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Trivia / Transformers

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Franchise-wide trivia:

  • Once per series:
    • Optimus Prime learns how to fly: G1, Beast Wars, Cybertron, Animated, Revenge of the Fallen, Prime
    • Optimus Prime dies (usually sacrificing himself, and usually coming back). In fact, this happens so often, it's easier to list the series where this doesn't happen: Transformers: Robots in Disguise '01, (though it nearly happens in the last episode), Transformers: Rescue Bots, Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) '15 and Transformers: Shattered Glass (where, since it's a Mirror Universe, this happens to Megatron instead).
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    • Megatron becomes Galvatron: G1, Robots in Disguise, Unicron Trilogy (and we mean every subseries of the Unicron Trilogynote ), Age of Extinction, Shattered Glass
      • A technicality with Prime- Megatron is resurrected and given an upgraded body by Unicron, the standard Galvatron origin, but he's never referred to as such. A single toy of this form just called it "Unicron Megatron"
    • Starscream comes back from the dead: G1, Beast Wars, Unicron Trilogy, Animated
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    • Waspinator blows up: Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Animated
    • Someone makes an evil Optimus clone: G1, Robots in Disguise, Energon, Beast Wars Second, Prime, Age of Extinction note 
    • Unicron Appears: G1, (technically)Beast Wars, Armada, Energon, Prime, Beast Wars Neo
    • Transformer with a human for their alternate mode: Masterforce, Animated, Revenge of the Fallen.
  • If you were to play every Transformers opening theme ever made back to back, it would take just shy of 40 minutes to complete.
    • If you just watched the English intros of every main Transformers cartoon, it would still take over thirteen and a half minutes.
  • Adaptation Overdosed: The Adaptation Sequence below speaks for itself.
  • Adaptation Sequence: Toys —> Comic —> Cartoon —> Animated movie —> Sequel cartoons —> Reboot cartoons —> Lots lots more comics —> Live-action movie —> Another reboot cartoon —> Even more comics, and prose —> Second movie —> Video game —> More prose —> Slightly video game/movie-based reboot cartoon —> Third Movie —> Spin-off to the previous cartoon —> Fourth Movie —> Another sequel cartoon —> Fifth Movie —> Yet another reboot —> Movie reboot (we think) —> Sequel to spin-off
    • And that's not even counting all the minor stuff!
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  • Dummied Out: Some of the Transformers' toys have the clear/translucent plastic for lightpiping in their heads painted over, disabling that feature. Others may have the vestiges for integrated weaponry, like missile launchers, but lack the springs or mechanisms for actually loading or firing them.
  • Executive Meddling: Tons and tons and tons, relating to marketing and the usual reasons. For example: the Grand Finale to Simon Furman's Myth Arc comic series was cut from 12 issues to 4 so that IDW could publish All Hail Megatron instead.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The Latin American and even the European Spanish dubs, all the way: Due to the fact Hasbro wanted to dub the Spanish versions in the U.S. for having more control about the dubbing (This is was during G1, the animated movie and the Japanese Anime versions, mind you), all the Spanish language versions (including the European one) were sometimes dubbed by a Spanish-language studio in Los Angeles. The main problem with this approach is, due of consideration about the Spaniard viewers, especially in the Anime versions, some series were dubbed using the European Spanish dialect, but keeping the local accents intact: Not only the Latin American viewers had to tolerate a very fake Spaniard accent, but the Spaniards had to tolerate a ridiculous Spaniard dialogue with Mexican and Central American accents.
    • In fact, Mexican voice acting studios only dubbed a very small amount of Transformers stuff: The Beast Wars/Beast Machines series, Prime, Robots in Disguise and the live-action films. Other countries that dubbed the rest of the TF series were: Chile (Animated) and Venezuela (The Unicron Trilogy).
    • While the Mexican dub of Beast Wars was pretty good, it was panned for changing the names of all the characters to Spanish equivalents. This was corrected later in Beast Machines' dub.
  • The Merch: Aside from the toys, there's also Official Cosplay Gear.
  • Old Shame: In The New '10s, the franchise has started to phase out the One-Gender Race aspect of the Cybertronian people, and has introduced more female (and even transgender) characters; quite notably, while older works often felt the need to explain the very existence of female transformers, nowadays they simply exist in the setting without any questions asked. This likely stems from the Running the Asylum aspect of the franchise, the growing female fanbase, and as a response to the perception that female bots tended to be present only as the Token Minority and/or to give the male characters female love interests - not to mention that adding them in from the get-go is easier than coming up with convoluted reasons for their low numbers (Looking at you, IDW Arcee).
  • Promoted Fanboy: Benson Yee, frequent convention visitor and operator of a popular Transformers web site. He was approached on Generation One expertise for Beast Wars and received a "Consultant" credit on certain episodes.)
    • Then there's Don Figueroa, who built his own meter-tall custom Transformers from scratch before becoming a fan-favorite artist and toy designer.
  • Running the Asylum: Arguably, it's one of the few series that has benefited from it.
  • Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: Rather famous in the original toyline, as the repurposed toy molds were from stories of piloted (not sentient) mecha and transforming defense bases. Ratchet and Ironhide (repaints of each other) weren't even humanoid in their alternate forms. Even Beast Wars had to take some liberties with the character models as the toys would have to cheat to be workable with both modes. Because of the lead time necessary for the movie line compared to the actual movie many of the toys are based on earlier designs and not the final character design, although by the third film most every character had a reasonably screen-accurate toy. Transformers: Animated was the first series to feature genuine cooperation between the character designers and the toy developers, resulted in extremely screen accurate toys.
  • Trend Killer: During the 80s, there were several "transforming vehicles" lines on the market, like the big two of 1983's Challenge Of The Go Bots and 1984's The Transformers, 1985's M.A.S.K. and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, and 1986's Centurions. By 1987, Transformers were the top dog, but already suffering from declining sales, at least part of which was thanks to the debut of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesnote . By 1990, the Transformers toyline died with a whimper, taking the concept of transforming vehicles as a key point of a toyline with them. The Transformers franchise would make a comeback thanks to the Michael Bay films, but "transforming vehicles" as a whole haven't been so widespread since.
  • What Could Have Been: Many, many toys and concepts end up being discarded - from G1 alone, we have characters originally being named differently (e.g. Swoop was to be named "Divebomb" before the name was later repurposed for the Predacon bird), a planned Unicron toy and two planned Arcee toys for the original toyline, an axed rerelease of the original Megatron toy in a blue/orange deco (dubbed "Lava Megatron" by Hasbro and "Safety Megatron" by fans), two Megatron triple changers (one that switched between Megatron, Galvatron and a gun and another between Megatron, Skywarp and a plane and many, many more. See here for more.
  • The Wiki Rule:

