|Abbreviation(s):||TF, TFA, G1, BW, RID, MTMTE|
|Creator:||Takara Tomy & Hasbro|
|Date(s):||1984 - present|
|Medium:||toys, television series, films, comics, books, video games|
|Country of Origin:||United States, Japan|
|External Links:||Transformers on Wikipedia|
The Transformers Wiki
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Transformers is an entertainment franchise that began as a toy property and expanded into television, comics, books, video games, and film. Most series in the franchise are about Optimus Prime and his Autobots fighting Megatron and his Decepticons, although the reasons and stakes vary depending on the series.
"Generation One" includes the 1984-1987 animated series The Transformers and the 1984-1991 comic book series published by Marvel Comics. Three direct sequels to the animated series were produced in Japan from 1987-1989, "Headmasters", "Super-God Masterforce", and "Victory". These series were first released in the US from 2011-2012. The Generation 2 comic book, the Dreamwave comics, the Beast Wars TV series and its sequel Beast Machines, and various spin-offs are also part of this same universe. Material continues to be produced in this universe to this day with the IDW comics, and it is still the most popular part of the franchise to write fic for.
Robots in Disguise
Robots in Disguise was imported from Japan, where it was known as Car Robots. It aired from 2001 to 2002 in the US. It was intended as a placeholder between the end of Beast Machines, the last series set in the Generation One universe to air in the US, and the Unicron Trilogy.
The Unicron Trilogy
The "Unicron Trilogy" is made up of three TV series, Armada, Energon, and Cybertron. Between them they aired from 2002 to 2006. The entire Unicron Trilogy, although especially Energon, is widely considered awful among the fanbase. This link provides a summary of the criticisms.
Live-Action Film Series
The live-action film series began in 2007 and is still ongoing. It consists of Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Transformers: Age of Extinction, with at least another two films yet to come. The films are directed by Michael Bay, and display many of his hallmarks. They are often maligned among the fandom for giving too much screentime to the humans, but despite this they made incredible amounts of money at the box office.
Transformers Animated began airing in late 2007, months after the live-action movie came out. It is set in Detroit, many years into the future. It aired for three seasons, until 2009, before being canceled. The creators of the show have released a pair of books, The AllSpark Almanac and its sequel The AllSpark Almanac II, which provide background material.
The Transformers: Prime TV series began airing in 2010 and ended in 2013. It is set in the same universe as the 2012 Transformers: Rescue Bots TV series, the 2010 War for Cybertron video game and its sequel Fall of Cybertron, and the books Transformers: Exodus, Transformers: Exiles, and Transformers: Retribution, making it one of the few Transformers series to have a true expanded universe. In 2015, its sequel series Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) (not to be confused with the earlier series of the same English name, known in Japanese as Car Robots) will begin airing.
Transformers: Combiner Wars
Transformers: Combiner Wars was an animated web series created by Hasbro Studios and Machinima that aired in 2016. The series seemed loosely based on the IDW comic series of the same name. There are two sequels: Titans Return (2017) and Power of the Primes (scheduled for 2018).
Despite the size of the fandom, it is proportionally under-represented in fandom circles. There is a trend more towards discussion and cataloguing of the canon as well as toy collection and customization. A dramatic increase in store prices and corresponding decrease in toy quality, both in construction material and resemblance to the character, has led to a number of high-quality 3rd party Transformers toy creators. Fan-made plushies are popular, several well known seamstresses sell out in minutes and have lotteries for commission spots. The main wiki for the franchise, TFWiki, has roughly 20,000 articles; the "Transformers - All Media Types" tag on AO3 has roughly 24,000 fics. Being an old fandom, it also has fandom-specific forums such as TFW 2005, which tend to be more popular than multi-fandom sites such as Livejournal, Dreamwidth, or Tumblr. Some attribute Transformers' relatively small transformative fandom to its higher ratio of male to female fans.
While there is less than the size of the fandom would suggest, there is fanfic for Transformers. As usual, it covers the whole wide range of character popularity, ship popularity, genre, and rating. Despite the fact that most of the characters are giant robots, there is plenty of porn in the Transformers fandom. There is an overview of the ways fans make this work in this post by Dunmurderin. The most common of these is stickyfic, which roughly one-tenth of all Transformers fic on AO3 is tagged with, although stickyfic often incorporates one or more other potential methods of sex.
BotCon was an officially-recognized fan convention. It was a mono-fandom convention, often featuring reveals of new series or products, exclusive products available only at the convention, and panels featuring the people behind various Transformers series and products; it was essentially a fandom-specific version of San Diego Comic-Con. In 2017, Hasbro discontinued BotCon in favor of HasCon which featured all of its franchises.
