Transformers is about giant robots that can change into vehicles and other forms, but its finest moments are when these would-be automotons show their own kind of humanity. And in the new ongoing series Transformers: Till All Are One debuting this June, writer Mairghread Scott is looking to make it the most human story yet.
Set on Cybertron and the political in-fighting between Starscream and Windblade to craft a new era for Transformers on Cybertron and beyond, the series has a broader scope than any Transformers series before. Picking up thematically from her last series, Transformers: Windblade, Scott and artist Sara Pitre-Durocher are looking to delve deeper into the heart of being a Transformer.
Newsarama: "Till All Are One" is a very hallowed phrase in the Transformers mythos. What does it mean here for this new series?
Mairghread Scott: “Till All Are One” is a double-edged sword in our series. Our characters' main challenge right now is integration: Autobots and Decepticons, colonists and Cybertronians, various religious and political factions. These people know they need help to survive, but getting that help from former enemies is a hard pill to swallow. On the other hand, the threat of empire is always there. If Cybertron falls back under a totalitarian government and 'all' are forced to become 'one' it can be just as damaging. So everyone is working toward this single phrase, but in very different ways.
Nrama: There's peace in the Council of Worlds, but it's an uneasy one. Starscream was a simple "bad guy," but now he's become much more grey. How would you frame him in this series?
Scott: There's a saying I heard that I think is apt for Starscream, "Mussolini made the trains run on time." Starscream is a bad person, but in many ways he's an excellent leader for the current Cybertron. In our previous mini-series, Transformers: Windblade, it was often Starscream who picked the most altruistic path. Of course, he does it for the wrong reason, but that becomes a central question in Till All Are One: will Starscream essentially 'fake it till he makes it' and actually become a good person or is there a breaking point coming sooner than we think?
Nrama: And Windblade, what is her stance?
Scott: If Starscream is a bad person doing good for bad reasons, Windblade is a truly noble character who has found herself increasingly pushed into morally grey areas 'for the greater good.' It's become a real tension for her character and the at some point her high-minded ideals may push her to do something she cannot come back from.
Nrama: Windblade and Starscream are a key part of this, but who else can fans look forward to in this series?
Scott: Ironhide ends up being a big part of our series, with some of the Maccadam's crew in tow. You can also expect the colonies to ramp up in importance, as well as some events from early coming back to haunt us. And... the question of, "Where is Swindle?" is still forefront in some people's minds. Its politics at its dirtiest, heroes at their noblest and peace at its most tenuous in Till All Are One.
Nrama: So how does this fit in with the other Transformers titles at IDW?
Scott: Till All Are One is the dominant title for all things Cybertron. While John Barber continues to do great work on Earth in Transformers and James Roberts explores the outer reaches of space in More Than Meets The Eye, we want to cover what's happening on the home front. Of course there will be overlap when needed, but we're all striving for stand-alone series for those who can't make it through three books a month. But really...you should get them all, they're great!
Nrama: How did this series come about? Is it something you pitched to do, or something IDW asked you to work on specifically?
Scott: We weren't sure when Windblade ended if we'd be able to do any more so we crammed as much plot in as we could. So when John Barber asked what I'd do with an ongoing, it took me a minute to figure out which of the many toys I'd grabbed I'd like to play with first. I'm glad I took the time to find it.
Till All Are One is going to explore and spotlight a variety of characters from across the spectrum of Transformers works, but in a single cohesive story. My goal isn't to hit everyone at once, but to bounce back and forth, to touch on the people that are rebuilding this world so that we're less of a classic 'team' book and more the story of a people and their struggles. Of course, some characters will always be at the heart of things, Windblade and Starscream in particular. But I've always been a character-focused writer and I want it to feel like Cybertron as a planet is changing and growing, not just a single character or a handful of them.
Nrama: And for more casual fans, what is there in this that'd hook them in?
Scott: I like to think we're the most 'human' of the Transformers books. While we're telling an ongoing story, Till All Are One is first and foremost the struggle of imperfect people trying to (re)build a world together. It's that messy 'not so black and white' element that I love to play with and that I think is really easy to grasp, even for reader who don't see themselves liking giant robots. When people think of Windblade, the last thing I want them to remember is that she turns into a jet. She does, but it no more defines her than Mary Jane's red hair or Clark Kent's glasses.
We've had a lot of success bringing new readers to our world with the Transformers: Windblade mini-series and I'd love to see Till All Are One do the same.