Who is Super Megatron?

Transformers Generations Selects Super Megatron
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Takara-Tomy have unveiled their next Generations Selects release - and it has a lot of fans of the Japanese Transformers lore excited. Equally a lot of other people are confused, asking "okay, who is this?" or "oh. It's another Megatron".

But don't let appearances fool you. This isn't "another Megatron" - he's a rare example of a Transformer who has never before had any sort of representation in toy form.

Super Megatron: A Non-Toy Character

The biggest thing about this new Generations Selects Megatron is that this is the first time this version of Megatron has ever had a toy. Yes, although he was first introduced into the Transformers mythos in 1991, Super Megatron never had a toy. His design has even gone largely overlooked in later Transformers series (although Transformers Animated Megatron shares a couple of broad design cues. 

For fans of the wider lore or who just want to see Hasbro and Takara-Tomy move beyond just redoing the first couple of years of Generation 1, getting a toy of a character who has only existed on the printed page is a huge deal.

Needless to say. I personally am both a fan of the wider lore and someone who wants to see more love given to the more obscure characters, so this figure is like a special gift from Takara-Tomy. 

The History: Return of Convoy

Transformers Super Megatron illustration

Here's a bit of a brief history of just who Super Megatron is and where he came from. Super Megatron was introduced as the principle antagonist of the Return of Convoy storyline. Return of Convoy was the 1991 Transformers line that ran in Japan after the conclusion of Transformers Zone. 

This is one of the most obscure parts of the Japanese Transformers timeline, so allow me to explain how this series fits into the wider picture. 

The Japanese Transformers timeline initially followed the Sunbow Generation 1 cartoon timeline that most of us are familiar with. However after the two part story "The Return of Optimus Prime" the Japanese Transformers cartoon diverged from its western counterpart. Japan never got the three-part "Rebirth" story - it instead for an entire season of new content, "The Headmasters". During the events of The Headmasters, Optimus Prime (Convoy) dies once more saving Cybertron. Galvatron is also defeated once and for all when the four Autobot Headmasters join hands in a circle and bury Galvatron in polar ice. 

(I really wish I was joking about that last part.)

Following Headmasters, the Japanese Generation 1 timeline carried on with two more cartoon series, Masterforce and Victory. These shows followed new and different groups of heroes and completely broke off from the characters being released in the rest of the world. Transformers Victory was followed by Transformers Zone which only received one animated episode - the rest of the story was told in a manga and in illustrated story pages in TV Magazine. 

That brings us to Return of Convoy, which like Zone was told in TV Magazine illustrated pages and as a result is very light on details. 

Return of Convoy kicks off with a new eldritch abomination named Dark Nova. Dark Nova is a nightmarish creature, the size of a planet with gigantic tentacles. Dark Nova's intentions were never made clear beyond a general desire to cause destruction and chaos like Unicron himself. 

Part of Dark Nova's campaign of terror was to revive Optimus Prime as a zombified "False Convoy". This didn't last long and the Autobot warriors Grandus and Sky Garry were able to purify the evil False Convoy and turn him into Star Convoy - essentially an even more powerful version of Optimus Prime. As a result of these events, Dark Nova decided that the only one who could stop a revived Optimus Prime was his arch nemesis. 

And so, Dark Nova resurrected Galvatron and reformatted him as Super Megatron - and the ages-old battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron began anew.

Super Megatron emerges from the polar ice and attacks some Eskimos

1992: Super Megatron, the villain without a toy

So that's a quick rundown of where Super Megatron came from. Back when I was discovering the Japanese Transformers lore in the early 2000s, an illustration of Super Megatron was one of the first things I discovered (via the now defunct Prime Saber website). He looked awesome, with an imposing design that when looked at side-by-side with Star Convoy said "yes, the original leaders came back and got powered up"!

But at the time the Return of Convoy line was being made, Takara was against making villain toys. The only new Decepticons released between 1990 and 1992 were reuses of existing Transformers toys with new paint jobs. Takara, it seems, had no appetite to go to the expense of creating an all-new mold for a villain toy, not even Megatron (who, it should be noted, had been absent from the Japanese Transformers fiction since 1986, unlike the US where Megatron was still around in the comics and got new toys).

There were persistent rumours that a Super Megatron toy was designed that never saw release, and that this prototype was later be adapted to make Gunkid in Takara's non-Transformers series Brave Command Dagwon. This is a rumour based on the similarities in the two character's designs and the fact that the Brave series reused a number of later years Transformers molds, including both Sky Garry and Grandus. It's a rumour that almost certainly gained further traction because Japanese fans wanting a Super Megatron toy for their collections would customise Gunkid into a Super Megatron - and a low-res image of such a custom in the early 2000s could easily have been mistaken as an image of the mythical "Super Megatron prototype".

