Ark (Transformers)

Ark (Transformers)
The Ark
The Ark from The Transformers television series
First appearance Transformers #1 by Marvel Comics, September 1984
Affiliation Autobots
General characteristics
Class Vanguard-class Deep Space Interceptor
Auxiliary craft Shuttle

The Ark is an Autobot spacecraft in the Transformers Universe. It has appeared as a central fixture of the Transformers storyline ever since its creation, as the Autobots main method of transport to Earth and as a base once they arrive.


Transformers: Generation 1

Crew of the Ark

Transformers: The Ultimate Guide by Simon Furman classifies it as a "Vanguard-class Deep Space Interceptor", with a crew complement of as many as 300.[1]

Which Autobots were on board the Ark varies with different tellings of the story. In all storylines the following Autobots are among the crew:

In the television series the Ark was crewed by:

  • Hauler (Only appeared in one early episode)

In the Marvel Comics series the Ark was crewed by:

Animated Series

Although it is universally referred to as "the Ark" in all other media, the Autobot spacecraft is never actually named on screen in The Transformers animated series - it is simply referred to as "Autobot Headquarters" in the dialog.

The Ark left Cybertron when constant battles between the Autobots and Decepticons had left the planet in an energy crisis, with Optimus Prime and a contingent of Autobots 4 million years ago in search of the fuel Energon. Shortly after launch, it was attacked by the Decepticons on the Nemesis (another spaceship that was not named as such in the original series). The Nemesis attached itself to the Ark using tractor beams. The Decepticons, including their leader Megatron, boarded the Ark and attacked. During the battle, the Ark was damaged and crash landed on Earth, into the side of a volcano in what one day would be called Oregon (according to the Marvel comic book).[2]

In the Earth year 1984, the volcano erupted, jarring Teletraan I back to life.[3] Sending out a Sky Spy satellite, the computer scanned assorted Earthly vehicles and machinery to form alternate modes for the Transformers. Skywarp happened to be in the path of Teletraan's reconfiguration beam, and once reactivated, dragged the other Decepticons into the beam, allowing them to be reconstructed. As they departed the Ark, Starscream opened fire on it, disobeying Megatron's orders, who cautiously opted to have the Decepticons save their energy until further sources were found. The blast dislodged some of the rock face above the Ark, and the resulting collapse knocked Optimus Prime's body into the path of the beam. The Autobots lived again.[4][5]

Although the Ark was severely damaged in the crash, preparations were made to launch it again following the apparent destruction of the Decepticons. When the ship was nearly ready, the Decepticons re-emerged, prompting the Autobots to stay on Earth, using the buried hulk of the Ark as their base of operations. Following the construction of Autobot City in the early 21st century, the Ark shared duties as the home base for the Earthbound Autobots, but it's clear that Autobot City was regarded as the bigger threat to the Decepticons. In 2006, the Ark was destroyed by Trypticon.

Marvel Comics

Cybertron, having become a rogue planet, was headed into the path of the asteroid belt. Optimus Prime led a specially selected group of Autobots on board the Ark to clear a path through the asteroids so that the planet could pass safely. The Ark was specially constructed for this mission. The Autobots successfully cleared a path for Cybertron, but were attacked by the Decepticons, and were too low in energy after clearing the asteroids to fight back effectively. Prime instead chose to order the Ark to crash into what was then the lifeless third planet in our solar system. The spaceship crashed into what is today called Mount St. Hilary, where the Autobots and Decepticons on the Ark lay dormant for four million years, until in 1984 the volcano erupted and activated the shipboard computer which then revived the Transformers on board. (Mount St. Hilary is fictional, although it was presumably modeled on the real-life Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980).[6]

The Autobots then used the Ark as their base on Earth until, under the command of Grimlock, the Ark was repaired and launched back into space. It served as the Autobot's base until the battle against Unicron, when Grimlock drove it into the Chaos-Bringer's head. The craft was repaired and stolen by Shockwave and Starscream. However, they had a few stowaways: Megatron, Ratchet and Galvatron from an alternate future. In the ensuing fight, a stray shot hit the highly volatile nucleon stored on the ship causing a massive explosion, forcing it to once again, crash into the Earth; this time somewhere in northern Canada.

The specific design of the Ark changes throughout the run of the Marvel series, the variation usually attributed to different artists' ideas of what it should look like. However, the Ark always maintained a thickened, spade-like shape with three or more massive, circular engine ports.

Generation 2

The Ark was repaired and relaunched with Megatron at the helm. This time Spike Witwicky and Sky Dive stowed away before the launch. Spike merged with Fortress Maximus who had been stored in the Ark during Spike’s absence, and in the ensuing fight with Megatron, Maximus threw himself into the anti-matter conversion chamber, causing the ship to explode. Both Megatron and Sky Dive escaped.


