As yet another year passes us by, we take the time to reflect the many happenings of 2010. In the world of Transformers, it has proven to be a year of transition. As one movie quiets down, another movie takes shape and gets set to explode onto the scene next summer. The same can be said for the animated world, as the torch gets passed not only from one series to another, but from one network to another. Here, in a nutshell, is the year 2010 in review.
Transformers: Animated officially bowed out in 2009, but thanks to the efforts of Toys R Us, the toy line held resilience. Two exclusive waves were released in 2010. The first was of Arcee and Cybertronian mode Ratchet, released in February 2010. Arcee generated the bigger buzz, as it was the closest thing to the original G1 mold as fans thought they might ever see. Unfortunately for some, the sporatic availability meant that it would escape the grasps of some avid collectors.
Better luck would be had with the second release in August 2010, when Rodimus and Cybertronian mode Ironhide would make their debuts at Toys R Us. Though fears were held that Rodimus would prove as elusive as Arcee, eventually Rodimus could be spotted on a regular basis, although in short supply.
Fans of Animated got a "could have been" tease in June when Jim Sorenson dropped a blog about a potential new mold that never saw light of day. The mold was of Marauder Megatron, a completely redone resin mockup of the notorious Decepticon leader. In this mold, he was depicted as a triple-changer, transforming from gunship to gun emplacement to robot. Another dropped rumor was of Mudbuster Bulkhead (a repaint of Leader class Bulkhead) and Voyager Thundercracker, which was proported to be hitting retail. Alas, it never came to be as Hasbro confirmed in our November session of "Burning Questions" that Animated had ran it's course in the US.
That's not to say that Animated is completely over. The line was launched in Japan this year, and includes several figures that were canceled in the US. Those figures include Hydrodrive Bumblebee as well as Wingblade Optimus Prime. For those who wish to own these figures, importation is your only hope.
First, it was Classics. Then it was Classics 2.0, er, Universe 2.0. In June, to further confuse things, Generations became the new throwback line... or is it Classics 3.0... or Univer... ah, never mind. Generations has received praise from most fans as having the best figures and molds yet of the three throwback lines. Included in Generations was a couple of Pretender tributes (Thunderwing and Skullgrin), G1 Marvel references (Darkmount aka Straxus) and even a couple of IDW characters (Drift and Blurr).
Generations also included several figures from the "War For Cybertron" game. More fans had hoped for an expanded WFC representation, but currently only 5 figures are released. However, Generations will soldier on in 2011 with more G1 inspired releases. This recently includes Thundercracker, the missing link that will allow fans to complete their Seeker lineup.
Along the same lines, November saw the release of Reveal The Shield. This new subline brought back the infamous rubsigns. These thermal appliques would display the faction of the figure once rubbed. Currently, 4 figures and one 2 pack are in stores, but look for more releases in the coming months.
Finally, Toys R Us continued their onslaught of exclusives with the release of Masterpiece Grimlock. Before Grimlock, most of the Hasbro Masterpiece figures were Walmart exclusives. However, it seemed that Grimlock's price point was a constant source of confusion, fluctuating from as low as $49.99 to as much as $99.99. The lack of widespread availability further compounded the confusion. For those who managed to add it to their collection, their only lament was the scale, as Masterpiece Optimus Prime continues to tower over all else... even Grimlock.
Though the movie played out in the summer of 2009, the product line continued on throughout 2010. Three sublines debuted during the year. The first was "Autobot Alliance". With the Alliance subline, N.E.S.T. points could be collected, then redeemed for an exclusive mailaway Ravage figure. This also debuted the "Cyber Missions" online interactive site. Cyber Missions was a collection of 13 animated shorts that coincided with Autobot Alliance and, later, Hunt For The Decepticons sublines.
Speaking of HFTD, the 2nd movie subline hit retailers in the summer. This time, special online codes were packed in with figures that could be entered on a special website to play the interactive game. Around the same time, fans got a long awaited wish with the release of a Leader Class Starscream. Previously, Starscream had been offered as two different Voyager class molds. The release of the Leader class fixed shortcomings with both the smaller molds and was positively received by fans.
