The Transformers (TV Series 1984–1987) Poster



Sparkplug makes his last appearance in The Transformers: Cosmic Rust (1985). No explanation for his absence is given either in the following episodes or in The Transformers: The Movie (1986).
The name Megatron was originally rejected by Hasbro for being too scary. Bob Budiansky argued as a villain he was meant to be scary.
In season one Frank Welker voiced 7 of the 13 original Decepticons. He provided the voices of Megatron, Soundwave, Skywarp, Rumble, Frenzy, Laserbeak (screeches), and Ravage (growls). The exceptions were Starcream (Chris Latta), Thundercracker (John Stephenson), Shockwave (Corey Burton), and Reflector (three identical robots with Chris Latta's voice).
The president of the fictional country Carbombya, Abdul Fakkadi, appears in The Transformers: The Five Faces of Darkness: Part 1 (1986) and The Transformers: Thief in the Night (1986). The character/story and was meant to be a parody of Middle East tensions at the time. His name is an anagram of Libyan President Muammar Gadaffi. The name of Fakkadi's country, Carbombya, also contains an in-joke (Car Bomb Ya). Reportedly, voice actor Casey Kasem, who is of Arab descent, objected to this, and quit the Transformers series as a result.
Bumblebee was named "Goldbug" in early treatments. When he was re-built in the third season, his name got changed to Goldbug.
The first ever Transformer to appear on the series was Wheeljack, episode The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Part 1 (1984).
Voice actor Peter Cullen's voice for Optimus Prime was inspired by John Wayne.
In season 1, there were 24 autobots [Optimus Prime, Skyfire, Bluestreak, Hound, Ironhide, Jazz, Mirage, Prowl, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack, Cliffjumper, Gears, Huffer, Windcharger, Brawn, Bumblebee, Grimlock, Slag, Snarl, Sludge, Swoop] and 22 decepticons [Megatron, Soundwave - with 4 casseticons, Reflector x 3, Skywarp, Starscream, Thundercracker, Shockwave, Bonecrusher, Hook, Mixmaster, Long Haul, Scavenger, Scrapper, Bombshell, Kickback, Shrapnel]. In season 2, there were 15 new Autobots [Perceptor, Omega Supreme, Beachcomber, Cosmos, Powerglide, Seaspray, Warpath, Blaster, Grapple, Hoist, Inferno, Red Alert, Skids, Smokescreen, Tracks] and 5 new Decepticons [Dirge, Ramjet, Thrust, Blitzwing, Astrotrain]. In the end of Season 2, 10 new Autobots (The Aerialbots and the Protectobots) and 10 new Decepticons were introduced (The Stunticons and the Combaticons).
In issue 146 of the original Transformers Marvel Comic series, the Dinobot Grimlock writes in response to a letter from the fans that the comics depicted the "true" events of the Transformers mythos, whereas the cartoon series was purely a work of fiction.
Cliffjumper was originally going to be named "Blow-Out", due to his tendency to suffer from blown tires.
Many new characters (Triple-Changers, Blaster, Perceptor, etc.) suddenly began to appear during season two, beginning with The Transformers: Dinobot Island: Part 1 (1985) and The Transformers: A Prime Problem (1985). Their sudden appearance was not explained. In the episodes produced after The Transformers: The Movie (1986), in which Megatron (Frank Welker) became Galvatron (Leonard Nimoy), Frank Welker took over the role of Galvatron, which seems appropriate. The actors who continued the roles they originated in The Transformers: The Movie (1986) for season 3 were: Neil Ross (Springer), Susan Blu (Arcee), David Mendenhall (Daniel Witwicky),John Moschitta Jr. (Blurr), Stan Jones (Scourge), and Roger C. Carmel (Cyclonus, Quintesson).
Optimus Prime was never intended to return to the series after the movie, but a public outcry (which surprised the producers) resulted in him returning
Another connection to the GI Joe cartoon, also based on a Hasbro/Marvel comic is the character of Marissa Faireborn. In one episode, Marissa speaks with her father, voiced by Bill Ratner (in his only appearance in the Transformers cartoon), who also provided the voice for Flint, whose real name is Dashiell Faireborn on the GI Joe cartoon. So Marissa is the GI Joe, Flint's, daughter, presumably with Lady Jaye.
