Transformers and World Building

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Here’s a snippet (by me) from a wider conversation about the current plot/direction of IDW’s Lost Light Transformers comic series. It’s a subject close to my heart for reasons that hopefully I’ll be able to divulge at some point in the who-knows-when-or-if future:

“Typically is most fiction the ‘bad’ guys are characterised by the oppressive rulers – think The Empire/First Order from Star Wars, to name one of countless examples. The ‘good’ guys, meanwhile, are the freedom fighters (Rebels/Resistance) who seek to assert individuality. On that reading, in a lot of TF fictions the Autobots are the establishment elite and the Decepticons fight for freedom from that rule. In the case of Transformers there are of course a thousand other nuances which upend this argument, although none of that presents a big a problem as the fact that what each side is actually fighting for is frequently vague and undefined. These things, however, are definitely a problem that Roberts has identified and attempted to tackle, at least from what I have read.

“And spot on about the robots being humanised – always have been, and have to be really. Which again leads to another problem. With humanisation comes the natural veer towards human problems – relationships, procreation, mortality. None of which is addressed by the basic TF narrative model. I personally find it impossible to conjure a compelling TF universe that, as a result, doesn’t take all of these elements into account and try and construct the universe around them. Which is actually ideal as it gives the writer tremendous freedoms to sculpt something original that serves whatever their narrative goals may be.”

One thought on “Transformers and World Building

  1. James Roberts gets a lot of (rightfully deserved) praise, but I really enjoyed the first season of John Barber’s run on the Robots In Disguise. A proper post-war “What happens now” setup that really played to the new status-quo and had fascinating political games. It addressed the idea that the war had gone on for so long that hardly anyone had any idea what to do when it was over. Stuff like Cybertronians who hadn’t been part of the war hating both sides, Starscream being in his element as shifty political opportunist, Bumblebee realising that you need more than likeability when people are looking for jobs, the gaps between the Decepticons who were actual freedom fighters vs the thugs that had joined up just to fight people… it was great stuff with a great ending. Best thing Barber wrote.

    Well, okay, second best. You’re never going to beat “Thundercracker is a terrible screenwriter but he also has a dog.”

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