A third subline was released concurrently with the HFTD subline called Power Core Combiners. Sold as either a 2-pack featuring a transformable minicon or as a 5-pack featuring drones that transformed into limbs, the main gimmick was that you could transform the main robot not only into an alternate mode, but into a combiner body. You could then use the drones to form limbs to make a large combiner figure.
The line, however, was generally not well received. Fans complained of the limited use of the drones and the lack of aesthetics that the combiners possessed (which included deformed limbs and lack of balance). The 2-packs were generally better received, with the minicons' ability to transform into body armor and weapons being a highlight. The PCC line will continue into the early part of 2011. However, as the Dark of the Moon movie nears readiness, Revenge of the Fallen will be winding down.
The 3rd installment of the Michael Bay directed films is set for a July 1 2011 release, but there's been plenty of news in 2010. One of the first major reveals was that model/actress Megan Fox, who portrayed Sam Witwicky's love interest Mikaela Banes, would not be a part of DOTM. Depending on whom is believed, it was a decision made by either Fox or Bay. Regardless, it has changed some of the film's dynamics. Sam (played by Shia LeBeouf) will now have a new love interest. Sam's new romance will be with Carly, who is played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a former Victoria's Secret model. The name Carly is in reference to Spike Witwicky's girlfriend in the G1 anime.
Character changes have taken place as well. Sideswipe will now be topless for the third movie, but will retain the concept Stingray body. Mudflap and Skids, a source of contention in the 2nd movie, are reportedly out, but there seem to be a new set of twins for the movie. There are plenty of new characters being portrayed in the movie as well, including The Autobot Wreckers (featuring 3 NASCAR vehicles) and the Decepticon Dreads (3 all black SUVs). The Autobots are also reportedly adding some high class to their lineup, with the addition of a Ferrari Italia 458 and a Mercedes E550 being added to their lineup.
The Decepticons get reinforcements as well, including Shockwave and a completely redesigned Megatron. There is virtually no information on Shockwave, but Megatron will now be featured as a heavily fortified military semi. Human adds include Patrick Dempsey and Frances McDorland. Dempsey will play Dylan, described as being Carly's boss but possesses a darker side that will be a major plot of the movie. McDorland will assume the role of Marissa Fairborn, another G1 reference.
Most principal filmin has now been complete, and the crew has trasversed the United States during their filming. Chronologically, filming started at Andersen AFB in Guam, then continued in Los Angeles CA, Milwaukee WI, Gary IN, Chicago IL, Detroit MI, Space Coast FL, Washington DC and concluded at the UN Building in New York City. During this time, there has been some excitement, including an accident between Bumblebee and a police cruiser during DC filming.
That wasn't the only film drama though. Originally, Michael Bay was quoted as saying 3D was "too lame" to be incorporated into the Dark of the Moon movie. However, it seems that he has had to take an about-face on his stance, as currently it's been reported that 60% of the film has been shot in 3D. This also means that, unlike ROTF, DOTM will not have IMAX scenes.
With most of the filming complete, the movie is truly beginning to take shape. The official logo was unveiled in October, followed by a full length movie trailer in December. Audiences of Tron Legacy and Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3D were treated to these trailers, although the trailer is also available online. The US will see the movie released July 1, 2011. However, several other global locals will be able to view it as early as June 26th. The toyline is currently scheduled for release on May 11, 2011.
One new item that has made big TF news this year was Activision's War for Cybertron video game franchise. The multi-player action/adventure game went on sale in June of 2010 and didn't take long to get attention. In it's first week of sales, it was the #1 purchased X-Box 360 game with over 100,000 copies sold. It also became the 4th biggest seller that week for the PlayStation 3. The game was also released for the Nintendo DS. A heavily reworked version called Cybertron Adventures saw release on the Nintendo Wii concurrently.
Since it's release, 2 downloadable content packages (DLCs) have been released. These DLCs featured expanded maps, as well as new unlockable characters. There has also been several online campaigns hosted since it's launch. The game currently has been nominated for IGN's Reader's Awards, which can be voted on through January 14th.
