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Autobot, a faction of sentient robots from the planet Cybertron, are usually the main protagonists in the fictional universe of the Transformers, a collection of various toys, graphic novels, paperback books, cartoons and movies first introduced in 1984. In all but one Transformer story, the "Heroic Autobots" are opposed by the Evil Decepticons—the main antagonists in Transformers. Both Autobots and Decepticons are humanoid robots that can transform into machines, vehicles and other familiar mechanical objects. Autobots often turn into regular cars, trucks, or other road vehicles but some are aircraft, military vehicles, communication devices, weapons, and cyborg animals. Some can even transform into humans; they'd be classified as pretenders. Most of the Autobot groups' names have the suffix "-bot" in them while the Decepticon groups' names end in "-icon".
In all Transformers stories, the Autobots and their adversaries, the Decepticons, originated on the planet Cybertron. The planet is almost always depicted as a purely metallic body. The capital of Cybertron is Iacon. In later issues of the Marvel comic line, Cybertron is shown to have weather, such as rain.
Hasbro launched the Transformers toy line with tenth different Autobot characters, all of whom transformed into automobiles, while the ten distinct Decepticons (seven packages as three came two to a box/pack) were weapons, aircraft and communications equipment. Many of the Transformers were based on Takara designs.
Both Autobots and Decepticons were created by Primus. In most continuities this is still the case. Though Marvel's original series gave no purpose other than benevolent self-image creation for Transformers, some continuities add/modify that the Transformers were created to defend the universe.
Fleeing the wars that devastated their home planet of Cybertron, most of the Autobots made Earth their temporary home. Under the leadership of the powerful robot, Optimus Prime, the heroic Autobots battled fearlessly against the assaults of the evil Decepticons, protecting their new human friends. Now it is the year 2006, and the Autobots have reclaimed the planet of their origin, Cybertron, to establish a new golden age. In migrating from Earth, they have been reunited with companions from other regions of the galaxy, including Sky Lynx, the gigantic space shuttle, Blurr, the fastest car on wheels, Kup, the flinty old warrior, Wheelie, who always offers advice in rhymes, Springer, the mighty helicopter, Arcee, a forceful female Autobot, and Wreck-Gar, the leader of a tribe of Autobots that dwells on the planet Junkion. The Autobots have a new leader, Rodimus Prime, who inherited from Optimus Prime the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. As a receptacle of the wisdom of Autobot leaders for the past millions of years, the Matrix helps Rodimus guide the Autobots in their darkest hours, as they fight to end the tyranny of the evil Decepticons.
In the original U.S. cartoon line, Autobots were the descendants of a line of robots created as consumer goods by the Quintessons on the planet Cybertron. Their bodies were forged by the Plasma Energy Chamber and given intelligence by the mega-computer Vector Sigma in order for the work to be carried out. Eventually, they developed sentience and rebelled against their creators. However, A-3, the resistance leader was displaced from time by Quintessons from the future in order to stop the insurgency. The resistance had help from future Autobots (whose transformation technology frightened them) and A-3 returned to turn the tide by activating his coda-remote which deactivated the Quintessons' Dark Guardian Robots.
With the Quintessons cast off and forgotten, Cybertron was at peace. The consumer goods and military hardware bots renamed themselves as Autobots and Decepticons. However, the Decepticons wanted war. No match for the superior firepower and battle prowess of the Decepticons, the Autobots developed transformation technology (possibly with the help of the Dark Guardians) to win the war, bringing about the Golden Age of Cybertron. Eventually, the Decepticons also developed transformation and began the third Cybertronian War. They would have succeeded in completing their conquest had not more time-displaced Autobots blown up an energy warehouse and brought its workers to A-3, now renamed Alpha Trion, as the new defenders of Cybertron.
For five million years, the Cybertronians warred over the remaining energy that was left. With this crisis, the Autobots, headed by Optimus Prime, made an expedition to find new energy sources. But the Decepticons intercepted them, causing the Autobot ship Ark to crash-land on Earth. During the next four million years the Beast Wars Occur on Earth.
Four million years later in 1984, the volcano that the Ark was wedged in erupted, jarring the Ark's main computer Teletraan I back online. Through use of Spy Satellites, Teletraan created new alternate forms for the Transformers out of earth vehicles (Like F-15 Eagles for Starscream and a Semi-trailer truck for Optimus Prime). The Decepticons were revived first and then the Autobots due to Starscream's carelessness. The Autobots made an alliance with the local humans, thus beginning the Great War.