Other Transformers conventions include:
- Auto Assembly (Birmingham, England)
- Auto Assembly Europe, previously NTFA NordCon (Sweden & Denmark)
- B.O.T.S. (Netherlands)
- C.O.N.S. (Germany)
- CybCon (Washington, USA)
- Cybercon Expo (New Jersey, USA)
- Cyberton Con (China & Singapore)
- CybFest NW (Washington, USA)
- DairyCon (Wisconsin, USA)
- DutchBotCon (Holland)
- Iacon One (Indiana, USA)
- OzFormers (Australia)
- TFcon (Illinois, USA)
- TFCon, previously TransformersCon (Ontario, Canada)
- TFExpo (Kansas, USA)
- TraFest (Nagoya, Japan)
- Transforce (England)
- TransForMarket (Tokyo, Japan)
Hasbro started fan polls in 2010. The first fan polls were to nominate and elect Transformers into the Transformer Hall of Fame, announced at Botcon. Fan polls were conducted on various large fan sites. Hasbro would make videos featuring the top contenders, which once included a Transformer named Erector, then announce the winner at Botcon/ Hascon. This poll occurs every year.
In 2013, Hasbro created a fan poll allowing fans to vote to create a brand new Transformer, who would get a toy and a 4-issue comic miniseries with IDW. The first round of voting was for faction, vehicle mode, signature weapon, color scheme, and personality. Fans wanted a valiant, red and black Autobot jet who wielded a sword.
The second round of voting asked fans to decide the new Autobot's name, gender, city of origin, and specialty. Fans declared Windblade was a telepathic female Transformer from Kaon. This posed a bit of a problem for IDW. Writer Simon Furman, fandom-famous for writing many of the Marvel Transformers comics and semi-controversial person among the current fandom due to his views on women and their inclusion in Transformers canon, had already written into IDW Transformers canon that female Transformers didn't exist. And now IDW was contractually obligated to write a 4-issue miniseries starring a female Transformer. The miniseries debuted in 2014. The miniseries was so popular Windblade got a second series and became Starscream's co-star in one of the ongoing series. She also made appearances in two cartoons and various other Transformers media.
The second fan built Transformer poll was conducted in 2015. This time, the poll would create a 6-member team able to combine into one giant Transformer. Fans refer to such teams as "Gestalts". The resulting team was female, Autobot, cyan/red/white, had an independent personality, and was from the Sea of Rust. Her name, when combined into the larger Transformer, is Victorion and her rival is Galvatronus. Victorion and her 6-member team were made into toys and introduced into the IDW comic continuity.
The original cartoon introduced male/ female Transformer couples (Optimus/Elita One), male Transformer/ human woman (Powerglide/Astoria), and male Transformer/ mermaid couples (Seaspray/ Alana). Many American-produced Transformers cartoons have featured at least one male/ female Transformer couple. One of the most contentious of these being Starscream/Alexis, a human schoolgirl, from Transformers Armada, which verges close to loli.
A Japanese manga tie-in to Victory introduced the idea the Decepticons have wives and children. Radio show and manga Kiss Players began a trope that the Transformers are 'powered up' through physical contact with underage-appearing girls.
The IDW comic More Than Meets The Eye introduced the first official homosexual Transformer couple (Chromedome/Rewind) as well as the first trans Transformer couple (Anode/Lug). The comic also gave the fandom the term "conjunx endura", meaning "spouse", and "amica endura", meaning "best friend", ritualizing friendship and making the idea of 'marriage' a trope.
The fandom invented many types of intimacy for Transformers: sticky, plug'n'play, and spark merging are the most popular, though there are less-popular variations such as holomatter avatars and energy/electrical field play. And, of course, some authors choose to utilize a humanization trope, putting the robots into gendered and sexed human bodies.
Sticky is the most popular; human-style sex with the human terms replaced by "spike" and "valve". The idea was introduced by a fanfiction writer (citation needed) in the late 90's/ early 2000's, who described a literal, immobile spike instead of the penis-analogue it became popularly known as. Spikes and valves are also frequently called an "interface array," with sex called "interfacing." It is common in the sticky fandom, especially in the slash fandom, to write all Transformers as having both a spike and a valve, regardless of the pronoun the Transformer uses, reflecting a contemporary split between 'sex' and 'gender' and allowing for a great deal of genderqueering of relationships.
Plug'n'play is an alternative to sticky in which the Transformers connect to each other via cables and send electric signals or downloads to each other. Sticky and plug'n'play rarely occur together.
Sparks were introduced in Beast Wars as the literal, physical souls of the Transformers. Fandom (and canon, in IDW: cf sparkeaters) places the spark in a Transformer's chest, much like a heart. Spark-merging is a fandom creation where two or more Transformers open their chests and press their sparks together. In many fanfics, Transformers who spark merge can become "bonded", (this occasionally, in fanfiction, requires a rite or a set number of times of spark-merging) essentially married. Bonded Transformers are often given a psychic connection to each other ranging from empathy to telepathy. A common trope is that if one of a bonded pair of Transformers dies, the other will also die. Spark merging can occur in fanfiction together with sticky and plug'n'play.