The evil group of animal-based Transformers that eventually became the Predacons originally started out as a benevolent group of Autobots, called "Anibots". Razorclaw's original name was to be Simba, Headstrong's was Clump, Tantrum's Thump, Divebomb was Shriek, while Rampage was Pardo, and would have turned into a leopard, rather than a tiger. Their combined form would have been called "Dragon Beast", as opposed to Predaking. They would have first appeared in The Transformers: The Movie (1986) to fight Devastator, but after several script rewrites, during which the Anibots became the Predacons, they had been written out of the story, and debuted later in the cartoon's third season.
Because both Bluestreak and Prowl changed into Datsun sports cars and had similar helmets with "devil's horn" crowns, the animators tried to avoid confusion between the two by removing Prowl's shoulder-mounted rocket launchers which were apart of the toy Prowl. However, occasionally animators would accidentally color Prowl grey like Bluestreak.
Skyfire's cartoon appearance is drastically different than his toys. The reason for this is that Jetfire was, at the time, a "borrowed" mould of a previously release toy from the rival company Bandi. To avoid unnecessary legalities, the Skyfire cartoon sketches were heavily modified (The Transformers: Fire in the Sky (1984)).
All of the other characters introduced in the movie were given new voice actors. The Constructicon Mixmaster (a character voiced by Frank Welker) falls into lava in episode The Transformers: Heavy Metal War (1984). In his next appearance (The Transformers: City of Steel (1985)), he acts quite insane. Later, in season 3, Galvatron (Frank Welker) lands in lava and goes insane as a result (episodes 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 3.04 and 3.05 "Five Faces of Darkness Part 1-5".
The Decepticon jet Thundercracker never uses his sonic powers in the series (his toy tech specs do say he has them, and he uses them in Marvel Comics). However, in The Transformers: Heavy Metal War (1984), Megatron, using the combined powers of all the Decepticons, does use them.
Omega Supreme was originally going to be called "Fortress Maximus". Although his name was changed, the name Fortress Maximus is later given to a character who first appears in the series-ending, episode 4.01, 4.02 and 4.03 "The Rebirth Part 1-3".
While there were some GI JOE/Transformer crossovers in the comic books there were no crossover episodes between the two shows until the third season when a character voiced by Chris Latta named Snake makes an appearance as an arms dealer wearing a trench coat, hat and a mirrored mask over his face. At the end of the episode he screams, "COBRA!" the battle cry for Cobra Commander
Skyfire is the only Transformer in the series who changed his alliance.
Alpha Trion is the only Transformer in the series who aged since the beginning of the war between Autobots and Decepticons till the present time, judging by the difference in his look at The Transformers: The Search for Alpha Trion (1985) The Transformers: War Dawn (1985).
Due to production errors, Frank Welker's voice for Soundwave is left unmodified by vocoder in at least two episodes. (The Transformers: Roll for It (1984) and The Transformers: Webworld (1986)). The result is Soundwave sounding like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget (1983).
In Marvel Comics, Sparkplug has a son named Buster, Spike's younger brother. Buster was the first Witwicky depicted in fiction, and filled a similar role in the early comics that Spike filled in the animated series. According to the comics, Spike was away at college for the first few years of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons on Earth. When Buster was kidnapped by the Decepticons, Spike returned home and rescued his brother.
In the Marvel coloring book 'Forest Rescue Mission', Sparkplug has a son named Butch. He can be considered as Spike and Buster's third brother, or as an early name for either of their characters.
When Optimus Prime transforms into robot mode, his trailer moves backward and disappears from sight, while only the cab becomes the robot body; when he transforms into vehicle mode, his body becomes the cab, and the trailer reappears from nowhere and connects itself to the cab. Many fans wondered what exactly happens to the trailer during the transformations, but no explanation has been ever given.
Starscream was originally called Ulchtar, according to comic writer 'Bob Budiansky', the "grandfather" of Transformers. He is not sure how the name was spelled exactly, though.
