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Beast Wars: Transformers (TV Series 1996–1999) Poster

(1996–1999)

Trivia

The "Golden Disk" that Megatron stole in the pilot is from one of the Voyager spacecraft, though we're never told which Voyager craft the disk is from.
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Jump to: Spoilers (5)
Megatron says "Yeesss." 166 times and "Nooo!" 54 times in the course of the show.
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This was the first Transformers show to win an Emmy award.
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Due to his popularity within the fan-base, Dinobot has been given a place in the "Transformers Hall of Fame" as the fifth most iconic Transformer character of all time. He was the only Beast-former in the Hall's initial year, with the other four icons (Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, and Starscream) originating from The Transformers (1984). It surprised (and also angered) many people that Dinobot managed to beat out other longtime fan favorites such as Soundwave, Grimlock, Shockwave, or even Devastator, since he was considered to be a relatively little-known character, especially outside of the fanbase. But his well-written deep personality and engaging development as a character secured him a well-deserved spot in the Hall. The following year, the Fans' Choice Award went to Waspinator, also hailing from this show. 2013 saw the induction of Beast Megatron into the Hall.
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Voice actor Scott McNeil considers Beast Wars his best and favourite show, and his roles in it (Rattrap, Dinobot, Waspinator, Silverbolt) are the ones he is most proud of.
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According to story editor Bob Forward, Dinobot is a descendant of Grimlock, one of the original Dinobots from The Transformers (1984).
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This cartoon introduced the concepts of the Spark (essentially the "soul" in a Transformer's body) and the All-Spark to Transformers lore. These have been used excessively since in cartoons, comics, and other media. Although in The Transformers (1984), there was a mention of a "laser-core" (most probably an early concept of the Spark), it was quickly forgotten.
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The Maximals and Predacons lived on Cybertron some 300 years after the end of the original The Transformers (1984) series.
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Both Optimus Primal and Megatron were originally to have the ability to transform into four forms, two beast (bat/gorilla for Optimus, crocodile/T-rex for Megatron) and two robot (robot/monster truck for Optimus, robot/battle-base for Megatron). Due to the limitations of computer technology at the time, the idea was scrapped. Originally, Hasbro intended Primal to be a bat and Megatron was to be a crocodile/alligator rather than a gorilla and a tyrannosaurus rex. This explains why Primal is the only Maximal who can fly in his robot form and not his beast form; the jet pack was a remainder from the previous form. The two were made a gorilla and dinosaur in homage to the monster film King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). This would explain the scale issue of a gorilla vs. a tyrannosaurus rex: Optimus' beast mode is that of a giant (or at least huger-than-average) gorilla, making him an equal match with Megatron.
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The show introduced the word "slag" as a frequently used Transformer curse. Being a cartoon for kids, the writers couldn't use any real curses, and thus a new meaning of "slag" was born. "Slagging" was also used to describe things when the characters were feeling angry.
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When the series was released in Japan, certain changes in characterization/plot were carried out (some of which did not go down well):
  • Foolish questions would be asked at the beginning of each episode - an infamous instance reports the robot Optimus Primal asking "Where is my banana?"


  • There was plenty of fourth-wall humor and over-the-top and in-your-face jokes, even at the most inappropriate of moments.


  • Clip shows would feature the characters interacting in silly game shows and contests (e.g. in the episode "Other Victories" Megatron acted as a judge in a celebrity impersonation contest);


  • Megatron was rendered a bumbling fool who often made high-pitched screams (which replaced his "Yeesss" and "Nooo" exclamations);


  • Cheetor would almost always end his comments with a long, stressed "Ja-n!" (which denotes a feline growl)


  • Rattrap would often break the fourth wall, sniffing in the viewer's direction and commenting on what food he could smell;


  • Tarantulas had a higher-pitched voice, shrieked constantly and had his trademark cackle altered to be more feminine;


  • Blackarachnia carried a "bipolar" voice, switching from a sultry flirtatious drawl to a blood-thirsty maniacal scream; she also became less independent (though still a strong character) and was occasionally prone to begging for mercy from her enemies;


  • Tigatron was made a samurai-inspired warrior, acting and speaking in a formal tone;


  • Airazor was made a male to increase sales, and his relationship with Tigatron was established as a relationship between a protective guardian and his young apprentice (where certain unavoidable scenes were featured that presented otherwise, the viewers were gently informed that "these things sometimes happen between people")


  • Silverbolt was made a rigidly cheerful and polite character.


