At the time of this writing there are four Transformers films. The first three films are its own trilogy and I suppose Michael Bay is working on a new trilogy with Marky Mark. Each film has a nice list of Autobots and Decepticons present, along with many influences from human and nonhuman characters. The next few movie related posts will focus around the robots in disguise, and part of these posts will be an homage to their origins.
Lining up the original characters from the older generation of Transformers with the current roster is tough work indeed, simply because they look and act so differently now. In fact, some of the characters just borrow names, and some characters, while the same as their older counterparts, have new names! On this page you will see the original Autobots and their newer versions, along with a quick paragraph about them.
The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime is the heroic good guy to a fault. He dies defending mankind and is never afraid of putting his life on the line to fight the Decepticons. He is present in all of the Michael Bay Transformers films. He typically gets his ass kicked, then make a tremendous come back to stomp the bad guys.
Bumblebee is the very first transformer we really get to know in the film franchise. While he does fight and manages to save Shia Lebouf and Marky Mark, he is generally the comic relief. The first three films really hark on his character, but in the fourth film, he is merely a warrior who is still funny, sure, but it was nice to see a more serious side. While not the toughest Autobot, he has a lot of heart. Also, it would be neat if they would actually fix his voice chip.
Jazz is the second in command for the Autobots. He has a hip hop attitude and he is not scared of anything, even though he is extremely small. He is very fast and his ability to trick his enemies gets him around obstacles.
The medic for the Autobots, Ratchet is also the pacifist of the group. He believes the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons can be resolved without fighting, but he still follows Optimus Prime’s orders. While in the comic he turns into an ambulance, in the film, he turns into a Hummer.
Ironhide is one of Optimus Primes closest friends and he is a pretty old Autobot. The weapons specialist of the team, he is a formidable ally in the battle against the Decepticons. An interesting tidbit about his CGI model in the film – his weapons are made of 10,000 separate pieces. His weapons are more complex than some of the other transformers ENTIRELY.
Mudflap and Skids
I really do not know much about these two guys. They existed before Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but they were completely different. They are a tag team in the film and they took a lot of heat because the way their characters were portrayed was viewed as racist.
There has been a strong negative reaction to Mudflap and Skids in Revenge of the Fallen as the pair were received as embodying racist stereotypes. The characters have been given ape-like appearance, speak in street-slang dialogue, and confess an inability to read (though the film clarifies that they only have difficulty reading the ancient Language of the Primes that no other modern Transformer can read either, not reading in general and in the film itself they admit to not reading often); one of the characters also has a gold tooth. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times said that “the characters […] indicate that minstrelsy remains as much in fashion in Hollywood as when, well, Jar Jar Binks was set loose by George Lucas.” Critic Scott Mendelson said, “To say that these two are the most astonishingly racist caricatures that I’ve ever seen in a mainstream motion picture would be an understatement.” Harry Knowles, founder of Ain’t It Cool News, went further, asking his readers “not to support this film” because “You’ll be taking [your children] to see a film with the lowest forms of humor, stereotypes and racism around.” Director Michael Bay has defended the robots as “good clean fun” and insisted that “We’re just putting more personality in the film.” Bay stated that he made the robots for the kids, but he did remove them from Dark of the Moon in response. – Stolen Straight from Wikipedia 😛
Sideswipe is a martial artist with blades for arms. He appears in the second and third films and his vehicular form is often borrowed from the Corvette. His wheeled feet allows him to cover ground quickly, in order to chase down all of those dirty Decepticons.
Arcee was supposed to be in the first film, but she did arrive for the second. She is a motorcycle robot who is fast and deadly. She is accompanied by her two sisters, Elita One and Chromia in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The reason she was taken from the first film is because Michael Bay felt there was not enough time to explain why there was a female Autobot.
Sentinel Prime is a beast. In the film, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, he is hellbent on restoring Cybertron (The planet that the Transformers are from) to its former glory by essentially taking over Earth. He betrays the Autobots and joins the Decepticons. He kicks everyone’s ass, but through sheer trickery, Optimus Prime was able to overcome the old warrior. In the film, Sentinel Prime is viewed as a father figure for Optimus Prime. He was voiced by Leonard Nimoy, who also voiced Galvatron in the first Transformers film (Animated).
I’m no Transformers expert by no means. In Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, we are introduced to the Ferrari bot, Dino. Dino has no presence in the universe that I could find, and every search lands on Mirage. Mirage is usually the transformer who turns into a Ferrari. He was voiced by Francesco Quinn in the film. This was the last role by Quinn before his death.
Que is an Autobot from Transformers: Dark of the Moon, who is, according to sources, packing around the same skill set as Wheeljack. He is like the Q of Autobots (think James Bond), and the crew uses his inventions to infiltrate and fight Decepticons. He looks strange in the films, like an old man, but he is definitely an interesting character.
Wheelie is a former Decepticon gone Autobot who is tasked with a little bit of spying from time to time. He is foul mouthed and a bit misogynistic, but his character, being a very small robot, is endearing to the films for some fans. For some critics, however, his character is racist, which is a bit silly to me. He is nothing like the original Wheelie.
Pictured above is Brains on the left and Wheelie on the right. These two tend to hang around each other. Brains is another bit of comedy relief, but he plays a role in Transformers: Age of Extinction, without Wheelie, unfortunately.
The wreckers are three rather arrogant Autobots who want to take out their enemies, no matter the cost of human lives. Their careless antics drive a kind of wedge between them and Optimus Prime, but they are well-intentioned. At the beginning of Transformers: Age of Extinction, Leadfoot is killed.
Hound was an interesting character in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Voiced by John Goodman, he was excellent at shooting things and was a very exciting addition to the series. He packed some pretty mean weaponry and smokes a cigar which seemed to not serve a purpose from what I remember. Interesting bit about the original hound: All he ever wanted was to be human.
Drift is a Samurai and a former Decepticon who wields swords and cannons to get the job done. A very humble member of the Autobot team, he and Bumblebee do not get along very well. I think drift adds a neat element to the film and his ability to speak in haiku is interesting for dialogue.
Crosshairs is a very cool bot with an Australian accent (Or English). He is aggressive and cares not for the plight of mankind, but he is loyal to Optimus. His ability to shoot things is unrivaled and the original character is very meticulous about shooting, only taking shots that are guaranteed hits.
The Dinobots are my favorite faction from Transformers. Led by the fierce Grimlock, the Dinobots in the film are prisoners of Lockdown and to defeat their opponents, the Autobots free them and fight them to tame them and their powers. They equalize the battlefield and I love their new designs. I know Slash is not in the film, but I thought his artwork looked cool. They do not share much screen time, but I certainly hope they come back for the next film. Oh, and the old Dinobots? Here are some of them:
That about does it for the Autobots. This article was to just showcase the differences in visuals between the cartoon and comic Transformers and the film versions. If I forgot one, or there are better images to be found, drop a comment below!