So I have this actual theory and the more I think about it, the more it sounds like there’s some validity to it: I think Hasbro really doesn’t give a crap about the movies and hasn’t for a little while now.
Whether we liked the movies or not is irrelevant, but one thing I think we all can agree on, is that in recent years, the other franchises of the Transformers, such as the cartoons and the comic books have really been bringing the franchise to a brand new level of quality that we never thought we could have before. Hasbro knows this. We all have to admit, there’s some serious flaws in the movies. I love ‘em, but I love them like I love a Baconator sandwich. It’s bad for me, and it’ll probably kill me… But it tastes great. Especially in the wake of things like the really exceptional Transformers Prime, the MTMTE comic book series, Rescue Bots, the Windblade miniseries, the High Moon video games… Since the creation of the Aligned Universe. (Which is right around when the second movie came out.)
If people Transformers 5 wanted to get made, it’s not like Hasbro has a say in this or not. It’s all up to Paramount if it gets made or not. In actuality, it’s a lot like the old situations with Marvel comics, Sony and Fox Studios. Marvel has no say over how Fox treats the X-Men. (Or how Sony treats Spider-Man.) It may be Marvel’s characters, but it’s the studios rights to make a movie with them… Good or bad. That led Marvel to form Marvel Studios to make the current crop of movies we all love these days.
I think it’s a similar situation with Hasbro at the moment. Paramount has G.I.Joe and Transformers, but other Hasbro properties (Jem, Battleship, Ouija, ect) has been done or are being done through Universal. (Who has known to be friendly to independent franchises. Including even Marvel.) All DVD releases, except for the Joe and TF movies, have been through Shout! Factory by Discovery Communications. (Who Hasbro has partnered with to create the Hub.) I think Hasbro would love to have Transformers back, but it’s a multibillion dollar franchise for both Paramount and Hasbro. (Like Marvel. They may not like how Fox treats the X-Men, but they make the money off those movies too.)
But the problem arises when the movies may make money, but it may damage the brand name. Despite all the awesome things going on with the franchise at the moment, people still associate the movies with the Transformers. I mean, we all know how deep and intricate the franchise mythos can be, but let’s be honest… Those movies do NOT even try to get them across. The one movie that came the closest sadly was Revenge of the Fallen… The movie everyone hated. This is actually one of the frustrating things that drives me nuts about the movies. As a Transformers fan since it’s inception 30 years ago, it’s kind of irritating that we’re in a period of time where the mythology of the Transformers hasn’t been this diverse and creative since the days of Beast Wars in the late 90s… And all the average person knows about when it comes to Transformers is Baysplosions.
Now I know, some of you are thinking I’m reading too much into this. I thought that too, until I took noticed of a few interesting details.
In all previous movies, when it was time for the movie toylines to be out, everything TF related shut down. If you wanted Classic or Universe or Generations toys… Tough shit, You were waiting five to six months for the movie push to end to get those back. This time around, not so much. In fact a lot of Generations characters we wanted to get were coming out DURING the movie’s release. I’m currently waiting for Windblade and Rattrap to come in the mail here.
Especially the first two movies, the dedication to the line was intense. Every character who was on the screen got a toy. And then they got several repaints into new characters. Hell, we got toys of background vehicles that weren’t even meant to be Transformers in the first place. That C-130 that Prime parachuted into Singapore in? Now that’s Stratosphere. Those jets flying around in Operation Firestorm in Egypt? Now that’s Breakaway. Those ATVs and other vehicles that the NEST team rode around on? They’re now the Human Alliance guys. Mudflap and Skids? Everyone hated those guys. Well guess what? We’ll make new toys for them too for the third movie, just because we can. Hell, let’s make characters who have nothing to do with the movie franchises into toys. Here’s Powerglide! Here’s Guzzle! Here’s toys from the tie in video games, and here’s some concept designs that we’re making into toys just cause we can.
