An early reference to the "spark of life" from Marvel Comics' Transformers #14.
A spark is usually the "soul" of a Transformer in the fictional Transformers universe. Also called an AllSpark, in the Beast Machines television series, it is a term for the Transformers' afterlife, while in the Transformers 2007 live action film, it is a cube-shaped artifact adorned with glyphs and designs which is capable of granting independent life to normal electronic and mechanical objects and is the source of life for all Transformers. It was known as The Matrix, but changed to avoid confusion with the film franchise of the same name. In the Transformers Animated 2007-2010 TV series, it shares a similar history and capabilities with its 2007 film counterpart, but resembles the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. It is referred to as the "Matrice" in the French version of the show.
Transformers: Generation 1
A spark is best described as the "soul" of a Transformer - while they have programmable computer minds that house their personality, the Spark is that indefinable, indescribable energy that makes them truly alive, more than mere machines. Throughout the original Marvel Comics Transformers series, there were references to similar concepts such as the "spark of life" or "life spark", while the animated series spoke of "cybernetic personalities" as the source of a Transformer's life, bestowed by the mega-computer Vector Sigma, and a central life-source called a "laser core". It is slightly referenced in the cartoon, in episode Divide and Conquer, where Megatron demanded to know if Optimus Prime's laser core was extinguished after Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp inflicted heavy damage on him during battle.
It was the 1990s Beast Wars animated series which truly introduced "the Spark" as it is now known today. All Cybertronians have a Spark, regardless of their heritage of allegiance - rendered as a glowing sphere of incandescent life, a spark dies or "extinguishes" when the body that houses it suffers fatal damage. Should a Spark be threatened in this way, Transformers are equipped with emergency protocols that shunt them into Stasis Lock, a state of still-living involuntary deactivation, in order to prevent further damage and to allow repairs, thereby safeguarding the Spark. This function can be overridden as was the case with the death of the Maximal known as Dinobot.
Rhinox first explains the concept of a Spark when operating on the protoform that would become Airazor. He describes the existence of such an item by explaining: "When a Spark goes online, there is great joy. When one is extinguished, the universe weeps." Although the term was never used in the original cartoon and comic, Beast Wars established that these older-era characters all too had Sparks (or their historical equivalent, nomenclature aside), a perfect example of this being the immortal spark of Starscream (Starscream's immortality coming from a mutation in his spark), which the Maximals tied to duplicate only to end up creating the murderous Protoform X).
Sparks as shown in Beast Wars normally appear as a sphere of an ever-changing pattern of "electricity"-like blue lines with a pulsating center composed of smaller red spheres. In Beast Machines several of the Maximals are shown with different colored sparks such as yellow, white, red, purple (possibly expressing their individuality and/or a special connection to the Matrix/Allspark). In Beast Wars, Megatron had a blue spark but after he spends centuries trying to purge the organic elements from his body, Beast Machines shows that his spark has become a violent shade of red.
The sequel series, Beast Machines explored the concept on a much deeper level. Sparks, it explained, are fragments of the Matrix," the "well of all sparks" that currently exist, have existed, or ever will exist. Sparks leave the Matrix upon the birth of new Transformer life so that they may learn, grow, love and truly experience life, and then, with the passing of the Transformer, the Spark returns to the Matrix, assimilated back into it to share all the knowledge it has gained with the whole but their individuality is not extinguished.
In knowing this, it can be taken that the object known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, long stated to hold the wisdom of the ages, is a gateway to this realm, where the amassed knowledge it contains can be consulted (where the sparks of those who have formerly held the Matrix retain their individuality and can be communed with). Similarly, this link explains the object's ability to create new Transformer life in the Marvel Comics, via the transferral of a Spark from the Matrix. Vector Sigma, was also revealed to possess a connection to the All spark, thereby explaining its ability to bestow life.
Nearly all Transformers series after Beast Wars have made use of the term "Spark" (though usually just in passing mention, often the result of dubbing). Of all the new continuity elements introduced by Beast Wars and Beast Machines, the Spark is unarguably the one concept which has been embraced the strongest by the fandom, with the vast majority of fans happily retroactively using it in reference to the older stories.
