By Mecha 8
WARNING: This page contains information about plot elements throughout the Robotech saga. Reader’s discretion is advised!
So you’ve gone through my lists and found them to be interesting, I hope. But you have to ask: Can this guy back them up? Good question. This page includes my efforts thus far in sharing how I made the placements, at least how I came up with some of the more challenging ones.
ACADEMY BLUES and RETURN TO MACROSS are two series very close in continuity. Events happen in one that immediately affect the other. The order for many of their issues was determined heavily by developments such as terrorist attacks and new security procedures for the SDF-1.
I had originally kept Return to Macross #19 right before #20 because in a plot-development and chronological sense it seemed to lead directly into that issue, despite the fact the amount of time between issues could be substantial; Lisa goes to her interview with Gloval in 19 and moves into her Robotech Academy quarters in 20, setting the stage for the Academy Blues series starring her. However, my first impulse was to place 19 between 13 and 14.
CYBERPIRATES As stated within the comic series, Cyberpirates takes place in 2025. Therefore, it occurs sometime after the SDF-3 leaves Earth but before the liberation of Karbarra—Karbarra’s liberation is the first event of 2026 listed in the chronology found within certain novels. I placed the reading of Cyberpirates between Books I and II of The Sentinels comic series, rather than other plausible placements, for a few reasons. As we all know, there are many story arcs within a long-running Robotech series. While putting various material in continuity with the intention of being enjoyed in an entertaining fashion, you don’t want a story arc to lose momentum if you can help it. Cyberpirates is placed after the liberation of
So do all events in Cyberpirates fit nicely between story arcs? Nope. Near the end of Cyberpirates, we find out that a couple months have passed since events in the first issue. The amount of time passed since the arrival of the SDF-3 at Tirolspace to the beginning of Sentinels Book II appears substantially less; in Issue 4 of Book II, the Regis says something that indicates it’s probably been less than a month. Why didn’t I divide Cyberpirates into portions and give each a plausible placement? Because the series is such a self-contained story with no references to plot points in Sentinels that to do so with any credibility, for me at least, would be impossible. For purposes in relation to the overall epic, I consider Cyberpirates #4 to be the only issue of that series to take place between the
Another question: Why didn’t I simply put Cyberpirates within Sentinels Book I, between the moment the SDF-3 leaves regular space in 2020 and its reemergence from hyperspace, since five years pass during the fold as stated in the novels? Well, that’s where I had it previously. Going over the placement again, though, I realized several issues pass in Sentinels before Rick and company finally make their fold. The reader would be pretty frustrated as he finally gets to where the ship folds but finds he has to suddenly switch channels (not to mention worlds) to read another story before learning if the SDF-3 made it through hyperspace all right. Now if only I can figure out a way to keep new readers from going ape over the fact that Cyberpirates takes place in 2025; novices wouldn’t know that the SDF-3 is no longer in 2020 when it finishes the fold, unless they’re reading this page in defiance of the warning at the top.
GENESIS: THE LEGEND OF ZOR has some scenes near the end of the last issue derived from The Graphic Novel. But I didn’t choose to splice Legend of Zor with The Graphic Novel, mainly because those scenes are also shown after a fashion in Return to Macross, a series that I had worked already on splicing with The Graphic Novel. I found more of a need to make clear the order of events between Return to Macross and The Graphic Novel since they are so interrelated, especially where Breetai is concerned.
Issue 18 is one of the few examples I thought cross-scene splicing could be done but was not necessary; even though some scenes occur between others within the last episode, the narrative in 18 makes the order of events so apparent that splicing would be redundant.
RETURN TO MACROSS/WARRIORS/METAL SWARM The story for the first 12 issues of Return to Macross can be divided into two main stories that are separated in space as well as time, which explains the many splicings I did within just that series. The first story is Breetai’s search for the SDF-1, and the second depicts Roy Fokker’s struggle against internal and external elements threatening the stability of the Robotech project.
THE SENTINELS COMIC Maybe more than any Robotech story, The Sentinels, in either comic or novel form, plays fast and loose with the passage of time. Events seem to go from one to the other without much pause. In general, a campaign to liberate a planet appears to take a few days, and trips between worlds seem nearly instantaneous or the next best thing. But the novels’ Robotech Chronology indicates that the campaigns span a number of years, even without the five-year gap in the fold from Earth to
Every time I encounter a comic series or one-shot not part of The Sentinels but taking place between the campaign years, 2020 to 2029, I usually find no Sentinels plot references to help give me a precise idea of where to place it. The discrepancy in the passage of time for the campaigns makes even giving a good guess less than likely. Without enough continuity clues, I rely more on finding the nearest available break in Sentinels action to place those comics. I consider my placements for Invid World, Mechangel, and other titles in similar situations to be, at most, opportunities for the reader to see what is happening at very roughly the same time as The Sentinels issues he’s just read.
