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Ensemble Darkhorse / Transformers

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Please list characters by the media/incarnation that the darkhorse is most associated with. And let it be known, these characters have The Touch.

This page is for the Ensemble Darkhorse characters spanning all Transformers, Beast Wars, etc. media. Listed first are the characters who won fan voting in the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame selection process: Each year, starting in 2010, several characters and real life humans associated with the series are inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame. One additional character is inducted, based on fan voting, out of 5 characters as choices. As the main characters are automatically inducted, and most of the choices are already on this page, this makes the winner a Breakout Character among the Ensemble Darkhorse characters. For 2010 and 2011, the choices were four G1 characters (each lumped with their other incarnations, if any) and one Beast Wars character.


  • 2010 winner: Beast Wars' Dinobot, beating other characters Soundwave, Grimlock, Shockwave and Jazz.
  • 2011 winner: Beast Wars' Waspinator, beating other characters Grimlock, Shockwave, Jazz and Erector.note 
    • He was slated to be killed off at the start of the second season, but due to the unlucky Predacon's popularity among fans, he was spared. Waspinator continued as a supporting character, played for increasingly painful and humiliating comic relief, and his personality continued to develop. He also became just the third character outside of G1 to get an alternate version into another continuity (Wasp in Animated).
  • 2012 winner: G1's Wheeljack, beating other characters Megatron (Beast Wars), Sky Byte (Transformers: Robots in Disguise), Arcee, and Rodimus.
    • Don't let the last two years fool you; the fans aren't too formulaic. This selection also included several more major characters, proving the fan voting options weren't just about ensemble darkhorses. Wheeljack's not just popular for being one of the original Autobots from 1984. He was the first Transformer to ever speak, and is also a lovably wacky Mad Scientist with a Brooklyn accent. Even though some other popular 1984 'Bots, like Sideswipe, are basically cardboard cutouts, Wheeljack's got as much personality as Jazz, Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Hound, Mirage, Prowl, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Optimus Prime.
  • 2013 winners: Beast Wars' Megatron and G1's Ultra Magnus:
    • And then the fans went and jumped back to the formula by voting for Megatron of the Beast Wars to get into the Hall of Fame. He's arguably one of the most successful bearers of the name Megatron, yeess...; where his namesake fumbled around with giant purple griffins and various gadgets, the Predacon of his name almost erased the Maximals from existance and was going to use the Nemesis to paradox humanity out of the picture, as well.
    • Ultra Magnus can't deal with theatrics now.note 
  • 2014 winners: Arcee and Hot Rod/Rodimus Minor/Rodimus Prime/Rodimus Convoy
  • 2015 winners: Prowl and Predaking
  • 2016 winners: Optimus Primal and Cosmos
  • 2017 winners: Galvatron, Barricade, and Trypticonnote 
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  • 2018 winners: Blackarachnia and Battletrapnote 
  • 2019 winners: Skywarp and Omega Supremenote 
  • 2020 winners: Knock Out and Sky Lynxnote 

