This is the first incarnation of the Transformers cartoon that won't be produced with Japanese toy and production partner Takara. The new series, titled Transformers Animated, will be significantly different than the other incarnations of the cartoon franchise. There will be humor, new characters, and the Autobots will be fighting evil humans in superhero-type fashion more than they will be dealing with the Decepticons.
Senior vice president of programming and development Bob Higgins stated, "We've used the basic Transformers and characters as a springboard, but then we're pretty much reimagining the whole thing. What we're doing with it is basically turning it into a superheroes story. We're really excited that we're able to take this decades-old property and hopefully turn it into something that kids haven't seen or expected from a Transformers series before."
Twenty-six half hour episodes and a ninety-minute special are in the works. A new toy line will be launched in conjunction with the series. Look for it next winter.
UPDATE: The official press release from Cartoon Network:
The TRANSFORMERS saga has captivated kids for more than 20 years. Coming on the heels of the highly anticipated live-action theatrical film being released July 3rd, by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, Cartoon Network and Hasbro, Inc. are announcing today that the next generation of the epic animated series is being jointly developed by the two entities for a 2008 debut on the network in the U.S. The eye-popping 2-D animated series is a new twist on the original high-octane, animated action-adventure series with new characters alongside legends such as OPTIMUS PRIME and MEGATRON. Each episode will present a standalone storyline featuring everyday heroes who do good deeds that triumph over evil. TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED series will be co-produced by Cartoon Network Studios.
Twenty-six, half-hour episodes will be produced as well as a 90-minute special of TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED which is scheduled for release in early 2008 on Cartoon Network in the U.S. Matt Youngberg (Teen Titans, The Batman) is the supervising director, Derrick Wyatt (Teen Titans) will provide the character designs and Sam Register (Ben 10, Teen Titans) will serve as executive producer of the series. Marty Isenberg (Danny Phantom., X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) acts as head writer.
"We are thrilled to be working with the highly creative team at Cartoon Network on bringing the next chapter in the TRANSFORMERS saga to kids and fans around the world," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's Chief Operating Officer. "The animation style that Cartoon Network has developed really brings the lore and characters of the TRANSFORMERS franchise alive in a way that has never been seen through animation."
"TRANSFORMERS is a tried and true draw for our core audience," said Bob Higgins, senior vice president programming and development, Cartoon Network. "Kids love the surprise of 'More Than Meets the Eye,' combined with dynamic, clearly defined characters and epic storylines. We are thrilled to be working with Hasbro to help re-imagine this amazing franchise for a new generation of fans."
Set on Earth in the near future in Detroit, the alien TRANSFORMERS are thrust into a world populated by humans and automatons. As visitors to Earth, the TRANSFORMERS--OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE, PROWL, BULKHEAD and RATCHET--work in the human world, interacting with the 'natives' in exciting and humorous ways. TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED has been created to showcase the heroic AUTOBOTS working together to battle the evil DECEPTICONS and save Earth with kid-relatable plot lines filled with humor, distinctive character personalities, and dynamic action.
Hasbro and HPG, its licensing division, will expand the action-packed TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED series through toys, games, licensed merchandise and promotions around the world.
Transformers was released July 2nd, 2007 and stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight, John Turturro. The film is directed by Michael Bay.