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Grand Mal

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The Grand Mal is a ship in the Beast Machines portion of the Generation One/Beast Era continuity family.
BFH

Dave, will I dream?

The Grand Mal is the transformable vessel that served as Megatron's body during part of the conflict with the technorganic Maximals on Cybertron. Its primary mode is, well, a big floating head resembling the control helmet Megatron wore previously. It can change to a ship mode and may have a robot mode, but it has never been shown to convert to it.

Note: The Grand Mal was not named in the Beast Machines cartoon. Fans at the time took to calling it the "Big Floating Head" (or "BFH" for short). The official name "Grand Mal" became known later from episode scripts and the short story "Singularity Ablyss" by series writer Bob Skir, published in the Transformers Legends anthology.
Japanese name: Megahead

Fiction

Beast Machines cartoon

GrandMal Schematics

Poor Diagnostic Drone always wanted to be a toy designer.

As Megatron raged at the failure of yet another attempted purge of his organic elements, his Diagnostic Drone suggested he instead transfer his spark to an entirely mechanical body. As he spoke, screens behind him displayed wireframe schematics of a ship, a head, and a robot. Megatron immediately rejected the notion as too risky, for it would leave his spark briefly exposed. The Diagnostic Drone changed the subject to Nightscream, and the screens altered accordingly. Survivor

Despite Megatron's rejection, the Grand Mal suddenly appeared in its enormous, completed form soon after Megatron was destroyed. He and Optimus Primal had activated their doomsday devices and been obliterated by the colliding energies. Megatron's Vehicon army and all his systems of dominance went offline, but the building-sized head mysteriously arose from behind his citadel. Fallout Using some form of antigravity, it drifted with no apparent destination, never touching the ground.

GrandMal Transformation

To look cool. That's why.

Meanwhile, Megatron's spark still existed, but it inhabited a fully organic creature which had also appeared without explanation. All of his actions were aimed at one goal: reentering his citadel and using the control helmet to transfer his spark to the floating head. Duping the Maximals into helping him, he succeeded. From within his new body, he was able to reactivate the Vehicons and the city in general, putting the Maximals back on the run. Prometheus Unbound

The Grand Mal's face could move its eyes and eyebrows to express emotions, and often did so as Megatron spoke down to others while hovering in the sky; however, it never opened its mouth to speak except in telepathic visions. When other Transformers were inside the Grand Mal, Megatron would communicate via a smaller, internal, holographic head composed of Cybertronix; he would continue to use this virtual avatar even after the Grand Mal was occupied by Maximals. He only transformed the Grand Mal into ship mode once, in order to fire upon Botanica's shuttle and its sprawling plant life. Home Soil

Megatron floating head avatar

You have a head in your head! Ahahahaha!

At some point, he moved his spark collection from the citadel to a massive, cylindrical holding vessel within himself. But this did not accomplish his goal of absorbing the sparks into his own. When he began the absorption process, for some reason his spark drifted out of the Grand Mal. This left him vulnerable to Nightscream's sonic blast, which sent his spark careening in a "depolarized" state. The Grand Mal once again floated rudderlessly. Sparkwar Pt. III: The Siege

For a time, Megatron wandered the planet bodiless, and the Maximals occupied the Grand Mal as their base. Spark of Darkness He eventually recomposed himself in the body of a Diagnostic Drone and led Vehicon assaults on the Grand Mal. The Maximals fought in defense of the sparks it contained, but when the Vehicons matched their weapons to its shield harmonics, they were able to bring it down. It crashed into the citadel. Endgame Pt. I: The Downward Spiral

Big-floating-head-green

The machinations of the Oracle have succeeded in creating the largest Chia Pet in the universe.

It was subsequently the site of the final battle between the Vehicons and the Maximals. The Maximals were able to reactivate its shields by tapping into a surface power source. Later, Primal chased various Vehicon drones through its depths, while Cheetor used its antigravity engines to launch the Vehicon generals Obsidian and Strika into planetary orbit. Endgame Pt. II: When Legends Fall

After the reformatting of Cybertron, its form remained visible, though covered with technorganic greenery. Endgame Pt. III: Seeds of the Future


Universe: Featuring the Wreckers comics

One short week after the great reformatting, the crashed, vegetation-covered giant head had been dubbed Mount Megatron. Wreckers: Finale Part II

Toys

Beast Wars Returns

Megaheadtoy

Third use of the mold. First use of the mold as the character it was conceived for.

  • Megahead Megatron (Deluxe, 2005)
Japanese ID number: BR-12
A Japanese release, Megahead Megatron transforms into the Grand Mal's head mode with scuttling spider-leg action, opening jaw for chip-eating action, and a hidden spring-loaded missile launcher in its mouth. In robot mode, the launcher swings over his head, placing a battle mask down over his face. The robot looks nothing like the schematic seen in the cartoon (and there is no ship mode), but a few incidental design elements of the ship-transformation are seen in the toy.
If one removes the toy's spider-legs in head mode, it fits into the head socket of Fortress Maximus.
The figure was originally released in North America as the Robots in Disguise toy Megatron Megabolt—an entirely different Megatron. While it had been designed as a Beast Machines toy, its release was delayed until after that line had ended. The mold was later used for Megabolt.

Notes

  • It's unclear how the Grand Mal was created in the cartoon. It certainly could have been under construction "offscreen," but its only reference had been when Megatron rejected the notion. And, enigmatically, when Megatron entered it he declared: "For an eternity I slaved to free myself from the organic material contaminating my otherwise perfect technological body. I finally succeeded in separating the two, but my spark remained with the wrong half—the organic half." This perhaps implies that his "destruction" in the doomsday energy-storm spontaneously generated both Savage/Noble and the Grand Mal. But much is unknown about that entire event, and no clear answers exist.
  • In a nod to the Generation One cartoon, Rattrap refers to the uninhabited Grand Mal as "a sparkless, floating tribute to Unicron."
  • While the head-mode is clearly meant to resemble Megatron's control helmet, the ship mode bears a more tenuous resemblance to the Darksyde. It's unknown if this is intentional.
  • This isn't the only Megatron who likes to turn into a giant body part.
  • Nor is it the only Megatron who spends part of his life as a disembodied head.
  • A grand mal is a type of seizure.

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