Transformers: Prime is an American computer-animated superhero television series based on the Transformers toy franchise by Hasbro that aired on Hub Network from November 29, 2010 to July 26, 2013. Transformers: Prime focuses on the superheroic Autobots of "Team Prime", which consists of Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Arcee, Bumblebee and Bulkhead. Throughout their battles, the Autobots are aided by three human children and with their help attempt to protect the Earth from the villainous Decepticons and their leader Megatron.
Development of the series began in early 2010 with the announcement that Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, screenwriters of the first two live-action films, would be creating the series. Casting began soon after with the announcement that Peter Cullen and Frank Welker would reprise their roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron. According to executive producer Jeff Kline the two characters, along with Bumblebee, were considered "must-haves" for the series. From that point on, they tried to include characters that would contemplate their personalities "rather than emulate them". From the early stages of development, a story bible had been created so that writers had a basic idea of where the plot was heading. Early in development, it was announced that the first season would consist of 26 episodes—the first five airing as a miniseries from November 29, 2010 to December 3, 2010. The remaining episodes aired from February 11, 2011 to October 11, 2011. While the first season was still running, it was announced the show had been renewed for a second season, also consisting of 26 episodes.
The second season premiered on February 18, 2012 and concluded on November 2, 2012. During that same year it was confirmed that the series would return for a third season. It was given the subtitle Beast Hunters and featured the appearance of Predaking and the Predacons. Kline said that the introduction of the Predacons allowed the writers to emphasize further how Earth and Cybertron are "twin planets". On March 1, 2013, Hasbro confirmed the third season of Transformers Prime—which premiered on March 22, 2013 would be the last. In the same month it was announced that the series would be followed by the TV movie Predacons Rising, which would conclude the storyline. Beast Hunters aired its final episode on July 26, 2013, Predacons Rising aired on October 4, 2013.
Transformers Prime is set in the "Aligned" continuity, taking place after the video games and books – Transformers: Exodus, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Transformers: Exiles, and Transformers: Retribution.
The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, operate from a former American military missile silo near Jasper, Nevada. The team, also known as Team Prime, initially consists of Optimus, Arcee, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, Ratchet, and Cliffjumper, who is killed in the five-part pilot “Darkness Rises”. Later characters include Wheeljack, Smokescreen, and Ultra Magnus. Knock Out, the Decepticons’ medical officer, later defects in the television movie finale Predacons Rising. The Autobots also have several human allies: Jack Darby, and later his mother, nurse June Darby, Japanese transfer student Miko Nakadai, computer prodigy Rafael Esquivel and American government agent William Fowler.
The Decepticons, led by Megatron, operate from their warship, the Nemesis. Other members include Starscream, Soundwave and his minion Laserbeak, Knock Out, Breakdown, Airachnid, the Insecticon hive led by Hardshell, Dreadwing and his brother Skyquake, and Shockwave. Shockwave creates the series’ third Transformers faction, the Predacons, consisting of Predaking, Skylynx, and Darksteel.
Other series' antagonists include Unicron, an evil, planet-eating Transformer, whose body serves as the Earth itself; and MECH, a human faction which wishes to create a new world order through cutting-edge technology stolen from the Transformer's deceased.
In the season one pilot, “Darkness Rising”, Cliffjumper is murdered by Starscream. His corpse is used by Megatron to test the necromantic Dark Energon, to create an undead army from Cybertron’s fallen. The plan fails when the Autobots destroy Megatron’s space bridge, leaving him in a comatose state. He eventually recovers and takes back his leadership role from the treacherous Starscream, who later defects to follow his own path. In the season one finale, the Autobots and Megatron join forces to prevent the rise of Unicron. Optimus uses the Matrix of Leadership to knock Unicron back into hibernation, but in doing so, loses his memories and regains his pre-war personality of Orion Pax.
In season two, Megatron manipulates the amnesiac Optimus into decrypting the Iacon archives, which contain coordinates to Cybertronian relics hidden on Earth. Jack travels to Cybertron, obtaining Optimus’ memories from Vector Sigma, and restores them to Optimus. The season is based mostly around the hunt for the Iacon relics. Starscream obtains the four Omega Keys, which power the Omega Lock, a device which can reboot the dead Cybertron. He gives them to Megatron in return for clemency. Optimus destroys the Omega Lock, but not before Megatron uses its powers to create a new base on Earth – Darkmount. The Decepticons then target and destroy the Autobot base, unaware the team escaped beforehand using their ground bridge.