Trivia for the 2007 film:

  • Acting for Two: In the first film, Jess Harnell voices both an Autobot and a Decepticon: Ironhide and Barricade.
  • Actor Allusion: This isn’t the first time the great-great-grandfather of Shia LaBoeuf’s character is important to the plot.
  • Cast the Expert: The military extras are played by real-life military, so Michael Bay gave them almost completely free reign in controlling the military sequences.
  • Creator Backlash: Hugo Weaving claimed that he found the experience "meaningless." Michael Bay backlashed even harder, claiming that acting is just about the money, not the art.
  • Dawson Casting: Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox both turned 20 the year the movie was filmed, both playing high school juniors. Bay mentioned that he was initially not interested in LaBeouf because in his movies immediately prior he had grown a goatee, making him look too old to play a teenager. Seeing him clean shaven convinced him otherwise.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Shia LaBeouf’s performance during Bumblebee’s capture was the result of Michael Bay telling him his mother got into an accident and was in critical condition at the hospital.
    • When Scorponok explodes out of the ground behind the fleeing soldiers, their Oh, Crap! expressions are real, as the explosion effects were achieved by detonating primacord (basically rope with explosive materials in it) and Michael Bay had told them to run and keep running no matter what happens, or they could be killed.
  • Executive Meddling: Michael Bay intended to have the transformers depicted entirely through VFX and CGI. However, Steven Spielberg stepped in and persuaded him to use animatronics and practical effects wherever possible and only computer graphics and effects when there was no other option.
  • Genre Turning Point: The film earned $37 million in China and set a record for the biggest film opening ever in that country at the time. Transformers was the film that demonstrated to Hollywood that China was an emerging and lucrative film market, resulting in the rise of blockbusters (Transformers: Age of Extinction being a good example of one) that make an active attempt to appeal to the Chinese market.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: In this film and the ones after it, a large amount of the military sequences don't have scripts - the extras they hired are real soldiers, so Michael Bay just told them to say and do what they would say and do in that situation.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Hugo Weaving admits he read his lines without knowing what they mean and that he's not seen the films.
  • Name's the Same: Rachael Taylor and Anthony Anderson's characters are named Maggie and Glen.
  • Old Shame: Hugo Weaving stated that he disliked being cast as Megatron's voice because he didn't know what Megatron's lines meant, and then called the film's script pathetic. Michael Bay lashed out at him for this.
    Hugo Weaving: I very rarely do something if it’s meaningless. It was meaningless to me, honestly...I never read the script. I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean. That sounds absolutely pathetic! I've never done anything like that, in my life.
    Michael Bay: Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs? With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t “artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”? I guess The Hollywood Reporter thinks so. What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job – let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America. I have a wonderful idea for all those whiners: They can give their “unhappy job money” to a wonderful Elephant Rescue. It’s the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. I will match the funds they donate.
  • Prop Recycling: Brawl's tank mode was portrayed by a tank previously used in XXX State Of The Union.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Optimus Prime doesn't have his traditional cab over engine because Michael Bay didn't want to cheat the transformation sequences by adding or removing mass between one form and other and the animators needed the additional length afforded by a conventional cab design.
    • Bumblebee vs. Barricade: Chevy Camaro vs. Ford Mustang.Explanation 
  • Technical Advisor: Not only was the film Backed by the Pentagon, the film also relied on technical advisors to help Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson prepare for their roles as William Lennox and Robert Epps respectively, during their three days of basic training at Fort Irwin, California. Harry Humphries, a former Navy SEAL, was one of these advisors assisting them.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original character line-ups for the Autobots and Decepticons would have been larger and more in-line with G1:
      • Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ratchet, Jazz, Ironhide, Prowl, Wheeljack, and Arcee (the latter three failed to make the final cut).
      • Decepticons: Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, Ravage, Laserbeak, Rumble, Shockwave, Skywarp, and Thundercracker (all except Megatron and Starscream were cut, though some were renamed/reworked into the finished movie).
    • Prowl's reason for being cut was that he transforms into a police car, but the writers thought a Decepticon turning into a police car (Barricade) helped add more irony to the movie and thus the "Robots in disguise" motto.
    • They were going to put a transforming aircraft carrier (which partially inspired the toy-only stealth battleship Depthcharge), but the scale would have been extremely awkward to animate — as in, it would have likely been able to walk on the ocean floor while keeping its torso above water.
    • The very first non-movie character to get a toy was Wreckage - a Decepticon with an APC altmode based on an ILM design that eventually went unused.
    • The studio initially requested that they try and make it so the robots don't talk at all, fearing it would come across as silly. Both the writers and Michael Bay knew that despite the requisite cries it was ruined for any changes, the fans would absolutely crucify them if the robots didn't talk.
    • Soundwave was planned to appear in the film, with two major attempts being made to include the character.
      • The first attempt had the helicopter Decepticon from the opening be Soundwave; an early animation test of this design can be seen here. After the decision was made to change the character from Soundwave, many names were considered, including "Vortex", "Devastator", "Incinerator", and even "Grimlock", before the name Blackout was finalized. Scorponok was also originally intended to be Ravage, but was changed to a desert animal after Soundwave was cut.
      • The second attempt was a Decomposite Character of Frenzy and Barricade, who would transform into a portable stereo to infiltrate a military base, then transform into a humvee to escape. The film's producers objected to including size-shifting in the movie, feeling it was too silly/strange, so the two characters were separated. Frenzy retained the Soundwave name for a while, but was eventually changed when the writers felt that the character was too different from the original.
    • Barricade was originally going to be killed during the highway chase scene by Optimus after the Autobot leader dispatched Bonecrusher, but the scene was cut for unclear reasons, leaving Barricade's fate unknown. Later media ran with this; The Reign Of Starscream sequel comic reveals that Barricade was (non-fatally) rammed off the road by Ironhide, and he shows up alive and well in both Dark Of The Moon and The Last Knight.
    • Corey Burton was asked to audition for a role in the live-action film, but he declined due to not being interested in performing in mega-budget blockbuster movies.
    • Arcee was originally going to appear in the first movie before being replaced by Ironhide. The reason being is to remove exposition of the presence of a female Transformer (or the fact that they have sexes at all) since there was little time for it. Plus, she would be too small by comparison.
    • Michael Bay originally wanted the movie to be rated R, but Steven Spielberg objected.
    • Frank Welker offered (and wanted) to voice Megatron again, though Michael Bay decided his voice wasn't intimidating enough and cast Hugo Weaving instead.
    • A pre-famous Aziz Ansari was up for a role as an Indian call center employee, but he found the insistence that he use a hokey accent degrading and too stereotypical. They ended up getting Ravi Patel, a friend of his, to play the role; Ansari himself didn't hold it against Patel, though.
  • According to the family tree that Sam presents, the Witwicky family consists of two generations of inbreeding. This might be a case of Critical Research Failure on Sam's part though.
  • Megatron's face had a more monstrous appearance but thanks to heavy backlash from the fans, it was redesigned to be slightly more human-like.

Trivia for the pinball game:

  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The Limited Edition tables, which cost nearly $2,000 over the regular "Pro" model, and were produced in limited quantities (125 for each faction, and 500 of the "Combo" version).