Beetleworx are a type of mass-produced original-design animatronics.
The Beetleworx are cheaply-produced robots created by the Mad Doctor, supposedly as helpers for maintaining Wasteland, but also as weapons of war. Beetleworx can be sentient, though not all of them are, but will behave strictly according to their programming either way (which incidentally makes them immune to the Magical Paint's conscience-awakening effects).
The Beetleworx were created by the Mad Doctor in the first days of Wasteland alongside many other Animatronics. It seems that even then, the Doctor had concealed weaponry inside them, though whether this was part of any coherent overtaking scheme or just a general mad-scientist compulsion is unknown. The Beetleworx initially did their part in building settlements for the Wastelanders, such as Tomorrow City.
When the Blot Wars began and the Mad Doctor pledged allegiance to the Shadow Blot, he activated the Beetleworx' fighting mode. The creatures spread out all over Wasteland, fighting alongside the Blotling Army against the citizens. The Doctor set up a Beetleworx factory in the Attic of Lonesome Manor to produce more and more Beetleworx. However, Oswald managed to destroy the remote through which the Doctor could directly control the Beetleworx as a whole; thus, the Beetleworx roamed free and caused mayhem throughout the realm, but never as an organized army (which was likely Wasteland's salvation).
Whether by the Doctor's design or through their own cleverness, many Beetleworx took to camouflaging themselves in accordance with their chosen haunts. This remained the state of affairs throughout the decade-long truce that bridged the sealing of the Shadow Blot and official end of the Blot Wars, and the Blot's true destruction by Mickey Mouse in the beginning of the 21st century: Beetleworx roaming the land on their own or in small groups, sometimes remotely doing the Doctor's bidding but usually just causing harm to whoever passed by. A short time before Mickey's arrival, the Doctor, apparently growing dissatisfied with the Bashers he could build by himself, had created the Pirate Conversion Machine, a device that could turn the seamen of Tortooga into obedient Basher-type Beetleworx.
During his first adventures in Wasteland, in 2010, Mickey Mouse faced many rampaging Beetleworx and became an expert at fighting them using the Magic Paintbrush. Once he faced the Mad Doctor himself, however, and had Gremlin Gus blow up his laboratory, all of the Beetleworx deactivated, presumably due to an emergency protocol.
The Doctor, who had become stranded in Disney Gulch, found a way to reactivate them two years later, reverting them to their helpful programmings as part of his bid to make the Wastelanders believe he had reformed. Meanwhile, he built up a new army, the Blotworx. A little while later, he reactivated the Beetleworx's war mode, trying to frame Gremlin Prescott for the “hack”.
In the end, however, the Mad Doctor truly turned himself around after Mickey and Oswald Rabbit saved his life. As a result, he permanently disabled the Beetleworx' fighting mode and returned them to their true helpful purposes for good.
Types of Beetleworx
There are five main types of Beetleworx:
|Hoppers||The most common, and least dangerous, breed of Beetleworx. Usually decorated to resemble birds of some sort (though imp-like models exist as well), they move about hopping on one foot and their only mode of attack is headbutting. There is, however, one particular Hopper (of the imp-like variety) which the Mad Doctor reprogrammed to give off a hypnotic flash of light with its eyes, which worked wonders on unfortunate Gremlin Prescott in 2012.|
|Bashers||The most humanoid sort of Beetleworx, the Bashers are man-sized foot soldiers whose preferred mode of attack is swordfighting. While the Mad Doctor is capable of creating Bashers himself, it seems it is an expensive process (nearly as complex as the creation of a fully sentient animatronic such as Animatronic Donald), and so he eventually resorted to his Pirate Conversion Machine to turn flesh-and-blood pirates, captured in Tortooga, into Bashers. This process thankfully proved reversible.The Doctor also managed to turn Tik-Tok, a sentient robot, into a Basher by replacing many of his parts with Basher-like parts and reprogramming him. This, too, was eventually reversed.|
|Lifters||Bulky war machines to most other Beetleworx's soldiers, Lifters were quadrupedal behemoths with a large grabbing arm on their back akin to a construction engine, which they would use to throw heavy projectiles at their enemies or grab said enemies straight-on. Lifters were used in the Blot Wars but were seemingly extinct by the time Mickey Mouse arrived in Wasteland in 2010.|
|Spinners||The meanest sort of Beetleworx, these spider-like monsters, which can climb vertical surfaces, have highly resistant shells concealing fearsome buzzsaws.|
|Tankers||The cannon-armed Tankers are the most dangerous, and, fortunately, scarce, kind of Beetleworx. All Tankers appear to be unique variations handmade by theMad Doctor and placed as the guardians of key locations in Wasteland.|
Behind the scenes
Beetleworx are seen throughout the Epic Mickey series.
Concept art for the first Epic Mickey showed a much greater variety of Beetleworx than just the four main types (plus the Lifters, who do not actually appear in any of the finished games), such as the Jumblers. If they are considered to still exist in the canon universe, it is best to assume that these were each unique models created as one-off experiments by the Mad Doctor throughout the Blot Wars, and that they were, like the Lifters, long out of commission by the time Mickey Mouse first visited Wasteland.