyuki Hiyama - Rampage
- Chafurin - Cicadacon
- Yukimasa Kishino - Ramhorn
- Joji Yanami - Seaclamp
- Toshiyuki Morikawa - Ravage (Jaguar)
- Mario Sauret - Optimus Primal (Primitivo)
- Miguel Angel Ghigliazza - Rhinox
- Alejandro Illescas - Cheetor (Cheeta)
- Martin Soto - Rattrap (Ratatrampa)
- Federico Romano - Dinobot(Dinobot)
- Alvaro Tarcicio - Tigatron (Tigreton), Tigerhawk (Tigrehalcon)
- Rebeca Manrriquez - Airazor (Aguila)
- Eduaro Borja - Depth Charge (Mantaraya)
- Alejandro Villeli - Megatron
- Roberto Molina season 1. Carlos Iñigo season 2 and 3 - Waspinator (Avispaneitor)
- Bardo Miranda - Scorponok (Eskorpicon)
- Humberto Velez - Tarantulas (Tarantula)
- Olga Hnidey - Blackarachnia (araña negra)
- Cesar Arias (actor)Cesar Arias - Inferno (infierno)
- Jorge Ornelas (actor)Jorge Ornelas - Quickstrike (cobra)
- Hector Lee?, Herman Lopez - Terrorsaur (Terrorsaurio)
- Monica Estrada - Uma
- Rossy Aguirre? - Chack
Setting and plotEdit
The two main factions of "Transformers" in Beast Wars are descendants of the two main factions in the original cartoon: the Maximals are the descendants of the Autobots and the Predacons are the descendants of the Decepticons. The names were intended to stem from the terms Mammal and Predator but were not necessarily consistent with the alternate forms of the Transformers. (In Beast Machines, the process during which Autobots and Decepticons became Maximals and Predacons is referred to as "The Great Upgrade".)
The leader of the Predacon team is Megatron. He and his forces are a splinter group on the hunt for powerful crystals known as Energon, (Though in The Agenda (Part 1) it's revealed Megatron got the location of energon as a bonus) to be used in a ploy for power and dominance. They do this with the aid of an artifact known as the Golden Disk and Megatron's stolen ship, the Darksyde, which is equipped with a transwarp drive. A Maximal exploration ship, the Axalon, led by Optimus Primal, is sent to stop them. Together the ships plunge through a time/space phenomenon created by the transwarp device during their battle in space, and crash-land on a mysterious planet.
The planet is found to be rich in deposits of raw Energon, to the point that it proves to be poisonous to both factions' robot forms, forcing them to take on alternate organic forms for protection until their robot forms are needed. Thus the robots take on the beast forms of recognizable animals including mammals, birds, dinosaurs, arachnids, and insects.
Before crashing, the Axalon deploys its cargo of “stasis pods” containing Maximal protoforms — Transformer robots with vulnerable and undeveloped physical forms, which are left to orbit the planet as an alternative to possible destruction in the initial crash landing. This plays a larger part in the IDW series, The Gathering. Throughout the series, stasis pods lose altitude and crash-land on the planet, and the Maximals and Predacons race and fight to acquire them, as protoforms acquired by Megatron's forces can be reprogrammed to become Predacons, as is the case with Blackarachnia and Inferno. The stasis pods are used as a plot device to introduce new characters.
The teams are divided between the "good" Maximals and the "evil" Predacons. Dinobot changes sides, starting as a Predacon and becoming a Maximal. Additionally certain "Predacons" like Inferno and Blackarachnia were created from Maximal protoforms, but were fitted with Predacon shell programs, fighting instead for the Predacons. For the Maximals, the emphasis is on team spirit and good-natured arguing, especially from Rattrap, but the Predacons argue and battle for leadership, which impairs their effectiveness against the Maximals.
Many of the plots involve interaction with artifacts from an alien race known as the Vok. These artifacts become a great source of power, especially for Megatron. Activating an alien beacon signals what is originally thought to be the planet's second moon but is really a massive alien transmitter. When the aliens decide that the Transformers have contaminated their experiment they decide to destroy the planet. Using the second moon they fire a giant laser at the planet intending to blow up the remaining Energon deposits. Through the combined efforts of the Predacons and Maximals, Optimus is able to fly a retrofitted stasis pod into the second moon. However, Megatron backstabs the Maximals by trapping Optimus in the pod causing him to be killed when the second moon is destroyed. The alien moon destroys half of the planet's raw Energon and damages several stasis pods resulting in the creation of the Fuzors: Transformers with two animals combined into one. The laser also crystallizes the majority of the Energon on the planet into Energon cubes thereby making it safe for Transformer use. After the transwarp explosion of the second moon, a radiation wave leads to the re-configuration of some of the Transformers into Transmetals. Optimus himself is soon revived as a Transmetal, thanks to the help of Rhinox. Transmetal DriverThe Transmetal Driver is an alien artifact from the Beast Wars: Transformers series. It appeared in season 3 in the possession of Megatron, seemingly from nowhere.
