Character list for Transformers.
Animation, Film, and Web Series
- Generation 1
- Super God Masterforce
- Beast Wars
- Robots in Disguise (2001)
- Unicron Trilogy
- Aligned continuity
- Prime Wars Trilogy
- Live-action films
While the Transformers get overhauled with every new incarnation, the characters tend to stay true to a few core traits, and there are iconic members among them who appear across multiple incarnations. The following is a list of some of these more prolific and recurring characters.
- "Til all are one!"
The heroic faction of the Transformer race. While they of course all have varied personalities, the Autobots generally stand for justice, peace, and freedom, and are the main force opposing the Decepticons. They tend to adopt "civilian" alt modes like cars, trucks, and planes.
- Arc Words: "Til All Are One" is their rallying cry, reflecting their desire for unity and peace no matter how long they have to fight for it.
- Battlecry: "Transform and roll out" is often used as their rallying cry, often shouted by Optimus.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: Some later media depict the Autobot-ruled Cybertron as suffering from a Fantastic Caste System that oppresses lower-ranked Cybertronians. This is usually not by design, but a consequence of their society having roles and expectations of certain types of Transformer. The Autobot leaders aside from Optimus Prime may also be corrupt and self-serving. That said, even in these stories, the Autobots are still depicted as the more heroic faction compared to the Decepticons.
- Good Is Not Soft: They may be the good guys, but don't think they can't and won't give the Decepticons a good fight.
- The Hero: The Autobots as a whole are the heroes of the franchsie.
- Meaningful Name: The live-action films state that "Autobot" is short for "autonomous robotic organism", while the comics say it's symbolic of their desire for a government that preserves the autonomy of the individual, contrasting the Decepticon's desiring a tyrannical government.
- Red Is Heroic: The Autobot insignia is red, their technology often has a red/orange aesthetic, and many of their members are prominently red, including Optimus Prime of course.
- "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."
The Hero Protagonist and often the Big Good. As the leader of the Autobots (or at least, leader of the group the story is following), Optimus is considered one of their most honorable and courageous warriors. He will never give up until the Decepticons are stopped, no matter the cost. He often takes the alt-mode of a red and blue semi-trailer truck.
- All-Loving Hero: Optimus' compassion for other beings is almost limitless. While he wars with the Decepticons, he will show them mercy if he can. The one exception is Megatron, and even he may not be ruled out in some adaptations.
- An Ax To Grind: Optimus' axe is one of his most recurring weapons.
- Badass Baritone: Optimus almost always has a deep, booming voice, the most iconic of which is Peter Cullen.
- Big Badass Rig: His typical alt mode is a semi-trailer truck. Even when he isn't, Optimus tends to be some sort of large truck-like vehicle.
- Big Good: Even when Optimus isn't the overall leader of the Autobots, he's one of their most respected members and the others will look to him for guidance and leadership.
- The Chosen One: Optimus possess the Matrix of Leadership, designating him as leader of the Autobots and possibly some other destiny, depending on the incarnation.
- Death Is Cheap: With a few exceptions, every time Optimus dies, he always tells Death "screw you" and comes back stronger. In Transformers Animated, he was dead for all of 90 seconds.
- Gentle Giant: He's often depicted as one of the largest of the rank-and-file Autobots, yet is one of the most humble and kind of any of them.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Optimus often has to do this, though it may be turned into a Disney Death. "Optimus Dies" is such a cliche in Transformers that the wiki for the series has a page documenting how many times it's happened.Megatron (Beast Wars): "Oh, you Optimuses do love to sacrifice yourselves, don't you?"
- Meaningful Name: His name approximately means "Best of the best".
- Meaningful Rename: In most incarnations, he was once Orion Pax, a humble Cybertronian with no aspirations of heroism. The name Optimus Prime tends to come hand-in-hand with him being promoted to a leader of the Autobots or receiving a power boost that changes his appearance.
- Red Is Heroic: Optimus is almost always depicted with a red upper body and blue lower body, but red is his more predominant color and sometimes he's much more red than blue.
- Series Mascot: Optimus is, without question, the one Transformer everyone can recognize immediately, if not necessarily the specific incarnation he is.
- "Some of my best friends are humans."