My opinion of this rumour is that it's just that - a rumour. With books like Transformers Generations having been released over the years, showcasing sketches of Transformers toys that never got made and mockups of proposed toys, if a Super Megatron were genuinely ever designed, we'd have definitely seen a prototype. 

The rumour demonstrates that if nothing else, fans have really wanted this obscure version of Megatron who only appeared on maybe a dozen illustrated pages at most to have a toy. But until now, Super Megatron with his highly stylised look was a media-only character.  

2020: Super Megatron (finally) gets a toy

Transformers Generations Selects Super Megatron robot mode Transformers Generations Selects Super Megatron spaceship mode

That long wait for a toy has finally come to an end.

First teased in 2019 (along with the Seacons, who've now been released and are lovely), Super Megatron is a heavily reworked version of Titans Return Galvatron. How heavily reworked? He's got the arms and legs in common, although there parts have some tweaks. Other details including the transformation scheme and the torso have been completely reworked - demonstrating just how much effort Takara-Tomy have put into pushing the limits of reworking a toy.

Using Galvatron as a base is also a really nice touch. It's a practical move, since Galvatron's mold is a solid base to develop the character from, but it's also a great nod to the character's origins as a reformatted Galvatron. 

There are a few minor tweaks made to Super Megatron's design to make him a workable toy. His alternate mode is now a gunship rather than a flying gun. That's in part based on the limitations of the mold - and probably also a result of modern sensibilities which say you cannot make a toy gun, not even a funky spacegun. The robot design also loses some of Super Megatron's more stylised aspects like the giant wings on the back of the robot mode, which seems to be a necessity to make the design work.

I can forgive these minor tweaks and concessions though. The design itself looks incredible and imposing. It truly captures the crazy, over the top madness that is Super Megatron. Design elements like the powerful chest and the pauldrons on the shoulders are lovingly rendered, along with the powered-up version of Megatron's signature arm cannon.

In short, it's a powered up Megatron worthy of the name Super Megatron. But, best of all - this Generations Selects Super Megatron is two toys in one. He also has the ability to transform himself into Ultra Megatron. 

Transformers Generations Selects Ultra Megatron robot mode Transformers Generations Selects Ultra Megatron tank mode

What is Ultra Megatron? During the later parts of the Return of Convoy story, Super Megatron is eventually destroyed by Star Convoy. Dark Nova is unwilling to let his champion fall so easily, so Megatron is revived and upgraded again. This second revival is named Ultra Megatron. Ultra Megatron boasted even more firepower than Super Megatron, and instead of transforming into a space gun / jet thing, he turned into a battletank.

Transformers manga - Ultra Megatron's debut

Transformers Ultra Megatron illustration

There's probably a whole theory in there about how Megatron progressing from gun to tank represents how the character was moving away from the gun alternate mode and becoming a tank in the Generation 2 line. All I know is the toy doing not only the Super Megatron mode but also the Ultra Megatron form is utterly awesome and a huge nod to fans of the character and this obscure part of Japanese Generation 1 lore. 

I am extremely impressed with the Generations Selects Super Megatron including the Ultra Megatron form. I'm equally impressed that Takara-Tomy managed to change so much of the design. The new Super Megatron's Ultra Megatron mode features a different chest and has the arm cannon transform into the gunpod seen in the Ultra Megatron artwork. The triple barreled shoulder cannon is there. Even the wings on the back of the character are present.

This is an incredible piece of work, all things considered. It's like someone at Takara-Tomy really loves the character and went into this project with the mentality that they were only getting one shot at doing this character, so they decided to do him justice.

And the fact I'm sitting here saying how much I love this design after a handful of stock images should be testament to how they've achieved what they set out to do.

Generations Selects Super Megatron is shaping up to be an incredible release. In my opinion, this is exactly what the Generations Selects line is for. Super Megatron is the kind of character who'll never have the mainstream attraction (at least, not enough to get the character in a way that does him justice). Generations Selects as a hyper-collector oriented series is the perfect place to bring these more obscure characters to life.

It's been a long 28 year wait from the debut of Super Megatron, but his toy is finally coming out in October this year. I've already got my preorder in with Kapow Toys.

Who else is hyped for this new toy?

(Artwork in this article was taken from the Transformers Wiki page on Super Megatron)