Transformers (fiction)

Transformers (fiction)


caption=A battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. In the center are Optimus Prime (right) and Megatron (left).
team_name= Transformers
debut= 1984
creators= Takara/Hasbro
base= Cybertron
sortkey=Transformers (fiction)

Transformers are fictional alien robots and the title characters of a popular [The Transformers were voted the second most popular toys in a UK Toys 'R' Us poll: cite web | title = Coolest Toys | publisher = Sky News | date = 2007-01-30 | url =,,70141-1249441-2,00.html | accessdate = 2007-01-31] Hasbro toy line and its spin-offs. Coming from the planet Cybertron, the Transformers are divided into two factions, the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron. They are able to "transform", rearranging their bodies into common or innocuous forms, including vehicles (the most commonly known form), devices or animals. Beyond that, they can displace mass (i.e. shrink and expand), combine with one another, and apply synthetic flesh (see: Transformers technology). This ability to transform is reflected in the programs' taglines "More Than Meets the Eye" and "Robots in Disguise". All Transformers stories and characters, in a range of media, have been based around this core concept since their debut in 1984.

The largest Transformers story-arc, retroactively known as ', includes both the TV series and Marvel comic, which further divided into Japanese and UK spin-offs respectively. Sequels followed, such as the ' comic book and "Beast Wars" TV series which became its own mini-universe. Generation 1 characters underwent two reboots with Dreamwave in 2002 and IDW Publishing in 2006. There have been other incarnations of the story based on different toy lines during the 2000s. The first was the ' series, followed by three shows that consist of the "Unicron Trilogy" (consisting of ", ", and '). A live-action film was also released in 2007, again distinct from previous incarnations, while the "Transformers Animated" series merged concepts from the G1 story-arc and the 2007 live-action film.

"Generation One" (1984–1992)

"Generation One" (G1) is a retroactive term for the Transformers characters that appeared between 1984 and 1992. The Transformers began with the 1970s Japanese toy lines Microman and Diaclone. The former utilized varying humanoid-type figures while the middle presented robots able to transform into vehicular modes, with the latter robots mimicking everyday electronic items or replica weapons. Hasbro, fresh from the success of the "" toyline, which utilised the Microman technology to great success, bought the Diaclone toys, and partnered with Takara. [cite news | title = Hasbro Publishes Transformers Timeline to Movie | publisher = TFormers | date = 2007-02-09 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-10] Jim Shooter and Dennis O'Neil were hired by Hasbro to create the backstory, the latter of whom christened Optimus Prime. [cite web | author = Matthew Karpowich | title = A Little Q&A With Bob Budiansky | publisher = ASM | date = 2004-07-26 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-08] Afterwards, Bob Budiansky created most of the Transformers characters, giving names and personalities to many unnamed Diaclone figures. [cite web | title = Bob Budiansky | publisher = | month = September | year = 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-08] The primary concept of G1 is that the heroic Optimus Prime, the villainous Megatron, and their finest soldiers crash land on pre-historic Earth in the "Ark" and the "Nemesis" before awakening in 1984. The Marvel comic was originally part of the main Marvel Universe, with an appearance from Spider-Man and Nick Fury [Comic book reference | writer = Jim Salicrup | penciller = Frank Springer | story = Prisoner of War! | title = The Transformers | issue = 3 | date = January 1985 | publisher = Marvel comics] as well as a visit to the Savage Land. [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = William Johnson | story = Repeat Performance! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A) | issue = 8 | date = September 1985 | publisher = Marvel comics]

