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Optimus Prime is perhaps the most iconic of all the transformers. Optimus Prime was voiced by the legendary Peter Cullen, who also voiced several memorable characters such as Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, Coran from Voltron: Defender of the Universe and The Predator from the movie Predator.
Optimus is the ultimate leader. He is courageous and noble. His decisions are always fair and intend to benefit the greater good. He is a master tactician and is always willing to go to the front line of the battle. He wants peace and values life. He is also willing to sacrifice his life for others.
Optimus transforms into a Freightliner FL86 cab over semi truck in order to conceal his identity. His trailer can transform into a battle station and he has a small reconnaissance buggy he calls "Roller."
The episode "War Dawn" depicts the humble beginnings of this great leader. Optimus began his existence as Orion Pax, a lowly dock worker, during the Golden Age of Cybertron. Orion greatly admired Megatron as he could fly and was a mighty warrior. This all changed however when Megatron tricked Orion into revealing where the energy was stored. He and his concealed army then attack the hapless Autobot and injured his girlfriend Ariel and friend Dion.
The Aerialbots bring the injured Orion to Alpha Trion to be repaired. Alpha Trion rebuilds Orion into a mighty warrior - Optimus Prime. Optimus single handedly crushes Megatron's army. The injured Ariel later became Elita One - a female warrior.It is not clear though what happened to Dion. It is speculated he became Ironhide or Ultra Magnus. Optimus was the mightiest of the Autobot warriors and became the keeper of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. The Matrix granted him the collective wisdom of Autbot leaders before him.
During the first two seasons of Generation One, Optimus thwarts Megatron's plans for conquest. Though he is not yet able to free Cybertron from Decepticon rule, he is successful in keeping the Earth safe from Decepticon clutches.
During the movie, Optimus is critically injured during the battle of Autobot City. Hot Rod tries to save Optimus from Megatron during their final battle but ends up being used by Megatron as a shield to prevent Optimus from firing back. Before Optimus goes down for the count however, he successfully deals several critical blows to Megatron.
Optimus passes on the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus and dies soon after. Ultra Magnus is not chosen by the Matrix and gets blasted to pieces. Galvatron grabs the Matrix for himself in hopes of blackmailing Unicron. Ultra Magnus is then reassembled by the Junkions.
In the final battle of the movie, Hot Rod and Galvatron go one on one. Initially Galvatron wanted to team up with Hot Rod to destroy Unicron but Unicron exerts his mind control on Galvatron. Hot Rod is able to grab the Matrix from Galvatron and unleash its power. He becomes Rodimus Prime and promptly disposes of Galvatron.
This was the high point of Rodimus' career as he spent the entire of the third season doubting himself and thinking he will never be the leader Optimus was. Ultra Magnus tried to be supportive of Rodimus but this never gave Rodimus enough confidence in his leadership abilities.
In the episode "Dark Awakening," the Quintessons were able to revive Optimus Prime. They planned to use the newly revived Prime in order to trap and destroy the Autobot forces. The Autobots end up in the Autobot mausoleum which was built to commemorate their fallen comrades. They then meet the newly resurrected Optimus who saves them from Galvatron and his minions.
Rodimus Prime is eager to get rid of his burden of leadership and hands over The Matrix to Optimus Prime. He then reverts to being Hot Rod again. Optimus then promptly attacks the Autobots and detonates the mausoleum. He then heads to Cybertron to entrap the remaining Autobots. He succeeds in assembling a huge Autobot fleet and he then leads them to the Quintesson trap.
Hot Rod confronts Optimus and the two go toe to toe. Hot Rod is pummelled by the much more battle tested Optimus. The Matrix however returns Optimus' sanity and Optimus returns the Matrix to Hot Rod. Hot Rod becomes Rodimus once again. Optimus calls off the attack and drives the flagship to the trigger zone of the Quintesson trap and detonates it.Once again Optimus sacrifices his life to save others.
This seems to be the end of Optimus or is it?
Soon after Optimus' demise, Dr. Mark Morgan develops a heat and radiation resistant alloy . He sends his daughter Jessica and assistant Gregory into outer space to test it. During their expedition, the two discover the body of Optimus Prime. Jessica immediately wants to rescue Optimus but Gregory is hesitant as he was scarred during one of Optimus Prime and Megatron's battles.
Jessica convinces Gregory to help her and the two rescue Optimus before the ship crashes with the planetoid. An explosion ensues on coats the ship with strange spores. The spores turn out to be hate inducing. Mark and Gregory planned to use Optimus' body to bait the Autobots and get infected with the hate spores.
Jessica tells Rodimus about her father's plan but the Autobots still end up infected due to Rodimus' lack of careful planning. Pretty soon most of the Autobots, Decepticons, humans and animals are infected by the "hate plague."
Rodimus thought that since the Quintessons were able to revive Optimus once, they can do so again. He tasked Sky Lynx to locate a Quintesson. Sky Lynx finds one and agrees to rescue him from a band of infected Sharkticons in exchange for his assistance in reviving Optimus Prime.
