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Memory Matrix (Database) - The Sentinels Connection

 

Many "Robotech" fans would familiar with the fact that the character B.D. Andrews in "Robotech the movie" was recycled as T.R. Edwards in the aborted "Robotech II: The Sentinels" TV series. However the links between "Robotech the movie" and "Robotech II: The Sentinels" go far deeper than that.

In the early planning stages of both productions, Carl Macek had originally conceived "Robotech the movie" to take place in 2009 during the SDF-1's return to Earth. In the third episode of "Robotech", the SDF-1 accidentally warps into Pluto's orbit and is forced to make it's way back to Earth, amidst constant attacks from the Zentradi. The original version of the movie had Mark Harris (Mark Landry in the final version) accidentally discovering the Earth government's attempts to cover up the fate of the SDF-1 and aldo the secrets of Robotechnology. He decides to make the information public by using a transformable bike that he has acquired from a friend in the military. A breakaway group in the military, headed up by B.D. Edwards, is aware of the situation and decides to take action. However Mark escapes and his friend is killed in thier attempt to recover the bike. The group not only believes that Mark should be stopped at all costs, but also they should be in control of the Earth and are planning a coup d'état against the government.

"Robotech II: The Sentinels" would take place sometime after the end of the "Macross Saga" and feature characters from not only that arc of the "Robotech" TV series, but also at least four characters from "Robotech the movie". A key piece of pre-production art work for "Robotech II: The Sentinels", first unveiled to the public on 2 July 2005, at the "Lost Robotech" panel as part of Robocon 20 at the 2005 Anime Expo, shows quite clearly how the two productions were related;

"Robotech II: The Sentinels" Line Art

The obvious links are of course are the designs for B.D. Andrews (#7) and Eve (#8 - marked above as "Eve II" and "Sexy Robot"). Note the comment next to Andrews; "Damaged face due to battle injuries", which means that he was meant to survive the climactic battle between him and Mark Landry in the original concept for "Robotech the movie". The changes forced upon the production of "Robotech the movie" by Cannon Films, which included the "Southern Cross" footage, forced Macek to change the setting to 2027, which meant a name change for this character; T.R. Edwards. The inclusion of Eve II is more interesting. Many of the more hardcore "Robotech" fans would already know that Eve became the basis for Janice Em who appeared briefly in "Robotech II: The Sentinels" but played a much larger role in related "Sentinels" spin offs such as the Jack McKinney novels and "Sentinels" comics. She would later be given a more prominent role in "Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles". According to the Janice's biography in the Robotech Art 3: The Sentinels book; "Janice is the reconstructed, ambulatory remnant of an artificial intelligence brought to Earth inside the SDF-1. Originally used by the United Earth Government to control the Robotech Defence Force and provide a conduit of propaganda for controlling the civilian population, Janice has been converted into a three-dimensional object by Dr. Lang". While the Robotech Art 3: The Sentinels book alludes to a link between Eve and Janice, the above pre-production art confirms it.

Strengthening the case for clear link between "Robotech the movie" and "Robotech II: The Sentinels" are the characters marked #17 and #18. It’s obvious from the line art that they are Becky Michaels and Mark Landry despite curiously having question marks above their heads instead of their names. Both have the note "Different Faces" added to the line art. This note on the suggests the designs were a little too close to the original "Megazone 23" character designs for Harmony Gold’s liking. It’s most likely that Becky’s character would eventually develop into the Karen Penn character, while Mark evolved into Jack Baker. The Robotech Art 3 book specifically mentions that Jack and T.R. Edwards are bitter enemies, obviously an idea carried over from the original outline of the two productions. The Robotech Art 3 book also explains that all military records were wiped out after the Zentradi bombarded the Earth in the "Macross Saga". This is probably the reason why Andrews is still with the military, and of course Mark would be unable to prove Andrews guilt in regards to the military coup in "Robotech the movie".

Finally, compare the line art above for the four characters (#17, #18, #7 and #8) on the far right with the original "Megazone 23" production art below;

"Megazone 23" production art

It's obvious that the initial designs were copied verbatim with very few changes, most in terms of clothing. Even the poses haven't been altered. The similarities prove beyond doubt that Harmony Gold's original plan was to make "Robotech the movie" directly continue on to "Robotech II: The Sentinels" through these characters. In my opinion the original concepts that Harmony Gold devised for "Robotech the movie" and "Robotech II: The Sentinels" were far more interesting than the final products that finally reached audiences. It’s a shame that outside interference and financial problems got in the way of what could have been excellent continuations of the “Robotech” franchise.

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