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A "Tribute to Optimus Prime" Autobot insignia
A "Tribute to Optimus Prime" Autobot insignia
Autobots movie logo
Autobots movie logo

The Autobots, a faction of sentient robots from the planet Cybertron, are the main protagonists in the fictional universe of the Transformers, a collection of various toys, graphic novels, paperback books, cartoons and movies first introduced in 1984. In all Transformer stories, the "Heroic Autobots" are opposed by the "Evil Decepticons"—the main antagonists in Transformers. Both Autobots and Decepticons are humanoid robots that can transform into machines, vehicles and other familiar mechanical objects. Autobots often turn into civilian vehicles but some are aircraft and military vehicles.

The primary protagonist and commander of the Autobots is usually Optimus Prime.



In all Transformers stories, the Autobots and their adversaries, the Decepticons, originated on the planet Cybertron. The planet is almost always depicted as a purely metallic body.Marvel US issue #1, page 1, panel 2: "No rock or soil or sand contributed to its bizarre geography." "Its content was entirely mechanical." The capital of Cybertron is Iacon. In later issues of the Marvel comic line, Cybertron is shown to have weather, such as rain.Marvel US issue #76, page 9-19

Hasbro toys

Hasbro launched the Transformers toy line with eighteen different Autobot characters, all of whom transformed into automobiles, while the ten distinct Decepticons (seven packages as three came two to a box/pack) were weapons, aircraft and communications equipment. Many of the Transformers were based on Takara designs.

Marvel comics

Both Autobots and Decepticons were created by Primus, the Transformer god, who became the planet Cybertron. In most continuities this is still the case. Though Marvel's original series gave no purpose other than benevolent self-image creation for Transformers, some continuities add/modify that the Transformers were created to defend the universe (or simply Primus himself) from Unicron, who in the original Marvel comic was the evil brother of Primus.

Television cartoon/movie

In the original U.S. cartoon line, Autobots were the descendants of a line of robots created as consumer goods by the Quintessons on the planet Cybertron. Their bodies were forged by the Plasma Energy Chamber and given intelligence by the mega-computer Vector Sigma in order for the work to be carried out. Eventually, they developed sentience and rebelled against their creators. However, A-3, the resistance leader was displaced from time by Quintessons from the future in order to stop the insurgency. The resistance had help from future Autobots (whose transformation technology frightened them) and A-3 returned to turn the tide by activating his coda-remote which deactivated the Quintessons' Dark Guardian robots.

With the Quintessons cast off and forgotten, Cybertron was at peace. The consumer goods and military hardware bots renamed themselves as Autobots and Decepticons. However, the Decepticons wanted war. No match for the superior firepower and battle prowess of the Decepticons , the Autobots developed transformation technology (possibly with the help of the Dark Guardians) to win the war, bringing about the Golden Age of Cybertron. Eventually, the Decepticons also developed transformation and begun the third Cybertronian War. They would have succeeded in completing their conquest had not more time-displaced Autobots blown up an energy warehouse and brought its workers to A-3, now renamed Alpha Trion, as the new defenders of Cybertron.

For five million years, the Cybertronians warred over the remaining energy that was left. With this crisis, the Autobots, headed by Optimus Prime, made an expedition to find new energy sources. But the Decepticons intercepted them, causing the Autobot ship Ark to crash-land on Earth.

Four million years later in 1984, the volcano that the Ark was wedged in erupted, jarring the Ark's main computer Teletraan I back online. Through use of Spy Satellites, Teletraan created new alternate forms for the Transformers out of earth vehicles(Like F-15 Eagles for Skywarp and a Semi-trailer truck for Optimus Prime). The Decepticons were revived first and then the Autobots due to Starscream's carelessness. The Autobots made an alliance with the local humans, thus beginning the Great War.

After waging the war for 21 years, the Autobots created Autobot City as their main base of operations while the Decepticons got complete control of Cybertron. In 2005, the Decepticons launched an attack on the city, resulting in the death of Optimus Prime. Optimus managed to pass the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus before his passing. The city then received messages from the bases on Cybertron's moons being devoured by the transformer demi-god Unicron. After another Decepticon attack, the Autobots were scattered to two planets, Junk and Quintessa. Forming new allies on those planets, the Autobots headed for Cybertron. A young Autobot named Hot Rod used the recovered Matrix of Leadership from Galvatron (formerly Megatron) to destroy Unicron and became Rodimus Prime. With the Decepticons in disarray, the Autobots reclaimed Cybertron, bringing about a new age of peace and prosperity.

In 2006, the Great War still raged. But both sides rediscovered the existence of the Quintessons. After numerous battles, the Hate Plague was unleashed. Rodimus ordered the uninfected Autobots to search for a Quintesson to revive Optimus Prime. An uninfected Quintesson was found and forced to restore Optimus Prime to life. Optimus would then recover the Matrix by defeating an infected Rodimus Prime, and cure the galaxy of the plague.

After one year of peace, Galvatron gained access to the Plasma Energy Chamber. He planned to move Cybertron to Earth and use the Chamber's energies to overload the sun. However, all this was planned by Vector Sigma who wanted to restore Cybertron's Golden Age. Thanks to Spike Witwicky and the allied-Nebulons, Cybertron regained its golden hue. Optimus knew that there will always be Decepticons and the Autobots will always stop them.

On the cartoon, a majority of the Autobots had a blue eye color, while most of the Decepticons had a red eye color.

