Arising from Cybertron, the two warring factions of transforming alien robots (the Autobots and the Decepticons) bring their epic and endless battle to Earth as they battle for control of Cybertron. The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, is comprised of Bumblebee, Ratchet, Ironhide, Jazz, Hot Rod, Mudflap, Mirage, the Wreckers and a ton more including Monsterbots, Sparkabots, Omnibots and Dinobots like Grimlock. The Decepticons are led by Megatron, Galvatron, Starscream, Ramjet, Soundwave and his microcassettes, Barrage and the Gestalt Combiner Teams. Some common questions we at 80stees.com often ask are; why does Megatron turn into a Walther PPK and not a Desert Eagle .44 Magnum, and where does Optimus' trailer go when he transforms? ...and how can a robot become a ghost? Like, seriously? Only the AllSpark knows. Get your Transformer t-shirts and hoodies here.
Toy companies are constantly looking for new ideas, particularly those with a creative edge that will make the toy appealing to children. So when Hasbro released their Transformers line to the public in 1984, it was no surprise that they had started something big. Originally inspired by Japanese toy lines "Micro Change" and "Diaclone", which were produced by Takara in the early 80's, the Transformers were robots who could change into cars, trucks, planes, Dinosaurs, cassette tapes, even guns! The very first Transformers to hit U.S. shelves were actually some of the stock Hasbro purchased from the Takara lines, repackaged in American boxes . After the stock ran out, Hasbro started producing the toys on their own--which now each featured a "rub sign". These rub signs changed color when rubbed with your finger, revealing whether the robot was an Autobot (the "good" guys) or a Decepticon (the "bad" guys).
The success of the toy line eventually spawned a cartoon in 1984. The cartoon explained the history of the Transformers, beginning millions of years ago on their home planet, Cybertron. Originally robots created for consumer and military purposes, they eventually escaped the control of their masters. Soon these robots divided into two opposing groups, the Autobots and the Decepticons. The rivalry between the two groups went on for many, many years on Cybertron, until the Autobots, under the leadership of Optimus Prime, set forth to find energy on other planets. They were soon attacked by the evil Decepticon Megatron and his henchmen, thus resulting in a horrific crash which sent both sides plummeting into a volcano on Earth. It wasn't until 1984, after a furious volcanic eruption, that the Transformers were awakened from their centuries-long slumber. At that point, the dueling sides continued their battle upon planet Earth.
The first two seasons of the cartoon consisted of a total of 65 episodes, and by then, it was inevitable that these "robots in disguise" were destined for the silver screen. Transformers: The Movie was released in 1986, and featured the talents of many well-known actors such as Leonard Nimoy and Judd Nelson. Set in the year 2005, not only are the Autobots and Decepticons at odds, but the movie also focuses on Unicron (voiced by Orson Welles), an enormous, gluttonous being. Quite the gourmand, Unicron devours planets and anything else he might wish to feast upon. This destructive behavior forces both the Autobots and Decepticons to deal with Unicron in their own ways, while at the same time, battling one another.
The cartoon continued to be successful, with season three picking up where the movie had left off. A fourth season was also produced, which consisted of a 3-part miniseries titled "The Rebirth". This fourth season reconnected viewers with some earlier characters, while paving the way for new characters, and subsequently, new additions to the toy line.
Throughout the years that followed, many fresh and exciting ideas were introduced to the Transformers toy collection. Several new assortments were produced, including Targetmasters, Headmasters, Beastwars, Armada, Energon, and Cybertron, just to name a few. Despite a few lulls in sales in the past, the Transformers line has remained a favorite in the Hasbro family, and one day, may even match GI Joe in longevity. Additionally, several Transformers cartoon series have popped up over the years, not only in the United States, but in several other countries as well, such as Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan. Although some of the features of the international versions differ from the U.S. cartoons, the basic elements that give the Transformers their long-running popularity remains universal.
With over 25 years of success, there's no doubt that we'll be seeing much more of the Transformers in the future. New additions to the toy line continue to be produced and live-action movies will continue to hit theaters for years to come. What's the secret to all this success? Well, all we can say is Transformers are truly "more than meets the eye!"