"The Transformers" TV series began around the same time. Produced by Sunbow Productions, from the start it contradicted Budiansky's backstories. The TV series shows the Autobots looking for new energy sources, and crash landing as the Decepticons attack. [cite episode | title = More than Meets the Eye | episodelink = More Than Meets the Eye#Part 1 | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1984-09-17] Marvel interpreted the Autobots as destroying a rogue asteroid approaching Cybertron. [Comic book reference | writer = Bill Mantlo | penciller = Ralph Macchio | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 1 | date = September 1984 | publisher = Marvel comics] Shockwave is loyal to Megatron in the TV series, keeping Cybertron in a stalemate during his absence, [cite episode | title = Transport to Oblivion | episodelink = Transport to Oblivion | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1984-10-06] but in the comic book he attempts to take command of the Decepticons. [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Alan Kupperberg | story = The New Order | title = The Transformers (U.S.A) | issue = 5 | date = June 1985 | publisher = Marvel comics] The TV series would also differentiate wildly from the origins Budiansky had created for the Dinobots, [Comic book reference | writer = Jim Salicrup | penciller = Frank Springer | story = The Last Stand | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) |issue=4|date=March 1984|publisher=Marvel comics] [cite episode | title = S.O.S. Dinobots | episodelink = SOS Dinobots | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1984-10-27 | season = 1] the Decepticon turned Autobot Jetfire, [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Herb Trimpe | story = Brainstorm! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 11 | date = December 1985 | publisher = Marvel comics] known as Skyfire on TV, [cite episode | title = Fire in the Sky | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1984-12-08] the Constructicons (who combine to form Devastator),cite episode | title = The Secret of Omega Supreme | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1985-11-06] [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Ricardo Villamonte | story = The Next Best Thing to Being There! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 9 | date = November 1985 | publisher = Marvel comics] and Omega Supreme. [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Don Perlin | story = Command Performances | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 19 | date = August 1986 | publisher = Marvel comics] The Marvel comic establishes early on that Prime wields the Creation Matrix, which gives life to machines. In the second season, the two-part episode The Key to Vector Sigma introduced the ancient Vector Sigma computer, which served the same original purpose as the Creation Matrix (giving life to Transformers), and its guardian Alpha Trion.

In 1986, the cartoon became a film titled , which is set in the year 2005. It introduced the Matrix as the "Autobot Matrix of Leadership", as a fatally wounded Prime gives it to Ultra Magnus. Unicron, a transformer who devours planets, fears its power and recreates a dying Megatron as Galvatron. Eventually, Rodimus Prime takes up the Matrix and destroys Unicron. [cite web | title = The Transformers: The Movie (1986) | publisher = The Internet Movie Database | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-02] In the United Kingdom, the weekly comic book interspliced original material to keep up with US reprints, [cite web | author = James Roberts | title = The Rise and Fall of Transformers UK | publisher = The Underbase | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-16] and "The Movie" provided much new material. Writer Simon Furman proceeded to expand the continuity with movie spin-offs involving the time travelling Galvatron. [Simon Furman (w), Jeff Anderson, Geoff Senior, Will Simpson, Ron Smith (p), "" "The Transformers (U.K)" #78-88 1986-09-13 - 1986-11-22 Marvel UK] [Simon Furman (w), Andrew Wildman, Robin Smith, Dan Reed, Lee Sullivan (p), "Time Wars" "The Transformers (U.K)" #199-205 1989-01-07 - 1989-02-18 Marvel UK]

The third season followed up "The Movie", with the revelation of the Quintessons having used Cybertron as a factory. Their robots rebel, and in time the workers become the Autobots and the soldiers become the Decepticons. It is the Autobots who develop transformation. [cite episode | title = Five Faces of Darkness - Part 4 | episodelink = Five Faces of Darkness#Part 4 | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1986-09-18] Due to popular demand, [cite news | author = Lane Crockett | title = Hasbro Can't Toy with Optimus Prime | publisher = The Shreveport Times | date = 1987-03-28 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-06] Optimus Prime is resurrected at the conclusion of the third season, [cite episode | title = The Return of Optimus Prime | episodelink = The Return of Optimus Prime | series = The Transformers | serieslink = The Transformers (TV series) | airdate = 1987-02-24] and the series ended with a three-episode story arc. However, the Japanese broadcast of the series was supplemented with a newly-produced OVA, "Scramble City", before creating entirely new series to continue the storyline, ignoring the 1987 end of the American series. The extended Japanese run consisted of ', ', ' and ', then in illustrated magazine form as ' and "Operation: Combination". Just as the TV series was wrapping up, Marvel continued to expand its continuity. It followed "The Movies example by killing Prime [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Don Perlin | story = Afterdeath! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 24 | date = January 1987 | publisher = Marvel comics] and Megatron, [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Don Perlin | story = Gone But Not Forgotten! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) |issue = 25| date = February 1987 | publisher = Marvel comics] albeit in the present day. Dinobot leader Grimlock takes over as Autobot leader. [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Don Perlin | story = King of the Hill! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) |issue = 27| date = April 1987| publisher = Marvel comics] There was a "G.I. Joe" crossover [Comic book reference | writer = Michael Higgins | penciller = Herb Trimpe | story = Blood on the Tracks, Power Struggle, Ashes, Ashes... All Fall Down | title = G.I. Joe and the Transformers | issue = 1-4 | date = January-April 1987 | publisher = Marvel comics] and the limited series "" which further expanded the scope to the planet Nebulon. [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Frank Springer | story = Ring of Hate! Broken Glass! Love and Steel! Brothers in Armor! | title = | issue = 1-4 | date = July-October 1987 | publisher = Marvel comics] It led on to the main title resurrecting Prime as a Powermaster. [Comic book reference | writer = Bob Budiansky | penciller = Jose Delbo | story = People Power! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 42 | date=July 1988 | publisher = Marvel comics]