The term "AllSpark" was created by writer Robert N. Skir, who responded to a fan question about the TV series Beast Machines July 21, 1999 web page. Skir explained that the Beast Machines entity called The Oracle was actually the AllSpark, consisting of "the spark of every transformer who has ever lived, or ever will live". In a November 6, 1999 web page, Skir clarified that the Matrix was something called the AllSpark and was "made up of every Spark that ever was, and every Spark that ever will be".
Although the concept of the Transformers afterlife was briefly touched upon in the original series and Beast Wars series, it was not until Beast Machines that the concept was explored further. The Autobot Matrix of Leadership, as seen in the original series, was not merely a receptacle for the consciousness of deceased Autobot leaders; it was a gateway that led to the AllSpark, from which all current and future Transformers' sparks came. Possessing a sentience, the AllSpark had sent Sparks out into the world to live. When any Transformers, good or evil, were destroyed, their Spark would return to the AllSpark and share with it all that it had experienced, thereby adding to the timeless fountain of knowledge and wisdom.
The facility on Cybertron, which produces Maximal protoforms, was named after the aforementioned Matrix, and was analogous to human's Heaven. A similar Predacon facility also exists, named the Pit, and was analogous to Hell. The Pit was also known as the Inferno until the late-season addition of the character Inferno.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise
The mention of sparks continued in other Transformers shows such as in the Armada, Energon and Cybertron cartoons. Armada and Energon both showed a few Transformers sparks (as orbs of light) transferred to new bodies after their old bodies were too badly damaged to be repaired or destroyed completely. For example, Red Alert transferred Smokescreen's spark in the new body after the previous one was nearly melted away when Megatron shot the Requiem Blaster at him. Also, Starscream's spark one can see in his breast when the latter is mortally wounded by Galvatron during their duel; it looks like a blinding white-and-blue radiance. Primus and Unicron's sparks were also shown in Energon, Primus as a very large glowing orb and Unicron as a small black/green orb. One can suppose that a Transformer himself can send his own spark away sometimes or even use it as a kind of weapon. So does Starscream when intending to destroy Unicron. He deliberately allows Galvatron to run him through with the Star Saber in order to release his spark and to let it link to the power of the Saber.
In Cybertron, Metroplex's axe weapon is called Sparkdrinker. Galvatron mentioned sparks during his last battle with Optimus Prime. The cyber planet keys are said to be fragments of the spark of Primus, divided and sent to the four corners of the universe to share the wisdom of Primus. The four master keys (colored gold in the toy line) need to be gathered and inserted into the Omega Lock to awaken the spark of Primus and transform the planet Cybertron. In the toy line the Omega Lock is needed to completely transform Primus, however it does not require the insertion of any of the cyber planet keys. At the end of the Cybertron series, it was decided that the unified planets should join together and bring the once again divided keys to other destinations in the universe to spread the knowledge of Primus even further. Hence, again putting Primus into stasis lock within a reformatted, renewed Cybertron.
2007 Transformers film
Detailed view of the AllSpark.
In the 2007 Transformers live-action film, the AllSpark (spelled as two words in the movie) is able to bring mechanical and electronic objects to life, essentially turning mundane objects, as long as they are electronic or mechanical, into Transformers.
The Autobots and the Decepticons seek the AllSpark throughout the film. The Autobots intend to use the AllSpark in an attempt to rebuild Cybertron and end the war, while the Decepticons desire to create an army of robot soldiers to conquer the universe.
The movie's AllSpark is a combination of the Creation Matrix and the Underbase from the US Marvel Comics series, and Vector Sigma from the animated series. The AllSpark takes the shape of a gigantic metal cube with Cybertronian runes carved into it, but is converted by Bumblebee into a smaller form that a human can carry in his hands (described as football-sized in the Alan Dean Foster novelization). During the conversion, the AllSpark is shown to be composed of numerous smaller cubes, which fold inward upon each other to shrink the whole.
In the novelization and early movie scripts, the AllSpark is referred to as "the Energon Cube". It is also referred to as "the Cube" several times in the film itself.
IGN described the AllSpark saving the day as one of the worst moments of the Transformers movie.