The Autobot's space ship, the Ark was originally named "Auntie". The name got carried over into the comics. Interestingly, the name of the ship was never spoken in the cartoon.
Ravage was originally named Stalker.
Jetfire was originally called Fireball.
Cliffjumper was originally Blowout.
Trailbreaker was originally to be called Guzzle.
The name of Spike Witwicky was based on a real person by the same name.
Episode scriptwriter Donald F. Glut claimed in 2001 that he didn't like working on the show, because the schedules were so rushed that sometimes he had to write scripts under a day, and in some cases, he could only submit the first draft to the animation agency. Later, in 2007 he said he actually hated the cartoon, and only worked on it for the money. Even so, he wrote some of the most famous episodes, and was the second most prolific writer.
Although many characters that wore face-plates instead of mouths (such as Optimus Prime and Soundwave) have made this feature iconic, they were originally intended to have true mouths underneath those plates in various related media. The Marvel comics, for example, gave Soundwave a generic human face for a few issues, and Optimus Prime himself can be seen without his face-mask in one of the early story books. Some later re-imaginings of these characters opted to continue depicting them with mouths. Many other characters, like Bumblebee or Windcharger, were based on toys that also had a face-plates but received normal mouths for the cartoon show.
Skids, an Autobot, only appears twice in the entire series. Each time, he is voiced by a different actor.
Only toys that came from molds made by the toy company Takara got characters in this show. Toys from molds that were produced by other companies never appeared. Roadbuster, Whirl, Barrage, Chop Shop, Venom, and Ransack were all based off of molds from a competing toy company, Bandai, so they never appear in the cartoon.
Sparkplug Witwicky's real first name is not revealed in the TV series. In Marvel Comics, sometimes he is called William, and sometimes Irving. The character based upon him in the 2007 live action film, Transformers (2007), played by Kevin Dunn, is named Ron.
Although Buzzsaw was part of the first line of Transformer toys, he did not appear until the second season episode The Transformers: Atlantis, Arise! (1985). He appeared only in four episodes of the whole series - unlike Laserbeak, who appeared very frequently. The reason for this contrast was that Buzzsaw's toy was only available packaged with Soundwave, and hence did not need to be advertised via the show.
Episode The Transformers: Autobot Spike (1985) is the last time Reflector speaks.
The only character not referred to by name in the pilot trilogy is Windcharger, who, unlike all the other characters, does not get anything to do to display him for the audience (The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Part 3 (1984)).
If this season had aired its episodes in terms of production order, Windcharger would not be mentioned by name until The Transformers: Fire on the Mountain (1984).
The Autobot Skyfire (who first appears in season one's The Transformers: Fire in the Sky (1984)) was based on a Transformers toy named Jetfire, who in turn was a copy of the design of the SDF Macross/Robotech VF-1S Valkyrie jet/robot (Hasbro had bought the rights to produce copies of the Takatoku/Matsushiro/Bandai Valkyrie toy as part of the Transformers line some months before Robotech aired in the US). The character's name and design were changed to avoid any legal issues.
In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Part 1 (1984), an orange Autobot in the form of a truck crane appears briefly to haul Hound up for repairs. This Autobots only appears in this scene, never speaks or transforms to robot mode, and is referred to as "Hauler" by Cliffjumper. Apparently, this was an early version of the Autobot called Grapple, who later appears in season two.
Ted Schwartz was originally to be the voice for Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime for the post movie episodes. Some of his lines can still be heard in "Five Faces of Darkness" (Episodes 3.01-3.05).
Many generic Decepticon jets (in various shades of purple, blue, and green) appear with the Decepticons of Earth in the pilot The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Part 1 (1984). They are not seen again after the three-parter, however. Frenzy (Rumble's twin) is one of two 1984 toys/Decepticon cassettes who do not appear in the series premier three-part episode. Frenzy only first appears late in season one, during The Transformers: Countdown to Extinction (1984). Buzzsaw (condor) is the other, and does not appear until The Transformers: City of Steel (1985).