  • Depth Charge would sing a fishing song ("Ito Maki-Maki," or "Wind the Thread") whenever he transformed.


While this version of the show was reviled by many Transformer fans and was seen as a disgrace (especially considering TransFormers had originated in Japan), it remained a hit with young children and created the sequels Beast Wars Second: Chô seimeitai Transformer (1998), Chô semeitai Transformer: Beast Wars Neo (1999) and Transformers: Beast Wars Metals (1999). Years later, the English version was released in Japan with subtitles, affording viewers a proper viewing of the show.
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According to script writer Bob Forward, the show's first season cost eighteen-million dollars to produce.
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Every year, David Kaye (Megatron) sends his Holiday greetings to Transformers fans through YouTube videos, in which he reads poems or sings songs in Megatron's voice.
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Raksha, an infamous and highly controversial Transformers fanatic, detested the series so much that she once approached David Kaye (voice actor of Megatron) at a fan convention and antagonistically told him that she hated everyone involved in the cartoon on a personal level, which had left Kaye shocked. As a result of her controversial nature, Raksha was originally planned to be referenced within the show: the lifeless, brainless Transformers protoforms would have been referred to as "Roc-shaans". Although this term didn't make it into the finished series, in one of the comics, Megatron mentioned that someone named Raksha was his personal biggest enemy.
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Tarantulas' beast mode is an African wolf spider (not a tarantula, as his name would imply).
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The writers had originally intended Beast Wars to be a separate continuity from The Transformers (1984), not the sequel as it eventually became.
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The character of Rattrap was based on comedian Lou Costello, whose partner Bud Abbott was the inspiration for Rattrap's close friend Rhinox.
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Much of the voice cast worked on Dragon Ball Z (1996):
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Some of Dinobot's dialogue was taken from William Shakespeare's plays, particularly "Hamlet", whose title character underwent many crises of deceit and nobility, revenge and sacrifice, destiny and fate, and, ultimately, heroism.
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At the beginning of the show, a series of protoforms were deployed into the planet's orbit. However only a few (Blackarachnia, Tigatron, Airazor, Silverbolt, Quickstrike, Transmutate) fell to Earth and were seen throughout the show, so it's possible that not all of them were recovered. This premise serves as a loose inspiration and backstory for Beast Wars Second: Chô seimeitai Transformer (1998) and Chô semeitai Transformer: Beast Wars Neo (1999).
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The Maximals were named after the Nissan "Maxima" automobile.
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The animators were very fond of making crude jokes that would have been inappropriate for children. Some of these found their way into the show as hidden Cybertronix text which the viewer had to decode (these were often profanities). Other jokes, however, got released to the public unintentionally - such as the infamous fake episode script that depicted the characters engaging in a sexual intercourse with Transmutate, or a picture of Dinobot with his "spine" hanging down from between his legs (this picture is known as "Dirk Dinobot"). There are also rumors that they even animated some very questionable scenes, but it remains to be seen whether these animations do exist.
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Cheetor is the only Maximal that Megatron never refers to by name.
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Much of the show's story came together purely by chance. Originally, none of the writers knew what the plot would be, so they kept throwing in random ideas, such as the two moons or the standing stones. Story editors Lawrence G. DiTillio and Bob Forward wanted to focus heavily on the show's sci-fi aspect, so they also included a plotline about mysterious aliens. As it happened, these ideas all came to form a coherent plot by the end of the first season.
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The "standing stones" weren't originally part of the writers' story plans. The show had spent most of its budget on the character models, so they didn't have much money to make landscapes. However, the animation company Mainframe had a computer model of Stonehenge, so they decided to include it in the show, and see if they can write a story around it.
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In beast mode, Tarantulas possesses nine eyes rather than a spider's usual eight.
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Waspinator's beast mode is a female wasp. This was perhaps a deliberate decision, as the female wasp carries a stinger that serves as an effective weapon, and such a mode would fit the male (and continually put-upon) Waspinator.
