Just when you thought you have seen it all, someone pulls back another curtain to show more about how things transitioned from Generation 2 to the Beast Wars series that followed it. Thanks to roboticplanettoys who managed to get a hold of a McDonald's concept binder from 1995 that contains designs showing some of the ideas they had for transitioning well-known Transformers characters into beasts.
If nothing else, this better explains the original 2-pack of Bat Primal and Gator Megatron, as well as the initial McDonald's Happy Meals that featured many characters that were not used in the 1996 Beast Wars TV series, and many that appeared later as Beast Wars toys under the same or different names. The notes from roboticplanettoys are included below along with the scanned binder images.
Post 2 - Starting off this series from the McDonalds concept binder, you'll be familiar with the alligator Megaton, but might be surprised that no only is the bat Optimus known as Optimus Prime, but there was a possible plan for a lion Optimus well before Lio Convoy from the Japanese Beast Wars II series existed. Also notice Scorponok was named Shockwave and Snapper was named Buzzsaw. Lastly the generically named "Panther' toy at one time had a familiar Transformers name: Prowl. Only Prowl/Panther' made it to Happy Meals in 1996, Scorponok in 1998, and Optimus & Megatron made appearances on the happy Meal boxes. The other concepts though give a peek at alternative ideas Hasbro/Kenner was considering strongly enough to relay to their licensees. Would "Shockwave" been fitting for Scorponok? Trukk not Liun???
Post 3 - The Beast Wars Creature Auto Rollers was an entire concept line that never made it off paper. Check out these cool illustrations of potential toys that would have completely changed the McDonald's Beast Wars Happy Meal promotion.
Post 4 - The last proposed Happy Meal Transformers were not the familiar Beast Wars animals, and would have included Prowl, Starscream, Hound and Rumble as Vehicle Auto Rollers, functionally similar to the Creature Auto Rollers. Sadly when I acquired the McDonald's concept binder it only included this description page. The moon buggy Prowl picture was eventually found online, but I was unable to reach the owner to recover that page or find out if they have the others.
Post 5 - Here it is, the last two pages of the McDonald's Transformers Beast Wars Happy Meal concept binder. The proposed, but unreleased Under 3 toy was a very G1 looking Optimus Prime toy. Quite a bit different than the unnamed final product that better aligned with the Beast Wars theme.
... but wait, there is more to come! I will have another series of posts from a subsequent iteration of concepts for the same Beast Wars promotion, and it gets a lot more colorful too. Stay tuned!
Post 6 - In April 1996, one year after the previous Beast Wars Happy Meal concepts were presented Vehicle Auto Rollers were out, and character decisions and toy colors were being refined. Take a look at these pictures of Megatron as a Sea Turtle, and Optimus Prime as what would become Predacon Manta Ray. I have no information suggesting if these were original ideas by McDonald's or if Hasbro provided some input.
Who do you think would win in an aquatic robot battle?
Post 7 - Beast Wars Megatron concepts didn't stop with the Sea Turtle shown in my last post! A dragonfly Megatron was also being considered that had some interesting wasp-like coloring. Swipe to see the other pictures of a brilliantly colored Iguanus, as well as Panther/Prowl in nearly final colors.
Next up I'll be posting what all these characters would have looked like as Creature Auto Rollers.
Post 8 - Next in this series of McDonald's Beast Wars concepts is the familiar characters from my last post, but now as Creature Auto Rollers. Nothing too surprising except some color changes. Unfortunately this is the last that's seen of the Creature Auto Rollers, as the fold out toy concept moved on into product. One more post remains in this series and it may be quite a surprise. Stay tuned!
Post 9 - Here it is, the last post of the McDonald's Transformers Beast Wars concept series. If you remember way back to the second post of the series, I showed line art of Optimus Prime/Primal as a fold out lion toy. Later I showed an alternate Under 3 toy concept of a G1 Optimus Head. Of course that means Under 3 was indeed supposed to Optimus Prime, and here is the evidence of that. The robot head on the produced toy certainly resembles Optimus' masked face and crown, but the lack an actual name for the toy, and the early Optimus lion toy concept are two pieces of the production history that finally identity Under 3.
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