Thanks to Hau Chi Lee we've got new up close photos of Legends Class Gnaw, coming soon to Titans Return. These photos demonstrate transformation pretty well with a mid-process shot, as well as showing the Titan Master accommodation, which is minimal to say the least! A pair of pegs in the lower jaw are the only sign this toy is in any way meant to interact with the tinier figures, and it remains questionable whether the upper jaw can even close with a Titan Master in place. What might this suggest about the origins of this figure? Keep reading to see the photos and for a bit of speculation!
The afterthought-ish interplay with Titan Masters is very probably just a consequence of the design: in order to get a Sharkticon that has the right look in both modes, there was no means to incorporate a real cockpit space such as seen already on Wheelie and known to exist in other upcoming toys like Bumblebee, Kickback, and Brawn. But it's hard not to wonder.
Some may remember a couple years ago now when a Gnaw was among character names found in the ever-infamous store inventory information, which is quite frequently a reliable indicator of future products. This would eventually turn in to Legends Gears or Acid Storm instead, leaving Gnaw as just evidence of a cancelled idea. But, could it be that Gnaw wasn't discarded afterall? We learned recently that Alpha Trion's basic visual design has existed in the form of art for some time before this year's toy was designed. There are other scattered examples of similar things happening, though as far as we know that's not a common occurrence. Given that though, it seems at least possible Gnaw might be the realization of the attempt from the pre-Combiner Wars Generations line.
We'll never know how far the 2014 Gnaw concept may have gotten before it was changed to be another recolor wave. But if actual design work had been done already before the project was shelved, it wouldn't be too far a leap, in my opinion, for that to get dusted off and looked at again when time came that a spot for Gnaw was available again. Give it some "modernization" in making it compatible with the current line gimmick, but in a way that doesn't call for major redesigns, and you could certainly wind up at a result such as what we're looking at now.
This is all speculative, and honestly I'm not convinced this is the truth behind Gnaw. I think the signs could potentially point to that direction, but with the exception of someone from the design team speaking up and verifying that origin, I'm going to continue to go along with the much simpler idea that this Gnaw was fully originally designed for this line, and that it was decided to be more important that Gnaw look screen accurate than it was to have a real driver compartment. Mind you, my compromise of choice would have been a little exterior space so the Titan Master could fit on the back and look like it was riding an animal, but that's neither here nor there. So while I don't necessarily believe in it myself, I won't blame anybody for choosing to go with the slightly more remarkable story while nothing is outright contradicting it. Much like the far back origins of Generations Arcee's design
, it lends a special extra something to the toy, I think.