Over in the UK, the mythology continued to grow. Primus was introduced as the creator of the Transformers, to serve his material body that is planet Cybertron and fight his nemesis Unicron. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Jeff Anderson | story = The Legacy of Unicron (Part 5) | title = The Transformers (UK) | issue = 150 | date = 1988-01-30 | publisher = Marvel UK] Female Autobot Arcee also appeared, despite the comic book stating the Transformers had no concept of gender, with her backstory of being built by the Autobots to quell human accusations of sexism. [Comic book reference | Writer = Simon Furman | Penciller = Andrew Wildman | Story = Prime's Rib! | Title = The Transformers | Issue = 234 | Date = 1989-09-09 | Publisher = Marvel UK] Soundwave, Megatron's second-in-command, also broke the fourth wall in the letters page, criticising the cartoon continuity as an inaccurate representation of history. [cite web | title = Sound waves Vs the Transformers cartoon | publisher = The Hub | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-16] The UK also had a crossover in "Action Force", the UK counterpart to G.I. Joe. [Simon Furman (w), Geoff Senior (p), "Ancient Relics!" "Action Force" #24-27 1987-08-15 - 1987-09-05 Marvel UK] The comic book featured a resurrected Megatron, [Comic book reference | Writer = Simon Furman | Penciller = Geoff Senior | Story = Ancient Relics Part 1 | Title = The Transformers (U.K.) | Issue = 125 | Date = 1987-08-08 | Publisher = Marvel UK] whom Furman retconned to be a clone [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Geoff Senior | story = Two Megatrons! | title = The Transformers (U.K.) | issue = 244 | date = 1987-11-18 | publisher = Marvel UK] when he took over the US comic book which depicted Megatron as still dead. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Jose Delbo | story = Back from the Dead! | title = The Transformers (U.S.A.) | issue = 56 | date=September 1989 | publisher=Marvel comics] The US comic would last for 80 issues until 1991, and the UK comic lasted 332 issues and several annuals.

"Generation 2" (1992–1995)

It was five issues [Comic book reference | writer = Larry Hama | penciller = Andrew Wildman, Stephen Baskerville, Chris Batista, Jesse Orozco, William Rosado | story = Unfoldings!, Realignments, Goin' South, Sucker Punch, Final Transformations | title = G.I. Joe | issue = 138-142 | date = July-November 1993 | publisher = Marvel comics] of the "G.I. Joe" comic in 1993 that would springboard a return for Marvel's Transformers, with a new twelve-issue series entitled "", to market a new toy line. The UK comic came back for five issues and an annual. This story revealed that the Transformers originally breed asexually, though it is stopped by Primus as it produced the evil Swarm. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Manny Galan | story = The Power and the Glory | title = | issue = 5 | date = March 1994 | publisher=Marvel Comics] A new empire, neither Autobot or Decepticon, is bringing it back though. Though the year-long arc wrapped itself up with an alliance between Optimus Prime and Megatron, the final panel introduced the Liege Maximo, ancestor of the Decepticons. [Comic book reference | Writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Manny Galan | Story = A Rage in Heaven! | Title = | Issue = 12 | Date = October 1994 | Publisher = Marvel comics] This minor cliffhanger was not resolved until 2001 and 2002's Transforce convention when writer Simon Furman concluded his story in the exclusive novella "Alignment". [cite web | title = Alignment | publisher = Transforce | url = | accessdate=2007-02-22]