The third season, subtitled "Beast Hunters", begins with the reunification of Team Prime, introducing Ultra Magnus as Optimus' second-in-command. The Autobots successfully destroy Darkmount. Shockwave arrives on Earth, planning to create an army of Predacons, starting with Predaking. But when Predaking shows intelligence, Megatron has Shockwave terminate his project, pinning its destruction on the Autobots. Soundwave later kidnaps Ratchet. Megatron forces him to rebuild the Omega Lock using synthetic Energon. Ratchet informs Predaking of the truth, and he defects. During the battle for the Omega Lock, Bumblebee is shot by Megatron, falling into the synthetic Energon. However, he survives, gaining a healed voice, and runs Megatron through with the Star Saber, killing the Decepticon leader. The Autobots use the Omega Lock to restore Cybertron and head home victorious.
The series ends with the television movie, Predacons Rising, where the Autobots and remaining Decepticons rebuild Cybertron. Unicron reanimates Megatron, possessing his body, planning to kill Cybertron, actually his brother Primus, using Dark Energon-infected Predacon corpses. Optimus and Wheeljack retrieve the AllSpark from deep space and return to aid their comrades. Optimus uses the AllSpark’s container to imprison Unicron’s spark. Megatron, disillusioned with the prospect of tyranny, disbands the Decepticons and leaves Cybertron to start a new life. Optimus reveals he fused the Matrix of Leadership and the AllSpark into one and must fuse with Primus’ core to restore life to Cybertron. Bidding farewell to his comrades, Optimus Prime flies into Cybertron’s core to begin a new era for the Transformers.
Cast and charactersEdit
|Peter Cullen||Sumalee Montano||Will Friedle||Kevin Michael Richardson||Jeffrey Combs||James Horan||Nolan North||Michael Ironside|
|Optimus Prime||Arcee||Bumblebee||Bulkhead||Ratchet||Wheeljack||Smokescreen||Ultra Magnus|
The series stars Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), who acts as the leader of the Autobots. In his fight to protect the Earth, Optimus is aided by Ratchet (Jeffrey Combs), who acts as the team's medic. He is responsible for sending the team out to various locations using the Groundbridge. Bulkhead (Kevin Michael Richardson) acts as the team's muscle and does the heavy lifting. Arcee (Sumalee Montano) can transform into a motorcycle and is considered the team's most agile fighter. Rounding out the cast is Bumblebee (Will Friedle), who is the team's scout. He remains voiceless throughout most of the series due to a damaged voice box and must communicate through beeps.
During the first season, the Autobots encounter Wheeljack (James Horan), one of Bulkhead's fellow Wreckers. While initially appearing for one episode in season one, the character played a more important role and joined the team in the latter half of season two. During the same season, Smokescreen (Nolan North) also joins the team. In the final season Ultra Magnus (Michael Ironside), who is Optimus' second-in-command, comes to Earth to help him and the Autobots defeat the Decepticons.
|Frank Welker||Steven Blum||Daran Norris||Adam Baldwin||Gina Torres||Tony Todd||David Sobolov||Peter Mensah|
|Megatron, Soundwave||Starscream||Knock Out||Breakdown||Airachnid||Dreadwing||Shockwave||Predaking|
The Decepticons are led by Megatron (Frank Welker), who is the main antagonist throughout the series. Initially, he is assisted by his loyal follower the silent Soundwave, and the treacherous Starscream (Steven Blum) who wishes to usurp him. Later, they are joined by Knock Out (Daran Norris)—the Decepticons' medic—and his partner Breakdown (Adam Baldwin), who has an ugly past and a rivalry with Bulkhead. Soon afterward, Airachnid (Gina Torres) comes into play as well; before her introduction, she had killed Arcee's first partner Tailgate.