The Ark is mentioned by name in the 1984 children's book Battle for Cybertron.[7]

The Ark appears as a character in the book Transformers: Dark of the Moon The Junior Novel.[8]

Dreamwave Productions

In the Dreamwave comics it is assumed that the Ark's history is roughly similar to that of the animated version, crashing on Earth with Optimus Prime, Megatron and their forces on board. After the defeat of the Decepticons a second Ark vessel was built, with the Autobots, the captive Decepticons and several human representatives on board. It was destroyed by rogue elements of the military being indirectly manipulated by Shockwave. The original Ark was destroyed when the Autobots Ratchet and Brawn set it to self destruct when it was attacked by Bruticus.[9]

The Ark II

A second Ark ship appeared in Dreamwave's G1 backstory. Following a mass defeat of the Decepticons, all the Transformers were to return to Cybertron on the newly-constructed Ark II, but when it was launched, it promptly exploded, as a result of Shockwave's machinations. A group of seven human ambassadors known as the Magnificent Seven (including Sparkplug Witwicky) were casualties of the explosion.

IDW Publishing

Although the Transformers Comics by IDW Publishing would discard the traditional story of the Ark crashlanding on Earth with the deactivated Autobots and Decepticons inside in favor of having both sides already having infiltration units on Earth, the Ark would still appear. Here it was not the name of one ship, but a series of them, with Ark-19 being the name of Prowl's ship and Ark-27 being the ship Optimus Prime takes to Earth. A vessel named Ark-17 was also mentioned by Oprimus Prime. Also the Spotlight issue on Nightbeat reveals the ancestry of the name. The original Ark was a vessel launched to try and chart space around Cybertron. It disappeared with all hands. Spotlight: Galvatron revealed it had actually been investigating an anomaly believed to lead to a dark mirror of the Matrix; Galvatron flew it into this anomaly and the crew were "claimed" by the Dead Universe. It is suggested that the crew of the Ark were turned into zombie-like monsters similar to Galvatron.[10]

IDW Publishing also published a design collection titled The Ark. This 208 page book features the animation models from the original 1980s cartoon and was created by Jim Sorenson and Bill Forster.

Beast Wars

The Beast Wars series, taking place in prehistoric Earth, references the Ark towards the end of the series. The Predacon Megatron discovers it, and hijacks Teletraan I using access codes he found on the Voyager Golden Record, left behind by the original Decepticon Megatron.

Blackarachnia (To Silverbolt): "Oh, it's no legend, Jo-Jo. Eons before Maximal or Predacon even existed, your ancestors, the Autobots, launched this ship containing their finest heroes. It was attacked by Decepticons and crashed here on Earth. When it (the volcano the Ark was lying in) explodes in 1984, our ancestors will awaken and start the Great War. "

While Megatron's ancestors, the Decepticons, and those of the Maximals, the Autobots, slept in stasis lock, he fired his weapon upon the face of Optimus Prime, disrupting the time flow in the universe. The Maximals foiled his plan, by placing the spark of Prime within Optimus Primal, once again changing his body. Repairs were made on Prime, and the Maximals used the Ark as their own base, both to safeguard the Transformers within from Megatron, and because their own ship had recently been lost. However, Megatron later penetrated the Ark once more, absorbing the spark of his ancestor just before mutating into his dragon form.

The Ark was nearly destroyed again by Megatron when he discovered and reactivated the Nemesis. The Maximals were able to activate (with the help of Dinobot II on the Nemesis) a shuttle found on board (that according to Blackarachnia, "The history records never mentioned a shuttle!" with Rhinox replying "History's still being made!"), and used it to both stop the Nemesis and return home, after re-sealing the cave. They also returned the spark of the original Megatron to its rightful place.

The Ark would remain until its emergence in 1984.

Transformers: Cybertron

The Transformer's scour the universe for 4 sources of power left over from Primus in order to save Cybertron and the rest of the universe from a massive black hole left over from the battle against Unicron. The four cyber planet keys (Japan: Force Chips) are located on 4 different planets Earth, Velocitron, Jungle, and Gigantion (Japan: Earth, Speedia, Animalia, Gigalonia) each with native Transformers that migrated when the cyber keys were scattered. However, the Decepticons wish to obtain the 4 cyber keys in order to rule the universe. The cyber keys in combination with the Omega Lock would be used to awaken Primus' full potential. With Primus' power merged the four Cybertronian ships: Atlantis, Ogygia, Lumeria and Hyperborea (Japan: Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria, Pangaea) into an ancient ship of legend. It is used by a reawakened Primus to destroy the black hole. It is then separated into the four ships, so the Autobots could connect the universe with space bridges. This ship was known as Noah in the Japanese version of Transformers: Cybertron, Transformers: Galaxy Force and the Ark in the English version.