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Dinobot turns into a scaly, featherless velociraptor, yet these dinosaurs were covered in feathers. This can't be considered an error, though: at the time the show was made, the general belief was that raptors were scaly saurians (a common perception of dinosaurs); the toy that Dinobot's character was meant to promote also had scales. (While it can be argued that feathers were impossible to animate back then, other characters also had feathers, so this can't be considered a reason as to why Dinobot didn't have them.)
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Rattrap's beast mode is a giant Sumatran rat. This is why in terms of scale he is seen at only a little less than a Maximal's average height.
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This show brought into the "Transformers" mythos the concept of the protoforms, a base form of Transformers who scanned the environment and took on alternate forms. Although this concept had been around in The Transformers (1984), it was only expounded on in this show.
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It is never clarified what species the protohumans who appear in the series belong to. The scripts refer to them as Neanderthals; however, they seem to be based more closely on much earlier hominids, like Australopithecus. Considering that the show takes place four-million years ago, and that the protohumans just started learning how to use tools, this seems to be the most likely choice. Even so, during the course of two seasons (and largely due to the Maximals' influence), they seem to have already reached a considerably more advanced stage, casting doubt on their true belongings.
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"Transformers" comic writer Simon Furman would unite the Beast Wars characters from all the three shows (Beast Wars, II and Neo) into his comic series 'Beast Wars: The Gathering'.
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Since the Transmetal toys featured very few ranged weapons, the animators had to come up with ways to make use of their close-combat equipment for fire-fights. They turned Megatron's clawed whip into a blaster, gave Cheetor the ability to combine his two hands to form a gun, and reconfigured Optimus Primal's back armor to make it function as a missile rack. Tarantulas' shoulder "lights" also became missile launchers and machine guns, his spinning slicer received a firing ability (even though it had no barrel of any sort) and, in one instance, he even used his spider legs as guns.
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Airazor's original toy was designed to be male, but the writers turned it into a female character for the show. Her second, Transmetal toy was actually the first-ever Transformer figure to be designed as a female; however, she never took on that form in the series.
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Waspinator and Rhinox were the only two transformers from the original 10 roster, to keep their original forms for all 3 seasons and the only 2 throughout, not to be or become trans metals. Megatron became a trans metal, Scorponok, Terrorsaur and Tarantalus died. Optimus, Cheetor and Rattrap became trans metals while Dinobot died.
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The original toy of Megatron had no hands: his right arm ended in a dinosaur head, and his left arm was a giant claw. The animators initially tried giving him two hands for the show, but eventually settled on keeping the dinosaur head as his right "hand", and made his claw a separate tool with a genuine left hand holding it.
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Dinobot's raptor mode was heavily based on the look of the Velociraptors from Jurassic Park (1993). Kenner produced the action figure line for Jurassic Park, and later also designed the Transformers toys, such as Dinobot, this show was based on.
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According to the original plot and character descriptions given on the toys' boxes, the story would have taken place in the modern day, and Optimus Primal and Megatron would have been the same characters as their 80s namesakes. Megatron would have been a realistic-sized Tyrannosaurus, and Optimus would have been a King Kong-sized gorilla. Other characters were also described differently: for example, Waspinator was to be a competent fighter instead of a buffoon and Tarantulas was envisioned as a dumb ninja instead of a crazy but brilliant scientist. The cartoon show disregarded the original outlines completely and rewrote story and characters from scratch.
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In the first episode, Optimus Primal alludes to a "Great War". Although fans have assumed this was an intentional reference to the Great War from the original Transformers cartoons and comics, writer Bob Forward admitted that he simply threw the line in there to make it seem like the show had a deeper history. Later on, after reading up on the Transformers brand's lore, the writers embraced adding more such references and tied the show's story into that of the original.
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According to the writers, they made sure to end each season with the entire cast being seemingly killed off, and then let the Hasbro toy company decide on which characters would return for the following season.
