Autobots – The Good Transformers of Cybertron
Led by Optimus Prime without question, they all strive toward their leader’s lofty standards.
Smaller on average than the Decepticons, they fight them valiantly at every turn, and most are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to keep humans safe.
In fact, this mission goes beyond even human life; the Autobots are committed to fighting to the last spark for all sentient life-forms.
Optimus Prime of Iacon
“Autobots, ROLL OUT!” – Prime war cry
“Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”
Almost certainly the noblest non-human warrior in all of fiction, the Transformers’ Optimus Prime is the stalwart and unwavering leader of the Autobots, which are a group of sentient advanced robots embroiled in an unending war with their brothers, the evil Decepticons.
An amalgam of several legends of history and mythology, Optimus is unceasingly wise, caring, brave, righteous, and indefatigable in his pursuit of justice for all sentient life (particularly, humans!).
A natural leader, the other Autobots look to him for guidance and direction, and it is purely on the strength of his qualities that his leadership is unquestioned; he is more father to a family than ruler of a nation.
Indeed, Optimus Prime was literally born for the position, as he carries within his chest the so-called Autobot Matrix of Leadership, an heirloom carried by all his ruling ancestors. In the Transformers movies, the inherent command and bravery of Optimus Prime is reprised by actor Peter Cullen, who voiced the original movie in the mid-eighties.
Like all of the Transformers – whether Autobot or Decepticon – Optimus Prime has at least two modes of existence; one, as a bipedal, extremely resilient robot; the other, as a vehicle of some sort.
The largest and strongest of the Autobots (although in Transformers 1 Ironhide, the weapons-specialist Autobot, is said to be the most heavily-armed and may have the toughest hide), Optimus Prime transforms into a massive semi-truck that has changed to reflect the decade.
In his original incarnation the Optimus Prime Truck disconnected to become an actual battle-command station dubbed the Combat Deck, and sported a wide array of artillery weapons – much like a modern-day battle craft, except on land.
Although the current Transformers Optimus Prime retains all of his mighty nature, a lot of the details of his armament have changed.
Not only have we not yet seen the Combat Deck in the two highly-successful Transformers movies (2007’s The Transformers 1 and 2009’s The Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), no mention has been made of yet another component of Optimus Prime: Roller.
Fans of the Transformers remember the little fast scout that clandestinely snuck behind Decepticon lines time and again, carrying with it a unique link with all of Optimus Prime’s senses, to give the Autobot commander real-time data.
It doesn’t appear that there are any plans to incorporate this into the 3rd and possibly final installment.
However, I find the reports doubtful, due to the huge success of the films, that Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon is the final movie in the franchise.
It’s more believable that this is the last Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay, who has dedicated well over half-a-decade to the alien machines).
Optimus Prime has a somewhat average array of weaponry, being armed with just a single long-distance blaster – his large ion-cannon (which, as seen in Transformers 2:Revenge of the Fallen seems to shoot bullets the size of a human being!).
What he lacks in numbers, though, he more than makes up for with skill and unrivaled close-combat expertise.
He is clearly the best hand-to-hand combatant of any Transfomer, whether Autobot or Decepticon, although his arch-nemesis Megatron is bigger and stronger.
As one of the signature weapons from either side of the Transformers divide, Optimus possesses devastating dual energy swords that emerge when he retracts his fist (his optic blasts, seen in early Optimus incarnations, seem absent from his modern visage).
It appears to be some alien metal, heated to incandescence, and can do to Decepticon hide what falls from orbit and tank shells appear unable to do: utterly rend their armor.
Furthermore, as shown in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, he has the fighting skills of a martial arts master.
Optimus was seen taking on a whole detachment of the most fearsome Decepticons, seemingly killing Blackout and maiming Starscream, before finally being felled by Megatron, his antithesis and leader of the Decepticons.
Additionally, the weapon that emerges from his arms doesn’t seem fixed; in rending yet another Decepticon into oblivion, Optimus unveiled two hotly-glowing sickles.
Early scenes from the 3rd Transformers movie Dark of the Moon should excite fans of the old franchise, as leaked stills of Optimus appear to show him with his legendary energy axe.
There have been several very cool modern upgrades to Optimus Prime, although a true fan can hardly call them ‘improvements’, in staying true to the old and revered Transformer.