Voice director Wally Burr occasionally filled in for voice actors that were unavailable for a given episode. For example, he provides Thundercracker's voice in The Transformers: War Dawn (1985).
Although the last new episode aired in the U.S. in 1987, through its spin-offs the Transformers series continued in Japan until 1990. As of 2013, a Transformers series has been in production for 26 of the last 30 years, often numerous ones at the same time.
Daniel, Spike and Carly's son, is portrayed in Marvel coloring book 'The Lost Treasure of Cybertron' as the son of Buster, Spike's brother.
Season 5 did not feature any new episodes. It consisted of 15 episodes from the previous seasons and The Transformers: The Movie (1986) (separated to five episodes). New opening and closing footage were added to each episode, which portrayed Powermaster Optimus Prime meeting regularly with a live-action human named Tommy Kennedy to tell him old Transformers stories.
Famed comic writer and co-creator of the Transformers mythos, 'Bob Budiansky' owns the cartoon on DVD, but he has never watched it.
When the Transformers toy-line was first released in Europe, the leader of the Autobots was changed from Optimus Prime to Jetfire, who was actually a character of less importance. This was because they didn't know at the time whether figures of Optimus Prime will be sold. After the Optimus Prime toy got released, he got "reinstalled" as the Autobot leader in European fiction.
Trypticon doesn't seem to have eyes because when his animation model was designed based on his toy, they forgot to place the eye stickers on his head.
Trypticon's component robots, Brunt and Full-Tilt, are never referred to as separate characters during the series. They are always seen as parts of Trypticon's body, and never detach from him. Brunt is a small tank made up of several towers and guns on Trypticon's city form, while Full-Tilt is the purple-colored car situated on Trypticon's dinosaur mode chest, who could transform into an actual robot.
Rumble's toy was black and red, and Frenzy's was blue. However, in the TV series, Rumble was colored blue and Frenzy was colored black and red.
When Megatron transforms into his pistol mode, he is usually caught and fired by the Decepticon Starscream.
At the time of season one, Spike Witwicky is about 14 years old. His love interest, Carly (introduced in season 2), is about a year older than him. Generally speaking, the Autobots have blue eyes, and the Decepticons have red. There are exceptions, though. Some include: Swindle (purple), Thrust (yellow), and Motormaster (purple). The Autobot called Broadside's character model was totally overhauled halfway during season 3, so it would more closely resemble his toy.
The original idea behind Ratchet was "the best tool guy or girl". Since early on in the production, there was a rule against female robots, Ratchet became a male. A similar case happened in Transformers: Animated (2007), since they originally envisioned the main Autobot cast with a female medic, who eventually became the male Ratchet. Later, in the aforementioned show's third season, a female medic finally appeared for a short time, named Red Alert.
DEBUT: Contructicons and Devastator (The Transformers: Heavy Metal War (1984)).
DEBUT: Skyfire. Who is known to as Jetfire, as a toy (The Transformers: Fire in the Sky (1984)).
DEBUT: Shrapnel, Bombshell, and Kickback (The Transformers: A Plague of Insecticons (1984)).
DEBUT: Carly, later become Spike's wife and the mother of Daniel in the post-movie episodes (The Transformers: The Immobilizer (1985)).
The premise of the Immobilizer (The Transformers: The Immobilizer (1985)) would be used again in Beast Wars: Transformers: The Probe (1996).
DEBUT: Bluestreak, Brawn, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Gears, Hound, Huffer, Ironhide, Jazz, Laserbeak, Megatron, Mirage, Optimus Prime, Prowl, Ratchet, Ravage, Reflector, Rumble, Shockwave, Sideswipe, Skywarp, Soundwave, Starscream, Sunstreaker, Thundercracker, Trailbreaker, Wheeljack and Windcharger (The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Part 1 (1984)).
DEBUT: Chip Chase (The Transformers: Roll for It (1984)).
DEBUT: Grimlock, Slag, and Sludge (The Transformers: S.O.S. Dinobots (1984)).
DEBUT: Snarl and Swoop (The Transformers: War of the Dinobots (1984)).

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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