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Originally, Garry Chalk auditioned for the role of Megatron and David Kaye for the role of Optimus Primal, but they have been given each other's roles. Ironically, Chalk would briefly voice the original Megatron from The Transformers (1984) in the episode Beast Wars: Transformers: The Agenda: Part 2 (1998), and Kaye would go on to play Optimus Prime in Transformers: Animated (2007).
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Cheetor's and Tigatron's main guns are identical-looking. But whenever the two of them share a scene, Cheetor tends to be animated using his secondary weapon (a gun that forms out of his cheetah-mode "rump" and tail) to differentiate them.
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There was an episode planned named "Bitch Wars" (only a working title), where Blackarachnia and Airazor would form their own faction of female warriors. However, this episode was stalled in development and never came to fruition.
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Once Megatron acquires his dragon form, he never once uses his third, wheeled vehicle mode through the course of the show.
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Originally, Tigatron was to be a different character, Wolfang. The personality traits were kept, but the character was changed per request of Hasbro.
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Several of the early figures in the Beast Wars toy line had a feature that fans dubbed "mutant heads", which were basically subsititute heads for the figures. These "mutant heads" can be seen on the early computer models for some of the characters, but adding this feature would have made the cost too prohibitive at the time, so they were not added. However, at least two of the characters - Waspinator and Tarantulas - still feature their "mutant heads" as the heads of their robot forms.
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The episodes that feature the ethereal Vok are deliberately titled with two words, the first being "Other" and the second starting with V.
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Tigatron spent a lot of time with his tiger friend Snowstalker, who may have been the tiger he scanned and acquired his beast mode from. This would make the male Maximal's alternate mode a female tiger.
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Depth Charge is the only additional Transformer not to originate from a stasis pod. (Tigerhawk doesn't count because he was formed from a fusion of two other Transformers, both of whom came from stasis pods.)
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Throughout the series, there are various texts displayed in Cybertronix (a language developed and used in the Beast Wars saga). These texts spell out various Easter-egg messages to pick up: some of them are relevant information, some are funny gags, but a handful are just random nonsense or actual swear words (these are usually mirrored, to make them harder to decode).
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Rattrap was originally going to have a damaged appearance (caused from crash-landing), and would be seen with exposed joints/muscles; he would also carry with him a life-support cable system that would sustain him with heat (a common practice for colostomy patients). This concept was rejected because of the difficulty at the time of creating realistic C.G. innards, and because it was deemed too gruesome.
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The Mainframe animators initially created animation models for the characters based closely on their toy forms. These included the infamous "mutant masks", along with all the faults the toys had (disproportionate body parts, various excess pieces hanging off their bodies, etc). Later, the designs gradually changed, and by the finalized versions, some of the characters only very faintly resembled their original action figures. Thus, although their transformations are wholly unfeasible in most cases, the characters in the show ended up looking far more clean and workable than the toys would have been.
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An episode that was never realized would have been titled "A Greater Ape". It would have told a questionable story about Optimus Primal believing himself to be a real gorilla, and falling in love with another member of "his species". It would have required too many new C.G. models; thus, the story was never put onto screen.
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Though the exact number of stasis pods that fell to earth was never stated, only 11 were recovered. Tigatron, Blackarachnia, Airrazor, Inferno, Silverbolt, Quickstrike, Optimus's Blank, Rampage, Transmutate and Dinobot 2.
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Rhinox's famed "Chainguns of Doom" were originally not guns at all, but some kind of buzzsaws with maces attached. The animators of the show reinterpreted the contraption's circular holes as gunbarrels and made it into a firearm.
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Originally, the Predacon team would have had an extra member known as Insecticon, who was one of the figures released during the toy line's launch. Plans fell through though, so his character was cut from the show, with some of his dialogue given to Waspinator.
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This is the first cartoon in which Optimus Prime's famous quote "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" is heard, spoken by Optimus Primal. The writers didn't initially know the significance of the quote, they just found it when reading Transformers fan discussions on the internet and thought it sounded good.