In the prequel comic book, the AllSpark is described as being of unknown origins, and the reason of existence of the alien race and its planet Cybertron. It is also described as a sacrosanct object that gave them life, sustenance, and kept their society in complete equality and peace.
Optimus Prime is shown sending the AllSpark away from Cybertron to prevent the Decepticons from controlling it. The comic book shows, and Megatron alludes to, a wormhole in orbit that the AllSpark is heading towards and then travels through. If it is assumed that the wormhole deposits the Allspark not only spatially but also chronologically (four million years in the past) along with Megatron, this could explain why the Allspark has been on Earth for four million years while the 13 original transformers in Revenge of the Fallen do not appear until 17,000 BC. The prolonged absence of the AllSpark causes Cybertron to die, and forces both sides of the conflict to search the galaxy for it. The AllSpark is revealed to have landed on Earth, in the future site of the Hoover Dam. The AllSpark and Megatron are later hidden inside the Dam by a (fictional) Men in Black-like Federal agency called "Sector 7".
In the prequel novelization and film, it is revealed that the Autobots and Decepticons have been seeking the AllSpark for millennia, following transmission signals released by the AllSpark once every thousand years. The Autobots seek it to rebuild Cybertron; when they have become desperate, however, Optimus decides to destroy it rather than let it fall into Megatron's hands. Optimus believes that a new home world can simply be rebuilt by means of the AllSpark once Megatron is no longer a threat. The Decepticons are looking for the AllSpark and Megatron, intending to dominate all life with the use of one and under the leadership of the other. During the battle between Optimus and Megatron, the AllSpark is ultimately driven into Megatron's chest by Sam Witwicky, destroying both the Decepticon leader and the AllSpark. A shard of the AllSpark remains, which is claimed by Optimus Prime before handing it over to the U.S. government for safekeeping on their behalf.
Two years later, however, Ravage steals the shard and gives it to the Constructicons so they can revive Megatron with it. Megatron's master, the Fallen, reveals that the Cube was essentially a vessel, and that its power and knowledge, thought lost with its destruction, can never be destroyed, only transformed, therefore, there was a chance to retrieve it. The second film also reveals another smaller AllSpark shard that was on Sam's jacket the day he killed Megatron, which transfers the knowledge of the location of the Matrix of Leadership in the form of visions of Cybertronian symbols directly into Sam's mind. Sam entrusts the shard to his then-girlfriend Mikaela Banes, who places it within her father's auto garage. The shard is then later used to reactivate the ancient Seeker Jetfire, who assists the Autobots and their human allies in locating the Matrix of Leadership.
In Transformers: The Reign of Starscream (the comic book sequel to the first film), Starscream uses the knowledge gained by Frenzy while inside the Hoover Dam complex from Sector 7 to build a new cube. He then sacrifices several transformer (three or four Autobots and one Decepticon) "traitors" in order to use their sparks to jump-start the cube. Various Autobots are shown throughout the comic as working on the cube - including, at one point, using a hammer and chisel to engrave new glyphs on the new AllSpark. Other than this engraving and activating process, little is shown of the construction of the AllSpark.
In the film, exposure to the AllSpark can repair Transformers (as shown when it heals Frenzy during the film) and convert Earthly machines into feral Cybertronians. A Nokia N93i cell phone, a Mountain Dew vending machine (named "Dispensor" in the Robot Heroes toyline), the airbag compartment in a sport utility vehicle's steering wheel, and an Xbox 360 are all shown being converted in this way. The cell phone robot is destroyed following the demonstration, but the fates of the other feral Transformers remain unknown and it is presumed they have been dealt with. In Revenge of the Fallen, even as a sliver of its former self, the AllSpark's power is potent, as it brings all of the appliances from Sam's kitchen to life - one of which was a pyromaniac toaster bot, named Ejector in the toy line, among others. Just like the first film, they are seen forming instantaneously and immediately upon contact with the AllSpark's power and then furiously attacking the things nearest to them, armed with a full arsenal of diverse weapons. The kitchen robots, as well as Sam's room, are destroyed by Bumblebee.