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, co-writers of Transformers and its sequel Revenge of the Fallen, were announced in early February to be helming a new Transformers series which would be CGI-animated. The title of the series was first announced in February 2010 as Transformers: Prime on Jeffrey Combs' website. Combs revealed he would be voicing Ratchet and that the first season would consist of 26 episodes. The series' logo was revealed on May 3, 2010. Orci said that one of the reasons he and Kurtzman decided to come back to the franchise is because when they worked on the live-action film, there were limitations on how much time the Transformers could appear on-screen and what type of actions they could perform, stating:
There were things we wanted to do in the movies that we just couldn't do and there were character arcs that we wanted to explore with the Transformers that we just couldn't do. We wanted to show more of their mythology and their past and their planet and just hang out with them. ... And in the movie, every time you did that, it was very special but it was extremely limited. So there was always another way ... to tell ... Transformers stories and this was ... a lucky accident that .. we got an opportunity to pursue that inspiration[.]
On February 4, 2011, when the show's first season resumed airing, it was announced that it had been renewed for a second season consisting of 26 episodes like the first. The season began airing on February 18, 2012. On March 1, 2013, it was revealed that the third season of Transformers: Prime, which premiered a few weeks later on March 22, would be the show's last. During the same month, it was also announced that following the series finale, a TV movie called Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising would air and would end the story. According to Hasbro Studios vice president Mike Vogel, "[they] knew, from day one, where [they] were going to try to wrap everything up".
Discussing ideas about the show's themes and inspirations, Orci said that while the live-action film series was "about a boy and his cars", the dynamic between the kids and robots in Prime was to be more like that of The Iron Giant. In a similar statement, Josh Keaton (Jack Darby) revealed in a November 29, 2010, interview with The Trades that while the show does include human main characters, and their relationships with the Autobots are important, they are in the foreground. According to Jeff Kline, from the beginning they had created a story bible of at least "three years' worth of [storylines]" and that "the universal need to find or forge a family and a home" was one of the major themes when developing the series.
Kline said that from the early stages of development they wanted to keep the ensemble of characters small; this was done both for production reasons and to allow deeper characterization and development. Optimus Prime, Megatron and Bumblebee were the characters that were considered "must-haves" for the series. From that point on, they tried to include Autobots and Decepticons that complemented those characters' personalities, "rather than duplicate them".
Regarding Arcee's inclusion in the main cast, Orci said that he regretted killing her off in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and that Prime gave them "a chance to do what [they]’ve always wanted to do with her". Kline said the staff wanted to include more Decepticons than Autobots in the series, so that the Autobots would always be at a disadvantage and their jobs would be that much harder. Additionally, when asked about the death of Cliffjumper and other characters in the series, he said that "when we kill a character, we kill a character".
In an interview with MTV, Frank Welker (Megatron), when comparing Prime in the TV series to the original cartoon, said that the writers "go deeper into the evil side of [Megatron] and what’s driving him." In a different interview, Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) said that "the writing is consistent with that of the original series, though in this new version [... my character] has a lot more communication with earthlings, and so he tries to be a little more Earthlike".
During New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2011, many details about season two were revealed. Regarding Optimus' memory loss and joining the Decepticons, Duane Capizzi said that they wanted to satisfy fans' expectations "but take it in unexpected directions. What happens will be pretty unexpected, but pretty organic." On the revelation that Unicron was sealed inside the Earth's core, Kline said that "[they] knew" they had to include him in the series but were initially unsure how. After a writer made the suggestion, they realized Unicron could be included in a way that tied Earth to Cybertron. He also reaffirmed his comment regarding death in the series, stating that "anyone can die" and revealed that "the body count has been upgraded" in season two.
During NYCC 2012, it was revealed that the show would be retitled to Transformers: Prime – Beast Hunters for its third season. In Beast Hunters, the Predacons and Predaking are introduced. By bringing Beasts into the show during the third season Kline said that this allowed them to emphasize further how Earth and Cybertron are "brother, or twin, planets"; something they had earlier indicated with Unicron's arc in season one. He called the addition of beasts "fantastic" as it allowed them to keep shifting allegiances and "keep the [Autobots and Decepticons] out of balance".
The first voice actor to be cast in the series was Jeffrey Combs as Ratchet. Combs revealed this on his personal website on February 4, 2010. On May 17, 2010, it was announced that Peter Cullen, who had originated the role of Optimus Prime in the original series and voiced him in the live-action film series, would return as Optimus' voice in Prime. During San Diego Comic Con on July 8, 2010, it was revealed that Frank Welker would also reprise the role of Megatron from the original series. Besides Optimus and Ratchet, Autobots Bumblebee, Arcee and Bulkhead were also announced. It was also revealed that Starscream and Soundwave would be part of the Decepticons.
