I STILL EXISTon December 10, 2010 at 10:38 am
A few weeks back, 1986 Transformers: The Movie writer Ron Friedman put up a whole buttload of never-before-seen rough draft materials up for auction. The Transformers fanbase wanted to make sure this stuff landed in the hands of somebody who would share it with everyone, rather than sit on somebody’s shelf somewhere, so we banded our resources to get a few of the items. And now the stuff is starting to hit mailboxes, like a very early draft of the animated Transformers film. Jim “AllSpark Almanac” Sorenson scanned the script and put it up on his website for others to download, which I did this morning at the Columbus airport and read during the flight to my layover in Tampa.
Oh holy jeez, parts of it are insane.
First of all, it’s much more incredibly violent. Some of the violence made it into later drafts which the fandom has had access to, but it’s still a crazily violent movie where terrible horrible things happen to even more of your favorite characters. Unlike how the systematic death of the first season’s cast is relegated to the first five minutes of the movie, in the early draft this massacre sprawls on into the middle of the film. Blaster has Windcharger parts falling on him from the sky. WINDCHARGER PARTS FALLING ON HIM FROM THE SKY.
We’d also heard small bits about the “Anibots,” which were a concept that made it neither into the finished film nor into the toy stage. But this early draft reveals that the Anibots lived in a “Roboto-Zoo” in an area of Autobot City, including a lion named “Simba,” and that they would combine to form “Dragon Beast” to fight Devastator.
But the wierdest thing, and also ultimately a pretty darkly hilarious thing, is how much of the script is dedicated to the mysterious LIFE SPARKs. A Marvel UK story had Cyclonus mentioned that he had been created from “what was once LIFE SPARK,” but we hadn’t had any further details on this until now. According to this early draft, every Transformer has a LIFE SPARK that embodies their essence, much like how Beast Wars guys had things called “sparks” for souls. (The similar name and function is absolutely a coincidence, but a fun coincidence nonetheless.) But the difference between these early-concept sparks and the ones that propagated into importance later into the franchise’s run is that the LIFE SPARK is a small spectral version of the Transformer. There is no Matrix of Leadership in the film. Instead, as Optimus Prime dies, he opens up his chest and a tiny spectral version of himself escapes and climbs into Ultra Magnus’s chest. Unless contained, these life sparks dissipate into nothingness, but if merged with another Autobot or contained in an urn, they can, in a way, persist in some state.
(This results in a scene where, later, Galvatron steals Optimus Prime’s life spark from Ultra Magnus and carries it around in a bottle. ha ha ha ha ha)
But the darkly hilarious part is how this all ends for Megatron. He realizes he’s dying just after his fight ends with Prime, and he pleads for the Decepticons to return him to Cybertron so he can be enshrined before his life spark leaves him and escapes. The Decepticons don’t care. They fight with each other over who will be the new leader from the battle’s end all the way to actually arriving at the Hall of Heroes back on Cybertron. Megatron is dragged by them by his feet for the duration, as he pleads for them to please take three seconds out of their time to contain his life spark, he doesn’t want to dissipate into forever nothingness, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU GUYS COME ON.
Long story short, while the Decepticons fight each other, Megatron’s pleading body is negligently destroyed by falling debris, and his body shatters into a million pieces. His life spark flees and after drifting through space is eventually used to create Galvatron. (Who serves, aheh, the mighty devouring entity, INGESTOR.)
Man, those Decepticons are assholes.