As Hasbro severed their ties with Cartoon Network, they began work with The Discovery Channel to launch a new kid's network called The Hub. The Hub features animated shows starring various properties of Hasbro both new and old. One such new show is Transformers Prime, which attempts to offer a new storyline using aspects of the BayVerse movie designs.
During the Thanksgiving weekend, The Hub offered a sneak peek of the show with 2 episodes of the 5-part miniseries entitled "Darkness Rising". All 5 episodes aired the following week. During this sneak peak, we learned that Unicron will play a role by use of Dark Energon. The '3 children' format also returns and is a source of debate for fans. While Canada will see the series start up in January, US fans will have to wait until February to see the ongoing series on The Hub... unless you're YouTube saavy. UK fans will also have access to Prime via Turner.
2010 saw an explosive offering of third party projects for Transformers. One of the biggest items was Hasbro's reissue of the Piranicon gestalt set via BigBadToyStore. Though it was stated that Piranicon would also be available at the retail level, only BBTS has been seen with the set. The plethora of third party offerings includes a Hardhead headmaster kit for use with the Universe Hardhead mold, The Perfect Effect PE-11 Reflector set, TFClub's Project Deva aka big ass Devastator, FanProjects Protector Set aka Rodims Prime trailer add-on, Jizai Toys' Moonracer fembot and FanProjects Crossfire 02A set aka Bruticus limbs. And that's just the highly talked about ones!
There has been plenty of buzz over in the land of the rising sun as well. The biggest news is the work in progres called Masterpiece 09, also known as Rodimus Prime. This anticipated figure can serve as both Hot Rod and as Rodimus Prime, complete with transforming trailer. However, US fans will again have to look at importing this masterpiece as rumors swirl that only the base Hot Rod figure will make it. In other masterpiece news, the MP-03 Ghost Starscream was confirmed and is expected to be released early in 2011.
As well as Japan's version of Animated, Takara also released their own line of Generations figures under the United moniker. Though the molds are identical to Generations, they have been given alternate paint schemes that, with some figures, have exceeded Hasbro's quality. There was also Transformers 2010, which included reissues of both Unicron and Primus. Perhaps more impressive to fans was the reissue of the Predaking gestalt. Cross your fingers for a US release next year.
Finally, there are the IDW comics. The ongoing G1 series has been chugging along and has ridden peaks and valleys in the process. Some issues have been of merit, while others lost steam in a hurry. Meanwhile, there has also been several multi-issue "spotlights" delivered. 2010 started with the continuation of the Bumblebee spotlight. Ironhide was the next subject, followed by Prowl and Drift.
One critically acclaimed series was The Last Stand of the Wreckers. This 5-issue series was widely lauded by most comic readers as one of the best series of 2010. Movie adaptations also continued with the Nefarious line in the spring, which was well received. Look for Rising Storm in 2011, which will serve as a prequel to Dark of the Moon.
Though 2010 proved to be a year packed with news, 2011 looks to hold even bigger promises. Transformers Prime will continue with it's ongoing storyline in the winter months. Initial reviews must have been favorable, as a 2nd season has already been confirmed. There is also the continuation of both the Generations and Reveal The Shield sublines, which promise to hold even more G1 surprises.
Then there is BotCon. The annual convention is set to travel once again to Southern California, where it will commence from June 2nd through the 5th in Pasadena. Not much is known about the next itiration of Botcon except "The Invasion Has Begun." Expect a heavy tie-in to the DOTM movie that will be release within a month after BotCon.
Finally, there is the Dark of the Moon movie. The toyline is tentatively set for release in mid-May, with the movie following in late June/early July. As the countdown continues, expect more news on both the movie and the toyline to be discovered and subsequently shared.
We here at Tformers.com want to thank you, the members, for making 2010 a great year. Without you, we wouldn't be able to bring you the news and experiences you clamor for in the Transformers universe. May 2011 be prosperous to you all, and be sure to keep checking with us for more updates and news!
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