Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

A place for the author to share her thoughts and musings about the Heroic Decepticons and/or the art of writing fan fiction.

The “Heroic” in Heroic Decepticons Explained

Who, or what, are the Heroic Decepticons? How are the Heroic Decepticons heroic, exactly? Are they heroic in the same way that people generally consider the Autobots to be heroic? Are the alignment of the two factions reversed, and the Autobots are now evil? Does making Decepticons heroic mean that they lose that toughness that is normally associated with being a Decepticon? Finally, and perhaps most importantly: what does it mean to be a hero?

Allow me to answer each question in turn.

1. Who, or what, are the Heroic Decepticons?

Let me begin by saying that in the broadest sense, a hero is always aligned to “good” (there’s no such thing as a villainous hero, is there? Or an heroic villain, for that matter). Hence the Heroic Decepticons are “good”, though admittedly the term “Heroic” is rather cliché, in that it is only a very general description of who or what the Decepticons are, and is used primarily to distinguish them from the canonical Decepticons.

The kind of heroism I’m really talking about here is the truest kind of heroism.

The entire basis for the Decepticon cause – it’s whole reason for being – is integrity and honour, and thus it must always exemplify the highest values possible, whether expressed through an individual’s or through the group’s thoughts, words or deeds. This is where their alignment of “good” really comes in. It’s all about embodying personal integrity, which in turn translates to an inner heroism – and that’s really what the Heroic Decepticons are all about – something that is virtually non-existent in the canon – but which is the primary reason for the creation of the Heroic Decepticons. Other than this issue of integrity, everything else about the Heroic Decepticons is as near to G1 canon as possible (though it may also include elements from any other continuity).

2. How are the Heroic Decepticons heroic, exactly?

Other than the character traits I pointed out above – those of integrity and honour – the Heroic Decepticons are heroic in a few different ways. For example, they genuinely care for one another, are completely loyal and show a deep level of trust – not only to one another but also to their cause. Also, whether individually or as a group, their purpose is always based upon the highest values. Oh, and yes, sometimes they do the “hero” thing and save those in need, but it’s never a contrived thing. In essence, the Heroic Decepticons demonstrate their heroism through who they naturally are, and through their leadership, which in turn dictates what they do, rather than the other way around – performing acts of heroism in order to prove to everyone else (or themselves) of their goodness and then revelling in the acclaim (not specifically looking at the Autobots here or anything…).

3. Are they heroic in the same way that people generally consider the Autobots to be heroic?

Well, in all honesty… no, not really. But again, refer to the points above; it’s not so much that they can’t or won’t do what the Autobots do (being the “good guys”), it’s more that they don’t like to be typecast in that way. Again, it’s all about being true to who they are – that thing called integrity – and sharing their truth with others of the same ilk, rather than fitting into a limiting mould that pigeon-holes them into the “perfect super heroes, defenders of the weak”.

Because after all, those kinds of heroes need victims to exist in order to play the hero – one can’t exist without the other. They also tend to have an air of superiority about them (this is very true about the Autobots, have you ever noticed?), while some even need to be praised or even worshipped to feel good about themselves. The Decepticons are definitely not this type of heroes.

4. Are the alignment of the two factions reversed, and the Autobots are now evil?

No. Compared to canon, the Decepticons’ alignment is flipped from evil to good, however only those canonical elements that are necessary to achieve this have been altered for the Heroic Decepticons multiverse and nothing more, which means that the Autobots’ alignment remains unchanged. It’s not a mirror verse, or Shattered Glass.

5. Does making Decepticons heroic mean that they lose that toughness that is normally associated with being a Decepticon?

Nope. I’ve purposely made sure that the characters retain their distinct Decepticon “bad boy” appeal. In other words, they haven’t become Autobots – and never will be.