"Beast Wars"/"Machines" (1996–2001)

Unlike the various contradictory and separate G1 universes, the 1996 TV series "Beast Wars" and its spin-offs form an extended and cohesive story. The story focused on a small group of Maximals (led by Optimus Primal) and Predacons (led by Megatron), 300 years after the "Great War". They crash land on a planet similar to Earth, but with two moons and a dangerous level of energon, which forces them to take organic beast forms. [cite episode | title = Pilot (Part 1) | series = Beast Wars | serieslink = Beast Wars | airdate = 1996-09-16 | season = 1] After writing this first episode, Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio learned of the G1 Transformers, and began to use elements of it as a historical backstory to their scripts, [cite video | people = Bob Forward | title = Interview with writer Bob Forward | medium = DVD | publisher = Rhino | date = 2003-08-12] establishing "Beast Wars" as a part of the "Generation 1" universe through numerous callbacks to both the cartoon and Marvel comic. By the end of the first season, the second moon and the energon are revealed to have been constructed by the Vok.The destruction of the second moon releases mysterious energies that make some of the characters "transmetal" and the planet is revealed to be prehistoric Earth, leading to the discovery of the "Ark". Megatron attempts to kill the original Optimus Prime,cite episode | title = The Agenda | episodelink = The Agenda (Beast Wars) | series = Beast Wars | serieslink = Beast Wars | airdate = 1997-03-11 - 1997-03-13 | season 2] but at the beginning of the third season, Primal manages to preserve his spark. In the two-season follow-up, "Beast Machines", Cybertron is revealed to have organic origins, which Megatron attempts to stamp out. Although the organic origin of Cybertron, the presence of female characters and Starscream's appearance hinting at his demise in "The Transformers: The Movie" brought the series closer to the G1 TV series, the appearance of Ravage's intelligent Marvel incarnation and the comics only terms the "Ark" left the show in a gray area of "a" "Generation 1".

Since then, the saga has been increased. After the first season of "Beast Wars" (comprising 26 episodes) aired in Japan, the Japanese were faced with a problem — the second Canadian season was only 13 episodes long, not enough to warrant airing on Japanese TV. So, while they waited for the third Canadian season to be completed (thereby making 26 episodes in total when added to season 2), they produced two exclusive cel-animated series of their own, "Beast Wars II" (also called "Beast Wars Second") and "Beast Wars Neo," to fill in the gap. Dreamwave retroactively revealed "Beast Wars" to be the future of their G1 universe, and the 2006 IDW comic book "" eventually confirmed the canonicity of the Japanese series with appearances of the Japanese characters [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Don Figueroa | title = | issue = 1 | date = 2006-02-15 | publisher = IDW Publishing] within a story set during Season 3. [cite news | title = Interview - IDWs Ryall & Furman Talk Beast Wars Comic | publisher = Comic News International | date = 2005-10-25 | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-31]

Dreamwave Productions (2002–2005)

In 2002, Dreamwave Productions began a new universe of comics adapted from Marvel, but also included elements of the cartoon. The Dreamwave stories followed the concept of the Autobots defeating the Decepticons on Earth, but their 1999 return journey to Cybertron on the "Ark II" [Comic book reference | writer = Chris Sarracini | penciller = Pat Lee | title = | issue = 1 | date = April 2002 | publisher = Dreamwave] is destroyed by Shockwave, now ruler of the planet.Comic book reference | writer = Brad Mick | penciller = Pat Lee | title = | issue = 6 | date = September 2003 | publisher = Dreamwave] The story follows on from there, and was told in . The series also added extra complexities such as not all Transformers believing in the existence of Primus, [Brad Mick, Adam Patyk (w), Don Figueroa (p), "Original Sin" ' #5, May 2004, Dreamwave Productions] corruption in the Cybertronian government that first lead Megatron to begin his war [James McDonough, Adam Patykand (w), Don Figueroa (p), "The Route of All Evil" ' #10, December 2004, Dreamwave Productions] and Earth having an unknown relevance to Cybertron. [Brad Mick, Adam Patyk (w), Don Figueroa (p), "Atonement" "" #6, June 2004, Dreamwave Productions]