The energy output of the AllSpark is cited in the prequel comic as having a greater power output than the entire city of Chicago at its time of discovery. According to the comic, the Three Mile Island accident was caused by a failed attempt to extract energy from the AllSpark. On the basis of the second film, it must also be assumed that the AllSpark has a finite maximum power output, about equal to that of a star.
In Transformers: The Game, the Autobot Campaign and the Decepticon campaign will determine the fate of the AllSpark. If the player completes the Autobot Campaign, Optimus Prime will use the AllSpark to kill Megatron. If the player completes the Decepticon Campaign, Megatron will become one with the AllSpark and use its power to turn Earth into his own empire by converting all machines into his Decepticon army. In addition, the AllSpark creates small bug-like transformers called "Energon Drones" whenever Energy is expelled from the AllSpark.
Two entire lines of toys were marketed after the release of the film in late 2007, which played on the idea that the AllSpark granted life to human machines after being exposed to its mysterious power:
- AllSpark Power - While the majority of the transformable toys were merely repaints (e.g. Autobot Cliffjumper), several new designs were introduced based on vehicles- but not characters- that appeared directly in the film (e.g. Autobot Landmine). The AllSpark Power line is recognized by neon blue plastic and paint applications being added to the toys; some select repaint toys have slightly different parts such as visors covering their faces. The neon-blue coloring is to denote that they have the power of the AllSpark flowing through them. The Japanese versions of these figures included miniature AllSpark cubes that can be held by most Transformers figures.
- Real Gear Robots - A completely original line of transformable toys shaped like common modern-day electronic items; cell phones, portable multimedia players, digital video camera, video game controllers, etc. However, none of them are functional like their real electronic counterparts. There were seven original toy designs released, with later ones being repaints. None of these toys carry hand-held weapons, and are advertised merely as spies for their respective faction (Autobot or Decepticon). While none of the Real Gear Robots appear in the film, some of them are homages to earlier Transformers characters, the most notable being a portable media player (Decepticon Booster X10) being colored and shaped similarly to the animal robot character Laserbeak, who acted as a spy/partner for the larger Soundwave.
A company called TFClub has manufactured an unofficial replica of the AllSpark. The cube is molded in translucent green and fits on a base that lights it up when plugged into a USB-based power source.
In this new series, the AllSpark plays a similar role to its 2007 film counterpart (although Starscream mentions "The Well of All Sparks" in one episode, implying that the afterlife from Beast Machines still exists in this continuity). It is the source of all Transformers' life (In the episode "Blast From the Past", Ratchet states that the Cybertronian race is over 10 billion solar cycles (years) old). Megatron states he shall use its power as an ultimate weapon to crush the Autobots. In order to end the Great War (shown in the series debut as 'historical' clips from the 1984 G1 series), the Autobots cast the AllSpark into a space bridge network gate to a random destination somewhere in the galaxy, thereby preventing the Decepticons from getting it. This ends the war, and finally allows the Autobots to drive the Decepticons off of Cybertron and into exile. Unlike the live-action film, it is in the shape of a round sphere, rather than a square cube.
In the series pilot "Transform and Roll Out!", four million years have passed since the AllSpark was intentionally lost. A young Optimus Prime, now featured as an ambitious washout from the Autobot Academy, and his maintenance crew accidentally come across it while clearing asteroids away from another space bridge gate. At that same moment, the Decepticon warship Nemesis appears, carrying Megatron and his crew aboard as they search for the AllSpark. A battle ensues, and the damaged Autobot ship eventually crashes on Earth. 50 years later, a young human girl named Sari Sumdac manages to convince Bumblebee to take her aboard the repair ship so that she can secretly see more of the Autobots. When Bumblebee tries to hide Sari to avoid suspicion, she comes across the dormant AllSpark in the ship's cargo hold. Opening itself up, it scans Sari, thinking that she is another Cybertronian, but can only identify her key card as mechanical. The AllSpark then reformats the card. Later on, Starscream manages to take the AllSpark - according to the new series, the first Decepticon ever to do so - and he uses it to create powerful blasts which can destroy entire city blocks. However, within an hour, the Autobots manage to recover it, and the power of the AllSpark itself drives Starscream away.