First, there’s the general “boxy” nature of autobots and robots in the 1980s, compared to the much more organic and technologically-fluid robots of the 2000s.
In Transformers 2:Revenge of the Fallen, the most spectacular amendment to Optimus Prime to date was seen: the fearless leader obtained a high-tech jetpack by merging with an ancient though still highly capable Jetfire, a Decepticon-turned-good-guy who had lain dormant on Earth in the form of an SR-71 Blackbird stealth reconnaissance craft.
The optimus-jetfire combination may hint at leaked plans to finally give Optimus a permanent means of flight in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, but that is yet to be known for certain.
“The least likely can be the most dangerous.”
Possibly the most beloved of all the alien robots, the Bumblebee Transformer was meant to be one of the smallest Autobots, in order to more easily identify with their human allies.
His early incarnation was as a fearless, “little-engine-that-could” robot that always strove to make up for his lack of size with unbridled courage and resolve.
His fast and compact size lent him to quick and daring forays behind enemy lines, always done readily and eagerly, in order to impress his bigger Autobot brothers.
Bumblebee’s Napoleon-complex never served as a detriment to the Autobots, however.
In fact, it has always aided them in not only fighting the Decepticons, but also in dealing with human beings, with whom Bumblebee Transformer formed fast and lasting friendships.
Bumble bee transformer has had several alt modes (basically, car modes) apart from his bipedal robot form.
From the childlike yellow Volkswagen Beetle of the original Transformers, to the wickedly sleek and powerful 5th-generation Chevrolet Camaro of the present day (unveiled in 2007’s Transformers’ movie), the Transformers’ Bumblebee has always maintained a relatively friendly exterior.
This is true, even while being armed with plasma cannons and a very cool retractable battle mask (for when he means business, which is always in the defense of humans or his fellow Autobots).
In Transformers 1, Bumble bee uses these new weapons to spectacular effect in not only engaging the Decepticon Barricade, but defeating him in combat; this is a feat that would have been unlikely for the original Bee.
Due to Bumblebee Transformer’s extreme popularity, he will likely play yet another prominent role in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.
The evolution of the Bumble bee transformer from brave but reckless scout, to fully capable warrior (still heroic, but much more cautious), is on full display in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
Time and again, he single-handedly goes up against formidable Decepticons in defense of humans, defeating Rampage and even killing the brutal and well-armed Ravage by literally ripping it apart with his bare hands!
That’s a feat worthy of Optimus-level strength, or even Megatron (rest in peace, Jazz).
There are numerous reports that Dark of the Moon will have a more human-centered plot; if so, Bumblebee fans can rest assured that the golden transformer will feature prominently in it, being as close to humans as he has always been.
One of the greatest Transformers that ever lived, it is Bumblebee Transformers’ nature and unspoken duty to liaise with the human element that the Autobots encounter.
He often becomes endeared to whatever Earthling has the good fortune to meet with him first.
“Only the fierce shall live.”
Which means Wheelie transformer should almost certainly be dead.
Sharing the distinction with Frenzy transformer as the only Decepticons to have had their metallic hats handed to them by purely human fists, Wheelie transformer was both defeated and turned by Mikaela (Mikaela was Sam’s love interest in the first movie) in Transformers 1.
Or perhaps it was the regal visage of the ancient Jetfire which inspired the former Decepticon to change his evil ways…but the little RC truck now works for the good guys.
For what that’s worth.
“Among the mysteries of the universe lies the key to victory.”
In an age not so long past, the SR-71 Blackbird, Jet fire transformer, dominated the skies, and was one of very few Autobots that could match the inevitable Starscream in his airborne alt-mode.
Those days are somewhat gone, but Jet fire manages to be of critical use in Revenge of the Fallen.
Indeed, this former Decepticon-turned-Autobot was of the ultimate use, combining with a revived Optimus Prime to streak towards the inimitable monstrosity The Fallen, and ensuring the accuracy of that traitorous Prime’s nom de guerre.
“You break it, I’ll remake it.”
Completely scrapping the time-honored tradition of non-combatant field medical personnel (you can’t have a passive Autobot, can you?), Ratchet transformer is the stalwart and eminently loyal medical officer of the Autobots.
Though inclined toward peaceful resolutions, he has an array of weaponry designed to discourage opponents, from a machinegun the size of a small Autobot, to a buzz-saw that can rend even Cybertronian steel.
