"Transformers: Beast Wars--The Gathering and the Ascending"
Towards the end of 2005, as a result of a fan poll in a special try-out comic book, Dreamwave Productions was going to start a new comic book series based on the "third generation" of Transformers, the Beast Wars series, which originally graced store shelves from 1996-99 (the same amount of time the original TV show was on). When Dreamwave shut its doors that same year, and the comic book rights to the Transformers franchise were given to IDW Publishing, they took up the slack and created not one , but TWO mini-series based on Beast Wars. The results were 2006's "Beast Wars: The Gathering" and its sequel, 2007's "Beast Wars: The Ascending", both written by Simon Furman and drawn by Don Figueroa and Guido Guidi.
An animated adaptation of the two miniseries by IDW Publishing.
The series was a stark departure from what Dreamwave originally intended. For starters, the focus was now on the Beast Wars characters who, while having received toys, did not appear on the TV show--and this included characters from the Japanese market and the Botcon conventions. The events of both series took place alongside those of the third season of the Beast Wars cartoon, explained by the combatants being not in sync chronologically (by about 2 seconds) with the cast of the TV show (though some characters make cameos). With this, a much-needed spotlight was thrust, and those same non-show characters got some official character development, with stories as engaging as the original TV show. I thought this would make a good double-feature DVD, since Transformers are getting a more high-profile slab of attention nowadays. Inspired by one of hobohaymaker13's ideas, the DVD cover's original artwork would be done by a collaboration of Andrew Wildman and Guido Guidi. As extras, there would be a trio of bonus episodes from the BW cartoon--"Changing of the Guard", season 3's opener, and "Nemesis" parts 1 and 2, the final episodes; all three were referenced in both of the mini-series. There'd only be a couple of changes, those being the names of a few characters (who are Japan-exclusive), so that the names don't sound so strange to US audiences. Here is my voice cast for these two movies, which would be direct adaptations, in terms of story and art style:
(BTW, I know there are some people who'd want this in CG animation like the old show, but I thought this would be a nice "experiment" in a Beast Wars story in cell animation (which the Japanese ones were).)
Beast Wars: The Gathering
Predacon general Magmatron travels back to the era of the Beast Wars on prehistoric Earth. He's supposed to pick up where former Decepticon-turned-Predacon agent Ravage failed (in the season two episodes "The Agenda" parts 1-3) and retrieve the rogue Megatron, but his actual plan is to gather an army from the Axalon's stasis pods (having been jettisoned in the first episode of season one) and return home to conquer Cybertron. However, Leomus Prime (Lio Convoy in Japan has inserted Razorbeast into the Predacon forces to stop him. Razorbeast manages to keep some of the awakened protoforms as Maximals and then stalls for time and tries to contact Cybertron. Finally, the new Maximals arrive in the nick of time and defeat the Predacon forces. Magmatron is trapped in a timeless void, while Razorbeast and all the other characters settle down in the past to wait and see if Cybertron got their call and will send help.
Beast Wars: The Ascending
Magmatron, through his unique position in the timestream, witnesses the end of Cybertron through the return of the chaos-bringer, Unicron. Magmatron then realizes that his best hope of preventing this catastrophe is to alert Razorbeast's team and the forces of a revived Ravage of the one set to unleash it--the Predacon warlord Shokaract. Meanwhile, Maximal co-leader Massimus Prime (Big Convoy in Japan) investigates a surge in Angolmois-fueled riots all over Cybertron--riots that connect to the very catastrophe Shokoract inadvertently is causing....
Jensen Ackles as the voice of Razorbeast
For picking Ackles, I was inspired by his voice work in Batman: Under the Red Hood, and thought he had the perfect commando voice for one of the major characters in the mini's. I also always figured Ackles would end up in a war movie at some point--he's got a good style for army-types.
Razorbeast transforms into a wild boar.
Mark Harmon as the voice of Leomus Prime
Picking Harmon was inspired by two things: his performance as Superman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, and someone picking him for the voice of Optimus Prime in a Transformers fancast (Superdude001's). Seeing him on NCIS also helps, and while not exactly Optimus Prime-material, Harmon would be great as a successor Prime, who, like Harmon's character of Gibbs, leads a special ops unit.