6. Finally, and perhaps most importantly: what does it mean to be a hero?

This is a question that really needs to be appreciated beyond the scope of the Heroic Decepticons, but I have touched upon a bit of it already. A hero, to most people, is a personal saviour, or someone they admire or look up to (but at the same time see them as better than). However, a true hero, in my view, is not so much someone who saves others in an external sense, but someone who is able to show others, usually through example, that the real hero is the strength and courage found within ourselves, and not in others. The best way to do this is to have integrity. Only by having integrity in oneself, to be able to exemplify strength and leadership rather than victim-ness, is one able to help others realize those same virtues in themselves – the truth of who they really are – rather than highlighting their weaknesses by “saving” them.

But I think more importantly, the mark of a true hero is one who possesses the courage to see the truth, and act accordingly. This is never an easy task because of the ease in which one can be deceived, but also because those who actually do manage to see past all the convincing lies and brainwashing to get to the truth are invariably always vilified, persecuted or attacked in some way. Yet they will always stand up for truth, even when it means having to do so in the midst of adversity, or at the risk of suffering. This is the true meaning of “Heroic” in “Heroic Decepticons”.

Heroic Decepticon Starscream

One of the most blatantly abused and often misrepresented characters in the entirety of the Transformers fandom is Starscream (second is Megatron, but I will discuss him in a separate blog post). In the canon, Starscream is never anything but treacherous, arrogant, manipulative, selfish, egotistical, self-centered, you get the picture. So how can he be anything else? Well, he can be, and is. Allow me to introduce you to Heroic Decepticon Starscream.

So who is Starscream? Well, he is certainly ambitious, yes. But is he a traitor? No, absolutely not. Is he arrogant, egotistical and self-centered? Again, no, although he is passionate, strong-willed, up front, and stands up for what he believes in. Most people (or mechs) probably could not tolerate his straightforward, don’t-care-what-you-think attitude, and may even find him abrasive or intimidating. But that is precisely the reason why he is Air Commander, and second-in-command of the Decepticons. I want to be absolutely clear here; he’s no pansy, and he is definitely no weakling. He does not tolerate victim-ness, or cowardice, or abuse. He is quite the opposite, in fact, to the way that canon portrays him, or most fan fiction writes him.

Starscream is a magnanimous character. He is one of those truly great characters, who possesses a larger-than-life persona and a very strong personality. Intelligent, skilled, fast – yes, he’s all those things, too – but there is also a strong sense of royalness about him, both in a spiritual and a symbolic sense (remember the coronation – you think that’s just a coincidence?). And I think that is the real reason why he’s such a controversial character who finds himself perpetually in the spotlight (and either much adored or much despised). He can’t help but reappear again and again and again, no matter how many times the official authors or the fandom attempts to kill him off for good or permanently replace him (immortal spark – another coincidence?). They can’t get rid of him that easily – he’s simply too strong and has too much of an impact.

What about the relationship between Starscream and the rest of the Decepticons, in particular Megatron? Well, again, I don’t agree with the canon. Watching the early G1 cartoon episodes, it’s blatantly obvious to me that the attempt to portray Starscream and Megatron in a constant power play against one other just feels very contrived. The spoken lines and motives presented in those early episodes in which they endeavour to establish rivalry between the two just feels forced and unnatural. But it’s difficult to suggest the true nature of their relationship without first delving into Megatron’s character as well, so for now I’ll just say that as Heroic Decepticons, no such rivalrous relationship exists. Instead, we have two very different, yet two very powerful characters in their own right coming together in a common cause that forms the basis of an extremely strong and loyal bond of friendship between them. Prequel: Origins in the Rise of the Decepticons series delves into their individual  backgrounds a little bit and shows how the two of them both played an equally important role in bringing about the rise of the new Decepticon faction, out of necessity as well as a mutual desire to conquer their enemies and assert their fundamental freedoms as Cybertronians. Here, Megatron is Starscream’s long-time mentor, but is also a most loyal and trustworthy friend who is willing to do whatever it takes to assure the ambitious seeker’s safety and well-being. Very different to the canon, I know, but I feel that a friendship built upon loyalty and trust is a far better representation of the true nature of their relationship.

