Till All Are One: Is The End of Generations (As We Know It) Upon Us? And What Does The Future Look Like?
Today, as RAC was thinking about the impending Toy Fair and what we do and don't know about the future of Generations, a thought came to him: what if it doesn't have
one beyond Power of the Primes
wave 3 and 4? As sad as he is to say it, it would make a lot of the information we've gotten recently make more sense. Keep reading for his rundown of what we're looking at, and what it might mean.
The second wave of Power of the Primes
is now up for preorder across the internet, with an ETA given for most pieces as April 2018. This naturally took my mind back to the big leaks of 2017, which not only laid out the first three-to-four waves of Power of the Primes
, but also dated
them. Wave 1 was scheduled for December 2017, which was more or less accurate. The second wave was scheduled for April, which is also looking to be accurate. If these hold, Wave 3 should be in our hands come July.
So... what then?
The leaks only showed a single fourth wave assortment, and that's for Deluxes. It contains one
new figure, Novastar, and that's pretty clearly going to be a recolor of Moonracer. No new molds, and the other three figures are repeats from the first two waves: Slug, Rippersnapper, Blackwing. That... sure does seem like an end-of-line approach to a wave, doesn't it? Possibly one that was abruptly stopped or changed?
Moreover, the third chapter of the Prime Wars
trilogy from Machinima, also titled Power of the Primes,
is scheduled for release in May of this year, a mere five months after Titans Return
ended. That's after more than a year's wait between TF and Combiner Wars
All of this points towards an unsettling conclusion: Generations, at least in its current format, is quite possibly coming to an end. But if so, what next?
Thanks to Purple Marker Guy, the answer seems clear: Evergreen. Evergreen couldn't help but strike us as a bit duplicative of Generations' intent anyway, seeing as how it appears to take G1 characters, modernize their looks, and make room for new additions like Windblade. With the assumption that Generations was continuing, Evergreen Deluxes and Voyagers made very little sense. But if we assume that Generations is ending, or at least being rolled into the Evergreen mainline, suddenly it all comes into focus.
We've speculated before that part of the goal of the Evergreen/Cyberverse line could be to go back to a simpler, more consumer-friendly time when there was one brand, Transformers,
hence why the toys are beginning to surface well in advance of the Cyberverse
series and has no branding to match that series. If the brand is unified, specific branding for the TV series isn't necessary: if your child likes the Transformers cartoon, and you go to the store and there's only one kind of Transformers toys, you can't possibly get the wrong thing. A unified brand makes all the bits of information we've been getting over the last six to eight months make sense. It also ties into things some people have said about Generations selling better with younger audiences than expected.
So if that's the case, what does an Evergreen future look like? I see good and bad aspects. There's no reason we couldn't still get collector-oriented exclusives, combiner sublines, Titan Masters, even Titan Class figures, all that fun stuff in a main line. But we'll probably be back to a heavier focus on 1984-86 again: an Optimus, a Bumblebee, a Megatron, and a Starscream a year, at every size, for as long as the line goes in this direction. That's not the end of the world, and it's certainly a friendlier concept of the future to G1-oriented people than anything in the decade's space of time between 1996 and 2006. But expect character choices to become more conservative again, especially in the early phases of Evergreen.
As happy as we were to have them, I don't think most of us thought that the line would last forever on the increasingly obscure character choices we were given. That said, it'll be sad to see the reduced chances of more deep cuts like we've gotten in the later two legs of the Prime Wars
trilogy. On the other hand, it also opens the door for more new characters to enter the picture in a more or less Generations-compatible way. A lack of entirely new characters, to help keep Generations a living
toyline, is something we've commented on since the end of Combiner Wars
. That could well be because Titans Return
and Power of the Primes
were essentially the current design team working through their wishlists before the big reboot. If a transition to Evergreen means we get new characters again, I'm all for that.
The Generations family of toylines has had a great run, happening on and off for over a decade with years of uninterrupted presence on the shelves recreating characters we all remember fondly - and even creating some new ones. But nothing lasts forever and it's not something we should ever have taken for granted. If the future of Transformers is a single line that we can share with the younger generations, and have something we all enjoy, I want to be able to embrace that. It definitely beats the idea of Generations being discontinued with no clear successor, if those were the only two options. Even so, it's a big change - and if we're honest, a lot of Transformers fans ironically have trouble adjusting to those, and I'm no exception.