Transformers film franchise

According to a post by Roberto Orci, the Autobots travel across interstellar space in a large spacecraft, then travel to Earth in protoform mode.[11] This ship would appear in Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday, the prequel novel to the 2007 live-action film, called The Ark. Here, it was the vessel bearing Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Bumblebee, Ratchet and Jazz in their search for the Allspark. It is described as being spherical in shape, and its weapons systems and shields are superior to its Decepticon counterparts. It is also said to be able to hold approximately 350 Transformers.[12]

The Ark appears in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.[13] In 1961, a Cybertronian spacecraft crash lands on the far side of the moon. Known as the Ark, it was the last ship to escape a Cybertron devastated by war. Piloted by Sentinel Prime, it carried "the Pillars", technology that could save the Cybertronians once and for all, but was hit by Decepticon missile fire. On Earth, the crash of the Ark is detected by NASA, and President John F. Kennedy authorizes the mission to put a man on the moon as a cover. By 1963, the Decepticons have raided the ship and taken hundreds of Space Bridge pillars from it, leaving only five, including the Control Pillar. Russian probe Lunar Four notices this. In 1969, Apollo 11 lands on the surface of the Moon to investigate the Ark and find the crew dead. The astronauts take samples from the ship before leaving. Somehow, the Russians manage to get their hands on an engine part from the ship and bring it to Chernobyl where it is experimented upon. Later, in 2011, Optimus Prime and Ratchet travel to the Ark and retrieve Sentinel and five Space Bridge pillars after finding the engine part at Chernobyl and learning of the truth behind the Apollo missions. The Ark is abandoned after this.


  • Dark of the Moon Cyberverse Autobot Ark with Autobot Roller (2011)
A toy replica of the Ark that opens into a playset that fits Cyberverse Legion Class figures. Comes with Legion Class Autobot Roller, which transforms into a Lunar rover.[14][15]

Transformers Animated

There is a ship in this 2008 Cartoon Network TV Series called the Orion that is based on the Ark. The Decepticon ship Nemesis is much bigger and powerful in this series. The Nemesis chases the Orion to Earth where it shoots the ship down. The Nemesis also crash lands.

The Orion was once a powerful warship during the Cybertronian Wars. When they were over, all of the Orion's weaponry was stripped except for one cannon. It then served as a cargo ship for Optimus Prime and his maintenance crew. While being chased by Decepticons, the Allspark sent the Ark pummeling through the space bridge where it ended up above Earth. It then fell right into Lake Erie, which laid for fifty years before its crew reactivated. After making friends with humans, the Autobots decided to leave the Ark and settle on a surface base.

When Lugnut and Blitzwing arrived on Earth to find the Allspark, the Autobots decided to repair the Orion and leave the planet. But they instead up its remaining cannon on the Decepticons.

When Megatron was fully revived, Ratchet managed to reactivate the Orion and the Autobots were prepared to leave Earth until a missile took out the engines, causing the ship to crash into a volcano crater.

Later in the series, the Orion is revealed to be the vehicle mode of the giant Autobot Omega Supreme.

The ship went unnamed throughout the cartoon itself (with the comics incorrectly referring to the whole ship, instead of just its online computer as "Teletran-1"), but was given its official name in the book Transformers Animated: The AllSpark Almanac II. This book also revelaed that it was but one of many identical-looking ships that each transformed into giant warriors called Omega Sentinels (with one of which being Omega Supreme). Each of these ships bore a resemblance to the Ark in shape, but only the Orion bore its iconic golden color scheme.

Transformers: Timelines

In the Fun Publications Shatterd Glass story, where the Decepticons are heroic and the Autobot the villains, the Ark and Nemesis appear as well. The Ark is purple in color, but otherwise is shaped like the Generation 1 ship. Launched from Cybertron in 2009, the Ark was commanded by Rodimus. Among the crew of the was Beachcomber, Big Daddy, Blaster, Brawn, Elita One, Goldbug, Ratchet, Seaspray, Star Saber and Swoop.


  1. ^ Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers The Ultimate Guide. DK Publications. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-7566-3012-6. 
  2. ^ "Transformers: an adult primer // Here's help understanding toy robots, the latest rage", Chicago Sun-Times; December 16, 1986; by Patricia Smith
  3. ^ High on sci-fi. Star Tribune, March 2, 2007, by Salas, Randy A.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bellomo, Mark (2010). Totally Tubular '80s. Krause Publications. pp. 90–93. ISBN 1440212821. 
  6. ^ Marvel graphic novels and related publications: an annotated guide to comics by Robert G. Weiner, page 96
  7. ^ Battle for Cybertron. Kid Stuff Records & Tapes. 1984. ISBN 0871350165. 
  8. ^ Michael Kelly (2011). Transformers: Dark of the Moon The Junior Novel. Ballantine Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. ISBN 978-0316186292. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Orci and Kurtzman Questions: Post movie - Page 6 - TRANSFORMERS message board
  12. ^ Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday, by Alan Dean Foster, 2007, page 98
  13. ^ - The Ark confirmed for Transformers 3
  14. ^ - Dark of the Moon Sentinel Prime Toy Revealed
  15. ^ - Transformers: Dark of the Moon Cyberforce

External links

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