This March, writer Simon Furman closes out his legendary "Transformers" run for a second time with "Transformers: Regeneration One" #100 from IDW Publishing featuring art by Guido Guidi. "Regeneration One," based on the classic Hasbro toys, is the continuation of Marvel Comics' original "Transformers" series which Furman concluded for the first time with issue #80 -- all the way back in 1991. IDW resurrected that series and its continuity with "Regeneration One" #81 in 2012, recruiting Furman to properly close out his "Transformers" saga with a final 20-issue maxi-series.
Furman recently discussed ending his legendary run with CBR News, revealing how #100 caps off the run that began in the '80s, why he turned Rodimus Prime into the "guts n' grit" Prime he always wanted, which infamous inside joke is making it to the final cover and much more.
CBR News: Simon, how has your past 44 issues of "Transformers" been leading to #100?
Simon Furman: Back in the late '80s/early '90s, when I was originally working on the [Marvel] "Transformers" comic, I don't think I had any sense we were building to an ending. That just wasn't in any of our minds. Even the idea of 'story arcs' was much, much vaguer. I was just telling one continuous saga, with some stuff ending but always other stuff continuing. When we did have to end it, it was rushed. Lots of stuff either got tied up much quicker than it was going to be (Optimus Prime's death and rushed rebirth being a case in point) or just slightly got swept under the carpet. Then, twenty-something years later, it was IDW and "you have 20 issues to wrap this up properly, give it the send-off it deserves." So all of a sudden I was thinking, where was I going back then? What do I think deserves a proper wrap-up? And then building a new overall structure onto that, stuff was never in my mind in the Marvel days (and some of which owes a debt to the stuff produced in between). So, some stuff feeds directly from that original run and other stuff is really kind of exclusive to "RG1." But (hopefully) everything dovetails together, and when you get to #100 you feel it's a conclusion to the whole series (Marvel and "RG1") and not just "RG1."
So what exactly is going down in "Regeneration One" #100?
Perhaps not what people are thinking. We've been building to this big confrontation with Jhiaxus (a former Cybertronian senator from before the Great War who stole a bunch of secrets and deleted himself from Cybertronian history), but that is not the end. There's this other 'big bad' that's been staring us in the face and is a lot closer to home (in Cybertronian terms). It's one of those classic, 'even if they win... they lose' scenarios, as what they're fighting is essentially one of their own (in the most fundamental way possible) and the stakes are so much higher, the picture so much bigger than anyone (characters or readers) could have imagined.
Can we expect any familiar faces to reappear during the finale?
One or two, yeah, but largely we're not pulling any 'out of left field' stuff in terms of the characters featured. But there's a few surprises and one or two (haven't seen 'em for a while) cameos. Andrew [Wildman]'s cover to #100 kind of blows one of our big 'this series is a 100-issues old' twists, but there's yet more twists and turns.
Which characters were your favorites over the course of your run?
There are plenty I've become attached to over the many, many "Transformers" stories I've written. Chief among those is probably Grimlock, who isn't me, but I kind wish I was more like him. Stubborn, strong-willed, bloody-minded... oh, wait, that is me! Otherwise it's been fun to write Nightbeat again (a firm favorite), Bludgeon and Galvatron. And I've really enjoyed turning Hot Rod into Rodimus Prime and kind of doing the latter right. For once I wanted a Prime of guts n' grit and affirmative action, and I feel "RG1's" Rodimus is all those things.
It was always the plan to end this series at issue #100, correct?
Really, that was just the idea, and what appealed to all of us. Let's finish this. Not let it amble on and maybe get canned again. The fact that we got 20 issues, a #0 issue and our Free Comic Book Day #80.5 issue (and #100 is a giant-sized issue) is all the more amazing when you realize this was originally pitched as 5 or 6-issue limited series.
Do you think working with a 20-issue lead time let you tell a more compelling story than you were able to back with the original Marvel series?
"RG1" is a lot more structured and ordered and there really was a 20-issue plan (though I freely admit it's evolved over its run). But it was good to know (in macro terms) where we going and (roughly) how to get there from the start. The original 80 issues were more organic, free-form.
What does it feel like to put an end to this series for a second time? Is there more closure this time around?
As much as this series is for the fans, to give them some proper closure on what, let's face it, is the series that really started everything ("Transformers"-wise), it's also for us, the creators. It always felt like unfinished business, and it's nice to lay it to rest in a form that's as well-rounded as this. Job done.
Could we see spinoffs or miniseries set in this continuity down the line or are you putting a definitive end to all of it?
It's a definitive end. Sort of. Y'know, it's splitting hairs but how definitive does it have to be to be classed as definitive? This is "Transformers." Which never ends. But it is an end. Until anyone with the power to make it happen says different.
Do you have any desire to work on any of the other "Transformers" books for IDW once "Regeneration One" wraps up?
Oh sure. Me and "Transformers" aren't done, not by a long chalk (I hope). My work slate's pretty full, but I'll always find some time for the robots in disguise. We've been together for 30 years now. That won't end with "RG1."
What's next for you after "Regeneration One?"
Right now I'm heavily involved in an animated TV show, "Matt Hatter Chronicles," both as lead writer and script supervisor. I'm doing some graphic novels based on "How to Train Your Dragon" for Titan; Writing two movies; and working on a new creator-owned project (web) with Geoff Senior and another (animated) with Andrew Wildman.
Finally, can we expect to see "#100 of a 4-issue limited series" on the cover of issue #100?
But of course.
"Transformers: Regeneration One" #100 by writer Simon Furman and artist Guido Guidi #1 is on sale in March from IDW Publishing.