Another manufactured aspect of Starscream’s character that the official material loves to repeatedly present to us is that he is incompetent. In almost every episode he appears in, he fails in one way or another, or is the one who chooses to work against Megatron or the other Decepticons, or indulges in some selfish plot or another which ultimately backfires. In fan fiction, his portrayal tends to be even worse, because in fan fiction his incompetence is allowed to extend into personal relationships and all sorts of other (questionable) grey areas that are never touched upon in the official stories. I struggle to find a story that depicts him as the strong, competent and highly intelligent Decepticon Air Commander that he actually is.

Starscream’s natural leadership and stubborn determination are exemplified in Trouble in Paradise, where he plays a crucial role in helping the Decepticons earn the Paridisians’ trust. In most Heroic Decepticon stories that Starscream has starred in, he has been cast in a leading role, or is an important part of the story. Even in Heroes, his personality can’t be diminished nor can his spirit be dampened, no matter the situation he finds himself in or the trials he must go through. But nowhere are these character traits more highlighted than in Last Mech Standing, a fast-paced psychological thriller in which Starscream is forced to deal with a situation that requires all of his courage, skill and heroism if he is to save himself and his friend from certain death.

His relationship with the other Decepticons, particularly his trine mates, is another point that leaves a bad taste for me when it comes to his public portrayal. It is the basis of one of the major differences between the canon character and the Heroic Decepticon Starscream: the issue of loyalty. Starscream is completely loyal, not only to the Decepticon cause but also to his Decepticon companions. He would never dream of usurping Megatron, or betraying his wing mates. Thundercracker and Skywarp are not just fellow seekers, they are like brothers to him.

And what about that thing with Skyfire that many fans can’t seem to lay to rest. Once again, however, we can thank canon for encouraging the ridiculous notion that Starscream has some sort of intimate relationship with, or deep feelings for, Skyfire. It’s just a terrible idea that doesn’t really make sense. In the Heroic Decepticons main timeline, Skyfire does appear as a fellow scientist who worked at the same research facility that Starscream did, and yes they were even amicable towards one another. Eventually, however, after many vorns pass and countless battles are fought on many fronts, Skyfire is just another Autobot who is wary of all Decepticons by the time they arrive on Earth with the rest of the Ark crew (unlike canon, he is not found trapped under the ice after eons), and for him Starscream is no exception (as hinted at in Last Stop Station).

In terms of his physical appearance, Heroic Decepticon Starscream is identical to the G1 version. I hope to come up with some art work that I can post here at a later date.

The Heroic Decepticons: An Introduction

The series of posts in this category (Behind the Scenes) is intended as an introduction to the Heroic Decepticons. It may include my personal point of view about the fandom, the canon and fan fiction, as well as my reasons and motivations behind writing for the Heroic Decepticons.

The Heroic Decepticons Alternate Universe(s) is a (set of continuities part of a larger) multiverse that contains many canonical elements, mainly from G1 but it may also adopt characters and concepts from any and all other official continuities, whether cartoon, comic book or live-action movie. Most of the official Decepticon character profiles have been revised and altered to suit Heroic Decepticons as a necessity. The Heroic Decepticon multiverse is not based upon Shattered Glass. In basic terms, it is like the normal G1 canonical universe but the main Decepticons are heroic and not evil. Unlike Shattered Glass, however, it is not a “mirror-verse” where the two sides swap roles and the Autobots are essentially evil.

The Heroic Decepticons multiverse is vast and comprised of various continuities. Each of the categories listed below can be further sub-divided into either past, present or future.

