SDCC '08 - Dinobots, The 13 and More. IDW's Tformers News

With the big-screen sequel to Transformers coming next summer, IDW will again tell a special tale that leads into the film. Transformers: Destiny will be a five-part prequel story beginning in December. The Transformers Movie Sequel: The Reign of Starscream miniseries team of Chris Mowry and Alex Milne will re-pair for this story.

Meanwhile, veteran Transformers scribe Simon Furman, who will pen the sequel’s comic adaptation, will also write the first-ever Dinobots miniseries entitled Maximum Dinobots, and will tell the long-awaited origin of the Transformers in Transformers: The 13 in 2009.

All Hail Megatron writer Shane McCarthy announced a new Spotlight on the character Blurr, as well as the news that the first-ever IDW-created Transformer will be appearing in the pages of All Hail Megatron. The character, Drift, is slated to become a new Hasbro toy in 2009, too.

We spoke with the writers about their larger-than-life projects.

Transformers: Destiny

Newsarama: Chris, the official comic book sequel, The Reign of Starscream, has not even been completed and now we have news that you and Alex Milne are working on the next comic book tie-in to next summer's big-screen sequel entitled Transformers: Destiny. Without spoiling the ending to the Starscream mini, what can you tell us about Destiny?

Chris Mowry: I can tell you that The Reign of Starscream ends in a way that most probably won't predict. Because of this, we'll see Starscream's character change even more. But what we're looking to accomplish with Destiny is to explore the beginnings of the movie universe, way before they came to our planet. We'll bear witness to the rise of the Decepticons on Cybertron, and the formation of the Autobot resistance. Their history has a strange habit of repeating itself, and we just may see their actions repeated on our planet next. So we'll go way back to the beginning, move forward to the present, then finish up in the near future (as in June 2009!).

NRAMA: Which characters (Autobot, Decepticon, others) will you be focusing on in the five-issue mini?

CM: Details on that are still being worked out, but we're hoping to make some nice introductions to some of them that will be making their debuts it the next film. You can expect to see Prime and his group get into the mix, as well as those S7 bots from RoS. Primarily, though, the story will be a generational one, starting with the early days of Cybertron and then ending with the present on Earth.

Maximum Dinobots

NRAMA: Simon, Grimlock was last seen in his own Spotlight one-shot, correct? And you'd revealed on your blog that Maximum Dinobots will essentially fill in the gap between the Revelations Spotlight one-shots (Cyclonus, Hardhead, Doubledealer, Sideswipe) and the three issues that precede All Hail Megatron, right?

Simon Furman: Maximum Dinobots can be read as a continuation of Spotlight: Grimlock (although it’s not necessary to have read Grimlock to immerse oneself in the 5-part series, which, as well as being a complete entity in and of itself has a neat recap of any stuff you absolutely have to know in issue #1). I’m doing a lot of wrapping/tidying up in this series (and in the four Revelation Spotlights for that matter), so various plot threads (Scorponok, Machination, Headmasters, Sunstreaker/Hunter, fate of Jimmy/Verity and one or two continuity twists and turns I’m keeping well and truly under my hat) all get resolved, to greater or lesser degrees.

As for Grimlock, Swoop, Sludge, Slag and Snarl themselves, there’s a whole heap of full-on Dinobot action to savor in each issue and a mini ‘spotlight’ thrown on each character. Those ‘spare’ three issues you mention will now probably be filled by other Spotlights and so forth, or—given that the gap between Devastation and All Hail Megatron is no longer a neat 12 issues—just skipped. With no sub-numbering any longer, it’s a less exact science.

NRAMA: Other than the Dinobots (or are they spelled Dynobots?), you're also featuring Scorponok, the Machination, Headmasters, Sunstreaker/Hunter, Hot Rod, and Skywatch. What is the basic story that you're telling within the five-issue mini?

SF: It’s definitely Maximum Dinobots (with an ‘i’). They evolve by a letter in the course of five issues (hey, it’s progress... of a sort!). The basic story revolves around the efforts of Scorponok to unleash his Machination empire on an unsuspecting world, via the Dinobots (and specifically Grimlock, who snubbed Scorpy big time in Spotlight: Grimlock). His Headmaster army is ready to roll, and all it needs is a little push (in the shape of some serious all-out destruction and loss of life) to make it a reality. But it’s not as cut and dried as Scorponok thinks. For a start, the Dinobots are notoriously unwilling to be anyone’s fall guys and other rogue elements (such as Sunstreaker/Hunter and Skywatch’s Joshua Red) are going to mix things up big time.