Post-'80s comics

Each of the various later Transformers comic incarnations had differing origin stories, generally based on fictions provided in the 1980s comic and cartoon series.

Post-'80s cartoons

Each of the various later Transformers cartoon incarnations had differing origin stories, generally based on fictions provided in the 1984 cartoon (and occasionally comic) series.

2007 live-action movie

In the live-action film "Transformers", the Autobots arrived on Earth to find the AllSpark in an effort to restore a destroyed Cybertron. The beginning of the movie, narrated by Optimus Prime, indicates that all life on Cybertron came from a "cube." In the beginning, Optimus Prime and Megatron ruled Cybertron together. However, Megatron soon began to desire the power of the AllSpark. To counter Megatron, Optimus formed the Autobots, a militia of civilian Transformers sworn to protect the AllSpark. Throughout the evolution of the Transformers, wars brought on the demise of their planet. Although the Autobots initially make a poor first impression with the authorities, the US government is eventually convinced by Sam Witwicky of their benevolent nature and cooperate to help them in the battle to keep the AllSpark from the Decepticons. During the battle, all the Decepticons are destroyed, except for Starscream, but the Autobots lose one of their members, Jazz. Optimus Prime decides to make Earth their new home.

The word "Autobot", according to Optimus Prime, is an abbreviation ("for short") of the phrase Autonomous robotic organisms.


See Prime (Transformers) The Prime title is a direct linguistic descendant of Primus. It identifies the one Autobot Commander that is entrusted with the Creation Matrix, also known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. The Matrix is said to choose its own holder and when it is taken by a new leader (at the old leader's death), it transforms him into a larger, more powerful, wiser Autobot commander. Holders of the Matrix become one with the Matrix, such that when the holder dies, his Spark — the Transformer life force — is absorbed into the Matrix.

Holders of the Matrix, from the beginning of time (as per the Marvel continuity), are:

Prime Nova
Sentinel Prime
Optimus Prime

For a brief time, the Decepticon Thunderwing held the matrix, but when Optimus Prime reclaimed it, Thunderwing's presence was purged from the Matrix.

Autobot leaders

In most continuities the Autobot commander is Optimus Prime.

Hasbro toys

Optimus Prime was among the first Transformers released from Hasbro in 1984. The character listing/mini-poster that came inside Transformer packaging identified him as "Autobot Commander," as contrasted with Megatron's title of "Decepticon Leader."

Marvel US comics

Optimus Prime first appeared in issue #1 of Marvel's 4-issue limited series (which was extended into the main series). He led a large team of Autobots on a space mission to clear asteroids that threatened to destroy Cybertron. The initial pages did not indicate that Optimus was the mightiest or highest-ranking of the Autobots, but that series solidly established Prime as a capable leader and clearly the commander of the Autobot team that went out to clear the asteroids.

Through the comic's 80-issue run, Optimus Prime would be killed off and resurrected several times. During his absences, other Autobot officers took on the mantle of leadership within the Earth-bound Autobots. They included Prowl, Grimlock, Fortress Maximus, and others. In a future timeline (one that, per events in the "present," can no longer come to pass) the Autobots are commanded by Rodimus Prime.

Marvel UK comics

The UK office of Marvel published comics much more often, usually weekly compared to monthly for the US comic. To accomplish this, the UK comics had additional storylines that were never included in US continuity (and are debated as to their canon-authenticity). In the UK series, much more is learned about Autobot commander Rodimus Prime, whereas in the US continuity, he is only briefly seen, most probably dead, as a prisoner of Galvatron.

Television cartoon/movie

In the animated television series, Optimus Prime was commander of the Autobots until his death in the opening minutes of the Transformers movie, where he passes on command to Ultra Magnus. Ultimately, Hot Rod is reformatted into Rodimus Prime by the Autobot Matrix of Leadership and takes command of the Autobots (in the closing minutes of the movie), leading them in the continuing television series until the resurrection of Optimus, who reassumes command.

Post-'80s comics

Transformers were brought back to life through later comic and television runs. Commanders of the Autobots in these retellings, reimaginings, prequels and continuations included:

When Optimus Prime was seriously injured (almost fatally) by Megatron in Season 3 of Beast Wars, Optimus Primal took charge of Optimus Prime's spark. The exposure of Optimus Primal's body to Optimus Prime's spark caused him to be reformated into Optimal Optimus. For the brief period Optimal Optimus carried Prime's spark, he seemed to be possessed by Optimus Prime, with a slightly noticeable change in voice and demeanor.
  • Ultra Magnus – Commander of the Cybertron-based Autobots in the Dreamwave comics, volume II. Also vice-commander of the Autobot forces in the original television series' third season (and Transformers: Headmasters).

Post-'80s cartoons

Similarly, a resurgence of interest in the Transformers also brought about many new cartoons; among the Autobot commanders in these were:

2007 live-action movie

In the 2007 Transformers Movie, Optimus Prime is the Autobot commander. His appearance is different from his original form, although he is still recognizable to many fans. In the movie his team of Autobots on Earth consists of only four others: Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide and Jazz.


The Autobots were called "Cybertrons" in Japan and "Autorobots" in Italy. The Maximals from Transformers: Beast Wars are also known as Cybertrons in Japan, but in the US they are called Maximals and are descendants of the Autobots.

The Autobot symbol is also referred to as an "Autobrand" in issue #14 of the Marvel comics series.

See also



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