An Autobot scout, Bumblebee is small but powerful, and just as determined and heroic as his more imposing comrades. He tends to have the closest relationship with the Autobots' human allies. His alt mode varies, but is always some sort of yellow car.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: His iconic weapon is a retractable wrist-mounted blade.
- Breakout Character: While Bumblebee was always part of the core cast of Autobots, the live-action films focused much more heavily on him than previous incarnations, and his prominence in later media was ramped up accordingly. After Optimus, Bumblebee is the most well-known and most heavily-marketed of the Transformers.
- Kid-Appeal Character: His smaller size, more friendly personality than the stern Optimus, and close relationships with humans cements him in this role in most incarnations.
- Number Two: While Jazz is usually depicted as Optimus' lieutenant in the Autobot hierarchy, Bumblebee is one of Optimus' most trusted soldiers and friends, and is the Autobot most likely to be trusted with important missions. In some media he takes over Jazz's typical role as Optimus' second-in-command.
- Pint Sized Power House: Bumblebee is smaller than most other Transformers, but no less powerful, and can fight bots much larger than him and win.
- "Have your own style of doing things or have none at all."
Optimus' first lieutenant and an aficionado of Earth culture, which is likely the reason for his unusual speech patterns among the Autobots. His alt mode is a white, red and blue Cool Car, emphasis on the Cool.
- Cool Car: Jazz always transforms into some sort of sports car.
- Cool Shades: He often has a mirrored visor over his eyes to give this impression.
- Jive Turkey: Jazz tends to talk in hip, cool lingo.
- The Lancer: As Optimus' lieutenant, Jazz is second-in-command of the Autobots, and his laidback and cool demeanor sharply constrasts Optimus' stern professionalism.
- Meaningful Name: The cool, lingo-happy Autobot is called "Jazz".
- Out of Focus: While Jazz has certainly not faded away, his prominance in later media has decreased as Bumblebee has supplanted him as the second-most pushed Autobot in marketing and adaptations.
- Token Minority: While the Transformers don't really have ethnicities, he is often voiced by African-Americans and talks in a lot of street lingo, making it clear he's intended to be perceived as the "black" Transformer.
- "Always happy to get more ammo."
The combat expert of the Autobots. When the Autobots need some muscle power, they call for Ironhide. His alt mode is usually some sort of truck, usually red.
- The Big Guy: Tends to have this role, since he likes fighting and often has the firepower to be very good at it.
- Blood Knight: There's nothing Ironhide likes more than busting up Decepticons.
- BFS: While their exact design varies, Ironhide likes whatever weaponry he wields to be big and powerful. His film incarnation goes for dual Arm Cannons, while in the Unicron Trilogy he's sporting a pair of Shoulder Cannons.
- Cool Car: He tends to transform into a pick-up truck, though his G1 incarnation was a slightly less cool minivan.
- Good Is Not Soft: Ironhide is one of the most enthusiastic of all Autobots when it comes to getting into a fight. But he's still firmly heroic.
- Red Is Heroic: Save for the live-action films, Ironhide has bright red as his predominant color.
- "My old fashioned ways have saved plenty of servos."
The Autobots' chief medical officer, Ratchet is always there when the Autobots need repairs. His alt mode is some sort of emergency vehicle, sometimes an ambulance but not always.
- Combat Medic: His exact combat proficiency varies depending on the incarnation, but Ratchet is always at least able to join in the fight with the other Autobots.
- Depending on the Writer: Perhaps more than any of the other core Autobots, Ratchet's personality can vary wildly between adaptations. He's been an Actual Pacifist, a Dr. Jerk of varying flavors, and demonstrated Fantastic Racism towards humans.
- Disney Owns This Trope: His G1 incarnation used The Red Cross logo, which got their attention since they are very protective of their copyright. Subsequent appearances by Ratchet tend to have him using more lawyer-friendly logos, like a red cross with an Autobot crest in the center.note
- The Medic: His position in the Autobots is their medical officer.
- "Dinobots RULE!"
Five Autobots that have dinosaurs as their alt modes. They are led by Grimlock, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, with the other members being Swoop, a Pteranodon, Slug, a Triceratops, Snarl, a Stegosaurus, and Sludge, a Brontosaurus.
- Badass Crew: The Dinobots are some of the most badass combatants on either side of the warlines, and as a team they're almost unstoppable.