After waging the war for 21 years, the Autobots created Autobot City as their main base of operations while the Decepticons got complete control of Cybertron. In 2005, the Decepticons launched an attack on the city, resulting in the death of Optimus Prime. Optimus managed to pass the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus before his passing. The city then received messages from the bases on Cybertron's moons being devoured by the transformer demi-god Unicron. After another Decepticon attack, the Autobots were scattered to two planets, Junk and Quintessa. Forming new allies on those planets, the Autobots headed for Cybertron. A young Autobot named Hot Rod used the recovered Matrix of Leadership from Galvatron (formerly Megatron) to destroy Unicron and became Rodimus Prime. With the Decepticons in disarray, the Autobots reclaimed Cybertron, bringing about a new age of peace and prosperity.
In 2006, the Great War still raged. But both sides rediscovered the existence of the Quintessons. After numerous battles, the Hate Plague was unleashed. Rodimus ordered the uninfected Autobots to search for a Quintesson to revive Optimus Prime. An uninfected Quintesson was found and forced to restore Optimus Prime to life. Optimus would then recover the Matrix by defeating an infected Rodimus Prime, and cure the galaxy of the plague.
After one year of peace, Galvatron gained access to the Plasma Energy Chamber. He planned to move Cybertron to Earth and use the Chamber's energies to overload the sun. However, all this was planned by Vector Sigma who wanted to restore Cybertron's Golden Age. Thanks to Spike Witwicky and the allied-Nebulons, Cybertron regained its golden hue. Optimus knew that there will always be Decepticons and the Autobots will always stop them.
On the cartoon, a majority of the Autobots had a blue eye color, while most of the Decepticons had a red eye color.
Each of the various later Transformers comic incarnations had differing origin stories, generally based on fictions provided in the 1980s comic and cartoon series.
Each of the various later Transformers cartoon incarnations had differing origin stories, generally based on fictions provided in the 1984 cartoon (and occasionally comic) series. The one exception was Beast Wars, by which time most Autobots had been retrofitted into Maximals. This CG series and its sequel Beast Machines used the G1 cartoon as a historical base.
Live-action movie series
In the live-action film "Transformers", the Autobots arrived on Earth to find the All Spark in an effort to restore a destroyed Cybertron. The beginning of the movie, narrated by Optimus Prime, indicates that all life on Cybertron came from "The Cube." In the beginning, Optimus Prime and Megatron ruled Cybertron together. However, Megatron soon began to desire the power of the AllSpark. To counter Megatron, Optimus formed the Autobots, a militia of civilian Transformers sworn to protect the AllSpark. Throughout the evolution of the Transformers, wars brought on the demise of their planet. Although the Autobots initially make a poor first impression with the authorities, the US government is eventually convinced by Sam Witwicky that they are allies against the true threat of the Decepticons and cooperate to help them in the battle to keep the AllSpark away from the enemy. During the battle, all the Decepticons are destroyed, except for Starscream, Barricade and Scorponok, but the Autobots lose one of their members, Jazz. Optimus Prime decides to make Earth their new home.
The surviving Autobots from the previous film, as well as newer arrivals, serve as part of a top secret joint USA-UK military strike force codenamed NEST, which is dedicated to hunting and destroying Decepticons around the world. In this organization, Major William Lennox and Optimus Prime share field command of the human military personnel and the Autobot members respectively. The only exception to this assignment is Bumblebee who stays with the Witwickys as their bodyguard.
Although NEST has a productive history dealing with the Decepticons, a successful mission in Shanghai, which caused excessive collateral damage, drew criticism from the team's government superior American National Security Advisor Galloway. He further suggests that since the primary Decepticon goal, gaining the remaining portions of the All Spark, is likely out of reach, the Autobots should leave the planet to draw their war with their enemy away. This conclusion is completely discredited when the Decepticons reappear in force to both steal that item and successfully revive Megatron. Furthermore, their execution of their superior's (the Fallen) plan to destroy the Sun reveals that numerous Decepticons are present on Earth, which more than justifies the Autobots' participation in National Defense affairs, especially since the enemy leaders, Megatron and Starscream, escape upon their plan's defeat. According to related materials, Bumblebee remains responsible for the Witwickys' security. Arcee, a Ducati motorcycle, amongst other Autobots make their live-action debut.