Three ' limited series were also published. These are set at the beginning of the Great War, and identify Prime as once being a clerk named Optronix. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Don Figueroa | title = | issue=1 | date = October 2002 | publisher = Dreamwave Productions] "Beast Wars" was also retroactively stated as the future of this continuity, with the profile series "More than Meets the Eye" showing the Predacon Megatron looking at historical files detailing Dreamwave's characters and taking his name from the original Megatron.Comic book reference | writer = Adam Patyk, Brad Mick | penciller = Joe Ng, James Raiz, Edwin Garcia, Don Figueroa, Alex Lin | title = Transformers: More than Meets the Eye | issue = 8 | date = November 2003 | publisher = Dreamwave] In 2004, this fictional universe also inspired three novels [cite web | title=The Transformers Trilogy||url=|accessdate=2007-02-27] and a Dorling Kindersley guide, which focused on Dreamwave as the "true" continuity when discussing in-universe elements of the characters. In a new twist, Primus and Unicron are siblings, formerly a being known as The One. ', set after the Ark's disappearance, was also published. The fictional universe was disrupted when Dreamwave went bankrupt in 2005. [cite news | title = Immediate Press Release - Dreamwave will be ceasing operations! | publisher = Seibertron | date = 2005-01-04 | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-31] This left the "Generation One" story hanging and the third volume of "The War Within" half finished. Plans for a comic book set between "Beast Wars" and "Beast Machines" were also left unrealized. [cite news | author = Benjamin Ong Pang Kean | title = STARTING THE BEAST WAR: DREAMWAVE TALKS TFORMERS: BEAST WAR | publisher = Newsarama | date = 2004-07-12 | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-31]

G.I. Joe crossovers (2003 onwards)

Throughout the years, the G1 characters have also starred in crossovers with fellow Hasbro property G.I. Joe, but whereas those crossovers published by Marvel were in continuity with their larger storyline, those released by Dreamwave and G.I. Joe publisher Devil's Due Publishing occupy their own separate fictional universes. In Devil's Due, the terrorist organization Cobra is responsible for finding and reactivating the Transformers. Dreamwave's version remagines the familiar G1 and G.I. Joe characters in a World War II setting, and a second limited series was released set in the present day, though Dreamwave's bankruptcy meant it was cancelled after a single issue. Devil's Due had Cobra re-engineer the Transformers to turn into familiar Cobra vehicles, and released further mini-series that sent the characters travelling through time, battling Serpentor and being faced with the combined menace of Cobra-La and Unicron.

IDW Publishing have expressed interest in their own crossover. [cite news|title=BotCon 2006 - Transformers Comics: Past, Present & Future||date=2006-09-30|url=|accessdate=2007-02-27]

IDW publishing (2005 onwards)

The following year, IDW Publishing rebooted the G1 series from scratch within various limited series and . This allowed long-time writer of Marvel and Dreamwave comics, Simon Furman to create his own universe without continuity hindrance, similar to Ultimate Marvel. [cite web | title = Simon Furman talks Stormbringer | publisher = Comics News International | date = 2006-06-22 | url = | accessdate = 2006-12-21] Furman's story depicts a Cybertron that the rogue Pretender Thunderwing destroys, [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Don Figueroa | title = | Issue = 1 | date = July 2006 | publisher = IDW Publishing] so the Autobots and Decepticons have to infiltrate various planets for their resources. Earth comes under particular scrutiny due to a particularly potent form of energon which Shockwave had seeded millions of years ago, [Comic book reference | Writer = Simon Furman | penciller = Nick Roche | Title = | Issue = 1 | Date = September 2006 | Publisher = IDW Publishing] with the Decepticons escalating political tensions by replacing people with clones. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = E.J. Su | title = | issue = 2 | date = December 2006 | publisher = IDW Publishing] The "Ark" origin is absent in this series. [cite news | author = Iain Burnside | title = Caught in the Nexus: Simon Furman | publisher = Comics Nexus | date = 2006-08-04 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-02] The continuity was also the first to acknowledge the existence of ml|Transformers_technology|Mass_displacement|mass displacement in transformations, such as when Megatron downsizes himself into a gun. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman | penciller = E.J. Su | title = | issue = 3 | date = January 2007 | publisher = IDW Publishing]