- The Big Guy: Collectively, the group is this for the Autobots. As strong as some of them can be, the Dinobots are the major muscle of the faction.
- Cool Sword: They're typically depicted as preferring swords to guns and blasters, though they have those too of course.
- Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Slug was originally named "Slag", which is considered a curse word in the UK. Since Transformers media would later establish "slag" to be a curse word in-universe too, his name was changed to Slug in later appearances.
- Dumb Muscle: The Dinobots are usually much, much stronger than other Transformers, and a lot dumber too.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Pretty much the reason they exist in-universe, even — in the G1 cartoon, the Autobots found out about dinosaurs and decided "they're cool, let's build some new Transformers based on them!"
- Hulk Speak: They talk this way on account of their limited intelligence.Grimlock: "Me Grimlock not kisser, me Grimlock KING!"
- Reimagining the Artifact: In the original G1 cartoon, the Autobots made the Dinobots just because "that'd be cool to do" and no other reason. Various adaptations since have since tried to provide justification for why, among the race of robots that turn into vehicles, there's a small subset of them that turn into dinosaurs. The usual explanation is that the Dinobots survived the crash on prehistoric Earth that sent the rest of the Transformers into stasis, or were awoken earlier than the rest of them, and they scanned dinosaur alt modes that they retained into modern times.
- The Smurfette Principle: Some media add a sixth Dinobot to the core five, Slash, who is a female and transforms into a Velociraptor.
- Theme Naming: Aside from leader Grimlock, the Dinobots have short, one-word names that start with "S". The core four other than Grimlock are Slug, Snarl, Sludge, and Swoop, and auxiliary members include Slash, Scorn, Scowl, Strafe, and Skar.
- "In my Decepticon life, I never did a thing worth doing until now..."
Jetfire (aka Skyfire; long story, detailed further down) is an Autobot aerial combatant. In most incarnations he was once a Decepticon, but underwent a HeelFace Turn and joined the Autobots. He turns into a jetcraft of variable design. He is able to combine with Optimus Prime to grant him flight and enhanced firepower.
- Cool Plane: He's some sort of fighter craft, exact make varying.
- Fusion Dance: He's often able to combine with Optimus Prime to give Prime a power boost and a winged jetpack.
- HeelFace Turn: He tends to start out as a Decepticon, but then changes sides when he realizes his ideals align with them more. Even on occasions where he doesn't start out on the Deceptions, Jetfire's backstory tends to somehow personally connect him to the enemy faction.
- Screwed by the Lawyers: The reason he's variably known as Jetfire or Skyfire is due to "legal reasons" according to Hasbro's production bible for the G1 cartoon. The prevailing rumor is that Takara, who manufactured a majority of the Japanese toys that formed the basis of Transformers, weren't pleased with Hasbro using a transforming robot toy from a rival company, Takatoku Toys, in the show. Whatever the specifics, these "legal reasons" are why they renamed Jetfire to Skyfire and changed his appearance in the cartoon and comics to not resemble his toy too greatly.
- We Used to Be Friends: His relationship with Starscream before the war; when it broke out, they found themselves on opposite sides.
- "Undisciplined thinking can make even the simplest task impossible."
Ultra Magnus is another high-ranking Autobot, sometimes even outranking Optimus Prime. His battle prowess is feared across the Decepticon lines, and with good reason. He transforms into a truck that hauls a combat trailer; the cab forms Magnus' core robot form, and the trailer is worn as power-enhancing armor.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: "Ultra Magnus" rivals "Optimus Prime" as one badass name.
- Drop the Hammer: His signature weapon is a large hammer.
- Mythology Gag: The Diaclone toys that became Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime were originally the same "Convoy" figure, just with different trailers — this is why Ultra Magnus without his armor looks suspiciously like a white Palette Swap of Optimus Prime, because that's exactly what his Diaclone toy was. Transformers media after G1 reference this frequently by giving Prime and Magnus a connection, such as being brothers or that they were both rebuilt by Alpha Trion. Within the toyline, Optimus Prime toys are often redecoed into Ultra Magnus toys, and in the Masterpiece line Magnus' cab mode looks just like Prime's cab mode for his MP-10 figure, even though the cab isn't a separate robot anymore and transforms entirely different.