Transformers: Generation 1

  • Although it is connected to the various animated shows, most of the characters from the original G1 Transformers have been brought back in some form or another. Most notably are the "Seekers", Thundercracker and Skywarp in particular. Part of the reason for their popularity is the fact that they can be easily churned out via simply repainting a line's Starscream (which often leads to the awkward event where a line will feature all three of the original Seekers even when only Starscream appears in the actual cartoon being made to promote the line.
    • The popularity of the Seekers came out at its clearest when Hasbro, having killed the popular Transformers Classic line to focus solely on the Broken Base Transformers live action movie, dumped the remaining Seeker figures (Dirge, Thrust, and Thundercracker) into an ultra-rare 2007 Botcon "Games of Deception" set. Needless to say, Transformer fans shat bricks over the fact that they were denied a chance to all the Classic versions of the Seekers, since Botcon sets are made in ultra-low quantity and the massive desire for the figures ensuring that the few that made it to the secondary market would sell for $100 and up PER FIGURE.
      • Hasbro finally rectified this in 2010-2011 by releasing arguably better versions in the mainstream toylines. Dirge received his proper delta wings, instead of reusing Ramjet's; Thrust's wings were modified a bit; and Thundercracker's wing paint was redone to match the previously-reissued Starscream's.
      • Skywarp remains pretty rare, though, since he was only released in a box set with Ultra Magnus, exclusive to Target.
  • Soundwave, who eventually became one of the few Transformers to survive all the way from "More Than Meets The Eye" to "The Rebirth" unchanged. His robotic but pretty vocoder-altered voice, his faceless look, the fact that he had a pretty dang articulate toy... Call him a snitch and the fanbase will eviscerate you. Even today, fans still adore his original, hilariously outdated alt-mode.
  • Soundwave's cassettes are sort of mini-Darkhorses, especially Ravage, who made it into both Beast Wars and the Transformers Film Series.
  • Sideswipe is another example; he very rarely did more than be in the background or get any starring appearances in the cartoon or comics, but he's still one of the most popular characters. A likely factor is that he's a Cool Car (a Lamborghini), so his toys tend to be the best. Particularly, in his film appearances, the fans clamored for more of him.
    • His popularity can be boiled down to three words: "Damn, I'm good!"
    • Try playing the game, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Sideswipe is only playable in the second Autobot chapter, but damn is he entertaining to play. not because of any specific gameplay but his dialog and personality during the level make it extremely funny.
  • Erector. Only ever had one toy, and never appeared in fiction save for a Japanese magazine story, but he recently experienced such a rise in popularity that the fans voted him into the final nominees for the Transformers: Hall of Fame, competing with such insanely popular and famous characters as Grimlock, Jazz, Shockwave and Waspinator. Hasbro even wrote a completely new character bio for him, seemingly having embraced his sudden importance, but handled him as more than a simple dick joke. Considering his reputation started because of his name, this can fully well be seen as a Moment of Awesome for the character.
  • Nightbeat was just one of the small Headmasters released in the later years of the original line. Then Simon Furman got his hands on him, turning Nightbeat into an awesome Deadpan Snarker detective who was capable of defeating a Matrix powered Thunderwing via shooting a harpoon into his back and tossing him out the airlock. He eventually got seen as the secondary signature character for Furman besides Grimlock and eventually got a new toy in 2014.
  • Despite most Pretenders being obscure, there are two that stand out.
    • Bludgeon is a Samurai Skeleton Tank Robot who, like most Decepticon leaders in the comics, was far more effective than Megatron. This popularity landed him a brand new Voyager class toy that skips the inner robot and goes straight from tank to skeletal samurai!
    • Thunderwing is also this for having some Noble Demon traits. Oh, and he also managed to hijack the Creation Matrix. This popularity also landed him a top spot in one of the newest Transformer games, and a new toy.
  • Straxus was a character created specifically for the Marvel Comics, a deranged tyrant who basically existed to be killed off by Blaster after he killed Blaster's best buddy. However, Simon Furman revived him and had him retroactively hijack a lot of badass Megatron moments. He eventually got a rather awesome Deluxe class toy in Generations.
  • And in yet another case of "Decepticon leader who's better than Megatron," we have Shockwave. In the cartoon, he was just a dull Yes-Man, essentially a poor man's Soundwave. In the comics, he was the Big Bad for most of Budiansky's run, and his reason for constantly and successfully usurping Megatron? It's because he simply deems it logical, whilst also averting the Straw Vulcan trope in actually being logical.
  • Most of the characters from The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers became this, but the biggest example is Ironfist. He even got an TFA incarnation complete with a toy!