The word "Autobot", according to Ratchet, is an abbreviation of the phrase Autonomous robotic organisms, making it seem like Autobot is likely the Transformers species name in this continuity (the irony being that the term robot is derived from the Czech word "robota" for 'work' and thus expresses the opposite of autonomy).
- Main article: List of Autobots
- Main article: Prime (Transformers)
The Prime title is a direct linguistic descendant of Primus. It identifies the one Autobot Commander that is entrusted with the Creation Matrix, also known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. The Matrix is said to choose its own holder and when it is taken by a new leader (at the old leader's death), it transforms him into a larger, more powerful, wiser Autobot commander. Holders of the Matrix become one with the Matrix, such that when the holder dies, his Spark — the Transformer life-force — is absorbed into the Matrix.
Holders of the Matrix, from the beginning of time (as per the Marvel continuity), are:
- Prime Nova
- Sentinel Prime
- Optimus Prime
- Ultra Magnus
- Rodimus Prime
- Vector Prime
- Megatronus Prime
For a brief time, the Decepticon Thunderwing held the matrix, but when Optimus Prime reclaimed it, Thunderwing's presence was purged from the Matrix.
In most North American continuities, the Autobot commander is usually Optimus Prime. The Japanese Continuity, however, is more diverse; after Optimus Prime (in G1), the succession of commanders include Rodimus Prime, Fortress Maximus, God Ginrai - known in the US as Powermaster Optimus Prime, Victory Saber, and Dai Atlas.
Optimus Prime was among the first Transformers released from Hasbro in 1984. The character listing/mini-poster that came inside Transformer packaging identified him as "Autobot Commander," as contrasted with Megatron's title of "Decepticon Leader."
Marvel US comics
Optimus Prime first appeared in issue #1 of Marvel's 4-issue limited series in September, 1984 (which was extended into the main series). This comic series started with the history of the Autobots and Deceptions on Cybertron, two once peaceful factions that eventually came to war due to Megatron's desire for conquest. In the first few pages of this issue readers were introduced to Optimus Prime, stated as being from "Iacon", greatest of the city-states of Cybertron. He was described as "a leader to inspire the Autobots in their hour of deadliest peril, of all the Autobots, only he, wise and powerful beyond understanding, was able to fully unite the scattered warriors into a fully effective fighting force". His strength was also described in greater detail where it stated "using his ability to transform into a combat vehicle, Optimus possessed a firepower potential that none but Megatron could match." The war between the Autobots and Deceptions soon caused Cyberton to break away from its orbit and drift off into space, and the war was listed as raging on for over one thousand years. Eventually Optimus would lead a large team of Autobots on a space mission to clear asteroids that threatened to destroy Cybertron on its new course through space. But once they succeeded in this effort, a surprise attack by the Deceptions led their spacecraft (the Ark) to crash land on Earth, where it would reside for four million years in a dormant volcano. Eventually when the volcano erupted, it set off a chain of events that would revive the Autobots and Deceptions who had all been deactivated in the crash.
Through the comic's 80-issue run, Optimus Prime would be killed off and resurrected several times. During his absences, other Autobot officers took on the mantle of leadership within the Earth-bound Autobots. They included Prowl, Grimlock, Fortress Maximus, and others. In a future timeline (one that, per events in the "present," can no longer come to pass), the Autobots are commanded by Rodimus Prime.
Marvel UK comics
The UK office of Marvel published comics much more often, usually weekly compared to monthly for the US comic. To accomplish this, the UK comics had additional storylines that were never included in US continuity (and are debated as to their canon-authenticity). In the UK series, much more is learned about Autobot commander Rodimus Prime, whereas in the US continuity, he is only briefly seen, most probably dead, as a prisoner of Galvatron.
In the animated television series, Optimus Prime was commander of the Autobots until his death in the opening minutes of Transformers: The Movie, where he passes on command to Ultra Magnus. Ultimately, Hot Rod is reformatted into Rodimus Prime by the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and takes command of the Autobots (in the closing minutes of the movie), leading them in the continuing television series until the resurrection of Optimus, who reassumes command.