Alternative stories

In January 2006, the "Hasbro Transformers Collectors' Club" comic wrote a story based on the Transformers Classics toy line, set in the Marvel Comics universe, but excluding the "Generation 2" comic. Fifteen years after Megatron crash lands in the "Ark" with Ratchet, the war continues with the characters in their "Classics" bodies. [Comic book reference | writer=Forest Lee|penciller=Dan Khanna|story=Crossing Over|title=Hasbro Transformers Collectors' Club|date=January/February 2006|issue=13|publisher=Fun Publications]

IDW Publishing introduced "" in 2006, a collection of mini-series that re-imagine and reinterpret the G1 characters in various ways. To date, only one miniseries has been published, "Hearts of Steel", placing the characters in an Industrial Revolution-era setting. The series was delayed as Hasbro did not want to confuse newcomers with too many fictional universes before the release of the live-action film. [cite news|title = IDW's Plans For Transformers Revealed At The 2006 San Diego Comic Con|publisher=Comics News International|date=2006-07-26|url=|accessdate=2007-02-26]

However, IDW and the original publisher Marvel Comics announced a crossover storyline with the Avengers to coincide with the film, entitled "New Avengers/Transformers". [cite news|title=New Avengers/Transformers|publisher=IDW Publishing|url=|accessdate=2007-02-26] The story is set on the borders of Symkaria and Latveria, and its fictional universe is set between the first two "New Avengers" storylines, as well in between the ' and ' phase of IDW's "The Transformers". [cite news | author=Jay | title=Stuart Moore Talks New Avengers/Transformers|publisher=Comics News International|date=2007-03-02|url=|accessdate=2007-03-03] IDW editor-in-chief, Chris Ryall hinted at elements of it being carried over into the main continuities, [cite news|title =Ryall answers fans' questions on TF/Avengers crossover|publisher=TFormers|date=2007-02-26|url=|accessdate=2007-02-27] and that a sequel is possible. [cite news|author=Dave Richards|title=NYCC, DAY 2: MOORE, ROSEMANN AND RYALL TALK “NEW AVENGERS/ TRANSFORMERS”|publisher=Comic Book Resources|date=2007-02-24|url=|accessdate=2007-02-27]

"Robots in Disguise" (2000–2002)

Broadcast in 2001, "Robots in Disguise" was a single animated series, imported from Japan (where it was broadcast the previous year), consisting of thirty-nine episodes. In this continuity, Megatron creates the Decepticons as a subfaction of the Predacons on Earth, a potential reference to the return to the vehicle-based characters following the previous dominance of the animal-based characters of the "Beast" eras. It is a stand-alone universe with no ties to any other Transformers fiction, though some of the characters from "Robots in Disguise" did eventually make appearances in "", including Optimus Prime, Side Burn and Prowl.

The Unicron Trilogy (2002–2006)

These three lines, launched in 2002 and dubbed the "Unicron Trilogy" by "Transformers" designer Aaron Archer, [cite news | title = Hasbro Cartoon Creation Panel | publisher = The Allspark | date = 2006-09-30 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-04] are co-productions between Hasbro and Takara, simultaneously released in both countries, each lasting 52 episodes. "Armada" followed the Autobots and Decepticons discovering the powerful Mini-Cons on Earth, which are revealed by the end to be weapons of Unicron. "Energon", set ten years later, followed the Autobots stopping the Decepticons from resurrecting Unicron with energon.

In Japan, the series "Transformers: Cybertron" showed no ties to the previous two series, telling its own story. This caused continuity problems when Hasbro sold "Cybertron" as a follow-up to "Armada/Energon". Plot elements have been changed from the Japanese story into references to the previous shows to enhance continuity, but they largely only add up to mentioning Unicron once or twice.

Just as Marvel produced a companion comic to "Generation One", Dreamwave Productions published a comic entitled "Transformers Armada" set in a different continuity to the cartoon. At #19, it became "Transformers Energon". Dreamwave went bankrupt and ceased all publications before the storyline could be completed at #30. However, the Transformers Fan Club published a few stories set in the "Cybertron" era. [cite news | title = Transformers Comics For April 2007 From IDW | publisher = Comics News International | date = 2007-01-08 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-02]

"Transformers: Universe" (2003–2006)

The storyline of "", mainly set following "Beast Machines", sees characters from many assorted alternate continuities, including existing and new ones, encountering each other. The story was told in an unfinished comic book exclusive to the Official Transformers Collectors' Convention.