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Story editor Lawrence G. DiTillio originally envisioned the Vok aliens as the ultimate lifeforms that had planted Energon deposits on Earth to help advance the evolution of the human race. This idea was never brought up in the show, though it, along with Tarantulas' never-explained secret origin, would probably have been featured in the fourth season, however the show was canceled after three seasons.
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Even though they are male characters, the animal forms of Waspinator, Tigatron and Inferno are a female wasp, and female tiger and a female ant respectively.
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The Tripredacus Council members are called Ram Horn, Sea Clamp and Cicadacon. These names would have come up in the show, but since the characters ended up looking nothing like the actual toys due to time constraints, the creators opted not to name them in order to avoid confusing kids. However their group name, Tripredacus, was kept.
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Most of the earliest Beast Wars toys included various "disgusting" organic features on the robots or their weapons. Some of these ended up in the cartoon series as well, most notably Cheetor's and Tigatron's "gut guns", on which you can see the intestines of their animal forms.
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Transformers fan Benson 'Ben' Yee was employed as a consultant, even getting a credit at the end of the second season. He also suggested to the writers the idea of bringing back the character Ravage from The Transformers (1984).
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The three "cone-heads" (Thrust, Dirge and Ramjet) were meant to be reawakened in the series finale and join the fight between the Maximals and Predacons. The events would have explained their absence from the first season of The Transformers (1984), however time constraints prevented the creators from implementing this idea.
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Inferno was originally intended to be Megatron's second form instead of a separate character. Megatron's original dinosaur body would have somehow gotten destroyed and he would have been reborn in a new body that transformed into an ant. While this concept was scrapped, it did get referenced in a gag wherein Megatron and Inferno collide while flying and end up switching their heads.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The third season of the series was originally going to include an episode called "Dark Glass", written by Christy Marx. In it, Rattrap finds the original Dinobot's personality program, and goes on a suicide mission to install it into Dinobot II in a desperate bid to bring his old comrade back (succeeding in his mission, but without effect). The script was seen as "too dark" for children to watch, and so the episode never made it past the script; in its place, the lighter, more jocular "Go with the Flow" was created. However, the story is now considered part of the Beast Wars saga, and provides an explanation of how the Dinobot clone regained the original's personality in the finale.
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Originally, Waspinator was to fall in lava and die in the beginning of season two while Terrorsaur survived and became a Transmetal. However, due to his growing popularity, the writers let Waspinator live and killed of Terrosaur.
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The characterizations and motives of the cast was developed gradually.
  • For example, the first season claims that Megatron merely wanted to get his hands on Energon and that he wasn't looking for Earth specifically, yet the second season reveals that he wanted to come to Earth to fulfill the commands of the original Megatron.


  • Terrorsaur in the first few episodes is a Starscream-like character who always wants to backstab Megatron, but this side of him gets dropped later on as Tarantulas became the "main" treacherous character.


  • Tarantulas himself only developed his mysterious traitor persona later on, and initially he's only characterized as an unpleasant scientist who's only concern is eating rather than having a personal agenda against the aliens.


  • Waspinator only became a lovable goof who always gets blown up because the writers hated him and didn't know what to do with him.


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Many of the killed-off characters, including Tigatron, Airazor, Tarantulas and Rampage, were resurrected in the "Primeval Dawn" comic that took place after the show and whose first issue was written by Bob Forward, one of the series' main writers. However, the story was left unfinished when its publisher, 3H Productions, went bankrupt.
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Tigerhawk is killed off so quickly because Hasbro asked the creators to write him out of the show, since at the time they didn't know whether the Tigatron toy would be released. The toy did hit stores, however by that time it was too late to go back and rewrite the scripts, therefor the character ended up getting destroyed in the finale.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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