Transformers One Must Give Megatron His Greatest Sci-Fi Story Ever

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

While its focus on nonstop humor has divided fans, the Transformers One trailer has at least one interesting thing going for it: the team-up between Megatron and Optimus Prime. The film will surely draw some of its plot and characterization details from earlier works, and if Paramount wants to resonate with fans, they need to embrace more of the continuity from IDW comics. Those comics showed Megatron rising to power against some justifiably evil Autobot hypocrisy, and including this kind of motivation would add needed depth to the onscreen character while helping to adapt his greatest sci-fi story ever.

Megatron’s Origin

Right now, we don’t know much about how Transformers One will portray Megatron…the trailer mostly emphasizes that he (then called D-16) must reluctantly team up with Optimus Prime (then called Orion Pax) to overcome a larger threat. Certainly, seeing these two foes team up should prove to be interesting: Transformers One is the first animated film in the franchise since the 1986 animated movie in which Megatron actually killed Prime. However, if Paramount wants the new film to resonate with audiences, both new and old, they need to use the IDW continuity for Megatron’s origin.

From The Amazing IDW Comic Line

In these comics, we see that the Transformers homeworld of Cybertron has an oppressive upper class that forces ‘bots into roles as defined by their alternate modes. Megatron is a miner who opposes this caste system (known as Functionism), and he first tries to dismantle the system through writings that inspire and help unite the working class. In the comic The Transformers: Megatron Origin, we see the moment that the Decepticon leader decides that he’ll need more than words to change the world.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

That comic shows Senator Decimus angering workers on an Energon mining outpost by announcing it will be fully automated; when someone protests this change, the politician has the ‘bot killed. This prompts Megatron to attack Decimus, and it isn’t long before he is leading the forces that would become the Decepticons against a corrupt government. Even Optimus Prime eventually agrees the government is corrupt, and he helps Megatron overthrow the Senate and defeat Zeta Prime, but their bromance ends when Prime realizes his ally won’t settle for anything less than a Decepticon dictatorship. 

IDW’s Transformers Comics Are More Than Meets The Eye

The above summary gives only a brief glimpse of how cool IDW’s Transformers comics really were. It’s an open secret that the original Transformers cartoon had a very simplified plot because it was aimed at kids…basically, “the good robots must fight the bad robots.” IDW added depth and pathos to these characters and their struggle, and Transformers One will be much stronger if it channels the story of Megatron rising from the ranks as a kind of working-class hero.

Transformers One Is A Bold Choice By Hollywood

The humorous tone of the Transformers One trailer is a little off-putting, but it’s entirely possible that it will incorporate some of IDW’s Megatron origin. While the trailer implies this will mostly be a kind of “Buddy Bot” movie with the two foes teaming up, it is inevitable the two will have a falling out. By showing that this falling out is a direct result of Megatron taking on a corrupt society and Optimus Prime defending a failed status quo, Paramount could make the heroes and villains of the piece far more interesting while setting up future films that go in very different directions from what we have seen before.

A Chance To Reset The Franchise

As you can probably tell, I’m a big IDW fanboy, so it may just be wishful thinking on my part that Paramount will use Transformers One to adapt such a cool Megatron story. However, I’d be remiss as an 80s kid if I didn’t implore the studio to take some creative risks in order to help the franchise grow. When it comes to making Megatron a hero of an oppressed underclass, Paramount needs to channel the wisdom of Transformers star Shia LaBeouf: “just do it!”