With each new incarnation of Transformers, characters may change but most of them are just variations on their G1 versions. Optimus is a leader, Ratchet is a medic, Ironhide is tough, Bumblebee is the most kid friendly.
One could make an argument that Bumblebee has changed from his original archetype, what with him going from a chubby and inexperienced bot to a warrior who can’t speak, and there’s truth in that, but he’s still the one most marketed towards kids.
Arcee has gone through a change in Prime, from a pink girl character who… Uh… Who… Well, she went from a pink girl who turned into a car and became a character who is more than just a blue girl who turns into a motorcycle. They made her a warrior, gave her backstory, and character development because of her relationship with Jack and various vendettas over dead partners.
That’s an example of a drastic change to a character that’s for the better.
Wheeljack… Not so much. He already had an awesome character archetype. He was an inventor who built crazy inventions that sometimes backfired, a mad scientist who took risks. He was the “Screw it, lets try it!” to Perceptor’s “It should be thoroughly analyzed and tested before we even build a prototype.”
He was awesome.
Again, this is talking about his archetype, his overall concept. G1 wasn’t great at times, but I think its concepts were better than its material.
And that’s where the problem with Transformers Prime Wheeljack comes in. That show has a character that’s called Wheeljack, and it even looks like Wheeljack, but it’s not Wheeljack.
Look, variation is great. Seeing the same story in each Transformers incarnation would be boring, but when you’ve got an established character in the mythos, why would you change it so drastically?
On Prime, Wheeljack is a former Wrecker, a hardened loner type who’s good in a fight and doesn’t take crap from other bots.
Are there no other bots like that in the mythos? Sure there are, but they aren’t big name characters. Their toys don’t sell as well as the main cast of G1 does.
As a character on Prime, I don’t mind Wheeljack. I just hate that they used Wheeljack for that character.
And there’s ways they could’ve blended Wheeljack’s archetype with this new character, like bad experiences in the war causing him to leave behind his crazy inventions for things that ‘always get results,’ becoming a battle hardened warrior and a bitter shell of what he was.
Maybe one of the bad experiences that caused him to go down that path was that one of his inventions blew up and killed a bunch of bots he knew.
It would even give them lots of opportunities for character development, like having an episode where if Wheeljack wants to save his friends, he has to return to what he left behind and invent something on the fly and hope it works.
Instead, we got a generic gruff loner character. Woo.
Like I said, I don’t mind that character, but it could have been better. It could’ve even still been Wheeljack.
Hang on, time to go load my personal canon cannon!
So what do you think, dear readers?