THE SENTINELS NOVEL 5 Do Dana and crew arrive in Tirolspace after the Invid invade Earth or before? Since the narrative doesn’t provide an answer, I’ve relied on the Robotech Chronology pages featured in the novels. The Robotech Chronology has the invasion listed before Dana’s arrival, but not every event throughout that timeline seems to be listed chronologically with other events occurring in the same year. Events of more importance frequently are listed first. I’ve placed the invasion before Dana’s arrival, but I know people might become confused in reading the invasion before Dana arrives in Tirol and tells everyone there that the Invid haven’t come to Earth yet. The placement is unavoidable, though, given the following reasons.
The answer to the following question was what made me put the invasion before Dana’s arrival in the first place: The Nichols drive is supposed to allow for near-instantaneous folding, but is there still a substantial amount of time passing? Since Dana commandeers Wolff’s ship in 2032 and doesn’t arrive in Tirolspace until 2033 according to the Robotech Chronology, there apparently is. The span of time might be enough to encompass the 2033 Invid onslaught, I thought. Later, Jim Luceno, the author who comprised half of the Jack McKinney pseudonym, told me that the invasion precedes Dana and crew’s arrival no more than 6-9 months, relative.
Since I consider the comics, novels, and animation as partners in the continuity, do I have problems when one source differs from another?
GENESIS: THE LEGEND OF ZOR This series almost didn’t make it to my lists. It seems to directly contradict events already established in the novels almost as much as draw from them. According to the novels, Zor seduces the Regis, but if anyone is seduced in the comic series it seems to be Zor. Also, the ample use of Zol, Zor’s father according to the comic, undercuts the ambiguity in Zor’s origins stated in the epigraph for Chapter 24, Novel 18. Interestingly, in acknowledgment of the discrepancy, it is briefly addressed on page 57 of Novel 20. For a more severe discrepancy, Vard, a minor character already depicted in both The Graphic Novel and Novel 1 as a casualty in the same Invid attack which claims Zor, is killed by Zor in the comic long before that battle. More discrepancies exist, but those comprise the bulk of the major ones. However, the series is not without merit; there are a number of important, well-executed scenes that I would have little trouble accepting if other scenes were excised.
THE SENTINELS In numerous ways this comic series differs from the novels. While still following major plot points of
During the time of its publication, The Sentinels comic adaptation had been taking several years to tell, making it one of the longest running adaptations in the comics field—despite its cancellation. From a creative standpoint, such a schedule can be constraining in the long run, so I can understand the Waltrips’ decision to execute some things differently. But whether their changes should be considered as part of the “true” continuity is a grey issue for me. The severity of some alterations seems higher than any changes
THE UNTOLD STORY Notice something missing from my lists? (Aside from The Shadow Chronicles video, the Prelude to The Shadow Chronicles comic, and other excluded titles mentioned in the Introduction to the Video/Comics Continuity page.) Robotech the Movie: The Untold Story was the only Robotech film intended for the big screen, but it never played at a theater near you. Had it passed the test screenings, many would have seen for themselves the discrepancies that have prevented its entry on my lists, not to mention the questionable use of Southern Cross footage thrown into a film that’s basically the animation from Megazone 23 rewritten for Robotech. Intended to take place before the Southern Cross portion of the series, the movie shows the first combat between Earth’s forces and the Masters, and the fall to Earth of one of the Masters’ space fortresses. However, the first Earth/Masters engagement already had been established as taking place in the first episode of Southern Cross, and the fall of a Masters’ fortress had been depicted in a later episode as well. Due to the abrupt ending of the movie, we’re left to wonder what happens to the crashed fortress introduced there. Perhaps the most important reason not to include the movie in the chronology is the position of Carl Macek, real-life Robotech Master. In an interview by Todd Hill that was published in Return to Macross #24, Macek said, “I don’t consider it to be part of the timeline of the Robotech era whatsoever. Really, I’d like everybody to forget about Robotech the Movie: The Untold Story altogether.”
So this page will end on a more upbeat note, here’s another quote from the same interview: “... minor inconsistencies notwithstanding, the novels, comic books, and RPGs are all representative of Robotech. I don’t discount the validity of any of these works. Also, each work has its own place within the overall realm of Robotech.”
The following people deserve mention in this endeavor. Not all of my views might be shared by them, but my fondness for Robotech is.
Robotech is a trademark of Harmony Gold U.S.A., Inc. By no means is this text intended to infringe upon the owner's rights.Text: Copyright 1997, 2010-2013 Mecha 8