Indeed, Ratchet may be the strongest Transformer of them all, whether Autobot or Decepticon, in keeping with his alt-mode function as a Search and Rescue Hummer.
Anything he can’t heal, probably requires the powers of the All-Spark.
Skids and Mudflap
“Either get in gear or get out of my way.” – Mudflap
“The right word is better than the wrong move.” – Skids
A clueless addition to Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Skids and Mudflap transformers were an unfortunate attempt at humor that elicited more groans that laughs.
Other than that, it is unclear what other purpose, if any, they served.
The transformer Jolt was very much a background character in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
Wielding electric whips as weapons, his unlikely persistence against cannon-toting Decepticons led to a bit of head-scratching (probably even for his fellow Autobots, who saw fit to leave him out of their group shot!).
He did aid the resurgent Optimus Prime in combining with Jetfire, by using those electric whips to hold Optimus together. There’s something to be said for forced utility, I suppose.
“I don’t go around, I go through!”
Ironhide is easily the most durable and damage-resistant of any Transformer, whether Autobots or Decepticons.
Never one to run from a fight (nor allow any other Autobot who might have the inclination to do so), his ion cannons always seem fired up and glowing menacingly, even when he is at rest. I suppose that means he’s never really at rest, possibly.
The battle-strategist of the Autobots, and one of the original five Transformers in 2007’s movie, he is Optimus Prime’s oldest friend, and would go down blazing with him.
Well, except in Revenge of the Fallen, when Optimus went down all by himself. But other than that, I imagine Ironhide would go down with him.
He is, after all, armed to the teeth, and might have spared a cannon-laced arm or something.
Look for the weapons-specialist to enjoy resurgence in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, in order to make up for why in the world Optimus Prime would’ve fought 5 Decepticons by himself.
“Love the thrill of battle, hate the notion of war.”
Sideswipe Transformer is the most highly combat-versed member of the Autobots, perhaps second only to Optimus Prime in direct physical engagement.
Possessing wheels in favor of mechanical legs adds to his considerable agility, and always gets him to where he’s going faster than you.
Toting a cannon along his back, this weapon is largely secondary, as Sideswipe would much rather slice up Decepticons using dual swords that are virtually indestructible, and made of a metal reminiscent of Wolverine’s adamantium.
As they can rend even Ironhide’s hide, Decepticons tend to stay away from the Autobot combat instructor.
In Revenge of the Fallen, Sideswipe transformer makes his spectacular debut by coolly dispatching the Decepticon Sideways by simply cutting him in half.
Since Transformers regularly fall from great distances with apparently little to no damage, this gives you an idea just how incredibly sharp his blades are. He will make an appearance in Transformers 3:Dark of the Moon, as he ended Revenge of the Fallen relentlessly firing off rounds at fleeing Decepticons. Talk about dedication.
Jazz Transformers (R.I.P)
“Do it with style, or don’t bother to do it”
I wonder if those were his last words when Megatron made an example out of the ever-loyal, fierce, and dearly-missed first-lieutenant Autobot Jazz Transformer.
He was dispatched in Transformers 2007 live-action film, in one of the brutal and dominating ways to defeat an adversary: Megatron simply ripped him in half.
Which was just flat-out unfair, as Jazz was already the smallest of the Autobots (yes; he was a bit smaller than Bumblebee).
Before his demise, the great Jazz was the Transformers’ ode to hip-hop, and a valiant warrior in his own right, willing to take on all comers. His Pontiac Solstice alt-mode was as cool and sleek as his personality, and a part of the Autobots died with his passing.
It has been reiterated time and again that we saw the last of mighty little Jazz in Transformers 2007, and there won’t be any resurrections involving him in Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon.
A friend once laughed: “exactly how do female transformers come about anyway?” Well, heck, how do male transformers come about, for that matter?
Questions notwithstanding, Arcee was known as Chromia in Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen.
She was taught how to fight by Ironhide, ans uses her slight alt-mode of a pink motorcycle to run circles around the competition.
With the understandable notion of always having to prove herself in a male-dominated camp, she often stands out as brave and accomplished, and not a single Autobot doubts her considerable talents.
Unfortunately, the Autobot Amazon was killed in Revenge of the Fallen.