- Powered Armor: He's often depicted as a much smaller transformer that wears the Magnus armor to enhance his powers for combat.
- Related in the Adaptation: In the original G1 cartoon, he was just another Autobot of many that appeared suddenly during the shift to Season 3. Some media make him related to Optimus Prime in some way, due to the nature of Magnus' original toy.
- "Talent and looks; I got it all!"
A young, hot-headed member of the Autobots, Hot Rod is nonetheless a courageous and reliable soldier. He has the potential to one day become a leader among the Autobots, and earning the deserved title of "Prime". He transforms into a futuristic sports car, naturally often based on a hot rod.
- Arm Cannon: His signature weapon are blasters on his forearms, formed from his exhaust pipes in vehicle mode.
- Cool Car: He transforms into a futuristic sports car, almost always with flame designs over it and hot rod-like exhaust pipes visible on it.
- Meaningful Rename: In the original G1 movie, Hot Rod was christened "Rodimus Prime" when he received the Matrix of Leadership. Since Prime was not yet established as a title or rank one could earn, this was simply to annoint Hot Rod as heir to Optimus' position as the new leader of the Autobots.
- Next Tier Power-Up: In incarnations where his Rodimus form is an upgrade of his Hot Rod form, it tends to come with a new facial design, larger robot mode, and possibly a new vehicle mode.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Because of legal issues with trademarking the name "Hot Rod", the character bounced between names for years — Hot Rodimus, Rodimus, Rodimus Major, and Hot Shot, have all been used at various points. In later years it seems Hasbro finally got their hands on a trademark of some sort, because he's gone back to Hot Rod.
- "Metroplex heeds the call of the Last Prime!"
Metroplex is a Titan, the largest class of transformer. Taking the alt mode of an Autobot city/base, there's no bigger muscle on their side than Metroplex.
- Arch-Enemy: To Trypticon. The two are the main recurring Titans on either side, so they tend to end up being depicted fighting each other a lot.
- Humongous Mecha: His alt mode is usually as a city for transformers, which are already much bigger than humans.
- Light Is Good: Usually depicted with bright white and silver as his main colors.
- "The Decepticons are led by a single undeviating goal: total domination of the universe."
The villainous faction of the Transformer race. The Decepticons wish to conquer Cybertron, and often expand their sights to Earth and the entire universe. They tend to adopt militaristic alt modes like fighter jets, tanks, and armored vehicles.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Unlike the Autobots, who are lead by a Prime bestowed with a Matrix of Leadership, the Decepticons are lead by the most powerful member of the group. This is deconstructed as a horrible idea since all of the Decepticons think they're the most powerful, hence the all Chronic Backstabbing Disorder from Starscream and others, as well as all the arguing and fighting over who'll be the next leader whenever the current leader is incapacitated.
- Battlecry: "Transform and rise up", a Dark Reprise of the Autobots' call. Fitting given that modern depicts have Decepticons rebelling against the Autobots they see as oppressing them.
- Big Bad: The Decepticons are always the villains in any Transformers media.
- Full-Circle Revolution: Even when the Decepticons have good reasons for starting the war, it is clear that if they won, Cybertron would be a lot worse under their rule than under the Autobots.
- Meaningful Name: "Deceptive cons", obviously. Some adaptations try various ways to justify the name due to how Obviously Evil it sounds.
- Purple Is Powerful: The Decepticon insignia is purple and the color features prominently in their technology and some of their higher-up members like Megatron and Shockwave.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: In some adaptation, the Decepticon uprising begins due to some Cybertronians feeling oppressed and overlooked in society and banding together to overthrow the governing Autobots through force.
- "Peace through tyranny!"
The leader of the Decepticons, Megatron seeks to wrest control of Cybertron from the Autobots in the name of Decepticon supremacy over the Transformer race. Depending on the Writer, he may be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who truly thinks his rule will be better for everyone, but other times this is a veneer of altruism that conceals his true megalomania and thirst for conquest. In some media, Megatron may be upgraded or rebuilt into a more powerful form, in which he may take the name Galvatron. Megatron's alt mode varies, but he is most often a tank or a scary looking jet.
