The history of Robotech is well documented. From the hours of bonus features to endless behind the scenes fan research, it seemed like fans had learned everything they could about the landmark series
Then out of nowhere, Harmony Gold revealed a limited edition script book for the first three episodes, sold to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Being a hardcore Robotech fan, I insantly snapped it up. What wasn’t advertised was that the book also contained the rough outline for the original adaption of Macross with the creator of Robotech, Carl Macek’s, hand written notes and a treatment of how to combine Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada.
They’re a fascinating treasure trove for long time fans and open up a lot of intriguing what if’s. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1: Original Series Name
Those well steeped in the creation of Robotech know that Carl Macek originally tried to sell Macross as a direct to video series. There it went under the simple name of Macross. In an earlier draft, it was first titled, “The Galactic Fortress Makuros” and then “Space Fortress Macross.”
The first title is obviously a Romanization of the Macross name, although the change from ‘Galactic’ to ‘Space’ is a fascinating one. Galactic hints at a much larger universe, one which Robotech certainly explored in its various spin offs. I’m of course reading way too far into this, but come on, people have done the same thing with little bits of Star Wars footage so why not Robotech?
2: Original Character Names
In the released Macross video pilot, the character that came to be known as Rick Hunter was referred to as Rick Yamada. In the rough outline, the characters Japanese name, Hikari Ichijo is crossed out, and another name is crossed out before they setlled on Rick Yamada.Rick Blane. My god, imagine a world where the main character of Robotech was Rick Blane. Who knows if this was ever seriously considered or it was just a passing thought and Macek preferred Yamada as the last name.
Lynn Minmei kept her original last name, but her first name was going to be Linda! She’s ever referred to in the description as “Linda Ronstadt in space.’ Did Macek draw influence from this famous singer in charectirzing Minmei?
Max Sterling nearly went by Gene Maxillian, a very close adaption of the original Japanese Macross name of Maximilian Jenius. Interestingly they couldn’t quite settle on an age for Gene, with ages of sixteen and eighteen thrown out before they decided to go with twenty.
Khyron was never given an English name in the outline, although ‘Kamujin Kravshera’ is crossed out, which is a Romanization of ‘Quamzin Kravshera’. He’s described as, ‘he pretends to be a nihilist but in fact he is hot-blooded. His real nature very often appears under the cool-headed mask. Being a spitfire is his fault. He’s a woman hater.” That… is certainly an interpreation of Khyron. Interesting that they list him over Breetai or even Exedore.
Miriya went by Miria Farrina (another Romanization of her Japanese Macross counterpart) and is strangely listed as being fourteen years old. The characterization in Robotech never pointed to this age and having that age gap between her ‘Gene’ would have been kinda creepy.
It should also be noted that Rick, Lynn, Gene, Lisa, Roy, Kamujin, and Miria are the only character listed in the characters section.
3: Different Group Names
The Zentradi aren’t given a name in the character section but are referred to as ‘The Center Army” in the outline for episode one. The Robotech Defense Force is called The Earth Integration Army, which speaks to the Earth coming together in the wake of the SDF-1 crash landing.
4: Focus On Mecha
The rough outline dedicates three pages to describing the various mecha of the series, mostly focusing on the humans. The Battleoids are referred to as Batroids and the Valkyrie’s were at one time called Balkilly. With all this Romanization in the outline, I can hazard a guess that some of these descriptions were taken from translated Macross documents. This is especially evident when Macross is referred to as “Megaroad’ in one section.
For those not in the know, Megaroad was one of the early concepts for what eventually became Macross.
5: From Macross to Southern Cross to Mospeada
This is the most fascinating document of all. Much of it is spent describing the story of Macross, but once it gets to the end of that saga? That’s when things start to diverge from what longtime Robotech fans are familiar with. The document describes the Macross going into the unexplored reaches of the universe to search out the origins of Robotech. Was this just going to be a throwaway line at the end of the Macross saga, or was Carl Macek already envisioning plans for The Sentinels?
The Southern Cross section heavily deviates from what we saw in The Masters, with those left behind on Earth described as being a combination of the best of Earth’s survivors with a colony of Zentradi who have learned to embrace their feelings and point of view of the humans. The two cultures intermix and several generations pass. That’s when an unnamed alien race with rudimentary Robotech technology arrives, described as being part of an alliance of races all hell bent on learning its secrets.
Holy crap. That right there is a lot. What became known as The Robotech Masters only having rudimentary technology? The main characters in the Army of the Southern Cross possibly all being human/Zentradi hybrids? That would put a whole new spin on the Masters saga, making Dana only one of many hybrids.
It goes on to describe the aliens plans, which seem lifted directly from Southern Cross, but then takes an odd turn. The aliens implant information into key officials who then hunt down the cadets as outlaws! I don’t remember anything like that happening in Masters and I’m fairly certain it didn’t happen in Southern Cross, but if any hardcore fans of that show know differently, let me know.
The Mospeada section is only a brief paragraph and simply mentions that the previous alien plot failed but a new alien force conquers the Earth by force. It’s up to a handful of heroes to protect the secrets of Robotech and the location of Macross!
Wow, a version of New Gen where they aren’t racing to Reflex Point but protecting Macross? Is there anything in the footage that would support that? I wonder how much of Southern Cross and Mospeada Carl Macek had seen when he wrote this document because the Mospeada one especially sounds like it was gleaned from just cursory viewing of the footage. Still, with the power of voiceover and editing who knows?
All in all these are fascinating glimpses into the creation of Robotech. In the gestation of a series many ideas are thrown about only to be discarded. It’s great that Robotech fans were able to get a glimpse into how the series was being constructed at its inception. I can only hope Harmony Gold releases more books like this with behind the scenes documents. As it stands, I’m glad we got this.
Shamus Kelley needs more Sentinels documents. Follow him on Twitter!