On the Sunday of the convention Hasbro Europe presented a trio of panels covering the latest news on three of their most popular toy brands. One of these covered those robots in disguise known around the world as the Transformers, with two senior members of the US team on hand to talk about the brand’s future.
The panel opened with a recent trailer for the forthcoming Bumblebee movie. Attention was pointed to #JoinTheBuzz, a global hashtag for fans of all ages to share their hype and fanworks for the film. This hype was highlighted by the representative for Hasbro Europe who noted a pair of cosplayers dressed as G1 Optimus Prime and Soundwave were in attendance at the panel.
Discussion then moved on to the new Generations line, War For Cybertron Trilogy: Siege. Replicating the successful format of the Prime Wars Trilogy (currently represented at retail by Power of the Primes), Siege begins by focusing on the final day of the war on Cybertron between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The figures will come with weathered/battle damaged paint detail and involve a gimmick where weapons and components from figures can be used to armour up others in the line.
Next was the Generations subline Studio Series, which focuses on more screen accurate toys of bots from the past decade of live action Transformers movies. The first highlighted figure was Shatter, a new Deception debuting in Bumblebee. This was followed by Cogman and Scrapmetal. Cogman in particular was noted by fans as a hard to find figure from the later The Last Knight waves, so this release with a new metallic paint job will give more fans a chance to get him. Coming to the Voyager class will be Rampage and Long Haul. The reps cheekily noted that we were seeing a lot of announcements for Revenge of the Fallen Constructicons, which led into the major reveal- the Studio Series Constructicons will be able to unite to form Devastator, an 8-figure combiner.
Attention then shifted to the small screen, where the new cartoon Cyberverse has recently debuted. Strong inspiration was taken for the character designs from the original G1 source. The defining feature of the toyline sees characteristic combat modes which are shared between both the vehicle and robot modes. The series itself focuses on an amnesiac Bumblebee, with G1 again providing inspiration with the choice to present him as a small, speedy scout. New characters will also appear such as the Decepticon sniper Shadow Striker. They’re working closely with the animators to ensure that the toys will transform closely to how they do on screen.
Next was the reveal of BotBots, a brand new line in the current trend of collectable blindbag figures popular with children. An Energon storm above a shopping mall transforms items within the mall into mini Transformers. Notably this line does not restrict itself to mechanical devices and will include items such as foodstuffs. Every character has a cute design/name and a quirky personality and collectively form themed tribes. Wave 1 due in December will contain 61 characters but there are plans for many more, currently 190.
As a special exclusive to attendees we were each given a single carded BotBot, making us the very first people in the entire world to receive these toys. Mine was Professor Wellread, a nerdy looking bot who transforms into a book.
Attention was paid to the pair of Bumblebee themed exclusives available at the con, as well as the Puma shoes available in the US and Europe. Both sets of items were displayed at Hasbro’s booth.
The panel concluded with a Q&A session. A young fan wanted to know if we could expect to see BotBots media such as a cartoon, movie or comics. No current plans but Hasbro are very open to expanding this new iteration of the franchise.
Concerning more LGBT characters, no specific announcements planned for the day but it is something they’ve done continuously in recent years. They welcome fans of any orientation and are very keen to have the fiction itself represent that.
Asked about bringing back Transformers Animated and/or releasing the unreleased toys, no plans currently but Generations is intended to draw from all iterations of the franchise. This carried in to the next question concerning if we could see updates of late G1 groups such as the Turbomasters. It was clarified that they really try to ensure Generations caters to as many fans as possible and the eagerly seek fan feedback on what eras they’d like to hear from again.
No current confirmation of how long it will take fans to complete Studio Series Devastator, partly because further reveals are being saved as exclusives for other conventions they’re visiting around the world in the near future.
No current plans for a Leader-class Galvatron. Same for a new Scorponok, but they’ve received a lot of fan demand for him so a future announcement shouldn’t be considered surprising.
How characters are chosen for Generations is a diverse process involving design team preference, fan preference, gender, and alt modes to name but a few. The latter was highlighted as one of the strengths of the brand as a toy. You can have a line with fast cars, cool spaceships and robot dinosaurs together.
Vehicle licensing is one of the biggest issues for the Studio Series. The line strives to be screen accurate though price points can conflict with necessary paint applications to truly represent these vehicles.
A cheeky question concerned if Devastator will be screen accurate to the point of having two distinctive spheres attached. The answer is no.
No announcements for new Transformers video games at this time.
An Optimus Prime solo movie is a possibility if Bumblebee performs well in theatres.
After a fan noticed his head in the Siege trailer, we were teased that that a Titan class Omega Supereme may be forthcoming.
When toys are based on the IDW designs they receive exclusive design references from the publisher to make the toys accurate representations. A follow up concerning if IDW originated characters like Rung or Pharma could appear was answered by saying it’s certainly possible.
The final question concerned new toys for Unicron and Primus. We should expect to hear something about this “very, very soon”.