- Arch-Enemy: To Optimus Prime, and it is very much a mutual feeling. Megatron would slaughter his way through his own troops if it meant he could get a clear target on Optimus.
- Arm Cannon: His iconic weapon is his fusion cannon, which is mounted on his arm or replaces one of his arms.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He is universally depicted as one of the most powerful Decepticons, if not the most powerful. This is usually implied to be why they follow him, due to either Asskicking Equals Authority or because Megatron is The Dreaded.
- Bad Boss: Most Megatrons care nothing about the other Decepticons beyond them providing minions and soldiers to fight in his name. They usually follow him anyway because they're terrified of him.
- Big Bad: As the leader of the Decepticons, Megatron is usally the primary antagonist in Transformers media. When he isn't, it's usually because he's incapaciated somehow, or because something even worse (like Unicron) overshadows him.
- BFG: His fusion cannon is massive, usually the size of the rest of his arm.
- Character Development: Meta-wise, the earliest incarnations of Megatron were just Generic Doomsday Villains who desired conquest and power. In later media, Megatron is emphasized as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who had good reasons to begin his rebellion. There's even been media where Megatron becomes disillusioned with his own cause, has a Heel Realization and renounces the Decepticons, though this is very rare.
- Cool Gun: His original G1 alt mode was a laser blaster based on the custom Walther P38 from The Man From UNCLE. In later media he tends to transform into a tank or a plane, partly because some dislike the idea of the leader of the villains turning into a handheld weapon he lets his subordinates wield, and more prominently because of legal difficulties in the sale and possession of toy guns that made his G1 toy a headache for merchants and collectors. In some places you had to have a gun licence in order to own a G1 Megatron.
- Cool Plane: His second most common alt mode.
- The Dreaded: The Autobots greatly fear Megatron, and so do most of the Decepticons for that matter.
- Epic Flail: His preferred melee weapon is a chain mace.
- He Who Fights Monsters: In later media especially, it's common to depict Megatron as starting the Decepticon rebellion for good reasons, or at least with sympathetic intentions. However, almost universally the war triggers Motive Decay to the point he just wants to destroy the Autobots and rule Cybertron no matter what it takes.
- Legacy Character: "Megatronus" is the name of The Fallen, one of the Thirteen Primes who underwent a FaceHeel Turn. Most adaptations imply or outright state that Megatron took his name from The Fallen. Additionally, the Beast Wars era Megatron took his name from the original G1 Megatron.
- Meaningful Rename: Megatron is occasionally upgraded into a new, more powerful form, and he is rechristened "Galvatron".
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: As stated above, some versions of Megatron took their name from The Fallen, a.k.a. Megatronus Prime, who is basically the Transformers' version of The Anti-Christ or Judas.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Megatron's original G1 alt mode was a gun, but this created numerous headaches in trying to market and sell it because of legal restrictions around the sale of toy guns in North America (it also doesn't help that his gun mode looks particularly realistic). For this reason his later incarnations have different alt modes, usually a tank or jet. His gun alt mode now tends to only appear in media that is purposefully evoking his G1 design.
- Tank Goodness: His most recurring alt mode is a tank.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In incarnations that emphasize Cybertron's Fantastic Caste System, Megatron is usually a low-ranked Cybertronian who begins the Decepticon uprising to overthrow the corrupt and oppressive government that is keeping them down. With incarnations that emphasize Cybertron is a dying world due to its energy crisis, Megatron wants to rebuild Cybertron and restore the Transformer race to its glory days. Either way, he's willing to do anything to make it happen. His methodology is reflected in his recurring motto, "peace through tyranny!"
- We Used to Be Friends: In some incarnations, Megatron and Optimus used to be friends, or at least like-minded in acknowledging the problems with Cybertron and the need for reforms. Then Megatron begins his rebellion and the two find themselves on opposite sides.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Whenever Megatron gets turned into Galvatron, his increase in power is often accompanied by a decrease in sanity.
- Worthy Opponent: He regards Optimus Prime as one.
- "Kneel and worship the TRUE leader of the Decepticons!"
Starscream is, well, The Starscream. Though he is Megatron's lieutenant, Starcraft is itching to lead the Decepticons himself and takes any opportunity he can to kill Megatron or leave him to his death. Megatron is well aware of Starscream's treacherous ways; why he keeps him around in spite of that is something writers have struggled to explain for decades. Starscream's alt mode is a fighter jet.