Transformers were brought back to life through later comic and television runs. Commanders of the Autobots in these retellings, reimaginings, prequels and continuations included:
- Sentinel Prime – The Autobots commander immediately prior to Optimus Prime.
- Optimus Prime
- Optimus Primal
- When Optimus Prime was seriously injured (almost fatally) by Megatron in Season 3 of Beast Wars, Optimus Primal took charge of Optimus Prime's spark. The exposure of Optimus Primal's body to Optimus Prime's spark caused him to be reformated into Optimal Optimus. For the brief period Optimal Optimus carried Prime's spark, he seemed to be possessed by Optimus Prime, with a slightly noticeable change in voice and demeanor.
- Ultra Magnus – Commander of the Cybertron-based Autobots in the Dreamwave comics, volume II. Also vice-commander of the Autobot forces in the original television series' third season (and Transformers: Headmasters).
Similarly, a resurgence of interest in the Transformers also brought about many new cartoons; among the Autobot commanders in these were:
- Optimus Prime
- Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime- With the Autobot Matrix of Leadership inside him
- Fortress Maximus
- Ginrai- Powermaster Optimus Prime in Japan
- Star Saber
- Dai Atlas
- Optimus Prime- Maximal Commander
- Manan Patel- Supreme Maximal Commander
2007 live-action movie
In the 2007 Transformers live-action movie, Optimus Prime is the Autobot commander. His appearance is somewhat different from his original form, although he is still recognizable to many fans. In the movie his team of Autobots on Earth consists of only four others: Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Jazz. What is also duly noted is that the Autobots faces actually resemble the Autobot insignia, the same for the Decepticons.
2009 live-action movie
- Main article: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Not much has been revealed about the Autobots in the new Animated continuity so far. What is known is that they were in a war with the Decepticons prior to the series and won, but according to Ratchet, they only won because of three things: the Autobot-exclusive space bridge technology, Project Omega, and by sending the AllSpark into space to keep the Decepticons from getting it. This isn't the first continuity where the war with Decepticons was already over, but it is the first where Optimus Prime isn't the Autobot leader. Instead, he just commands a space bridge repair crew. Ultra Magnus is the Autobot Supreme Commander. Also, a single Autobot is typically considerably weaker than a single Decepticon. In fact, a team of Autobots is often weaker than a single Decepticon, to the point that a single Decepticon can trash the Autobots several times over, and even win, in some episodes. Unlike other continuities, the Autobots here aren't 100% good, and are slightly oppressive : Wasp shew to be very arrogant, and Sentinel Prime was portrayed as hating organic in a way almost as bad as Decepticons.
Transformers Shattered Glass
In Shattered Glass the Autobots are evil and want total domination. They seek to destroy the peace loving Decepticons and also plan to build the Ark to take over Earth. The Decepticon Megatron was the first to develop the ability to Transform, but it did not take long for Prime to get that technology and give it to his troops. Optronix was once a librarian that wanted power and knowledge. He betrayed others and cheated his way up the ranks to form the war loving Autobots.
In Japan, the Autobots are called "Cybertrons" (サイバートロン Saibātoron ) except in the live-action film series and Transformers Animated, where they are referred to as Autobots (オートボット Ōtobotto ). The Maximals from Transformers: Beast Wars are also known as Cybertrons in Japan, but in North America they are called Maximals and are descendants of the Autobots.
In Italy, they are called "Autorobots." The Autobot symbol is also referred to as an "Autobrand" in issue #14 of the Marvel Comics series.
- ↑ "Transformers: Autobots Review". IGN. http://uk.ds.ign.com/articles/800/800069p1.html. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- ↑ "A brief history of the Transformers". Malaysia Star. http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2004/11/9/features/20041108160036&sec=features. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- ↑ "DVD Review: Transformers The Complete First Season 25th Anniversary". Mania.com. http://www.mania.com/dvd-review-transformers-complete-first-season-25th-anniversary_article_115714.html. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- ↑ Marvel US issue #1, page 1, panel 2: "No rock or soil or sand contributed to its bizarre geography." "Its content was entirely mechanical."
- ↑ Marvel US issue #76, page 9-19
- ↑ "We are Primus. We are Prima. We are Prime Nova. We are Sentinel Prime. We are Optimus Prime." - "We are THUNDERWING!" from Marvel US issue 65, pages 25 (panel 5) & 27 (panel 1)