All types of sexual contact, in fandom, can result in pregnancy, which is often marked in fiction by common tropes of heterosexual pregnancy such as crazy food cravings and moodiness. There are two types of Transformer pregnancy. Spark pregnancy, and physical pregnancy.
Spark pregnancy typically occurs only after two Transformers have spark merged. The two sparks will mix to form a smaller spark, which will then stay within one of the Transformer's chassis and feed off of their spark. This can sometimes cause pain and fatigue in the carrier. The couple is required to build a physical body for the child. Once the spark is strong enough, it may be removed and placed into the physical body and cared for. The physical body may be small, but is typically already armored, rather than being a protoform. A protoform is the thinner, less strong metal under the armor of a Transformer.
Physical pregnancy typically only occurs after two Transformers have had sticky sex, or 'interfaced.' Commonly with sticky, ejaculation results in "transfluid," which is full of nanites in some variations. This may result in a very human-like pregnancy, where the carrier will grow a small protoform inside of their 'carrying chamber.' Eventually, the pregnant Transformer will give birth. The offspring will already have a spark and comes out relatively defenseless. Armor must either be built onto the protoform as it grows, or the armor may grow by itself.
Baby Transformers are called a myriad of names, such as: sparklings, sparklets, bitlets, protoforms, and rarely hatchlings.
Though mechpreg is not yet canon, a recent storyline features an organic/Cybertronian fetus, carried within the male Transformer's body.
- MegaOp: Megatron/Optimus Prime
- MegaStar: Megatron/Starscream
- Dratchet: Drift/Ratchet
- Cygate: Cyclonus/Tailgate
- Breakdown/Knock Out
- Red Alert/Inferno
- Turning Points by Alathea2 -- Prowl endures the long process of switching sides
- The Botosphere by Darthishtar, Eowyn77 kateydidnt, and SpiritOfEowyn -- a large cooperative Bayverse AU
- War Without End by Dracoqueen22 -- after Dark of the Moon, Ratchet begins to lose faith in Optimus' leadership
- Bridges by Dwimordene -- in the aftermath of the first Bayverse movie, Mikaela distinguishes herself to the Autobots
- Patronus by femme4jack and Merfilly -- Bayverse series set after Dark of the Moon
- Sound and Fury by fractalserpent and HopeofDawn -- Soundwave will do anything to ensure his cassettes' survival
- Where You and I Collide by Hearts of Eternity -- two very different people join forces to face the corrupting force of Shockwave
- An Adjustment of Plans by L. Mouse -- G1-inspired, Soundwave is captured by the Autobots after being severely and permanently damaged in battle
- Masks by L. Mouse -- mingling a large ensemble of G1 characters with a Bayverse setting, even this first version of the fic is widely read
- The Brave Shall Heed the Call by Mllemusketeer -- after the events of Transformers Animated, Optimus becomes aware of serious flaws in the methodology and philosophy of Autobot government
- The Quality of Mercy by Mllemusketeer -- a Transformers: Prime AU in which Optimus and Megatron repair their relationship in the face of a human threat
- Fallout by nan00k -- a post-apocalyptic Bayverse AU series
- five million years by razordragonfly -- precanon, early war, a long Thundercracker- and Skywarp-centric drama
- Eugenesis by James Roberts -- a fan novel written by Roberts in the years before he went legit writing canon comics
- Things We Don't Tell Humans by Sinead Rivka -- a widely popular Bayverse adaptation
- Best First by SkyShadow -- Thundercracker tells a story in exchange for his life
- Borealis by tainry -- very AU since Revenge of the Fallen, the Cybertronian species adapts to a new method of repopulation
- Pygmalion by Velvet_Glove -- a take on the origin of the Cybertronian species
- A Day in the Life of Dr. Rafael Esquivel, Ph.D. by White Aster -- Soundwave needed a nanite specialist, so he kidnapped the best.
- And I Alone Have Escaped To Tell You by astolat -- very popular G1 movie/season 3 AU
- House Divided by spaceliquid -- A 2015 Megatron/Optimus fanfic from the Animated universe, currently with 42,000+ hits and 2,000 kudos
- More Than Meets the Eye Season One Animated Trailer by Alex Cole -- based on the IDW Publishing continuity
- Transformers: the Basics by Chris McFeely--panfandom intro videos
- wanna play? meme (TFP) by totalchaosmeg -- Example of Transformers being used in an "animation meme"
- Random Transformers Skits III/Three/3 by absurdlyawesome -- Transformer toys being used to make stop motion skits
- Transformers Prime Dank Memes by RoBUSTMyAFT -- A popular Transformers meme video from 2017 that became a video series
- Overlord II
- Transformers: Poetry and Verse
- In Repair
- Snapshots (Transformers zine)
Archives & Communities
- Transformers - All Media Types at AO3
- Movies > Transformers and Cartoons > Transformers/Beast Wars at FanFiction.Net
- Beast Wars Anonymous (now defunct)