Leomus Prime transforms into a white lion with a golden mane.
Diedrich Bader as the voice of Massimus Prime (Big Convoy in Japan)
Bader I believe has a good voice for a more combat-ready Prime. It just wouldn't be as over-the-top as his Batman voice, but it would be decent for this particular Maximal leader.
Massimus Prime (when he gets a beast mode) transforms into a wooly mammoth. He heads an investigation into the mass distribution of a forbidden and deadly substance known as Angolmois, which is part of the plan to bring Unicron into the main dimension.
Clancy Brown as the voice of Magmatron
Brown is well known for his extremely commanding and strong voice, and he's a good actor to boot. He's had experience with Transformers before (he voiced Silas, the leader of a human mercenary group called MECH in Transformers: Prime), but this would be the first time he played an actual Transformer. I picked him for Magmatron because this would be the first time he played a villain-turned-reluctant hero in his entire voice-acting career.
Magmatron transforms into a massive dinosaur chimera dubbed Magmasaur, but can split into his individual components (a gigantosaurus, a quetzalcoaltus, and an elasmosaurus) as well.
Lee Tockar as the voice of Ravage
Lee originally voiced Ravage in the Beast Wars cartoon (with a slight Russian accent) in the second season episodes "The Agenda, Parts 1-3", so I'd thought it'd be fitting if he reprised his role here. Ravage, in the third issue of The Gathering, gets revived by Magmatron, who places his spark in a blank protoform affected by the Transmetal Driver (which turned Blackarachnia and Cheetor into Transmetal 2's). His form is based on a 2000 exclusive repaint of Transmetal 2 Cheetor, and when Magmatron gets lost in the timestream, Ravage assumes command of his forces. Later, Magmatron plucks him into the limbo he's trapped in to tell him of the coming danger of Shokaract.
Robert Englund as the voice of Shokaract
Englund has done great voice work with each comic-based role he's been given: Felix Faust in JL/JLU, the Riddler in The Batman, and the Vulture in The Spectacular Spider-Man. He also did Dormammu in The Super Hero Squad Show, but that was a deliberate over-the-top performance. With Shokaract, he can do a full-on megalomaniac, and play it very nicely (like that guest spot he did on Chuck).
Shokaract (when he gets his beast mode), being a repaint of Rampage, transforms into a giant king crab. He is a Predacon warlord who ends up tapping into Angolmois, and plans on assimilating great amounts of it (through what he calls his Anti-Matrix), along with the energy from the chaos inflicted by the Angolmois-fueled riots on Cybertron, so that he may ascend into godhood, unaware of his being a pawn in a much far grander scheme.
Supporting Characters (characters who do have multiple lines)
*These actors here would voice other characters in the films as well, who at least have one line. I may not put pics for all of them, but some of them. For the characters that aren't pictured, you may have to Google them (just make sure you type in Beast Wars alongside the name).
Nolan North as the voice of Wolfang
Wolfang transforms into (what else?) a wolf. North has a good vocal range, but I picture his Cyclops voice (without the whining and guilt) for Wolfang. North would also voice:
Prowl (owl, with a slight Scandanavian accent)
Sky Shadow (slight Spanish accent)
Icebreaker (J-Pan character Break, slight Canadian accent)
Fred Tatasciore as the voice of Bonecrusher
Fred could do a great Native American accent with this guy (he transforms into a buffalo). Fred would also voice:
Icebird (in a voice similar to his Graviton on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes)
Iguanus (Southern accent)
Kickstart (J-Pan character Mach Kick, slight British accent)
John DiMaggio as the voice of Ramulus
DiMaggio here would give Ramulus (who transforms into a ram) a slight Scottish tint. DiMaggio would also voice:
Spittor (in a voice similar to his Hellgrammite on Batman: The Brave and the Bold)
K-9 (slight German accent)
Polar Claw (slight Russian accent)
Powerpinch (slight French accent)
Mr. T as the voice of B'Boom
When I first read Beast Wars: The Gathering, while reading B'Boom's lines, for some reason I can't explain, I pictured the voice of Mr. T. It was perfect. B'Boom transforms into a mandrill (why they named him B'Boom is beyond me).