  • Me Grimlock! It helps that he is regarded as Simon Furman's signature character in the comics.
    • It wasn't always that way, though, particularly in the Marvel US comics; although he had a couple of Crowning Moments of Awesome (helping to take down Megatron in issue 8, and Trypticon in issue 27), he degenerated into a Jerkass Bad Boss that was later Flanderized into a variation of his season 3 cartoon self, before getting blasted by Starscream. Furman's takeover of the US book came just as the Classic Pretenders (including Grimlock) hit the shelves, allowing Furman to show the Grimlock he'd written in the UK book, creating the foundation for all future G1-based portrayals.
  • Heh heh, the Battlechargers, Runabout and Runamuck, have a decent fan following due to being some of the only Decepticons who are genuine friends. Not to mention the fandom meme that has them associated with Beavis And Butthead. Uh huh huh huh.
  • Even those who didn't much care for Mike Costa's run on IDW's Transformers ongoing seemed to like one character: Bob the Insecticon, a spiky yet adorable abomination of science who becomes Sunstreaker's pet. When Bob showed up in the fourth issue of James Roberts' ongoing, which followed Costa's, a number of fans were rather excited to see that he was still around.
  • Galvatron in the Marvel UK run of the Generation 1 comic. An outright nigh unstoppable badass whose popularity effectively gave him Joker Immunity up until the Time War storyline, where he was finally Killed Off for Real.
  • Black Shadow is a surprisingly popular character, despite appearing in very little fiction (he originated in Japan in 1989, but didn't appear in any western fiction until the IDW continuity, where he still had a very minor role, and he didn't get a toy in the west until 2011). Part of his appeal is his function is the highly unusual "Space Gangster," coupled with being a more robotic retool of the already popular Thunderwing.
  • Many, many characters in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye are adored by the fandom, to the point where it's basically a bunch of Ensemble Darkhorses crammed together on a ship.
    • Whirl, for both his hilarious Jerkassery and the sheer scope of his Crazy Awesomeness.
    • Cyclonus also has a share of fans, in part because he matches Whirl's badassness on the field and his Tsundere personality.
    • Swerve. He's gone from being used in past continuities as a filler character with no real distinct personality, to being a very chatty mischievous smartass with a Boisterous Bruiser personality packed into a minibot body.
    • Roberts' original character Rung, the Autobot psychologist, is also gaining a fangirl posse, due mainly to his adorkably gangly and goggle-eyed design and his equally Adorkable and slightly naive personality. It helps that he's a bit of a Take That! to the Mary Sue concept, what with his frequent Butt-Monkey moments.
    • Also in this vein, we have original character Ambulon, himself a bit of a Take That! to the whole "Ex-Decepticons are cooler" notion that became so unpopular with Drift. His life frankly sucks, he's not that well-liked In-Universe, and to top it all off, his altmode is a leg... Naturally, he's very popular with the fandom, though unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save him.
    • Brainstorm. Can't imagine why...
    • Surprisingly, Drift of all 'bots has become this. It's kind of amazing that a former Creator's Pet has become popular among many of his haters due to having a good writer behind him. It doesn't hurt that he's become a hell of a Deadpan Snarker. Having had a spiritual reawakening that makes him "offensively upbeat" and that Ratchet absolutely hates him gives him some extra points too.
    • Getaway *BOMP* became a huge hit with the fans after his introduction scenes in issue 20.
    • The entire Decepticon Justice Division gets this treatment due to their badass designs and frequent Creepy Awesome moments, but among their number, Tarn, Kaon, and Vos are particularly popular.
    • Misfire, the hilariously incompetent Cloudcuckoolander has become popular with fans thanks to his many funny moments.
    • Nautica isn't as important as the other two fembots introduced in Dark Cybertron, as they go onto be the leads in Windblade while she's put in MTMTE's ensemble cast. Yet she remains the most popular for her Adorkable, endearing personality, and for easily blending in with the comedy dynamics of her series.
  • Death's Head, the eccentric Freelance Peacekeeping Agent from the Marvel UK comics was one of first Ensemble Darkhorses of the franchise. Made the jump (with a little Gallifreyan assistance) from those comics into mainstream Marvel Universe, up to and including getting multiple comic series. Admittedly, many of those series were of 90's successor, but can't have everything, right? The original proved popular enough to be brought Back from the Dead at least twice and is now finally getting an official action figure of his own. Happy endings, yes?
  • Banzai-Tron is far and away the most popular Action Master, surprising given that Action Masters are generally reviled. An interesting look and a neat bio were all well and good, including the incredibly badass motto of "To the victor go the profits," but what really sealed it was the fancomic Transformers: Chronicles, where he was basically Kenshiro as a Decepticon. Since then, he's received at least four toys, more than any Action Master by far, including a release in the super-high-end Alternity.

