Comic Book Day: Transformers Prime’s Mairghread Scott and Mike Johnson
by Kyle Anderson on March 20, 2013
Writers Mairghread Scott and Mike Johnson have robots on the brain – robots in disguise, to be precise. They’ve worked on scripts for The Hub’s excellent Transformers Prime and spinoff material since its inception in 2010, telling a new story of a small band of Autobots staving off a full-on invasion of Earth by Megatron’s Decepticons. In November of 2012, they teamed up to write the limited comics series Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots for IDW, a limited series which tells the story of the last-ditch effort by the Dinobots to protect Cybertron from Shockwave while Optimus and company were aboard the Ark. With the third and final season of the cartoon series, dubbed Beast Hunters, getting ready to premiere on Friday, March 22nd, Scott and Johnson teamed up again for a comic, this time telling the parallel story of the Dinobots’ activities while Earth’s Autobots are at a breaking point.
We spoke to the writers about living in a world full of robots.
NERDIST: How does your book tie into the Prime mythos?
MAIRGHREAD SCOTT: We’re still working with the same great characters from our Rage of the Dinobots miniseries, but we’ve jumped forward in time quite a bit so that we can eventually bring them into the heart of the Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters TV show. We want our first few issues to give fans of the award-winning animated series a totally new perspective on what’s happening on Cybertron, while giving people new to the Transformers brand a firm grounding in the world before we embrace the awesomeness that is Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters.
MIKE JOHNSON: We have the opportunity in the comics to go places, show things, and meet Transformers characters that the animated series doesn’t have the room to show on screen. We are lucky to be able to work closely with the show producers at Hasbro Studios to ensure that there is a seamless transition from comic to show and vice versa.
N: How do the Dinobots fit into the Autobots’ story in the latest season of the show, Beast Hunters?
MS: One thing Prime TV show fans always ask for was more: more characters, more locations and a bigger playground for the Prime universe and the Beast Hunters comic will give it to them. Instead of directly tracking the events of the Autobots on Earth, our goal is to build out a new storyline and larger world that the Prime Bots can be thrown into later on. I sometimes think of us as Transformers Prime: Meanwhile…on Cybertron. Obviously the Autobots and their adventures on Earth are the core of the Beast Hunters TV show, but we’ve really tried to listen to our fans who wanted to explore more of our world in ways a CG show’s time and budget don’t always allow. The Beast Hunters comic is going to give people who watch the show a whole new outlook on the events in Season 3, while giving people who don’t watch the show a great place to start loving the Transformers brand.
MJ: There’s a very good reason for both the show and the comic series to be called Beast Hunters, and we are embracing that from the get-go. It’s a very cool new direction for the characters. Nobody wanted to play it safe and just show the ‘Bots (both Auto and Dino) going through familiar motions. The goal is to challenge the characters and show how they respond to those challenges in new and unexpected ways.
N: Who are your favorite characters to write on the show?
MS: When I work on the TV show, I always end up writing a lot of Miko. She’s such a great character in my view: always ready for adventure, never daunted by a challenge and completely loyal to her friends. I think, more than anyone, I wish I had been more like Miko at her age. She’s someone who has embraced life (and the Autobots) from Day 1 and that is something all too rare in real life.
MJ: I was fortunate to write two episodes that focused on my favorite Prime character, Arcee. I loved writing her unique voice as the female ‘Bot surrounded by the guys. It was an added bonus to explore her relationship with Cliffjumper. They had a nice Bonnie & Clyde vibe going as partners (if you substitute punching Decepticons for robbing banks.)
N: Are there any Transformers, Autobot or Decepticon, that you want to see get brought back in the Prime ‘verse?
MS: Metroplex. He would probably be a nightmare to write (power creep, anyone?) but I freaking loved him in the Fall of Cybertron video game and I have this vision of Metroplex as the ultimate clubhouse. Like if the castle from Howl’s Moving Castle was a little more sentient, or if HAL 9000 was less evil.
MJ: I got my wish already: Grimlock. I’m old enough to have grabbed the original Grimlock off the store shelf back in the day, so to be able to write the character in his newest incarnation is a treat.
N: You also work on your own books, what are you working on now?
MJ: I’m writing the comics prequel to the upcoming movie Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as the ongoing Trek comic series that shows what transpired between the last movie and the new one and will continue the story after Into Darkness.
MS: I’m still writing for animated television, which is frustratingly hush-hush, but I have some really great pitches brewing, so stay tuned.
You all stay tuned as well for the third and final season of Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters, which premieres this Friday, March 22nd at 7pm ET on The Hub.