The Quintesson is successful in reviving Optimus Prime but by then, the hate plague has spread throughout the galaxy. Optimus is then left with two objectives - to retrieve the Matrix from an infected Rodimus Prime and to retrieve the alloy made by Jessica's father.
Optimus succeeds in doing both and the day is saved. The Matrix is spent as a result. Optimus is optimistic that the Matrix can be refilled using the new wisdom accumulated by the current generation of Autobots.
Galvatron is seemingly cured of his insanity and declares a truce with the Autobot leader.
Optimus resumes command of the Autobots once more.
After the Cybertronian uprising that exiled the Quintessons, Cybertron underwent a Golden Age. It was an age of peace and prosperity for both the Autobots (factory robots) and Decepticons (military robots). However, this was not meant to last. Megatron had plans to conquer Cybertron and eventually the known galaxy.
Megatron was one of the most powerful decepticons and was excellent at combat as well as a good tactician. He fooled a young Orion Pax (Optimus Prime) into revealing where the energon was stored and proceeded to raid the facility. He critically injured Orion and his friends Dion and Ariel.
This would later go on to haunt Megatron as the young Orion was rebuilt by Alpha Trion to become Megatron's greatest nightmare - Optimus Prime. The war between Megatron and Optimus would span millions of years.
Megatron needed an army in order to conquer Cybertron so he created the robosmasher. The robosmasher reprogrammed Cybertronians to join the Decepticon cause.The civil war lasted for millions of years until the Rebirth ushered a new Golden Age for Cybertron.
There is a continuity nightmare in terms of Megatron's origin in terms of the Generation One cartoon. It shows Megatron being created by eight Constructicons in Five Faces of Darkness Part 4 while in Heavy Metal War, Megatron claims to have built the Constructicons in a cavern. So who created who?
A common theory among fans is that the Constructicons actually created Megatron and Megatron rebuilt the Constructicons new bodies on Earth similar to how Starscream made new bodies for the Combaticons. If this is indeed correct What became of the two extra Constructicons?
Megatron transforms into a Walther P38 handgun. He is able to shift his size so anyone can wield him from a human to a Transformer. Megatron would always come up with schemes to get more energon in order to fuel his dreams of conquest. He tried to fool Grapple and Hoist into building a solar tower only to steal it from them later. He tried to get oil from Arab countries in order to turn them into energon cubes. He even tried to take over a dam in order to get his energon fill. A lot of the episodes in Generation One involved Megatron trying to exploit Earth's natural energy sources.
Megatron and Optimus had many battles throughout the Cybertronian civil war. Their final battle in Transfomers the Movie resulted in each taking a mortal blow. Optimus dies and passes on the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus and Megatron is reincarnated into Galvatron.
One of the themes in the cartoon was the love-hate relationship between Megatron and Starscream. Megatron recognizes Starscreams value to the Decepticon cause but is not pleased with the latter's efforts to undermine and usurp power.It is not clear why Megatron chooses to keep Starscream around. However, once Unicron transforms Megatron into Galvatron, he becomes even more ruthless. This signals the end of Starscream as Galvatron finally had enough of Starscream's treachery and obliterates him in a single blast.
Galvatron would then go on to lead the Decepticons in season three and four.
Bumblebee is the ultimate underdog. He is not as strong as Grimlock. He does not possess the combat skills of Optimus Prime. He is not even an inventor like Wheeljack. He primarily serves as a spy and messenger and as transport for the Autobot's human allies.
Bumblebee is diminutive in size as compared to his fellow Transformers. This enables him to be stealthy. His alternate form is a Volkswagen Beetle. His primary weapon is a laser pistol.
Despite not being as large as the average Transformer, Bumblebee held his own in battle usually against smaller Decepticons such as Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, Lazerbeak and Ratbat.
Through his interaction with the humans, Bumblebee has forged a very close bond to Spike Witwicky and his father Sparkplug. He also later on became friends with Chip Chase and Carly - who later on became Spikes wife. He served as the unofficial liaison between the Autobots and the humans. This gave him a very endearing quality.
With the mass culling of the Transformers in the animated movie, a lot of fan favorites such as Ironhide and Starscream were killed. Fortunately for fans of Bumblebee however, he survived.
During the spread of the "hate plague" Autobots, Decepticons, humans and animals went berserk. Things escalated when the combiners got infected. Superion went berserk and injured several Autobots including Bumblebee. Fortunately, Bumblebee was rebuilt into Goldbug.
Goldbug became part of the Throttlebots - a group of small Autobots with land vehicle transformations.
To fans of G.I. Joe it is noticeable that Starscream sounds exactly like Cobra Commander. This is because they are voice by the same voice actor - Chris Latta. That irritating screeching voice is what fans would most remmeber about the two characters.
Starscream started off as a scientist in Cybertron along with his friend Jetfire. He was later recruited to the Decepticon cause and became second-in-command. As second-in-command, Starscream would often warn Megatron against the folly of his schemes. A lot of times, Starscream would be proven right.