Dee Bradley Baker as the voice of Snarl
Baker would voice Snarl with an Australian accent (the guy's a Tasmanian devil). Baker is a voiceover virtuoso. He'd also voice:
Barbearian (instead of Survive, who's in Ascending issue 3)
Scourge (slight middle eastern accent, meant not to offend anyone)
Armordillo (southern accent)
Charlie Schlatter as the voice of Optimus Minor
Schlatter's gotten good with the voiceover game. For doing Minor, I'd imagine him using a voice similar to when he voiced the Flash in The Batman. He'd also voice the character Stampdown (J-Pan character Stampy) with a voice similar to Ace Bunny, a character from the much-maligned "Loonatics Unleashed", and the minor Predacon character Insecticon.
Gregg Berger as the voice of Grimlock
Grimlock (whose Beast Wars toy was a repaint of Dinobot) appears in the last two issues of The Gathering in the nick of time. He distracts Magmatron while Razorbeast puts a plan of his into motion, and becomes his unit's go-to heavy hitter (outside Torca). He's also the same G1 Grimlock, so who better to voice him than the man who defined his voice, Gregg Berger. He would also voice Unicron (since he voiced Galactus in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance).
Steven Blum as the voice of Transquito
I imagine Blum doing an imitation of the Space Ghost villain Zorak for this one, with a few more z's in his sentences. He'd also voice:
Coiler (J-Pan character Cohrada, southern accent)
Longview (J-Pan character Longrack)
Rampage (in a slight imitation of the original voice actor, Campbell Lane)
Greg Ellis as Speedbump (J-Pan character Bump)
I went with Ellis for this character because Bump comes off as a somewhat snarky but reliable scientist in The Ascending #3-4. Ellis has played characters like that. I was also inspired by Ellis's turn as Breaker in G.I. Joe: Renegades. Ellis would also voice Drancron.
Kevin Michael Richardson as the voice of Elephorca
Richardson's a pretty versatile voice actor, and very good at what he does. For Elephorca, his voice would be similar to how he did Shadow King in Wolverine and the X-Men. He'd also voice:
Inferno (imitating original VA Jim Byrnes)
Rhinox (imitating original VA Richard Newman)
James Arnold Taylor as the voice of Ikard
Taylor's also a very versatile VA. He'd also voice:
Cheetor (imitating original VA Ian James Corlett)
Grey DeLisle as the voice of Antagony
DeLisle falls into the same category as Richardson and Taylor. She'd also voice the female Maximal Sonar.
Garry Chalk as the voice of Optimus Primal
*A little lazy to not add pics, but you guys might get the idea. Primal (along with Cheetor and Rhinox) appear in the third issue of The Gathering.
David Kaye as the voice of Megatron
Megatron is featured in the 3rd issue of The Gathering (where Inferno, Rampage and Quickstrike make cameos as well), and he engages Magmatron only to be stunned by Drill Bit and Iguanus and captured. Kaye of course would be reprising the role--there's only one person capable of capturing the megalomaniacal Megatron of the Beast era.
The Maximal Elders
Counterclockwise starting left, Michael Bell as Elder Prowl, Charlie Adler as Elder Silverbolt, and Peter Cullen as Elder Ironhide. The bios for these characters in IDW's Beast Wars Sourcebook imply that they're the G1 characters upgraded as Maximals, so I'd thought it would be a nice G1 nod with three original voice actors from the 80's series. And they're not the only ones...
The Tripredacus Council
Clockwise from left, Neil Ross as Sea Clamp, Rob Paulsen as Cicadacon, and Arthur Burghardt as Ramhorn (renamed Chop Shop). Here is another G1 TV show nod with the casting of three more vets of the old show.
And that's that! Comment away, folks!
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