This all started with a forum thread over at the old Planet Megaman forums. :How do you think the classic series ends?"
Most classic series fans have given this alot of thought. Because, Lord knows, neither Capcom nor Keiji Inafune plans on giving up a proper ending. That leaves it up to us to decide how the series ends.
So, I decided to give the question the goold 'ol colledge try!
I believe that every good ending requires symmetry. Every story starts with a problem and it's gotta end the same way. The hero has to return to a state similar to how he started, but stronger for his journey. There has to be some poetry to the ending as well: it can't just end abruptly with no resolution to different subplots. That's how I look at this ending. That's what the "Zero kills everybody" ending lacks and why I reject it. Moreover, I'm fitting it into official Capcom cannon (the inclusion of licensed characters aside). This means I have to take into account all the facts as I see them and extrapolate an end. Which makes this a rather interesting projects because the facts are often in conflict or so sketchy that people debate on them endlessly.
That said, this is my ending. This isn't how anyone else might end it. This is how I would end it. I think it fits the facts and the timeline and I don't want to debate it all to Hell. Although I *do* think this is how the original series does end if things remain as they are. If some fact or tidbit of information is gleamed sometime in the future .... oh well. As it stands this is my ending, take it or leave it.
This would be part "Gauntlet's Guide" and part Image Gallery. A guide because it deals with my opinion on how the series should / would / and does end. But I also drew out the ending to the character of the series. And, since this is more about the art than the idea behind it (although not by much) it gets the "image gallery" treatment.
As a side project, I tried to tie this into as many licensed MM products as possible, just because I LOVE the licensed stuff and nobody else does. I'm not necessarily making every bit of licensed material that I include cannon to this ending .... I'm just referencing material.
The images themselves were pretty fun to make. It took an entire year to finish this project (from about August of 04 to about October of 05). Mostly because I lost my sketchbook ont he bus with the Roll sketch completed and Megaman in the planning stages. When I regained modivation on the project I decided that the previous images weren't up to the quality of the final three so I worked with the printouts to upp the quality. An interesting challenge, I never had to do something like that before but I'm glad I did.
Now, on with the ending!
The story really isn't very important. Suffice it to say, I think it'd involve MM fighting Zero and winning. As well as a final showdown with Bass with MM winning and sparing him. Finally, I think it'd involve Wily's apparent death.
The credits roll. Clips are shown!
And that's where I come in.
Every good video game shows stills on the character's aftermath and that's how I envision these sketches. References to licensed products aside, this is how I think the classic series ends.
"Protoman dies of an energy imbalance"
After Wily's death Protoman finally lets himself succumb to the energy imbalance that's been eating him. But he's not sad. He's lived his life the way he's always wanted - free and without regret.
* The idea of Protoman dying from an energy imbalance comes from the Power Fighters and most suspect that he ended up dying from it. I just picked a poetic way for it to end.
* Protoman's hair comes from a picture from RM3 (complete works). Why he's helmet less ..... I just thought it'd be in his character. After all, he's about to die taking off his helmet and shades .... it just seems like the reasonable thing to do.
* Tango is beside him because he's Proto's partner in the Ariga Megamix.
* Protoman is in Hardman's level, where he fought MM as Breakman.
With Wily's death Bass still fights. But this time on the hero's side ..... and he's finding out that he kinda likes it.
* With Bass fighting alongside Megaman many times this just seems like the natural way for his story to end. Also, Duo comments on his good side in an ending in the Power Fighters.
* Bass is fighting the MM PC robot masters (because this is MY ending, damn it)!
* The kids Bass is protecting are Rock's friends from the Rockman OVAs.
"The king of robots lives a humbler life."
With Wily gone King continued his mission to help robots. But his fighting days are behind him and now he can be found aiding robots in more peaceful ways.
*For some reason the idea of having the last Capcom-official original series character with the first characters brings the series full circle. Plus it's nice to see someone who seems like he might be arrogant and stuffy take on a humble position like this. Some people have asked me why Gutsman looks so worries with King behind him. It's because Guts is hurt and he's being a big baby!
"Duo returns to outer space"
Even after Wily's death Duo's fight is never done. Duo continues to fight for justice against extraterrestrial threats.
* Duo was a tricky guy to end. Mostly because he's a flat, two-dimensional character with little to build on. I considered him training a sidekick to him simply fighting in the end, but the former seemed to stray too much from the official material while the latter was too boring and provided no satisfactory resolution. While it's fudging things a bit, I added some of Duo.EXE's details to the original to visually suggest that he ends up as the same sort of character as the EXE Duo (a threat to the Earth, so obsessed with obliterating evil that he'll obliterate goodness while doing it). Not saying he is the EXE Duo tho. I just see his ending up as the same sort of character a fitting evolution of the character of Duo, even if it's a rather dark way of ending his story. This picture is also meant to convey the passage of time - it's been a few years after "Megaman: The End".
* The picture in Duo's hand is taken from an official image included in the Power Fighters flyer (sure you all saw it at some point).
* The space robots include Apollo (RM Strategy), RaMoon (SuperAdventure), Sun Star (MM5 GB), and Shadowman (who is indeed a space robot and I'm glad I get to sneak him in there). If you NEED a story think of it this way: Shadowman re-activated RaMoon who in turn reactivated everyone else.
"Auto lectures to a crowd of students."