- Ace Pilot: Starscream is generally regarded as a powerful warrior in the air and a skilled flyer in his jet mode.
- Arm Cannon: His trademark weapon is a pair of forearm-mounted blasters.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: No matter how many times his plans to overthrow Megatron fail, Starscream never learns his lesson and keeps trying.
- Cool Plane: His alt mode is a jet fightercraft, and he leads the Seekers, a squadron of Decepticon aircraft.
- Depending on the Writer: Starscream's competence, both in scheming and battle, vary wildly across adaptations. Later works tend to emphasize he actually is very powerful and a good fighter, but he's held back by his cowardice.
- Dirty Coward: When his plans fall apart, Starscream will quickly degrade into a sniveling sycophant and kiss Megatron's feet to avoid his wrath. He also tends to dislike fighting unless it's an easy win for him, and will flee if it isn't.
- The Dragon: He's usually Megatron's second-in-command. In media where Megatron is incapacitated or no longer around, Starscream often becomes a Dragon Ascendant that leads the Decepticons in his absence.
- Reimagining the Artifact: The major problem with the original Starscream is "why would Megatron let him live when Starscream keeps trying to betray him?" Various media over the years have tried to explain this by giving Megatron understandable reasons to keep Starscream around in spite of his treachery, or by making Starscream a more competent schemer who better masks his traitorous intentions. Other incarnations don't have Megatron tolerate his behavior and either slag Starscream when he's worn out his patience, or at least cast him out of the Decepticons.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While Starscream wants to command the Decepticons and considers himself the only one worthy of the position, in actuallity he is a terrible leader — in most incarnations he lacks the power and cunning that made the Decepticons follow Megatron out of fear, has little capacity to inspire genuine loyalty in them, and his plans against the Autobots never work out and end terribly, which makes the Decepticons hate his leadership even more.
- The Starscream: He's the Trope Namer. One thing that never changes across the franchise is that any time there's a Decepticon called Starscream, you can be assured that sooner or later he'll try to backstab Megatron and take over the Decepticons.
Besides Starscream, the two most recurring fliers of the Decepticon army. Like Starscream, they transform into jets; usually all the same model to make it easier to animate and redeco the toys.
- Arm Cannon: Like Starscream, their weapons are arm-mounted blasters.
- Color-Coded Characters: To tell them apart from each other since they tend to share the same body type and alt mode, Thundercracker is blue and Skywarp is purple, while Starscream is red.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Some media gives them more distinct personalities to better stand apart. Thundercracker tends to have a sense of morals and honor, while Skywarp is more cruel and sadistic.
- Purple Is the New Black: Skywarp is usually purple, but also sometimes black and purple.
- Those Two Bad Guys: They're almost always depicted together and with Starscream, though he outranks them.
- "Cries and screams are music to my ears."
The Decepticon communications officer, Soundwave is Megatron's most loyal and trusted soldier, carrying out any order with obedient efficiency. He commands a small army of mini-robots that store inside him, waiting to be deployed to aid him in operations. His alt mode varies constantly, due to attempts to avoid Sizeshifter mechanics — he's been a casette player, a car, a space jet, and a few other things too.
- Communications Officer: This is his role in the Decepticons.
- The Creon: Soundwave's loyalty to Megatron is absolute. In media where Megatron vacates his position for whatever reason (killed, exiled, lost and left for dead), Soundwave will try to get him back.
- Drone Deployer: He commands a crew of smaller Transformers that store inside him and are deployed for specific missions. The most recurring ones are Rumble and Frenzy (humanoid robots with piledriver arms), Laserbeak and Buzzsaw (birds of prey), Ravage (a panther), and Rattbat (a bat).
- Machine Monotone: His voice often has a metallic distortion to it.
- Shoulder Cannon: His signature weapon is a concussive cannon mounted on his shoulder.
- Sizeshifter: In his original G1 incarnation, Soundwave transformed from a towering robot to a handheld casette player, and his mini-robots which were approximately the size of humans transformed into his casettes. Over the years Hasbro has decided to downplay mass-shifting like this across the franchise, but will attempt to retain the aesthetics of Soundwave's robot mode. He's mostly settled on being an armored car these days.