On September 8, 2010, the show's voice actors were announced. Kline would later reveal that Hasbro Studios had placed high importance in getting Cullen and Frank Welker to reprise their roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively.
Steven Blum (Starscream) revealed in an interview that during recording of Transformers: Prime, he and the cast are given the scripts and "a couple of days [...] to figure out where the story is going".
Music in the series was composed by Brian Tyler. Tyler stated that when he approached to perform the music for the series, they wanted it to be "cinematic, thematic [and feature] classic scores, similar to Star Wars." Live orchestras were used to create the music.
A soundtrack was released on March 6, 2012.
|Transformers Prime (Music from the Animated Series)|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||March 6, 2012|
|Brian Tyler chronology|
|Transformers Prime (Music from the Animated Series)|
|2.||"Optimus Prime Returns"||2:07|
|3.||"One Shall Rise"||2:43|
|5.||"In Defense of Humanity"||2:26|
|6.||"We Have Returned"||4:42|
|8.||"This Is Your Home Now"||5:02|
|10.||"Battle in the Energon Mine"||3:11|
|12.||"Cutting It a Bit Close"||1:28|
|13.||"The Cons Are Back"||4:46|
|14.||"RC on the Move"||2:02|
|17.||"The Space Bridge"||1:29|
|20.||"Next Day after School"||1:12|
|22.||"Megatron on the Move"||2:44|
|25.||"Transformers Prime End Title"||3:05|
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD and Blu-ray release dates|
|First aired||Last aired||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||26||November 29, 2010||October 15, 2011||March 6, 2012||November 9, 2012||December 12, 2012|
|2||26||February 18, 2012||November 2, 2012||November 20, 2012||March 23, 2015||October 14, 2015|
|3||13||March 22, 2013||July 26, 2013||December 3, 2013||November 9, 2015||February 3, 2016|
In the United States, Transformers: Prime aired on Hasbro and Discovery Communications-owned television network, The Hub. The show began broadcasting on November 29, 2010, continuing to December 3, 2010. The rest of season one began to air on February 11, 2011. Beginning December 8, 2012, the series premiered on The CW as part of its Saturday morning Vortexx block, making it the first Hasbro Studios animated production to appear on United States terrestrial television.
On November 9, 2010, Hasbro Studios announced a broadcasting rights deal with Corus Entertainment in Canada, which included Transformers: Prime. The series premiered there on January 9, 2011, on Teletoon, half-owned by Corus. As a part of the deal between Hasbro Studios and Turner Broadcasting System Europe announced on December 13, 2010, Transformers: Prime began broadcasting in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland on September 5, 2011, on Cartoon Network, and later on Cartoon Network Too, and in Central Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East on September 10, 2011, on the pan-European Cartoon Network.
In Singapore, MediaCorp has broadcasting rights for Hasbro Studios programs including Prime, with the English version airing on Okto. In Malaysia, Media Prima has broadcasting rights for Hasbro Studios programs including Prime; the series was broadcast on NTV7. In India, the series premiered on Discovery Kids on May 6, 2013. The third season launched on October 19, 2014.
In the United States and Canada, Shout! Factory has the home distribution rights to the series. The complete first season was first released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 6, 2012. The complete second season was first released on DVD on November 20, 2012, with the Blu-ray version being released seven days later. The third and final season, Beast Hunters, was released on December 3, 2013.
The series attracted approximately 102,000 viewers per episode.
The Transformers: Prime/G.I. Joe Renegades special programming block on Friday from 3:30 p.m.–7;00 p.m. generated significant household and key audiences over the previous week. "[Households] (+111%, 97,000); Persons [age] 2+ (+133%, 142,000); Kids [ages] 2-11 (+130%, 62,000); Kids 6-11 (+78%, 32,000); Adults 18-49 (+117%, 50,000) and Women 18-49 (+120%, 11,000)."