After Wily's demise, Auto moves out of Right's shadow and becomes a leader in his own right. He's now a respected professor!
* Auto's lecturing on the Rockman model referencing the other robots who share it including Blues (as Breakman), Sniper Joe, RM Copy, and Quint.
* The subtext is that Auto is lecturing the licensed characters on the official Rockman information! I know some people who'd appreciate that idea.
*Among the students attending class are: Fan (RM Strategy), Mega Girl (Cap N), Chelsea (MM DW), Alan (MM DW), and Topman (as a reference to the TV ep "Campus Commandos - I didn't wanna use ANY of those horrible new character designs). Notice how their all older: that's time progressing, folks!
* Brain Bot, from the MM TV shows, is also a professor in class
* Eddie is there because I can't see him complimenting anyone else after MM7
* The schematics come from MM 2 GB (I consider these to be the MOST official schematics, as they came first).
* The Right symbol comes from Rockboard.
"Kalinka graduates from University!"
Time marches on and Cossack gets to see his daughter follow in his footsteps with the MM4 robot masters looking on!
* Some comment that this would *really* have to be in the future for this event to happen ... and that's the idea.
* The girl among the robots is Nesteka, Kalina's sister in Brazil's Megaman comic.
The years go by in fun and merriment as Dr. Light has more time to devote to bringing peace to the world!
* Dr. Light is working on Megaman X! This is the only way his story can end! Having no particular issues with her character Roll serves as a lighthearted foil to Light's serious work.
* The design for X's interior comes off both the toy and it's packaging art!
* The lab is Megaman 3's, the clothes in the washing machine include Roll's original outfit, her first outfit in Brazil's Megaman comic, and her attire in the Ruby Spear's Megaman TV show.
* The situation is lifted right out of Brazil's Megaman comic in which Roll's mind had to be put into a washing machine for safe keeping. This situation implies that it's somehow Beat's fault.
* I had a bit of a debate with myself concerning Dr. Light's design. MM8 had all-new character designs, but the X series always had his old ones. I wanted to go with the most recent character design in the series, but where does that leave the X series? In the end I decided to go with his designs from X. This is, after all, supposed to bridge the two series together. I added eyewear and wrinkles around his eyes to denote time passing by. He's nearsighted now.
"Rock finally gets his peaceful life."
With Wily gone, Rock has retired. Now he gets to play with Rush without worrying about the next robot attack. Roll runs up to show him some new advancements Light's been working on for him.
*Someone will call me down for saying that Megaman is X, but that's just how I see it happening. Facts are facts ... the nay-sayers have theirs and they've never been able to convince me that Megaman is not X. Anyways, I have my facts too. But, story-wise (and facts aside), this is just a necessary event. Light can't live forever, after all. When he dies Rock will be left alone and purposeless. This serves as an ending to the classic series and an introduction to the X series. I see it as a poetic way to end his story. Although Rock's adventures are over we know that he'll live on and have even greater, although more intense, adventures in the years to come. I considered simply having him relaxing with Rush with a "they all lived happily ever after" deal, but in execution it was dull and ineffective especially compared to the other endings. After all, his peace simply cannot last *forever.* This tells us what will happen after Light dies, after Bass is deactivated, after all is said and done: Megaman becomes Megaman X and fights the good fight. But, aside from all that, it shows us Megaman is happy, Roll is happy, therefore we are happy.
* X's helmet is purposefully too big for Megaman. After all, X is much older than he is. FYI: in this version Rock's mind is transferred to X's body. Hence the nearly-complete X in Light's ending.
* Light's lab is modelled after official designs. Rock himself is modelled after a Capcom-official 2-page comic showing the origin of Rockman. The soccer ball is modelled after the one used on the back of Rockman's Soccer. The entire scene is lifted from Rockman and Forte for the Wonderswan.
* I must give props to IRA who inspired the image of Roll putting X's helmet on MM with a piece of art of his own. It isn't anything like mine, but the idea and spirit is the same.
"Those fools think I have been killed. They cannot kill my genius!"
With the world believing him dead, Wily can simply wait until Light is dead and Bass and Megaman are deactivated and put in a museum. He's found a way to live on and now it's just a matter of time until Wily emerges in triumph!
Enter: Megaman X!
* We know Wily's alive in the X series, but the big question is how. I'm being purposefully vague on that. Speculating on it just makes this project even more fan-ficcy than it already is and I want it to be as plausible as possible. Hence his image on a TV monitor. Is it a recording? Is his mind in the machine? Or is Wily in another part of the lab looking on? All of these possibilities are still open in this ending!
* So many references here! Mother Brain (of Captain N) is on one monitor (as she was Wily's boss in that show). Others show Vile (because Wily met Vile in Ruby Spear's MM TV show), Bass (as Zero is based off Bass as told in the Power Fighters), and an unused concept for Megaman (as seen in X8). The girl is from another unused Megaman concept and her name is unknown (personally, I'm calling her "Rhythm"). Reggae is from Rockboard and is Wily's sidekick in Ariga's mangas. Quint's helmet, a deconstructed and beat-up Compassman, and a deconstructed Zero, are in the background.
* Having unused concept characters, Vile, Quint, and Compassman in the background are supposed to allude to the future, as this ending is a link to the X series.
* Wily is in his original outfit. The X series doesn't use his MM8 designs.
* Zero having "W"s in his crystals hearken to X4's flashback scene where he goes berserk.