At first he used it to produce cyborg velociraptors made to hunt down protohumans, but later used it to produce a Transmetal 2 clone of the deceased Dinobot, using the interior of Rampage's spark. Cheetor was caught in the overload from the Transmetal Driver and after a delayed reaction, was transformed into a new, yet somewhat mangled, Transmetal 2 form.
Depth Charge stole the Driver and thought that he destroyed it by throwing it into a magma pit, but Blackarachnia saved it before it could submerge in the lava and kept it for herself. Blackarachnia tried to use the Transmetal Driver to remake herself into a Transmetal, but was interrupted by Silverbolt. This caused her to suffer malfunctioning glitches similar to Energon overloads, resulting in her Predacon shell program to degrade and threaten her life. While Rhinox attempted to remove her Predacon shell programming, Tarantulas and the other Predacons caused a power interruption which allowed failsafes within her programming to take her offline, but the alien Transmetal Driver activated and remade her into a new Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia, minus her old Predacon programming.
Each Transmetal 2 has a unique characteristic other than their obvious augmentations. The Dinobot clone is capable of regeneration, Cheetor can exceed speeds of Mach 2, and Blackarachnia possesses mental telekinetic abilities. The Driver; however, is never featured in the television series again after reactivating Blackarachnia.
The Transmetal Driver would later appear in the Botcon comic book story where it was used by the Vok to help create Primal Prime.
The Transformers discover that they have traveled back in time and landed on prehistoric Earth. Megatron decides to wipe out human civilization (currently a small group of proto-humans living in a single ravine), take control of the previously-crashed Autobot spaceship, the Ark, and kill the dormant Optimus Prime, legendary leader of the Autobots. This would win the Beast Wars for the Predacons, alter the timeline, prevent the Autobots from being awakened by humanity in 1984, and leave Megatron the undisputed ruler of the universe.
The new plot develops following the discovery of a message made by the original Megatron for any Decepticons who might uncover it within the Golden Disk. The Predacon Megatron infiltrates the Ark and destroys Optimus Prime, but Optimus Primal takes the spark of his ancestor into his own body in order to protect it while the other Maximals perform vital repairs on Prime's body. When the repairs are complete, and Prime's spark is returned to him, the timeline is restored to its original state. The battle continues with the Maximals gradually gaining the upper hand until Megatron discovers the Decepticon flagship, the Nemesis and uses it to make his final stand. Around the Beast Wars finale, both Maximals and Predacons suffer several deaths within their respective crews. The survivors finally abandon the prehistoric Earth in an Autobot space shuttle and Megatron is taken under arrest.
History and developmentEdit
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Originally, the series was going to be set in the present, with certain characters from the original cartoon series reborn in new bodies. This was evident in the early Beast Wars toy tech spec cards containing pictures of the Transformers taking on giant-sized forms in the present era (similar to the original 1980s cartoon). However, Forward and DiTillio knew next to nothing about the original series. Since they were given free rein to promote what was at the time a dying franchise, they instead chose a considerably earlier setting with no connection to the Transformers universe outside of a few recycled names. Larry DiTillio revealed in an interview that the decision to make Earth the planet in question was not finalized until the end of the first season. They gave the planet two satellites and decided that they would destroy one moon if the planet was indeed to be Earth. When he and Bob Forward discovered the alt.toys.transformers Usenet group and learned more about the original series, they began to work in classic Transformer elements, placing Beast Wars in the same universe. Contrary to early concept art, the faction leaders in Beast Wars are not the same as the ones in original cartoon series. This is confirmed when both Primal and Megatron come face-to-face with the currently-deactivated forms of their ancestors inside the Ark at different points.
The show was originally going to feature a much larger cast of characters, but limitations on CGI at the time meant that the animators had to shorten the cast to five members on both sides, adding new characters sparingly. Bob Forward has credited this as being part of the reason why the show was so successful, because a smaller cast meant he could focus on character development and personality for every character, as opposed to the ungainly task of writing for an entire army's worth of characters.
Also, instead of Tigatron, the toy-only character Wolfang was supposed to be in the show, but was replaced at the last moment to conserve money, as Tigatron was a repaint of Cheetor in the toy line, and could thus be a repaint of Cheetor's CGI figure. This reuse of character CGI figures to introduce new characters is a fairly common money-saving tactic for most CGI-based television shows, and was used in Beast Wars to make Blackarachnia (a slight remodel and remap of Tarantulas) and Ravage whose head was a repainted version of Tigatron's beast mode head, mounted on a robot body which was a remodel of Transmetal Cheetor's robot mode body.
