ROBOBLOG III Archives

10.04.2005

Early Pre-Production Sentinels Art is Fun!


This and the image that followed it were, for me, the high point of the "Lost Robotech" panel at Anime Expo 2005/Robocon 20. It's a very early lineup of the Sentinels cast, featuring, in order:
  • Miriya Sterling -- already sporting her shorter, spiked Sentinels hairdo ...
  • Max Sterling -- hair shorter, but much more in the Macross style, along the lines of Max Jenius's look in Do You Remember Love, the 1984 Macross feature film ...
  • Lynn Minmei -- listed here as "Lynn Wolfe" (good lord, she married Jonathan Wolfe!), but still with the twisty locks that characterized her hairstyle back in her youth, as well as a skirted uniform design remeniscent of Marie Crystal's in Robotech Masters, which seem to be the norm for the more feminine girls in the lineup ...
  • Rick Hunter -- looking surprisingly like the Lynn Kaifun (Kyle) character design from Do You Remember Love, his hair shorter and, unless my crappy snapshot is fooling my eyes, almost totally spike-free ...
  • Lisa Hayes -- sans weird flip in her hair, sans early Macross rolls, much more in line with the "Captain Misa" design slated for the end of Macross and the Do You Remember Love design ...
  • Dana Sterling -- as noted below the image, about six to ten years too old in this lineup ...
  • unnamed commander -- listed as "not needed," which makes me curious as to who in the heck this is supposed to be ...
  • Becky Franklin -- the love interest character from Robotech The Movie (Yui Tanaka in the original), who I think had a different last name in the finished film, but that's not important at this point ... interesting that she and our next cast member are marked as needing "DIFFERENT FACES" ...
  • Mark Harris -- known in the finished film as Mark Landry, he would later be totally rejiggered into Jack Baker, which explains why Robotech Art 3 makes a point of having Jack and T.R. Edwards be bitter enemies -- if the original version of Robotech The Movie had gone ahead, and then Sentinels followed from that, these two would have fought to the death before!
  • Colonel B.D. Edwards -- who at this point is the SPITTING IMAGE of Megazone 23's B.D., down to standing in the exact same pose as B.D. in the lineart shown here! The scrawl beneath his picture says "Damaged face - due to battle injuries" -- injuries he would have sustained in the big fight with Mark Harris in the final act of Robotech The Movie ...
  • Eve II -- If you've read Robotech Art 3, you know this pose -- the android form of Janice is in this exact pose on page 132. The words underneath read "sexy robot," which is the exact term Macek uses to describe Janice's android form in Art 3.

A second page, which I got an even worse picture of, showed us early art of Dr. Emil Lang, Rolf Emerson, Jean Grant (with a giant afro, remeniscent of Southern Cross hairstyles), Bowie Grant (like Dana, too old -- HG asks the designers to to have him de-aged to about 5-7 years old), Jonathan Wolfe, another unused character design, Exedore (already with his proper Sentinels haircut), Colonel Adams (renamed Reinhardt in the Sentinels feature, which led to years of confusion), and Breetai (still wearing his original faceplate!).

Harmony Gold notes ask the Japanese designers to add Vince Grant to the lineup. The Japanese designers probably didn't add him because they figured Bowie already has a father -- Rolf. In the original Japanese Southern Cross anime, Bowie is Rolf's son, so the character designer for Sentinels probably just whipped up a mother for him and figured that would be it, not understanding that Macek & Co. had decided to tie together the only two major black characters in their multi-generational epic and sever the father-son bond, making Emerson's death so much more awkward in the process ... "My good friend!" indeed ...

The other major thing worth pointing out here is the evolution of the uniform designs. I'm sure we've all long noticed the strong Southern Cross influence on the finished Sentinels uniform designs. The influence is even stronger here. As I pointed out above, notice the skirts on half of the females in the lineup, and then notice the big Southern Cross uniform belts that cover up that awkward Zentraedi insignia-shaped bit on the abdomen of the final uniform design. I honestly think the Sentinels uniforms would have looked much better with those present. On the other hand, the uniforms are still skintight affairs, unlike the Southern Cross example I show here. Actually, the uniforms on the second page seem, in general, baggier -- unlike his final design, Breetai gets what looks to be an officer's uniform, with a sort of jacket-like bit below the belt along the lines of Rick's final Sentinels uniform. Exedore's uniform is similar.

My guess about the "different faces" remark is that by this point, Cannon Films, the distributor for Robotech The Movie, had laid down their "More guns! More robots! More shooting!" edict -- remember, the Robotech movie was their idea -- which forced producer Carl Macek to shoehorn footage from Southern Cross (the most recent of the three anime shows that made up Robotech) into the film, which changed the setting (originally 2009, contemporary with the first major story arc of Macross) and broke the ties between Sentinels and the movie. Now the Robotech The Movie characters would be living their lives after the Sentinels mission left for Tirol, which means they very well couldn't have been aboard the SDF-3. Based on this lineup, it looks like backup dancer Becky turned into pilot Karen Penn, which is quite the radical change. Turning Mark into Jack Baker, though ... not so radical a change. After all, spikey-haired anime heroes are a dime a dozen. As for B.D. becoming T.R., no big deal after T.R.'s backstory was set up in the 1986 Comico Graphic Novel.

Hope you all enjoyed this look at what could've, should've been, folks. Like I said, what I wouldn't do for a nice big artbook compiling all this nonsense together, along with a proper behind-the-scenes narrative. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

2 Comments:

  • That's actually really interesting. I'm curious as to how you could explain B.D. not being kicked out of the military after his coup... but it's still VERY interesting to see...

    By Anonymous Tolarin, at 06 October, 2005 21:39  

  • The explanation cited in Robotech Art 3 was that following the bombardment of Earth, all the military records were wiped out, meaning that he could slip right back in among the heroes of the First Robotech War, who would be just ecstatic to see ANY RDF personnel survived the near-total annihilation of the planet.

    The notion that Shogo/Mark joined the military after his victory over B.D. (in the Robotech The Movie footage) and would run into him again is certainly entertaining to me, especially since B.D. kept his rank and Mark's way down on the bottom, so if he starts running around going, "HEY, HE'S EVIL!" nobody's going to believe him ...

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 11 October, 2005 11:39  

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