After realizing the potential of Sari's key card and her carelessness in using it, in "Lost and Found" Megatron instructed Lugnut (and thus Blitzwing) to capture Sari's Key. However, they, too, were disabled by the Autobots before they could complete their task.
In the two-part season finale, Blitzwing manages to steal the key from Ratchet who, in turn, was ordered to take it from Sari and used it to complete Megatron's body. Megatron then uses the key card's power to punch Starscream for his betrayal at the beginning of the series; an act which put the Decepticon backstabber immediately out of action for the remainder of the episode. Then, with the key card integrated into himself, he uses it to find the real AllSpark. During the battle, Optimus Prime and Megatron fall into the Autobot's maintenance ship, and the same cargo bay where the hexagonal artifact is resting. Megatron then uses the key card to open the AllSpark containment vessel, and extract the round, glowing sphere so he can merge it with his own spark, an action which, by contrast, had devastating consequences for the alternate character Megatron in the live-action film. Intending to use his new-found power to begin his conquest, Sari found that her key card had been released from the Decepticon's body, and she threw it to Optimus Prime, who used it to create a super-charged punch, which threw Megatron out of the ship, and made the AllSpark explode in a shower of blue light. (Prime's super punch is shown as mirroring the one that Megatron used on Starscream earlier).
Optimus later speculated that the explosion had not outright destroyed the AllSpark but rather dispersed its power for what may be a limited time; which meant that Sari's key card was now the most important and valuable Cybertronian artifact. What is also known is that Megatron's new body survived the explosion intact with moderate damage, but he managed to kidnap Prof. Sumdac in the final moments of the episode. In the episodes to follow, shards of the AllSpark appear in various locations, either bringing new Transformers to life or being used by the newly immortal Starscream, as well as elements of Detroit's criminal underworld. Below is where the known AllSpark fragments were located:
- The first fragment was in one of Isaac Sumdac's robots while he was working on Megatron's Space Bridge. It went haywire and the Decepticons thought it was Sumdac, so Megatron blasted it and found a fragment in what was left of the arm. It was later used to power Megatron's Space Bridge.
- The second fragment was in the police drone assembly line at a Sumdac System warehouse.
- The third fragment was inside Starscream's head. It not only brought him back to life since his Spark was extinguished at the end of Season One by Megatron, but endowed him with a form of rapid healing abilities and immortality. Starscream later used chips of this fragment to give life to his clone legions.
- The fourth fragment was in a truck that Starscream later planted on a train to lure out Megatron.
- The fifth fragment gave life to Wreck-Gar.
- The sixth fragment was in Master Disaster's remote.
- The seventh and eighth fragments gave life to the Constructicons Scrapper and Mixmaster at the same time.
- The ninth fragment was in Slo-Mo's timepiece.
- The tenth fragment fused a Headmaster unit and a forklift together creating Dirt Boss.
- The eleventh fragment had been dispersed and was reassembled by Prowl's processor-over-matter technique.
The AllSpark fragments recovered by the Autobots were used in the season two finale "A Bridge Too Close" to restore Omega Supreme to life.
In the season three opening special, Sari, discovering that she was a techno-organic being, used the key to upgrade herself into a teenage, combat-equipped form. The act drained all the key's energies, placing them into Sari, causing her to overload, requiring Ratchet's EMP generator to temporarily shut her down. In later episodes, Sari demonstrates abilities similar to that of her deactivated AllSpark Key, such as calibrating a Space Bridge's control panel, which may indicate that it was no longer needed.
In "Endgame" season finale, when the Lugnut Supremes are reprogramed by Starscream to activate their self-destruct protocols, Prowl and Jazz used Processor Over Matter to reassemble the AllSpark, hoping to use its power to contain the explosion. However, they would only be able to make it half way, as Prowl decides to use his own spark to complete it, sacrificing himself and dying in the process. The completed AllSpark is later seen around Optimus' neck, in a container resembling that of the Matrix of Leadership
Effects and Capabilities
The AllSpark bestows some of its own powers onto Sari Sumdac's security key, one of which allows the card to recognize when an Autobot is injured, and initiate seemingly-impossible repairs (according to field-medic Ratchet), which reformats it into a Cybertronian key. However, it cannot repair damage inflicted by organic substances, such as Blackarachnia's poison. The card also demonstrates the ability to bring a Cybertronian - specifically Optimus Prime - instantly back to life, with no signs of trauma or the passage of time. The re-formatted key card acts as a super-advanced multi-tool, which can deal with many types of technology and situations by instantly reconfiguring itself for whatever and whenever Sari or another Autobot needs it. Sari's key card also shows an ability to detect Cybertronians, Cybertronian technology, and later, fragments of the AllSpark by emitting a glow.