Susan Blu, who provided the voice of Arcee in the original Transformers series, was the voice director for the Beast Wars series, as well as the voice of Transmutate in the episode of the same name. She went on to direct voices in Beast Machines as well, making her the longest serving Transformers staff member.
Beast Wars was the first Transformers series to include deaths in the television episodes (the original 1980s series continuity had several characters die in the theatrical movie, but no characters died in the series itself, except Alpha Trion). The characters Dinobot, Dinobot 2, Scorponok, Terrorsaur, Tarantulas, Depth Charge, Rampage, Tigerhawk, Inferno, and Quickstrike were all killed by the end of the show. Of the ten characters that appear in episode one, only six survived the entire series, and out of these, only three survived to the end of Beast Machines(Cheetor, Rattrap and Waspinator). Notably among them is the character Waspinator, who was blown to pieces or otherwise dismantled in almost every episode of the series, but never officially "died". Even in the sequel series Beast Machines Waspinator survives, albeit in a new body and identity, as Thrust.
Initially Waspinator was to die at the beginning of season two but because people enjoyed Waspinator as comic relief, the creators decided to kill off Terrorsaur instead. Waspinator went on to become the only Predacon to survive both Beast Wars and Beast Machines (not counting Blackarachnia, who defected in season three of Beast Wars).
The third season of the TV show was originally supposed to include an extra episode, titled "Dark Glass", written by Christy Marx. The script of the episode depicted an encounter between Rattrap and the clone of Dinobot, where Rattrap finds the data tracks of the original Dinobot in the Maximals' ship's computer, and goes on a suicide mission to install it into the clone, in a desperate bid to bring his old friend back. However, the script was seen as "too dark" for children to watch, and so the episode was never produced. A considerably lighter and more jocular episode, titled "Go with the Flow", was created in its place. Transcripts of the episode are rumored to survive and it is now considered part of the Beast Wars continuity by some fans, mainly for its explanation on how the Dinobot clone regained the original's personality after Rampage was destroyed at the end of season three.
Main article: List of Beast Wars characters
Main article: List of Beast Wars episodes
- "Beast Wars Theme" by Robert Buckley
- "WAR WAR! STOP IT" by Banana Ice
- "Evolution of the Soul" by Kageyama Hironobu
- "Millenium Soldiers" by Kageyama Hironobu
- "FOR THE DREAM" by Mickey
- "Ba-Bi-Bu-Be-Beast Wars" by Kageyama Hironobu and Ba Bi Bu Be Bombers
- "Halleluyah" by Kageyama Hironobu
On February 8, 2011, Shout! Factory announced that they had acquired the rights to the series and planned to re-release it. They subsequently re-released season 1 on DVD on June 7, 2011 as well as a complete series set on the same day. Both releases contain extensive bonus features including interviews, featurettes and special 24 page comic book- Transformers Timelines “Dawn of Future’s Past.” Season 2 & 3 was re-released on October 4, 2011.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment released all three seasons on DVD in Australia in 2006. On June 24, 2009, they released Transformers: Beast Wars - Complete Collection. The 10-disc box set features all 52 episodes of the series as well as many bonus features.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|Season 1||26||August 12, 2003
June 7, 2011 (Re-release)
|March 17, 2006|
|Season 2||13||March 23, 2004||July 25, 2006|
|Season 3||13||March 23, 2004||November 10, 2006|
|Seasons 2 & 3||26||October 4, 2011 (Re-release)||N/A|
|Complete Series||52||June 7, 2011||June 24, 2009|
While the toyline was lauded for its innovative joint construction and the show is overall liked by fans, the show was initially derided by a minority of fans for using animals instead of vehicles for the line's alternate forms. Overall, Beast Wars was well-received and is often praised for its mature tone and darker storylines, in addition to its clever use of comic relief and character development. 
Main article: Beast MachinesBeast Wars was succeeded by Beast Machines, a new series with a new creative team in charge of production. The Maximals find themselves back on Cybertron, malfunctioning and trapped into their first beast modes (the ones they had at the beginning of Beast Wars) without memory of what happened previously, fighting for survival against mindless drones called Vehicons. With the whole planet empty and all of the Transformers missing, Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Rattrap and Blackarachnia begin a new crusade, this time to free the entire planet.