Dusty Stower of Screen Rant, placed Transformers: Prime as the sixth best Transformers cartoon. Stower described the first season as "a very slow burn, [with] its eventual payoff [being] incredibly anticlimactic" and that in their attempt to focus on the Transformers' mythology, the writers "forgot to craft three-dimensional, likable characters". However, he concluded that the show did live up to its promise of an epic tale late in its run and reacted positively to Prime's portrayal of Ratchet and Starscream.
Eric Goldman of IGN gave season one a "great" 8.0 out of 10. He praised the show for creating fully formed, relatable characters, well-done action sequences, serious-minded storylines and voice acting, singling out Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Jeffrey Combs (Ratchet) and Frank Welker's (Megatron) performances. He criticized Bumblebee's portrayal as mute. He concluded the review saying that the series "accomplishes its goals, delivering plenty of fun and action, while also incorporating darker and more complex moments that older viewers can appreciate".
Brian Lowry of Variety said that Transformers: Prime is "unexpectedly sharp" and better than the movies, adding that the show's CGI animation is well-suited for rendering shiny robots and "their vehicular alter egos"; he ended the review by saying that while "there's nothing more than meets the eye here, [..] what does appear is plenty entertaining".
|2011||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Peter Cullen||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program||Transformers: Prime||Nominated|
|Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||Vince Toyama||Won|
|Outstanding Music Direction and Composition||Brian Tyler||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in Animation||Transformers: Prime||Nominated|
|2012||Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Transformers: Prime||Won|||
|Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program||David Hartman||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation||Robbi Smith||Nominated|
|Robert Poole II|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Animation||Ray Leonard||Nominated|
|"Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation"||Christophe Vacher||Won|
|CINE Awards||CINE Eagle Award||Whole crew||Won|||
|CINE Special Recognition for Series Television||Won|
|CINE Special Jury Award||Nominated|
|CINE Masters Series Award||Nominated|
|2013||Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||Arato Kato||Won|
|Kirk van Wormer|
|Annie Award||Outstanding Achievement in Production Design in an Animated TV / Broadcast Production||Christophe Vacher||Nominated|
Marketing, merchandise and other mediaEdit
Hasbro had the Toys "R" Us store located in Times Square, New York City to cover the whole exterior of the store in Transformers: Prime characters' images.[unreliable source?] Several billboards were rented. One even appeared on Broadway in New York City. Additional advertisements were run on the back cover of DC Comics’ Justice League of America Issue #51.[unreliable source?] A giant statue of Optimus Prime (modeled after his Transformers: Prime design) was shown off at San Diego Comic Con 2010.[unreliable source?] The statue was later moved to the location of New York Comic Con 2011 convention, where Hasbro was exhibiting.
The official launch date of the toy line was December 1, 2011. The release date of July 2011 was incorrectly stated during BotCon 2011, but the December 1, 2011, date was later confirmed by the Hasbro Brand Team. Although earlier sources stated that the line would launch on October 1, 2011, or October 11, 2011.
Ruckus Mobile Media partnered with Hasbro to deliver Transformers: Prime innovative storybook apps for Android, and iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) systems. The app was meant to deliver immersive reading experiences with interactive storytelling including title specific activities, coloring and read-and-record functions. The app was slated to release in May 2011, but never came out.
This section needs to be updated.(April 2018)
IDW Publishing has released a group of comic books based on Transformers: Prime. A comic book prequel was released on October 13, 2010, in the United States, followed by an October 26, 2010, Canadian release date. Adaptations of episodes (usually two episodes per comic book) from the series are currently being released, similar to the Transformers Animated comic books. Some Transformers: Prime storybooks were also set for release in April, August and September 2012, in the UK including Transformers Prime: Official Handbook and Transformers Prime: Meet the Team.
A video game developed by Nowpro and Altron distributed by Activision was released in October 2012. The game, titled Transformers: Prime – The Game, is a brawler available for Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. Both the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game received mixed critical reviews.
A sequel called Transformers: Robots in Disguise debuted in March 2015. The series features Bumblebee as a police officer and follows his adventures on Earth, trying to catch escaped Decepticon prisoners. Throughout his mission, he's aided by Strongarm, Sideswipe, Grimlock, Fixit, and the humans Denny Clay and his son Russell. Optimus Prime appears in a recurring capacity during the first season as a spirit, before being resurrected in the finale and joining the main cast from season two onwards. The only other characters to return from Transformers: Prime are Ratchet, Bulkhead, Soundwave, and Starscream.
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