Beast Wars and Beast Machines

  • Take a look at who the Hall of Fame winners are.
  • Megatron's Rubber Ducky. No lines, not interaction with anyone else, but one of the 3 fully loyal Predacons. And the only one of those three (the others being Inferno and Scorponok) to get transmetallized.
  • Inferno, largely due to his Large Ham qualities.
  • In Beast Machines, this role was taken by Jetstorm due to his gleefully evil, sarcastic, arrogant personality. A keen sense of wit and the fact that his Voice Actor played him as a Large Ham didn't hurt, either.
  • Rampage and Depth Charge. The former for being an immortal psychopath, the latter for being the only one badass enough to take him on. They are drawn to each other like matter and antimatter, and are about as safe to be around when it happens. Put them in a scene together and watch the awesome.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise

  • Mirage. Being a cool F1 car that is a lone sniper helps a lot.
  • Scourge, the evil clone of Optimus Prime. These days other evil clones of Optimus Prime are typically called Nemesis Prime, but Scourge is still immensely loved as one of the few of them to have an actual personality.
  • Sky-Byte for being a hilarious Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.

Transformers Cybertron

  • Since his first appearance a fan club story, Cannonball became this for being a freaking Space Pirate, since then he's gotten a few cameos, and even got a new retooling and starring role as the Big Bad in the 2014 Botcon story.
  • Scourge, the Might Makes Right leader of the Jungle Planet. Somewhat like Dinobot above, though he changes into a dragon.
  • Signal Lancer, who is a minor joke character at best and doesn't even get named in the English dub, became famous and even a tad memetic when, in the show's final episode, he dramatically revealed his robot mode and left his spot to find his great destiny. His disguise was a mundane stoplight.
  • Scattershot and Vector Prime maintain strong popularity after the show: the first appearing in Transformers: War for Cybertron and the second for being one of the Thirteen original primes and a powerful sacrifice.
  • Jetfire. It's the accent.

Transformers Animated

  • Who became one of the most popular Transformers Animated characters after his ten second appearance in the pilot episode? Not Prowl, not Bumblebee, not Megatron... it's the wacky, Split Personality villain Blitzwing. The fact that he's made appearances in almost every one of the The Arrival tie-in comics may show that the writers are listening to the fandom.
  • I am Wreck-Gar! I am widely liked for my humorous attitude and being voiced by "Weird Al" Yankovic despite only appearing twice, and I DARE to be stupid!
  • The Animated version of Waspinator took our favorite little Cosmic Plaything and made him a legitimate threat.
  • Lockdown proved to be an exceedingly popular original creation even if he was only in three episodes. A combination of Lance Henriksen's voice, a cool design, and a creepy MO of stealing other Transformers' body parts to add to his own, made him especially memorable. Lockdown would go on to be added into the G1 continuity and was modified to become the villain of the fourth live action movie.
  • A human example can be found in Captain Fanzone, the badass police captain who's Born in the Wrong Century and gives some of the show's funniest moments.
  • A case could be made for Lugnut, quite possibly the most gloriously loyal Decepticon to date. Having Those Two Bad Guys status with Blitzwing certainly helps. Received a Generations-styled figure in 2010.

