5- Optimus Prime activates Metroplex – Fall of Cybertron
Metroplex has always been kind of a mystery in Transformers lore. He just sort of showed up one day, and everyone carried on their merry way. At least Trypticon had some sort of bizarre origin story in G1. Metroplex just was. It’s taken about 30 years, but finally some lore is being established for the biggest of the big. The IDW comics and latest Transformers game, “Fall of Cybertron”, have given our famous brute some real meaty backstory and helped explain why such a titanic Transformer would ever exist. With a behemoth like this, it’s hard to wonder the Autobots could ever lose. At the end of level 1 of “Fall of Cybertron”, we finally, FINALLY, get to see something that should’ve happened eons ago. Metroplex rips the roof off and uses his size the way he always should’ve: he pulverizes mini Megatron into the ground, literally. Players even have the ability to gleefully hit him again and again with the touch of a button. This moment definitely shocked me and has the power to bring the kid’s imagination out in anyone who has a soul from the 80’s. The best part? Megatron is defiant to the bitter end.
4- Orion Pax becomes a Decepticon – Transformers Prime
“Transformers: Prime” is an absolute breath of fresh air to Transformers fiction as well as children’s programming in general. It’s obscene how much detail and charisma the Transformers: Prime staff squeezes out of each episode. Let’s hope for a full-length movie while we’re at it. The story arc really picked up at the end of season 1 culminating in the memory loss of Optimus Prime and a bit of cohesive backstory that barrows from multiple arenas of Transformers history. Optimus reverts to his former self, Orion Pax, and follows his long-lost buddy Megatron(us). After a full season of watching the Autobots claw for every victory against an army of Decepticons, one’s heart sinks to a new low as the Autobots watch in horror at the apparent loss of their leader to the bad guys after insurmountable odds. You really feel for them and the weight of the event is crushing. Fans had to wait for the next season to find out if Orion’s new friends were going to welcome him with open arms or at arms. Somewhat unfortunately, the defecting of Orion Pax only lasted for 3 measly episodes. Those hoping for a full season of Autobotic drama forgot this is a children’s show, and seasons-sweeping conflicts don’t often hold a child’s attention.
3- Death of Starscream – Transformers Armada
Although his first death was rather abrupt and grotesque, Starscream’s removal from the Transformers franchise was rather expected after the first 25 minutes of “Transformers: The Movie”‘s systematic deletion of the season 1 and 2 cast. His death in the “Armada” cartoon series, however, took us a little more off guard. The character had gone back and forth between the good side and bad, expanding his archetypal quarrel with Megatron. Most thought Megatron had gotten the best of old Starscream after stabbing him with the Star Saber, but no. Starscream was not about to perish lying down and attempted to thwart the dreaded Unicron my powerlinking with his minicon. The result? A repeat of his “Transformers: The Movie” execution by the dark lord himself. His relationship with the Alexis was even a bit touching as she witnesses his death from afar, unbeknownst to her. This is still the most memorable scene from “Armada” and “Micron Legend” and results in a truce between the Autobots and Decepticons to fight against Unicron, shaping the final few episodes.
2- Megatron destroys Optimus Prime – Beast Wars
When it was decided that “Beast Wars” was to exist alongside the original Generation 1 canon, everyone shit their collective pants. If you were on the internet during the ongoing creation of “Beast Wars”, then this is by far your favorite series. Truth is, it’s not that good and doesn’t hold a lick to “Transformers: Prime” in regards to production value and over all enjoyability. That being said, the story holds an integral seat in Transformers lore and helped shape the fandom to this day. The most important moment of this story has to do with time travel distrubance caused by Beast Megatron. How could such a little guy take out Mr. Optimus Prime himself? Let’s not forget that Prime was deactivated, but little old Beast Megatron did what his namesake could never do in a quadrillion years. The destruction of Optimus Prime sends the entire Transformers universe into a colossal spin with the possibility of not being able to set it back to right. Of course this scene occurs at the end of an episode, which during the original airing may have caused as much panic as the shooting of JR.
1- Death of Optimus Prime – Transformers Animated Movie
This is a complete no-brainer. What hasn’t already been said about the death of numero uno, Optimus MF Prime? Crying children, outraged parents, 30 years of paying for it (and it paying off). Without the death of Optimus Prime, Transformers may not even exist today. Hasbro has come to realize the power of the fiction they paid to have created back when they tried to launch this crazy robot-into-vehicle toy line. This is apparent with the Transformers Hall of Fame and their continued re-release of specific characters- a far cry from the G1 days when new characters were the norm to replace old. It took something as ludicrous as killing your main character off (Game of Thrones, anyone?) to wake Hasbro and company up to the juggernaut they had created. Transformers was not just a flash in the pan, it was here to stay, and stay it has. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No event in Transformers fiction will ever top this, ever.
Honorable mention- The Transformation of Unicron
I couldn’t decide where this should be placed in the top 10 and since I’d already referenced the animated movie already, I figured this could be a runner-up. As a child in the theatre, my mind just wasn’t ready to accept that this big talking, planet-eating planet who lived in the world of Transformers was going to transform and be a giant robot. Blew my mind to smithereens. I don’t have many memories from that age, but telling my sister in the parking lot about how this awesome giant orange guy showed up is one of them. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted a toy of that big orange guy. Well 3-year old me, you finally got your wish, you finally got it. Thanks for reading!