The AllSpark Key demonstrates the ability to bestow a Spark onto Earth technology, much as it did in the "Transformers" film. This is seen in the Dinobot incident when, by accident, Sari Sumdac's key card boosts the effect Bumblebee's electric shocks as he and Ratchet attempt to shut down the rampaging Dinobots, giving them true life as a result. A similar, and direct, result was seen in the creation of Soundwave.
In "Along Came A Spider", Blackarachnia attempted to use the key card after taking it from Sari, in order to purge the organic elements from her techno-organic body. The key sent out energy waves into the surrounding city, sucking the life out of everything within range and causing them to age at a highly rapid rate. But this proved nearly fatal to Blackarachnia, due to her organic elements being a vital part of herself. When the key card was removed, the organic life in the area was restored.
In the 2008 season finale, "Megatron Rising, Part 2", Sari confronts the AllSpark in the Autobot's ship, asking it in frustration why it is that it chose her to wield the key card since she was not a Cybertronian. A moment later, in response, the AllSpark opens itself up, and displays a holographic projection of a human DNA strand mixed with a Cybertronian spark, which is later hinted to be Sari's physical makeup. While the AllSpark itself was dispersed by Optimus Prime's actions later on, the geometrically-shaped container vessel that carried it is assumed to still be in the cargo bay, deprived of its powers.
In "Velocity", the villain Master Disaster used a fragment of the AllSpark in a remote control, which allowed him to control machines (apparently the Autobot Elite guard intelligence agent Blurr) and fix the results of his underground races.
In "SUV: Society of Ultimate Villainy", a fragment within the villain Slo-Mo's time piece was able to slow down time around any machine it was used on. It also was used to restore Nanosec to his rightful age.
In "Three's a Crowd," an AllSpark fragment somehow merged a forklift and a Headmaster unit together to form Dirt Boss.
In 'Transformers: Exodus, the AllSpark resides in the "Well of All Sparks" on Cybertron, where it carried out the will of Primus by creating every Cybertronian life. When the Autobot/Decepticon war erupted, however, the AllSpark briefly ceased to produce life in a seeming act of divine rebellion, only to apparently change its mind and create one final generation — including Bumblebee—who entirely joined the Autobots. As the Decepticons besieged Iacon, Optimus Prime made the decision to eject the AllSpark into space.
After the war had drained Cybertron of energon, forcing the Autobots and Decepticons to depart the planet, the Autobot Ark emerged from the space bridge to an unknown spiral galaxy, and detected the energy of the AllSpark nearby.
In "One Shall Rise" three-parter, the Earth's core reveal to be the spark chamber of the chaos-bringer Unicron.
In "Triangulation", when Starscream mistakens Dreadwing for his deceased brother Skyquake, Dreadwing corrects Starscream by say his brother's spark is now one with the Allspark.
- ↑ Transformers: the fantasy, the fun, the future, Erin Brereton - 2006
- ↑ "Transformers: Beast Machines Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (1999-07-21)". http://bigbot.com/beast-machines-transformers-bob-skir/Beast-Machines-FAQ/Wed_21_Jul_1999_The_Reformatting.html. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- ↑ "Transformers: Beast Machines Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (1999-11-06)". http://bigbot.com/beast-machines-transformers-bob-skir/Beast-Machines-FAQ/Sat_06_Nov_1999.html. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- ↑ "Regeneration". Transformers: Armada. No. 34, season 3.
- ↑ "Cramp". Transformers: Armada. No. 48, season 4.
- ↑ http://movies.ign.com/articles/117/1177006p1.html
- ↑ Real Gear | CollectionDX
- ↑ TFSource.com - TFC-002R Illuminated Spark Cube with USB Base
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