Transformers Film Series

  • Dispensor, the Mountain Dew vending machine turned into a homicidal robot by the power of the Allspark, despite being Product Placement, not being named, and barely appearing for more than a few seconds. Dispensor eventually got his own (short flash) game, where he infiltrates human facilities Looney Tunes style and takes over the world in the name of Mountain Dew. He also got a toy, although, tragically, it doesn't transform and isn't poseable.
    • As of Takara's Age of Extinction lead-in toyline, Dispensor has graduated to full Transformer-dom (even if it is now as a delivery truck for a Bland-Name Product Shout-Out to both MTMTE and TV Tropes itself, "Mood Wiplash (sic)").
  • Scalpel, the German-accented Mad Doctor.
  • Ejector the evil toaster, who is also an Ascended Meme (he originally appeared in a Mountain Dew commercial for the first film). He too has a toy.
  • Jolt from ROTF has a large fanbase due to his minimal screentime.
  • DOTM introduced a large background Decepticon named Devcon, who resembles the Cloverfield Monster.
  • Most of the Decepticons from the first film (barring maybe Frenzy) are very, very popular.
    • Bonecrusher is this for hating everything.
    • Blackout managed to stand out from the mostly characterless Decepticon minions featured in every movie. His Establishing Character Moment of destroying the military base was a Signature Scene for the first film and helped establish how dangerous he was. Long after his debut he'd still occasionally receive toys and was even brought into the Animated and Aligned continuities.
    • Barricade, the police car Decepticon is easily the most popular of the film-verse bad guys. In the video game adaptations, he's voiced by Keith David, and plays a memorable Sensei for Scoundrels in the well received DS versions. He's easily the most recurring Decepticon after Megatron, appearing in the first, third, and fifth movies and he's been adapted into various other media with even his G1 related appearances drawing from the movie. In 2017 he got into the hall of fame being the first movie creation to do so.
  • Laserbeak, the coldblooded assassin who works for Soundwave.
  • Flatline quickly became this in the Extended Universe comic book tie-ins. Essentially the Decepticon equivalent to Josef Mengele, he's arguably more vile than his universe's Megatron - Which is saying something. A lot of fans want to see a toy of him that turns into a hearse.
  • The Wreckers (Roadbuster, Topspin, and Leadfoot). They're a trio of jerkasses that change into heavily modified NASCAR stock cars covered in firepower.
  • To a lesser degree there's also Glenn from the first film, due to Anthony Anderson's hilarious performance.
  • Hound. Of the new Autobots in the fourth film, Hound is incredibly popular for his boisterous personality and some of the best lines. "I'm a fat ballerina!" reached meme status. Being voiced by John Goodman certainly adds to his personality.
  • Nitro Zeus is, by far, the most popular of the new Decepticons in The Last Knight. It helps that he resembles Shockwave and has a little more personality than the rest. Also, he's the only new Con to make it to the final battle with Megatron and Barricade.

Transformers: War for Cybertron/Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

  • Metroplex, the Humongous Mecha Autobot city. The fact he gets to slam Megatron into the ground, four times, in fact, probably helps.

Transformers: Prime

  • Despite being killed by Starscream in the first episode, Cliffjumper becomes this due to being voiced by The Rock, in addition to not being a recolor of Bumblebee, but instead manages to be his own, unique character. There are even those who wished he wasn't killed off so quickly.
  • The Prime version of Wheeljack is quite popular. He's gone from a Gadgeteer Genius to a Genius Bruiser, cutting through waves of Vehicons with his swords and being an established member of the Wreckers. The creators took notice of this and gave him more screentime in season 2, around the time his toy started shipping.
  • Dreadwing. His Noble Demon personality and sense of honor remind people of the aforementioned Dinobot. Not to mention that he can hold his own in a fight with Optimus Prime. Fans were not happy, not one bit, when he was killed off.
  • Steve, a Fan Nickname for any Vehicon that does anything noteworthy, hitting Starscream. This becomes true that in Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015), where one of the Vehicon presented said that his name was Steve.

Transformers: Shattered Glass


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