Stascream has tried to usurp Megatron's position multiple times throughout the series. His most successful attempt was in the episode Starscream's Brigade. Starscream was able to steal personality components of five Decepticon renegades. The original bodies of the five rebels have long been destroyed but their personality components are intact and stored safely in Cybertron.
Stascream craftily evades Cybertronian defenses and retrieve the components. He then fixes up broken down World War 2 vehicles to serve as the bodies of the renegade Decepticons. Thus the Combaticons are born!
Stascream however does not equip them with energy absorbers so they will do his bidding. The first few encounters go very well for Starscream and his new brigade. With Onslaught and Starscream's tactical prowess, they easily outmaneuver the other Decepticons. There was even a point that Starscream was inches away from finally usurping Megatron's position.
Starscream would die in Transformers the Movie when Galvatron blasted him into oblivion.
He would subsequently appear again in the third season as a ghost and be resurrected by Unicron, only to betray his benefactor. Starscream was last seen tumbling through space.
Grimlock is the leader of the Dinobots. Despite the title, he is in no way a leader the caliber of Optimus Prime or Megatron. Grimlock is selfish and conceited. He is one of the strongest and toughest of all the Autobots and thinks he should command the Autobots instead of Optimus Prime.
The schematics of the Dinobots are based on actual dinosaur fossils. Grimlock's design was based on the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex This made the Dinobots very powerful but also very dimwitted. When Wheeljack and Ratchet unveiled the first three Dinobots - Grimlock, Slag and Sludge, they ended up trashing the Autobot base and damaging Teletraan 1.
Optimus Prime was alarmed by the destruction cause by the trio and wanted them to be turned to scrap metal. Wheeljack intervened and convinced Optimus to just bury them alive instead.
Not soon after, the energon-hungry Decepticons attacked a hydroelectric dam in order to add to their stockpile of cubes. Optimus and the gang come and try to stop them but were captured instead.
Wheeljack, Ratchet, and Bumblebee did not have enough firepower to complete a rescue mission to save their captured compatriots. They had no choice but to reactivate the Dinobots. They upgraded the Dinobots with enhanced intellectual capabilities. The Dinobots were still not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but were at least serviceable.
The brute strength and firepower of the Dinobots overwhelm the Decepticons and Prime and the rest of the Autobots are saved. Optimus realizes the value of the Dinobots and welcomes them to the fold.
A strange meteor crashes unto the Earth and the Dinobots are tasked to guard it. The meteor is emitting a strange energy which attracts the Decepticons as it is a potential energy source.
Instead of tackling the Dinobots head on, Megatron employs a sneakier approach. He befriends Grimlock and enlists him and the other Dinobots as allies against Optimus Prime. In order to combat their betrayal, the Autobots create and later deploy two more Dinobots - Snarl and Swoop. The two new Dinobots prove formidable and hold their own against the initial three Dinobots.
With Megatron trying to extract energy from the meteorite, the meteorite becomes unstable and is about to explode. Optimus risks his life and saves Grimlock from the explosion. Grimlock realizes his mistake and rejoins the Autobots' ranks.
One of the rivalries Grimlock has formed in Generation 1 was that of him and his fellow Dinobots with the Constructicons and their alternate mode - the Mighty Devastator. Having been recently built on Earth, the Constructicons have quickly proven to be worthy allies to the Decepticon cause.
In the episode "Heavy Metal War," Megatron decides to challenge Optimus to a 1-on-1 match-up. The loser has himself and his army exiled from Earth. Though this may be seemingly an even match as both Optimus and Megatron are on the upper echelon of their ranks. They are also the veterans of the last Cybertronian War.
Megatron, of course, seeks to gain the upper hand. The Decepticons build a device that transfers the other Decepticons' powers unto Megatron so that he would gain the edge over Optimus. In order for Teletraan 1 not to detect Megatron's treachery, the Constructicons were tasked to take the computer out.
Teletraan detected the Constructicons underneath the base and promptly deploy the Dinobots to counteract the menace. A battle ensues between the Autobots and Decepticons and the Decepticons end up drowning in molten lava.
During the battle of Autobot City in Transformers the Movie, Grimlock was part of the Autobot contingent that defended the city against a full scale Decepticon attack. He and his fellow Dinobots tried to stop Devastator's rampage on the city.
Though many of the original Autobots were slain in the movie, Grimlock was among those that survived. It is not surprising since he is one of the more durable Autobots. He has faced Megatron in the past and survived Megatron's blast at point blank range.
During the aftermath of the events of the movie, Grimlock still played a key role in the third season of the show. He would even become a genius at one point and build the Technobots from scrap parts. He would play a vital role in the episode "Call of the Primitives" where he would help stop Tornedron from draining all the energy from planets and living beings. Tornedron is an energy being created by Primacron - the same guy who created the planet monster Unicron.
Grimlock is very memorable due to his childish personality. Despite being a towering robot that is near indestructible. Oftentimes, he thinks and acts like a petulant child.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 Jan Michael Ong
Oliver Mayo on April 09, 2020:
Transformers are the best