    1. (HD1) – The main (“official”) universe. Episodes from the Rise of the Decepticons series form part of this main universe (set in the past).
    2. (HDT) – Alternate timelines of HD1. These timelines share the same basic world as HD1, but fundamentally differ in terms of the events that take place. For example, The French Bug and other related one-shots all share the same alternate timeline (set in the present).
    3. (HDA) – This category includes all other alternate universes that are separate to HD1 and HDT. For example, Transformers: Heroes is set in one of these alternate universes, in the future.
    4. (HDF) – Alternate universe (fantasy). These are timelines or universes that have no bearing whatsoever on the main Universe, and are primarily intended as pure “make-believe”, which may involve one or more nonsensical, fantastical or otherwise far-fetched plot, world or setting. Before We Were Famous falls into this category (set in the past).

This can all get confusing, but I’ve done this so as to not limit the myriad possibilities of expressions that is possible for the Heroic Decepticons.

Just as a side note – while it is possible to tie the Heroic Decepticons multiverse into G1 canon by filling in the gaps and providing an alternate explanation for some critical canonical events that wouldn’t necessarily contradict the established mythos, I am reluctant to explore this avenue because it would be a bit of a stretch and I don’t really like the direction the stories would have to take in order to achieve such a tie-in.

I should point out that every character in Heroic Decepticons is unique; there is no duplicate or namesake character, or unrelated versions of the same, even if he or she appears in two or more Heroic Decepticon alternate universes. For example, there is only one Heroic Decepticon Megatron, not several such as a G1 version, a Galvatron (who would be a separate character in Heroic Decepticons), a G2 version, an IDW version, a Beast Wars version, an RiD version, a live-action movie version, a War for Cybertron version, an Animated version… and so on and so on. So the same Heroic Decepticon Megatron who appeared in Rise of the Decepticons will be the same one who stars in Heroes, or The French Bug. It will be the same unique character even if he or she may appear in different stories that are set in separate Heroic Decepticon continuities or in alternate Heroic Decepticon universes. In other words, the same character may have alternate versions of themselves, but it won’t ever be a completely different character.

So if the Decepticons are heroic, and the Autobots aren’t evil, I hear you say, then who are the villains in Heroic Decepticons? Well, that’s a good question and I will answer it by simply saying that the Heroic Decepticons multiverse is populated by a vast number of different species and alien worlds (including but certainly not limited to Earth and Cybertron), any of which may include villains of varying degrees of wickedness. Whilst the Autobots as a whole can’t be categorized as “evil”, per se, that doesn’t mean that there doesn’t exist shades of grey in their midst – be it ignorance, bigotry, vanity or bitterness – expressed through certain characters to varying degrees. Same goes for several non-heroic “Decepticons”. In other words, many different kinds of characters from all spheres of life may exhibit such undesirable traits from simply being naïve or self-serving, to being the full embodiment of evil itself. In Heroic Decepticons, I strive to convey the quality of a character or species as I feel they naturally are or would be, without contrivance. Some portrayals may differ slightly from one universe or continuity to the next, but overall they should remain consistent. So in short – there is no shortage of possible villains in the Heroic Decepticon multiverse.

One good example of this is Sentinel Prime. This character, who is based off the live-action movie version and to an extent the comics rather than the Animated version, is very sinister in his role in Heroes, whereas in the series (Rise of the Decepticons) he is a little more flexible, a little more give-and-take. How are these two slightly different versions of the same character reconciled? Well, it might be explained by the fact that the two continuities he appears in are set in vastly different timelines; the latter describes tales of the Decepticons’ early adventures, during a time when they had just formed (the Second Era, or Golden Age of Cybertron). Heroes, on the other hand, is set in the distant future (the Fourth Era), which may explain much of the two Sentinel Primes’ personality differences (Heroes, by the way, also exists in an alternate universe – see above). Would the early Sentinel Prime be capable of doing the things that Sentinel Prime from Heroes would do? The answer is yes… although it would be unlikely, because he has simply not lived long enough to develop into a darker version of himself – yet it is certainly within the realm of possibility for this Heroic Decepticon character. Furthermore, any character’s personality traits are partly the result of their accumulated experiences, which may change from one alternate continuity to the next as their history alters, and hence this change may in turn be reflected in their personality. However, Sentinel Prime is a unique, individual character who is consistent throughout.