Transformers: The 13

NRAMA: Moving on to The 13 now, it will finally reveal the long-awaited origin of the Transformers? Long-time Transformers fans should know some of them but none has confirmation of the others. Without spoiling it for the readers at this point in time, can you at least tell us what the 13 is as a concept in the IDW continuity? Are they past and present Autobot leaders? The first 13 Transformers ever built? None of the above but perhaps you could tease a little? Will it be set in the past? Or are you telling stories in the present with flashbacks to the past?

SF: The 13 was originally scheduled for late ‘08, but a lot’s changed since it was first conceived. The plan now is to make it an integral part of Hasbro’s plans for ‘09 (Transformers’ 25th Anniversary... that makes me feel so old!) and really define a big, big part of the whole Transformers mythology/back story. Expect lots of stuff that’s never been definitively, categorically set in stone to be established once and for all in The 13. We’re going right back here, to the original Transformers. The big guys, and a star-spanning conflict that foreshadows so much of what’s to come. These are the real heavy hitters of the TF Universe, and one of them is a weapon of mass destruction in his own right. This is big, sweeping cosmic stuff, the bedrock of the TF Universe. Questions that every Trans-fan has always wanted to ask will finally be answered. Plans for the series are still evolving as we speak, just because (perhaps more than ever before) we’re going hand in hand with Hasbro on this one. But I’m not ruling out possible links to what’s happening now. Certainly, there will be surprises and outright jaw-droppers aplenty as the series unfolds. I’m really excited about this series. Over the years, I’ve been involved in some big, big storylines, but this is shaping up to be the biggest. And what’s more, it’s utterly entry level. If you’ve never read a Transformers comic before you’ll be able to get right into this series. Largely because these are (for the most part) characters we’re all meeting for the first time! There’s so much more I’d like to tell you... but I can’t. So there.

Spotlight: Blurr

NRAMA: Shane, is it a one-shot?

Shane McCarthy: Yes, this is a stand alone issue. That being said I should point out this certainly feeds into the history of the IDW Transformers. It's a self contained story and isn't reliant on any current story arc but it's certainly going to play into the future of the IDW line.

NRAMA: How is Blurr different from the original G1 version?

SM: Blurr is actually radically different form his Animated version. His personality and design have all changed. When I sat down to introduce the character of Blurr to the IDW universe is was very important to me to take the character in a whole new direction. The IDW Universe offers a great opportunity to approach these characters from a new angle, whilst at the same time maintaining what made them so interesting to begin with. Blurr's whole personality in this is built on his ability to travel at remarkable speeds; someone with that ability has the capacity to make life and death decisions in a hundredth of a second. This sounds well and good but it has its downsides too. You're going to see a very solid character arc in this book.

NRAMA: Who else will guest star?

SM: Quite a few actually, but I won't be spoiling anything. This particular Spotlight is set right back at the very beginning of the Great War so you'll see some familiar faces, some not so familiar and you'll also be getting a hint at how this whole thing started. Actually come to think of it, there's going to be quite a startling guest star, but I'll keep that little piece of information to myself.

All Hail Megatron

NRAMA: Shane, you're introducing the first-ever IDW-created Transformer in this 12-parter. What can you tell us about Drift?

SM: Drift is quite a unique Transformer for a couple of reasons (all of which will be revealed in time) but the best thing about him is his personality. Drift has quite an Eastern outlook on everything and follows the ethos of 'be like water'. He's calm, collected but also capable of significant acts of violence. In a nutshell? He's not someone you want to mess with.

NRAMA: Did you create the character? Who designed him?

SM: The character was my creation and Guido [Guidi] and I worked together to design his overall look (with solid input from Chris). I can be a really picky bastard so luckily Guido was incredibly patient as we all nutted out a look we were all happy with. As usual though, Guido out did himself in the art department and really blew Chris and I away.

NRAMA: What does he change into?

SM: Eventually Drift will transform into a Nissan Silvia (S15). He's a Japanese drift racing car.

NRAMA: Is he an Autobot or a Decepticon?

SM: Drift is an Autobot; one of the heavy hitters.

NRAMA: Finally, All Hail Megatron is the story about the bad guys, or in this case, the bad robot finally winning, right? Will we be seeing a new force emerging to oppose the Decepticons and the Autobots?

SM: No, not at all. AHM is a story dealing with the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The story begins at a time when the Decepticons have won (or clearly believe they have) but we'll be flashing back to show how this came to be and, of course, showing whether or not this will be something that will last. The most significant element of this is the dramatic and lasting impact this will have on our world and culture. It's not a good time to be a human.

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