- The Stoic: He almost always speaks in a calm, robotic monotone, further helped by his visor and mouthplate meaning he usually has no facial expressions.
- Undying Loyalty: To Megatron. While other Decepticons might turn from Megatron under various circumstances, Soundwave would never abandon his commander.
- Villainous Friendship: With Megatron. Because Megatron is correctly assured of Soundwave's absolute loyalty, Soundwave may be the only other Decepticon he trusts and treats with respect.
- "Ultimately, I serve only one master: pure logic."
Shockwave is the Decepticons' resident Mad Scientist, always experimenting to develop new, more dangerous weapons of warfare for the Decepticons. His alt mode varies but is almost universally a vehicle of Cybertronian design.
- Arm Cannon: His signature weapon is a cannon replacing one of his hands.
- Cyber Cyclops: His signature head design is one single, large, glowing eye.
- Depending on the Writer: Shockwave's loyalty to Megatron across different incarnations has run from "as treacherous as Starscream" to "as loyal as Soundwave."
- Evil Genius: He's the tech expert of the Decepticons and usually the smartest among them.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Shockwave is one of the Transformers that almost never adopts a traditional Earth alt mode and sticks to his Cybertronian alt mode, even though Cybertronian technology is very different from Earth technology and Shockwave's alt modes look like nothing seen on Earth.
- Purple Is Powerful: Moreso than any other Decepticon, Shockwave's primary color is purple, and he's often depicted as one of their strongest members on-par with Megatron.
- The Spock: Shockwave follows cold, impersonal logic in all his decisions. In the original G1 Marvel Comics, he overthrows Megatron and declares himself leader of the Decepticons not out of personal ambition, but because he has calculated that he is better-suited to the job. Then when Megatron presents a logical argument that he has failed in that position, Shockwave agrees and steps down. Comics writer Bud Budiansky even admitted the trope by name — he wrote Shockwave as Spock, if he was a Decepticon.Shockwave: Clarity of thought before rashness of action.
- Sizeshifter: Much as with Soundwave, this is why Shockwave's alt mode has varied so much over the years. His original G1 alt mode turned into a laser pistol (though distinct enough from a real gun that it didn't cause legal problems like Megatron), and later incarnations try to give him a more to-scale alt mode to avoid this trope.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Almost literally — the Unicron Trilogy incarnation of the character was named "Shockblast" because at the time Hasbro didn't have a copyright on the name "Shockwave". They got such a trademark for later appearances and Shockblast has been formally acknowledged as Shockwave just under a different name.
- You Don't Look Like You: The general aesthetics of Shockwave's robot mode (angular head with one eye, horns, broad chest, Arm Cannon) have stuck through different incarnations, but the various writers can't seem to agree on what his alt mode should be. He's been a laser pistol, a Space Fighter, a traditional tank, a Spider Tank, and he's adopted an Earth vehicle as an alt mode on occasion too. Fortunately, Shockwave is known to retain a "Cybertronian" alt mode, and Cybertronian technology tends to look strange and unusual, so the writers can fold him up into pretty much whatever form they want and it'll fit the character.
- "Come on down, Auto-brat!"
A Triple Changer with two alt modes, a tank and a fighter jet.
- "Prepare for extermination!"
The Constructions are a team of Decepticons that take the form of human construction vehicles. Their number, names, and personalities vary, but they are well-known for one constant — the ability to combine into Devestator, an awesomely powerful and gigantic Decepticon that strikes terror into the hearts of the Autobots.
- Combining Mecha: There are many Combiner teams on both the Decepticons and Autobots, but Devestator was the first and most well-known.
- Depending on the Writer: The individual Constructicons vary in names, appearance, and personality, and there may be as few as three or over a dozen.
- The Dreaded: Every Autobot with sense gets nervous if Devestator is on the scene.
- The Engineer: The Constructicons collectively tend to hold this position, due to their own skill at construction and the fact that the size and strength of Devestator makes such jobs easier.
- Humongous Mecha: As a Combiner, Devestator stands tall over all other Transformers short of other Combiners and Titans.
- "Trypticon cannot be stopped! Nothing can stand in my way!"
A Titan, Trypticon is a city-sized transformer that turns into a towering dinosaur.