It is true that I have strong feelings about the Decepticons – hence why I started the Heroic Decepticons in the first place, as an alternate to canon. Now, just because the canon represents the authoritative source for (most) fans, as a fan fiction author and Transformers fan I have come to understand something different and have chosen to disregard official profiles and story as mostly false, and instead wish to offer an entirely different perspective of the characters whilst retaining all the familiar traits that I feel are true and that honour them. I won’t get into the whole ‘but how can fiction be true?!’ thing here because that is a topic that requires its own essay (but what I will say is that in the realm of cause there is no distinction between fiction and reality), but for now I’m just going to make a few statements based on my own perspective.

It’s one reason why I love to write about the Heroic Decepticons. It gives certain characters the opportunity to shine, to show the world who they really are. Again, the world (which is made up of all the readers and fans) can choose to accept them or not – it doesn’t really matter – what matters is that the outlet, the expression for such alternate characterizations and story telling, is allowed to exist. I am compelled to write the characters and their stories in a particular way, and would not be able to write them differently even if I tried. I strongly believe that, as a serious author (fan fiction or original), one should write his/her stories to honour his/her characters, and not the other way around: write the characters to glorify the story or even the writer. My advice is that if you always respect the characters you write for, I can guarantee you that your story will turn out exactly as it should. Not even canon gets this part right much of the time.

So it’s no secret that I don’t respect much of canon, but what I will do is acknowledge the fact that canon does reflect a lot of truthful (what I consider to be truthful) elements, though a lot of misinterpretation exists along with those elements. It’s also interesting to note that as far as character representations go, it’s primarily the Decepticons who have been majorly misrepresented or under-represented, as opposed to the Autobots’ character portrayals, which are more in alignment with the true nature of those characters (I have a good theory as to why this is so, but I won’t go into that here). Henceforth, this is another reason why I want to write about the Heroic Decepticons. I want to give the Decepticons an opportunity to be themselves, if you will, without being hindered by dogma or misconceptions or established mythos. Not all “Decepticons”, mind you – some of them really are not that “heroic”, but I don’t really consider those to be true Decepticons – Overlord, Scorponok, Lord Straxus, Unicron, to name just a few. In the same way that not all Autobots have good intentions. Just like in real life, one shouldn’t stereotype an entire class of people (or mechs) based solely on their allegiance, origins, function, race, or whatever.

The world of official Transformers is riddled with alternate realities, timelines, continuities and multiverses ad infinitum, more so than many other fandoms, so what’s one more? In fact, there’s a myriad more Transformers universes out there even beyond the ones that are officially recognized, including those conceived by other fan fiction authors – which can be equally valid in the realm of creation. But this isn’t a coincidence. So I ask, why so many? And, why do none of them really show the Decepticons in their truest light (at least, to a level that I am happy with)? Shattered Glass comes close, but it is not ideal. One reason: The Decepticons’ true nature has never seriously been questioned, since authoritative sources have already provided us with the answer. And yet, here I am, unhappy with the official narrative and unable to accept it. So, I looked for an alternative explanation that could satisfy both my intuitive understandings and my love for these characters. What I discovered was not only a pleasant surprise, but it also helped me to understand and connect the dots about certain current events and the state of our world – themes which I find regularly weave their way into my stories – not always consciously. Is this a coincidence? I think not. I won’t elaborate on that too much, although my ongoing web novel Heroes certainly hints at and attempts to explore some of them.

In the following blog posts I’m going to go into a bit more detail about each Heroic Decepticon character and attempt to offer some insights into who they are and the particular roles they play.