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New animated series ‘Transformers: Combiner Wars’ targets a very specific audience: adults

In the newest Transformers series, “Transformers: Combiner War,” the beloved onetime Autobot leader Optimus Prime and evil Decepticon leader Megatron are no longer in charge, relics in a new age of peaceful co-existence between the long-battling sides of Transformers.

For those who have not kept up with the many iterations of Transformers, “Combiner Wars,” which launched Aug. 2, offers a different, and more grown up, look at the world of animated fighting robots.

The new Transformers series seeks to court a more mature audience with themes of peace and war, higher stakes (at least two Transformers are killed in the first episode) and heaps of nostalgia.

The eight-episode animated digital series from Machinima and Hasbro takes place 40 years after the great Transformers war on Earth. Now returned to their home planet, Cybertron, the series blurs the line between good (Autobots) and evil (Decepticons) by introducing the Combiners.

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Combiners are a dangerous, new breed of Transformers that were created when the Autobots and Decepticons merged into mega powerful machines. Now the old guard must find a way to work together to stop the encroaching threat.

Blending the old and the new, producers hope to capitalize on studies that indicate Transformers as a brand skews older.

Machinima Chief Executive Chad Gutstein told AdWeek that its audience research had uncovered the “alpha fan.” This fan is someone in the late millennial through Gen-X age gap, someone who has huge amounts of engagement, and nine times greater affinity for Transformers than regular fans. “Transformers: Combiner War” is for the “alpha fan.”

Apparently, data don’t lie. At Comic-Con in San Diego, attendees of the “Combiner Wars” panel got an early look at the series’ trailer, and the fan response was strong.

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Despite the complicated Transformers mythos that comes with the new series, Gutstein thinks the new series will not alienate new viewers.

“We’ve seen a trend over the last year where nostalgia content is really resonating with the 18- to 24-year-old audience in a strange way. [This audience is] not old enough to have the nostalgia for the content, but they recognize it’s nostalgic, and they think it’s cool.”

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Voice talent for the show includes Jon Bailey (Optimus Prime), Abby Trott (Windblade), Jason Marnocha (Megatron), Frank Todaro (Starscream), Anna Akana (Victorion) and many others.

The show debuts on go90 in the United States and will launch internationally on Sohu in China and on Vimeo and YouTube in the rest of the world.

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