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The Japanese series Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo were created to fill the gap while the second and third seasons of Beast Wars were being translated into Japanese (called Beast Wars: Metals). The characters originate from the future that the Beast Wars teams left, but the events of the series take place in the far future. The series are noted primarily for the return of Unicron, but more negatively, for their childish, comedic nature, as the Transformers franchise is aimed at a very young age group in Japan when compared to Canada. Beast Wars II spawned a theatrical movie. The Beast Wars Neo toyline was created to cater to the Japanese market. Whereas the cybernetic transmetal Beast Wars Transformers sold well in Western markets, Japanese fans preferred more realistic looking beast modes, thus Beast Wars Metals was not as successful with Japanese fans. The second and third season of Beast Wars and its toy line only lasted a few months before being quickly replaced by Transformers: Car Robots in the following new year, in which several unused Transmetal 2 molds were used as Destrongers (Predacons).
Officially, the Beast Wars and Beast Machines series exist as the future of "a" Generation 1 universe, and not specifically the original cartoon series or Marvel Comics series. The writers of the series adopted this position in order to pick and choose the best elements of the discrete Generation 1 continuities. However, beyond use of the comic-only term, "the Ark", and the comic book entity, Primus, all of the show's references are based on the original cartoon. This would be carried on into the Dreamwave comics, which seemed to integrate elements from both lines while working towards maintaining continuity with Beast Wars.
In the BotCon comics, two particular Beast Wars storylines are tapped.
In the Point Omega storyline, several events lead up to a tremendous battle against Shokaract, a Predacon fueled by the Dark Essence of Unicron himself. This also serves as an introduction for Apelinq, and the only appearances of Windrazor, Sandstorm, Antagony, and Cataclysm.
In the Primeval Dawn story, Tarantulas comes back from the dead alongside Ravage, Spittor, Iguanus, and Razorclaw to complete the mission he set out to do, while the Vok create Primal Prime to stand in his way; Primal Prime teams up with Airazor, Tigatron, and Ramulus, who have come back from the dead as well.
Dreamwave Productions released a Summer Special which contained a Beast Wars story. It introduced three new characters, Optimus Minor, Bonecrusher, and Wolfang. The comic had a survey as to whether Dreamwave's new comic would be Robots In Disguise or Beast Wars. Beast Wars won.
Dreamwave Productions had plans to release a Beast Wars comic in early 2005, which would have been done by the War Within creative team of Simon Furman and Don Figueroa. Brad Mick and Adam Patyk were originally planned to write the series until they left Dreamwave after not being paid for several projects. However, although some cover art did appear on the internet, Dreamwave entered bankruptcy before one issue could be published.
Main article: Beast Wars (IDW Publishing)A mini-series takes place parallel to the third season of Beast Wars and introduces characters who are not shown in the original series such as Magmatron, Razorbeast, and Injector. Other characters who appear are Grimlock in his Beast Wars body (a recolored Dinobot toy) and Ravage in his Transmetal II "Tripredacus Agent" incarnation.
The mini-series focuses on Magmatron, sent by the Tripredacus Council to capture Megatron after Ravage's failure. However, Magmatron has his own agenda - to create his own army from the stasis pods the Axalon ejected in the pilot episode of Beast Wars. His scheme is partially thwarted by the Maximal double-agent Razorbeast, who ensures the shell program used reconfigures many of the protoforms as Maximals rather than Predacons. The two sides clash in an attempt to stop Magmatron from returning to Cybertron with a captured Megatron, with some unexpected aid from Grimlock ensuring Magmatron is sent back to Cybertron empty handed. However, Razorbeast's Maximals and many Predacons (led by Ravage, resurrected in a Transmetal II body) are left on Earth, opening the way for future series.
There have been two Beast Wars video games. The first game, simply called Beast Wars, was released for the PlayStation and PC. It was a Third person shooter, based on the first season of the show, in which you can control either the Maximals or the Predacons in a series of missions to undermine the other faction's attempts at gaining enough resources to win the war between them and escape the planet. It was given a multiplayer feature (removed from the console releases) that allowed up to 8 players to play over FAP, with its own play rooms in the MS Gaming Zone (they have subsequently been removed). The second game, Transformers: Beast Wars Transmetals, is a Fighting Vipers-style fighting game based on the second season. The PlayStation version was released by Hasbro Interactive and the Nintendo 64 version was released by bam! Entertainment. Neither of these games did well, commercially, and were panned by critics and fans alike, although the second game was memorable for having most of cast members from the show reprise their roles. A third game was in the works for the PlayStation 2, but was scrapped in pre-production, without any official word as to why, or how far the project was before the plug was pulled.
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- Beast Wars: Transformers at the Internet Movie Database
- Beast Wars: Transformers at TV.com
- Beast Wars: Transformers at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- A3U Podcast Audio Interview With Voice Actor Scott McNeil
- A3U Podcast Audio Interview With Voice Actor Gary Chalk