Regardless of its unlikely beginnings as a fusion of three animated series from
At this point, Robotech already had branched into other media—comics, roleplaying games, and novels—and now the Robotech creators in these areas answered the call-to-arms for continuing the saga. The roleplaying games from Palladium made ample use of the characters and mechanical designs developed for The Sentinels animation. On another front, the novels had just finished adapting the original series and proceeded to Sentinels. Novelist Jack McKinney was given the task of expanding on the rough outline for the proposed animation (an outline that Robotech producer Carl Macek said in an interview was subject to change, regardless of the novelization). Later a novel would be published that concluded the entire Robotech saga. In the medium of comics, Sentinels novels began adaptation into illustrated form. As a result of all these cross-medium developments, differences appeared in what was considered Robofact. Debates about similar continuity snafus for other sci-fi series, such as Star Trek and Star Wars, found their match in Robotech fandom.
However, in the case of Robotech, there was an almost unspoken attempt from the beginning for creators of the different fields to heed each other’s contributions as they expanded on the original source. Here are some examples. The first novel started with events derived from an extra-sized comic that had provided the first new Robotech story since the animation. Another example of creator “cross-pollination” was when Bill Spangler wrote The Malcontent Uprisings comic series, a title inspired from a phrase first used in a Sentinels novel. Later, Jack McKinney would adapt a good deal of Bill’s work. And the comic adaptation of The Sentinels books became possibly the longest-running adaptation in history. In contrast, material introduced in the roleplaying games shared little in common with the comics and novel series and vice versa, but at the very least, certain aspects of the games influenced the other two.
Below you can connect to a timeline derived from the three forms for telling licensed Robotech stories: the animation, novels, and comic books. Made specifically to complement the continuity pages (to which the third link takes you), this timeline provides a comprehensive look at the epic and contains text originally from the Chronological Summary in the 18th novel and the timeline found in issue 12 of The Malcontent Uprisings comic. Not least importantly, the listing features sources behind every event. For each entry, I’ve included any materials relevant in determining an event’s chronological placement or other info. Whatever impact a source has on an entry might range from the vital to the indirect. A creator is listed only when the date or other info for an event was obtained through discussion between him and me. Other sources listed are certain page numbers from books and comics. Page numbers are given whenever exactitude is needed in defining a lesser-known sequence of events. And for each entry that has the date or placement developed, at least in part, by me, the abbreviation RT (Robotech Timeline) follows. While I’m not a Robotech storyteller, my contributions to the timeline have been discussed with or approved by a primary creator whenever I’ve had the chance.
Aside from the attention paid to continuity, it is my hope that people reading this listing will appreciate the following truth if they haven’t already: No matter all that had been thrown in its path, Robotech has done more than stayed alive; it’s thrived. Robotech flourishes in the hearts and imaginations of fans and creators alike. Although much of the material that’s been put out in the last bunch of years doesn’t speak to me and many others, we have the knowledge that the powerful story of Robotech has already been told. And it waits to be retold whenever a voice actor appears at a show or sings at a concert, whenever longtime fans share their comics and novels with new readers, and whenever somebody says to another person that he or she needs to check out this incredible animated series.
Now onto the timeline!