This time around? It’s not only is it a much smaller wave, it’s also much smaller in redecos. Certainly some of this is a factor with the One Step changers, but with the deluxe toys they have… There should have been some redecos of those made somewhere. By now, it’s approaching fall… Shouldn’t a Deluxe Bumblebee have been redecoed as Stinger already? Not counting the SDCC exclusives, shouldn’t some of the Dinobots been redecoed as other characters? Shouldn’t Scorn have been redecoed into Flamefeather or Snarl into Striker? Or even bringing some of the earlier toys out as new guys? Instead, we brought out an unrelated helicopter mold to be Drift and Generations Skids as the whiny boyfriend’s car. (Which has yet to still come out.)
3. Someone could say “Times are hard with Hasbro. It’s rough all over.” Except not even ten months ago, there was a $125 dollar two foot tall Titan Transformer you could buy at the stores. They just wrapped up the Thrilling Thirty with the fan created character, Windblade. Included this year was also an excellently done Rhinox, Rattrap and Waspinator. Whirl and Roadbuster got (or will be getting) a release with a total homage to the original toys. (Even with Sticker sheets!) Was anyone really clamoring for a new Tankor toy? Was anyone really shouting out for a Crosscut figure? Was there a demand for Autobot Scoop and his Targetmasters? Freakin’ SCOOP?! And what’s coming up in the future? Shitloads of deluxe sized Combiners and Legend class guys to combine with them. Both Arcee and Chromia is coming. (And while one of them is a retool of a TF: Prime toy… But it’s so heavy of a retool, you’ve got to be a real tool to have any issue with it.) And then there’s the return of the new Leader Class size guys like “Up yours Harmony Gold” Jetfire and the two versions of Megatron. (And then there’s the few I’ve heard rumors about that I’m inclined to believe.) If Hasbro wanted to, the resources would be placed in the movie lines. They’re not, because they’re interested in other avenues.
4. And even in the ancillary lines, it’s been cut short. In previous movies, In previous movies, there was a companion video game to go with it. This time around, it was a crossover game with the War for/Fall of Cybertron guys and it was so under-hyped, that when a friend asked about it earlier, I sat there wondering “What game is he talking about?” The comics used to have this wide and almost interestingly developed movieverse in their books… And this time around, there was nothing. (I’ve heard rumors I’ve heard was that IDW had no interest in making them, and Hasbro didn’t even attempt to persuade them. But those are rumors.) No children’s books were released, or any Young Adult books like the Classified novels starring Gears. Nothing. They didn’t even bother having a Hostess cupcake tie-in. (Shame too, because Choc-Waves were awesome!)
Add on the fact that while the movie has made a billion dollars (thanks to China), domestically, it’s made the least amount of money. Sales for the AoE toys aren’t exactly through the roof. I have to admit, the only AoE toys I’ve been interested in was the SDCC Dinobots but not enough to plunk down the money for them. I’m on a tight budget and I’d rather buy Windblade. If you lurk about online, the Transformers stuff that fans seem to be hyped about isn’t the movie (except to make fun of it) but the IDW comics books and the cartoon show.
In short, I acknowledge, this is mass speculation of me reading something that may indeed not be there. But I believe Hasbro doesn’t hate the movie, but they don’t exactly give a shit about the movie either. And of course since they’re in a business relationship with Paramount, it’s not like it’s something that they an admit to. If asked, they would have to publicly endorse the relationship. And while it cannot go away and they do like the money it brings in, they’d rather focus on the stuff they have more control over…
…And if that’s true, I can’t blame them.
Have been tagged by The Happy Sorceress
So whoever is reading this and wants to play along, you’re up!
One of the most interesting elements about Detroit is when we were younger, and we all saw Robocop (1987) we all thought “Man, that city looks like a rough city!” And today, we look at Detroit and think “Man, I wish Detroit could be as clean and safe as it was in Robocop!”
I’m gonna go buy me some fucking cookies and gorge on them. :)