Ten Years On: Voicing the Beast Wars

Scott McNeil has a problem with Krispy Kremes.  He also still has a legion of fans of his Beast Wars work ten years after the show began, and that longevity comes as a surprise to the voice of Dinobot, Rattrap, Waspinator and Silverbolt.  Beast Wars is his favorite project, says McNeil, because of the deep and complex character writing, and "never since" has another North American animated show come close.

McNeil and castmates Pauline Newstone, Blu Mankuma and Richard Newman took questions, reminisced and – at least in McNeil's case – took in plenty of sugar in this morning's first session of "Voicing the Beast Wars."  All remember their days in the Beast Wars studio fondly, Newman recalling the recording sessions as having the feel of a radio drama – contrasted with the solo studio dub that is Cybertron, on which he admits not even knowing all of his co-stars.

The complex characters of Beast Wars have stayed with the actors who voiced them.  "You don't get characters like (Tigatron) that often," Mankuma says, remembering the big cat as a character of depth, soul and conscience.  Newstone recalls Airazor as an "infrequent" kind of character on her resume full of villains.

Of course, all four actors saw the deaths of their characters – Newstone's Airazor and Mankuma's Tigatron at once, McNeil's Dinobot later in Beast Wars, and Newman's Rhinox in Beast Machines (still affectionately called "The Bad Thing" by McNeil).  When the time came for Rhinox, Newman says he was "very disappointed," but they "did it with great class."  McNeil recalls the emotional reactions of fans soon after Dinobot's farewell in "Code of Hero," but says he didn't watch the episode and experience the same emotional reaction until two-plus years after its airing.

All four will be back for another "Voicing the Beast Wars" panel Saturday afternoon, and the Allspark will be back to listen in!