Film franchise (2007-present)

In 2007, a live action film of Transformers was directed by Michael Bay and written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The main focus of the film revolved around the creator of the Transformers, as well as Cybertron, which in the film is described as the Allspark. The film portrayed the Allspark as a large cube of energy that can create life from mechanical objects. During the Cybertronian Civil War, the Allspark was sent off the planet and eventually landed on Earth, where it was discovered by the U.S. government and the Hoover Dam was built over it as a top-secret research facility and government base. Megatron searched for the Allspark and eventually found Earth, but he crash-landed in the Arctic and was frozen. Many years later he was found and also brought to the same facility as the Allspark. With their homeworld ravaged by war, the Autobots were dispersed throughout space. But a group of Autobots led by Optimus Prime traveled to Earth in search of the Allspark, in an attempt to revitalize their planet. However, the Decepticons also race towards Earth to find the Allspark, as well as their leader, Megatron. The film depicts the battle over the Allspark on Earth. The Transformers are depicted as mechanical beings that can reconstruct their outside appearance through scanning or touching a mechanical object of relative size to each Transformer's body. [cite video | people = Michael Bay (director) | title = Transformers | format = film | publisher = Dreamworks | year = 2007]

To market the film, IDW Publishing published '. The comic expanded upon Optimus Prime's referral to Megatron as "brother", revealing they co-ruled Cybertron before Megatron's corruption. Furthermore, Optimus sent the Allspark into space in a last-ditch attempt to defeat Megatron. Megatron is responsible for Bumblebee's muteness in the film, as a direct result of distracting him from the Allspark's launch. [Comic book reference | writer = Simon Furman, Chris Ryall | penciller = Don Figueroa | title= Transformers: The Movie Prequel | issue=1 | date=2007-03-06 | publisher=IDW Publishing] Alan Dean Foster also wrote a prequel novel entitled '. The novel shows that Starscream hated Megatron and wanted him to never be found, so he could remain as leader, explaining Megatron's line in the film: "You failed me, yet again, Starscream." Blackout is also depicted as deeply loyal to Megatron, explaining his line "All hail Megatron!" However, the novel contradicts the film with Megatron's body moved into the Hoover Dam in 1969, instead of the 1930s. [cite book | last = Dean Foster | first = Alan | authorlink = Alan Dean Foster | coauthors = David Cian | title = Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday | publisher = Del Ray | year = 2007 | pages = 286 | id = ISBN 978-0-345-49798-7] IDW plans to continue the film's fictional universe with additional prequels and sequels. [cite news | author = Matt Brady | title = SDCC '07: IDW PANEL REPORT | publisher = Newsarama | date = 2007-07-27 | url = | accessdate=2007-08-02]

"Transformers: Animated" (2008)

The Cartoon Network (United States)-produced "" is a cartoon that aired in early 2008. Originally scheduled for late 2007 under the title of "Transformers: Heroes",cite news | title = Next TF Cartoon Series: "Transformers Heroes"? | publisher = Seibertron | date = 2006-09-02 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-02] "Transformers: Animated" is set in the 22nd Century Detroit,cite news | title = ‘TRANSFORMERS’ BACK TO TV | publisher = Wizard | date = 2007-06-25 | url = | accessdate=2007-06-26] when robots and humans live side-by-side. The Autobots come to Earth and assume superhero roles, battling evil humans with the Decepticons having a smaller role. [cite news | author = Eric Goldman | title = New Transformers Series Coming to Cartoon Network | publisher = IGN | date = 2007-06-25 | url = | accessdate=2007-06-27]


External links

* [] - Official Hasbro Transformers Site
* [ The Transformers Wiki] - A guide to the fictional aspects of the franchise
* [ Transformer World 2005] - (2005 is a reference to the year "Transformers: The Movie" is set in)
* [ Seibertron]
* [ The Transformers Archive]
* [ TFormers]
* [ Lukis Bros. Transformers Collector Site] - Collector site with character bios from all universes.
* [ Transformers World] - Information, images, videos of the Transformers comics, cartoons and movies.
* [ A History of Transformers] at Blockbuster UK

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