- Arch-Enemy: To Metroplex. Since Metroplex is the Titan the Autobots have easiest access to in most incarnations, whenever the Decepticons bring in Trypticon, the Autobots summon Metroplex to even the odds.
- Dark Is Evil: His main color scheme is black and purple.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: His robot mode is a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- Humongous Mecha: As a Titan, Trypticon is the largest class of transformer in the series.
- Kaiju: Fits the bill in his robot mode, as a towering dinosaur that stomps on even Transformers like bugs.
Sam "Spike" Witwicky is often the main human ally of the Autobots on Earth. He's usually depicted as a young teenage boy.
- Audience Surrogate: As a young man who gets to hang out with the Autobots and go on adventures with them, every kid would love to be in Spike's shoes.
- Distressed Dude: Being a tiny, squishy human with no weapons or fighting prowess that can stand up to the giant robots, Sam tends to be endangered a lot.
- Legacy Character: While Spike doesn't always appear in every piece of Transformers, the Autobots often have at least one human ally comparable to his role as the young human friend of the Autobots.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Maybe, the various adaptations aren't clear on when his given name is Sam and he's known by the nickname Spike, or when Spike is his given name.
The Thirteen are the progenitors of the Transformer race, the first ones created by Primus eons ago. They are all Primes, designating them as the most powerful and honored of the Transformers. Their exact members vary between incarnations.
- Based on a Great Big Lie: Some media imply that the incident that caused the Fallen's exile was either an accident or he was set up, and the truth has been lost to time.
- Depending on the Writer: The exact identities of the Thirteen tends to shift around between media. There are always at least a few key members you can be assured will be among them, but the rest are up in the air.
- Fallen Angel: The imagery is invoked by the Fallen, the Prime who betrayed the others and was cast out.
- That Man Is Dead: Megatronus' name was stricken from history when he betrayed the Thirteen, and he was thereon known only as The Fallen.
- 13 Is Unlucky: In an obvious bit of Biblical symbolism, the Thirteen Primes were followers of the god Primus, and one of their number betrayed them and became The Fallen.
- Token Evil Teammate: Two — the Fallen, the traitor Prime who was cast out, and Liege Maximo, a scheming liar who manipulated the others to his own ends.
- Villainous Legacy: In his betrayal of the others and being cast out, The Fallen became the first Decepticon. Some incarnations say his face was the inspiration for the Decepticon insignia, and almost universally Megatron took his name from The Fallen, once called Megatronus.
The God of the Transformers. He originally created the first Transformers, the Thirteen Primes, to battle Unicron, and the race propagated in the name of defending the universe from Unicron. In modern times, Primus is the core of the planet Cybertron, and his essence lingers in the Spark of every Transformer, and in the Matrix of Leadership.
- Big Good: As the God of the Transformer race and their creator.
- Cain and Abel: He's the good Abel to Unicron's evil Cain.
- God: Officially, he is one.
- Humongous Mecha: In some media, not only is his consciousness housed within Cybertron, but Cybertron is his body that he can transform into a robot mode.
The Greater-Scope Villain of the franchise. The Chaos-bringer Unicron is Primus' brother who desires the destruction of all reality. Taking the alt mode of a gigantic planet, Unicron travels the universe devouring anything in his path until all is extinguished.
- Cain and Abel: The evil Cain to Primus' Abel.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He is the highest evil ever seen in the franchise, but it's not all that often he gets involved in stories directly. When he does, it's usually a sign that particular incarnation of the franchise is about to end, since Unicron is the biggest threat a writer could pit the Transformers against and thus a battle with him would be suitable as a Grand Finale.
- Humongous Mecha: He's a planet-sized Transformer.
- Metal Muncher: A rather drastic example, as he regularly eats entire planets made of metal — along with the robotic inhabitants of said planets.
- Planet Eater: His introduction to the series in the G1 movie has him devour a planet as a snack. Unicron tends to devour words both as sustanance and because he's an Omnicidal Maniac who wants to destroy existence.
- Satanic Archetype: Primus' brother who seeks to destroy all existence and may make deals with lower beings or offer them power to make them his servants and corrupt them to his will.
- Spikes of Villainy: Unicorn is always adorned with lots of pointy bits, most iconically his horned head.