You know, looking back on some fifty odd posts I’ve come to realize that despite my deep affection for the Transformers franchise I’ve only spoken about it once. Fuck it! Let’s ditch the history lessons for a week and have some fun!
So I’ve been watching Transformers Prime, a show so deliberately aimed at a Transformers fan such as myself that if I getting any more joy from it I’d have to be in a relationship with it. That isn’t to say that the show has no flaws, far from it, but it goes a long way to explain its plot holes and inconsistences and it’s a hell of a lot better than some incarnations of the Transformers story I could name.
Hah! Bet you thought I was going to put up a picture of the Bay Transformers, didn’t ya?
The highlights of the show include some of the best character development I’ve ever seen the franchise sport rounding out and developing established personalities and in some cases making them infinitely more effective then past versions. For example, Frank Welker took the chance to change Megatron from the much-parodied but still fearsome mad conqueror from his Generation One (also known as the original 1984 cartoon version) incarnation into a much more cold, calculated, evil monster that is legitimately quite scary.
“I will methodically strap your family to my knuckles so I can beat Optimus to death with them!”
And if that’s all a new fan of the show gets from this series then that’s perfectly fine. But, the great thing that the Transformers Prime series has done is at long last take so many of the background story elements commonly only known to the hardcore fans of the franchise and bring them forward, giving them new identities, making them more accessible and explaining some of the rich lore that’s been added to the various storylines over the years.
That itself is a hard task to do and casual fans may have questions about some of these elements that are described in the series and may want to know more. Even if they didn’t, it’s actually a fun exercise to see how the elements are changed from one continuity to the next. It’s interesting to see different interpretations on these elements in their own contained universe which is a bit of a welcome change to groups like Marvel and DC who continue their works forward into the years using reboots to attain this effect rather than just ending the stories and coming up with new ones.
So let’s take a look at some of these pieces of Transformers lore and see what they are and where they come from. Plus we can get a bit more of a firm definition on what they actually are!
Also, before I go on, major spoiler warnings. Enjoy!
Primus and Unicron
Looonely…. I’m so looonely!
You can’t really talk about one without the other so let’s take them on at the same time. Eons ago there existed two massive life forms of energy that took physical form to end their battle with one another. They were known as Primus and Unicron. Unicron many of you may know as the major villain from the 1987 Transformers Movie (aka the good one).
“Galactus is a purple wearing sissy!”
During the original comic book run by Marvel during the same time it was revealed that Unicron was an ancient incarnation of evil, specifically representing the concepts of dominance and consumption over weaker lifeforms. His twin or opposite was Primus who believed in creating and preserving new or existing life rather than consuming it for one’s own greatness. The two battled endlessly across eons until Primus realized that the balance between the two could only be shifted by him creating new lifeforms to turn the tide. These cybernetic beings were the first transformers. Unicron was repelled by their might combined with that of Primus and retreated.
From there the first transformers created new transformers and Primus, now no longer needed for combat decided to give his new creations a world and changed his body into a planet while he resided at the core. That planet became known as Cybertron.
In Transformers Prime it’s revealed that this version of that particular cosmic battle was so powerful that it forced Unicron into unconsciousness whereupon he took his own planet form to wait for the time of his awakening. Over time, dust and rock formed around the gravitational mass that was his body creating a new planet in a distant solar system known as Earth. And thus organic life was formed. This, of course, makes the Cthulu Mythos instantly inferior because Cthulu is not an awesome evil planet-sized robot.
“Look one of us is going to have to figure out how this thing works if we want cable.”
Now here are some fellas with some history. Most of it lost though. The thirteen are the original Transformers created by Primus to help him defeat Unicron. Though for the longest time the only one anyone knew of was Prima the leader who was introduced in the 1980s Marvel comic as the first Transformer created by Primus. Over time new members of this roster have been revealed as has their specific function or purpose such as with Vector Prime being the guardian of all of time. It’s kind of like Battlestar Galactica with the Humanoid Cylon thing. Except you get to be a giant robot with god-like powers.
It’s believed that most of the Thirteen have long since passed on or become lost in the void of space fulfilling their duties. Some have turned away from Primus and others have betrayed him such as The Fallen having become corrupted by Unicron.
With Transformers Prime Hasbro staff at long last decided to create or at least name and design all of the remaining unknown members of the Thirteen while revealing certain existing Transformers to being members of this roster. They’ve only revealed the names of about ten of these members to the public.
You may not know this guy but he’s the leader typically before Optimus so he dies a lot.
The term Prime is a designation given as the highest honour and title in the ranks of Autobots (and Transformers in general) given to those who are usually the leaders of the Autobots. Except for Transformers Animated which turned it into a mid-level military rank which only contributes to how bad it was. Hence each member of the Thirteen recently all received this distinction; canonically. The lineage of Primes consists of heroic and noble Autobots tasked to bear the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and leading the race in times of peace and war.
