Unlike many though, I don’t feel like Michael Bay damaged my childhood memories. I am capable of separating the two Transformers, to the point I can enjoy both and appreciate both for what they are. So when Del Rey Books announced they would be publishing several prequels to Transformers—set long before Optimus Prime and his Autobots came to Earth—I was excited. The more Transformers I can get the better.
Del Rey Books tapped author Alex Irvine to write those prequels. Alex has worked on a number of projects over the years, my favorite being One King, One Soldier. Having met him, I also knew Alex to be a child of the 80’s, one who could tackle the Transformer source material with absolute care and respect.
He did just that. Here is a bit more about the new prequel, Transformers: Exiles:
The epic battles between Optimus Prime and Megatron have long thrilled Transformers fans. But these two giants weren’t always great leaders and bitter foes. This new novel continues the electrifying saga that started with Transformers: Exodus, unveiling the origins of the conflict—the explosive events that unfolded before Optimus and Megatron arrived Earthside, forever altering the destiny of their kind.
Once allies, Optimus and Megatron are now enemies in a civil war. To prevent Cybertron from falling into Megatron’s hands, Optimus jettisons the planet’s heart, the AllSpark, into space, then sets out to find it with Megatron hot on his heels. Optimus is determined to defeat Megatron, bring the AllSpark home, and restore Cybertron to its former glory.
But a saboteur lurks aboard Optimus’s spaceship, and ahead lie lost colonies, some of them hostile. Optimus needs help of the highest caliber, but from whom? Heroes such as Solus, Nexus, and Vector Prime are just names from make-believe stories of long ago. Or are they? Maybe it’s time for Optimus Prime to find out. Maybe it’s the only chance he has to vanquish mighty Megatron.
Who is Alex’s favorite Transformer? Here is the interview with Alex Irvine:
INTERVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: EXILES BY ALEX IRVINE
Shawn Speakman: Hi Alex! You’ve written two tie-in novels for Transformers — EXODUS and EXILES. How did you get the chance to work on one of the most recognized franchises on the planet?
Alex Irvine: Well, that was thanks to Tricia Pasternak. I’d worked with her on an Iron Man novel and (memory fails) a couple of other things. When the Transformers project rolled around she asked me if I was interested…and of course I was. Then I had a bunch of conversations with Michael Kelly and the rest of the cool cats at Hasbro, and off we went.
SS: Where do these books fit in with the chronology of the movies and how much liberty were you given since they were prequels?
AI: I had a lot of liberty within the broader parameters of Hasbro continuity. In Exodus, my mandate was essentially to tell the history of the civil war and tie it to the portions of the story presented in the War for Cybertron video game. Transmedia! But within that framework, I could do anything. I wanted Optimus to believe what Megatron was preaching initially, so that when Megatron betrays his own principles it’s a real shock to Optimus, and leaves a scar that never quite heals. Exiles continues that story and also tees up some things that you might see in the coming season (or seasons?) of Transformers: Prime.
(By the way, speaking of Megatron: for those Unbound Worldsdes of either sex who do not follow the NFL, the Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is nicknamed Megatron.)
SS: What kinds of things will Transformers fans learn if they read EXILES?
AI: They will learn about lost Cybertronian colonies—including Velocitron and Junkion; some of the history of the Thirteen; and how Optimus deals with betrayal when he has to confront the fact that one of the Autobots is a spy for Megatron. Also there are cool fights. They might see a kind of bot that is very rarely seen, and they will certainly learn something interesting about the origin of Junkion. And did I mention the…? Oh. I can’t mention those.
SS: Got a favorite Transformer? And I have to know, do you own him in toy form?
AI: Starscream! And yes, although my son Ian took him apart a while back and we never did find all the pieces. So he has transformed into something else.
SS: An age-old question: Can Optimus and Megatron ever settle their differences and become friends again?
AI: I envision the two of them on the porch of the Home for Aged Star-Faring Cybertronians in Iacon, sipping Maccadam’s and…by which I mean no. I think that Megatron would never let it happen. He’s too resentful about Optimus becoming the standard-bearer for the movement Megatron created, and he’s also never going to get over Optimus being named Prime.
SS: You are always busy with something. What are you currently working on and when will we be able to see it?
I’m putting the finishing touches on my Star Wars novel right now. It’s due to come out at the end of next year. I would tell you the title, but I’m still fiddling with different ideas. I wrote the novelization of the Tintin movie that’s coming out this Christmas; the book is out November 1. That was a great excuse to dig back into Tintin comics. I’m trying to teach the baby to say “Blistering barnacles!”
Also I am working on a couple of different game development projects, one of which will go live in January. And I’ve got three novels on the boil. I’m hoping to finish one of them by spring, but I don’t know which one.
SS: Thanks Alex!
AI: Thanks Unbound Worlds!
Transformers: Exiles by Alex Irvine is available now in fine bookstores!