If you grew up in the ‘90s, you probably have fond memories of Transformers: Beast Wars—the strange Transformers television sequel that introduced incredible new CGI graphics, a darker storyline, and unforgettable characters (and toys).
Since the ‘80s, Transformers has captivated fans. At first, people were up in arms about the move from vehicles to animals—the motto “TRUKK NOT MUNKY” was spouted across the fandom, as a way of disapproving of the switch that Beast Wars made.
But that was soon forgotten as people realized it was an incredible show in its own right. It had excellent writing, characterization, animation, and action. But there’s… more than meets the eye… as they say.
Here are 16 things you didn’t know about Beast Wars that will threaten your childhood memories.
16 The Writers Were Lost
At first, writers Larry DiTillio and Bob Forward had no idea what they were doing when they came aboard Beast Wars. They were unfamiliar with the Transformers franchise, and they set out to create a unique show—which ended up working masterfully. They didn’t just rehash the old series’ characters and concepts, but they created a genuine sci-fi show that went in a different direction completely. Even the second moon was a stroke of luck, because no one knew at first if the setting was Earth.
15 The Writers Loathed Waspinator
Much to the chagrin of creators, Waspinator became a huge fan-favorite. Poor, bumbling, foolish Waspinator, who talked in third person and spoke in an ear-piercing, buzzing way. Originally, writers Larry DiTillio and Bob Forward hated how many Zs appeared in their scripts due to Waspinator. So, he was destroyed as much as they could, but Megatron kept rebuilding him. Finally, Waspinator became too popular to kill off, and Hasbro kept him alive.
14 Expenses Limited Production
CGI cartoons, especially in the ‘90s, took a lot of money to build. There were sets, props, costumes—all the things regular films need—plus they had to build the actors. Building each new character was time-consuming and costly. So, they had to cut corners. A new character called Wolfgang, for instance, was too expensive to create, so they re-purposed the Cheetor model and called it Maximal Tigatron.
13 Rattrap And Rhinox Are Abbott And Costello
You might not have known who Abbot and Costello were as a kid, but they’re one of the most well-known comedy duos of all time. Rattrap and Rhinox are a classic example of the Abbot and Costello dynamic—the smart guy versus wiseguy trope. Rhinox is slow-moving, intelligent, and patient, while Rattrap is his fast-talking, wise-cracking companion. It adds just a little more depth to the show, knowing that.
12 Hasbro Couldn’t Afford New Characters
Like we said earlier, building Beast Wars was expensive. Because of that, when Mainframe redesigned characters to work into the toy line, they ended up not being able to introduce as many new characters as they wanted. This is partly why the cast ends up in a cliffhanger at the end of each season, because Hasbro wouldn’t need to create brand new characters each year and turn them into toys.
11 The Japanese Dub Is Funnier
Something that nostalgia can’t bring back is the fact that the Japanese dub of Beast Wars was hilarious—and most of us will never know. The characters in the Japanese dub are crazy, self-aware versions of themselves who frequently break the fourth wall, make “pew pew” sounds when they fire weapons, and talk with the audience. It adds a whole lot of hilarity that was missing from the American version of the show.
10 It’s Not Set In The Past
Contrary to popular belief, Beast Wars actually isn’t set in the ancient past. Despite there being dinosaurs, huge mammals, and stone age humans amidst the battling robots, the show is set in the future of the G1 Transformers timeline. And what made this possible? Time travel, of course. 300 years after the Autobot victory, the Predacons stole the golden record off the Voyager space probe and the Maximal ship pursued Megatron through a warp portal.
9 Megatron Wasn’t Always A T-Rex
This doesn’t necessarily ruin Beast Wars, but it was a near-miss that could have been catastrophic for the creators. Originally, before the show was released, the Hasbro toys were paired with a mini-comic. In that comic, Megatron was a crocodile instead of a T-Rex. He wasn’t alone: Optimus Primal was a bat instead of a gorilla.
8 The Hidden Cybertronix Text
Like many writers who create their own languages that viewers cannot decipher, the writers of Beast Wars encoded some cryptic, sometimes dirty messages in their Cybertronix text. The made-up language has a complete alphabet, but since no one on the show could read it, the writers hid strange messages and easter eggs in a lot of the writing. It wasn’t until years later when nerds could finally go online to decipher the texts.
7 Origins Of The Golden Disk
The events that kicked off Beast Wars were based around a mysterious artifact that Megatron had stolen, called the Golden Disk. Little do people know, though, that the Golden Disk is actually real! It is the golden record that was contained on the Voyager space probe. Built by Carl Sagan, the golden record contains information about humanity and Earth, and mathematics that proves our species’ knowledge.
6 Dinobot Quotes Shakespeare
You might not have known it as a kid watching Beast Wars, but fan-favorite Dinobot was not only a philosopher and thespian—he also quoted Shakespeare. Much like the Klingon General Chang from Star Trek (and possibly an homage to him), Dinobot mostly quoted Hamlet, such as his last line in the show, “The rest is silence,” which was also the last line from the Danish Prince in the play.
5 The Beast Wars Crew Made ReBoot
ReBoot was a great show, and if you’re not familiar with it, definitely check it out. The “rebooted” Netflix version isn’t good, so stick with the original. Vancouver-based studio Mainframe did a lot to move CGI into the 21st century, including creating ReBoot, which pushed the possibilities for computer graphics at the time. Just like how Mainframe matured the Transformers franchise, they also had great storytelling for a children’s show in ReBoot.
4 Dinobot Never Had The Redemption He Deserved
This might cut deep: there was originally a planned episode to redeem Dinobot. In the series’ final episode, after Rampage fuses with Dinobot and the Predacon is eliminated, the dormant Dinobot awaked to remember everything, and he refuses to destroy the Maximals pursuing him. There was an episode written for season 3 that would have found Rattrap finding Dinobot’s original personality matrix in a crashed pod. Unfortunately, the episode was cut, and fans had to piece together the lost information.
3 There Are Two Sequels… In Japan
Just like how the Japanese dub of Beast Wars was crazy, there are also two sequels that were pretty great. Most people in North America won’t ever get to see them. Beast Wars was a huge success in Japan, and they continued the story with Beast Wars II and then Beast Wars Neo, though neither of them really “continue” the story that Beast Wars was building.
2 The Show Continues In Comic Form
This definitely won’t ruin your childhood, but it might advance it! If you’ve been nostalgic about Beast Wars, you should know that the story continues in comic form. IDW has published tons of comics that continue the story, even including events from the Beast Wars II and Neo Japanese sequels. They also connect Beast Wars to the larger Transformers universe, by linking the creation of the Predacons and Maximals to the destruction of Unicron.
1 The Original Theme Song Almost Made The Cut
This is one of those “would’ve been a lot cooler if you did” moments—it doesn’t ruin what we already know, but it could’ve been better. During the epic season 2 finale, the Predacons and Maximals brawl, and Ravage transforms into his old cassette form with the old transformation sound playing, as well as some heavy guitar shredding. That guitar shredding was originally meant to be a portion of “More Than Meets The Eye,” but copyright issues killed the idea.
References: imdb.com, wikipedia.com, beastwars25.weebly.com, beastwarstransformers.fandom.com