In all continuities a Prime is noted as being physically different from his (or her) fellow Autobots in key physical characteristics though that differs from show to show. Typically they are all considerable physical fighters with the ability to access restricted areas of Cybertron as well as ancient artefacts. This holds true in Transformers Prime with Optimus continuing the tradition of bearing the Matrix though the show treats him as something of an exception in flashbacks.
The Autobot Matrix of Leadership
Now, disco our darkest hour!
Now here’s an item most people know. The Matrix is known for being the symbol of the Autobot leaders. It’s infamous for its first appearance in the 1987 Transformers Movie where it was revealed to have the ability to convert a chosen Autobot into a Prime and, when opened, unleash enough energy to nearly completely destroy Unicron.
In the show they explained that the Matrix contains the accumulated wisdom of all who bear it. As such theoretically each subsequent Prime would become greater than the one who preceded him (or her) if they had the fortitude to use that wisdom. It was later revealed (again in the Marvel comics) that the Matrix was also a portion of Primus’s own essence contained within which meant that it could also potentially create new Transformers while simultaneously explaining how it could reconfigure Autobots and harm Unicron.
In Transformers Prime many of those same attributes are carried forward with the potential to harm Unicron being a key point in the season one finale.
The Star Saber
Take the Master Sword, add a lightsaber, make bus sized and you have awesome!
Okay, there’s technically two Star Sabers. Hear me out, I promise I’ll make it simple. There’s an Autobot who is named Star Saber in the Japanese cartoons for the original Transformers. He’s not what I’m talking about. The Star Saber is a rather famous sword among hardcore fans. It first saw an appearance in the Transformers Armada series as a weapon combined from three small aircraft minicons (tiny transformers that gave powerups to the bigger ones when combined) that formed the blade. It was silly looking.
It was frequently mentioned with two more of these items called the Requiem Blaster and the Skyboom Shield. Once combined in the show it turned into a lightsaber, presumably to be easier to animate. However in the mythos it was revealed the Prima had his own version of the Star Saber, one that wasn’t goofy looking and could snuff out planets. This Star Saber was the most powerful weapon of the Thirteen believed to be the key piece in the defeat of Unicron.
In Transformers Prime that same blade is found and is depicted in all of its amazing glory at the top of this entry. It can only be wielded by a Prime and once it is it can unleash massive amounts of energy to cut through any opponent. You wanna guess who gets to wield it? I’ll give you a hint, I squealed so hard dogs formed into packs and started howling.
However there have been earlier images of Prima holding the blade released to the public with a very familiar item lodged in the hilt.
Matrix Inside baby!
Fans have hypothesized that the version that is found in the show is actually an incomplete one and once the Autobot Matrix is placed within the blade it will reveal its true power as a sword that can defeat the greatest evils. No one knows for sure though and if that the case you couldn’t peel me off of the walls for how excited I would be.
At some point Intel will ditch physical components and go straight for light balls.
If Transformers are robots and their brains are simply giant immensely powerful computers then imagine if they had a single, incredibly powerful computer used to archive all of their data?
Meet Vector Sigma a computer so powerful it records information from other Transformers continuities. I’m not making that up. In most fiction Vector Sigma is kept as a mystery since it contains so much knowledge canonically that a good portion of its capabilities have to be kept secret. It always needs a singular key for accessing it as a security precaution though the key itself has no such precautions aside from safe storage.
One of its most infamous functions is actually the ability to restore the Matrix of Leadership should all of its energy be expended (Japanese cartoons). That’s pretty much how it’s used in Transformers Prime since it not only (theoretically) contains elements of Primus but also a copy of all of the knowledge in the Matrix. To be fair that’s probably the safest use of it since it likely contains all of the knowledge in existence (plural) ready and ripe for someone to abuse it.
The Omega Lock
And here in our final entry of the evening I regretfully have no picture for this particular item from Transformers Prime since the episode showing it hasn’t aired yet (as of this writing). Operated by four separate keys (each representing different colonized worlds in their first appearance) the Omega Lock was first used in Transformers Cybertron (sharing the same continuity as Armada and Energon) where it was revealed that once the four keys where placed within the lock and activated at the correct location on Cybertron it would restore the planet.
That was revealed to be a bit of a lie as it ended up actually causing Cybertron to transform, awakening Primus and having him take robot mode for the first time since… ever. Suffice it to say, many bricks were shat.
As for Transformers Prime I have no idea if that`s what`s about to happen now! The creators have shown no hesitation in altering elements for awesome purposes but the singular function of the keys and Omega Lock are rather singular in their function despite sporting a new appearance.
Still I await the season two finale with all the due excitement as a fan and hope for an awesome and explosive finale that will spring us forward into the third and potentially final season of Transformers Prime.
So too does this work exist.