Spark (Transformers)

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Detailed view of the AllSpark.
Protoform Optimus Prime after hard-landing, as depicted in the 2007 film.

Within the narrative of the fictional Transformers universe, a spark, also called an AllSpark, is usually the "soul" of a Transformer. The term "AllSpark" was created by writer Robert N. Skir, who responded to a fan question about the TV series Beast Machines July 21, 1999 web page.[1] Skir explained that the Beast Machines entity called The Oracle was actually the AllSpark, consisting of "the spark of every transformer who has ever lived, or ever will live". In a November 6, 1999 web page, Skir clarified that the Matrix was something called the AllSpark and was "made up of every Spark that ever was, and every Spark that ever will be".[2]

In the Beast Machines television series, it was also a term used for the Transformers' afterlife. Although the concept of the Transformers afterlife was briefly touched upon in the original series and Beast Wars series, it was not until Beast Machines that the concept was explored further. The Autobot Matrix of Leadership, as seen in the original series, was not merely a receptacle for the consciousness of deceased Autobot leaders; it was a gateway that led to the AllSpark, from which all current and future Transformers' sparks came. Possessing a sentience, the AllSpark had sent Sparks out into the world to live. When any Transformers, good or evil, were destroyed, their Spark would return to the AllSpark and share with it all that it had experienced, thereby adding to the timeless fountain of knowledge and wisdom. The facility on Cybertron, which produces Maximal protoforms, was named after the aforementioned Matrix, and was analogous to human's Heaven. A similar Predacon facility also exists, named the Pit, and was analogous to Hell. The Pit was also known as the Inferno until the late-season addition of the character Inferno.

In the Transformers 2007 live action film, it is a cube-shaped artifact adorned with glyphs and designs which is capable of granting independent life to normal electronic and mechanical objects and is the source of life for all Transformers. In the Transformers Animated series, it shares a similar history and capabilities with its 2007 film counterpart, but resembles the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Usually, the Allspark is the main source of Energon, the "life-blood" of the Transformers race and "blood" of Primus. Energon is usually stored in devices called Energon cubes. These devices are used by characters in the series, usually by the Decepticons.[3] In the "Shattered Glass" universe, where the Decepticons are good and the Autobots are evil, the Transformers possess "embers" instead of sparks.

Transformers: Generation 1[edit]

A spark is best described as the "soul" of a Transformer – while they have programmable computer minds that house their personality, the Spark is that indefinable, indescribable energy that makes them truly alive, more than mere machines. Throughout the original Marvel Comics Transformers series, there were references to similar concepts such as the "spark of life" or "life spark", while the animated series spoke of "cybernetic personalities" as the source of a Transformer's life, bestowed by the mega-computer Vector Sigma, and a central life-source called a "laser core". The original 1984 animated series, was more prominent for introducing energon cubes, which are energy storing devices created by the Autobots and Decepticons on Earth.[4][5] For all practical purposes, energon functions as fuel or "food" for the Transformers; in some episodes, Decepticons are depicted as literally drinking from Energon cubes. In the 1986 film The Transformers: The Movie, Optimus Prime sends a shuttle from Cybertron Moonbase One to Earth to collect Energon cubes for an assault on the Decepticon forces on Cybertron.

Beast Era[edit]

It was the 1993s Beast Wars animated series which truly introduced "the Spark" as it is now known today. All Cybertronians have a Spark, regardless of their heritage of allegiance - rendered as a glowing sphere of incandescent life, a spark dies or "extinguishes" when the body that houses it suffers fatal damage. Should a Spark be threatened in this way, Transformers are equipped with emergency protocols that shunt them into Stasis Lock, a state of still-living involuntary deactivation, in order to prevent further damage and to allow repairs, thereby safeguarding the Spark. This function can be overridden as was the case with the death of the Maximal known as Dinobot.

Rhinox first explains the concept of a Spark when operating on the protoform ("basic frames" of a Cybertronian placed in stasis until a suitable form can be found) that would become Airazor. He describes the existence of such an item by explaining: "When a Spark goes online, there is great joy. When one is extinguished, the universe weeps." Although the term was never used in the original cartoon and comic, Beast Wars established that these older-era characters all too had Sparks (or their historical equivalent, nomenclature aside), a perfect example of this being the immortal spark of Starscream (Starscream's immortality coming from a mutation in his spark), which the Maximals tried to duplicate only to end up creating the murderous Protoform X). On the other hand, Protoforms first appeared in episode one of Beast Wars in September 1996. They have reappeared in various Transformers media, including later cartoons, comics, film, and toylines. Protoforms were a major plot point in the Beast Wars cartoon, appearing in multiple episodes.[6][7][8] The plot of the 2006 IDW Publications mini-series Beast Wars: The Gathering centers around the fate of the protoforms not recovered in the cartoon. At the conclusion of the series, all the protoforms are accounted for.[9] Sparks as shown in Beast Wars normally appear as a sphere of an ever-changing pattern of "electricity" – like blue lines with a pulsating center composed of smaller red spheres. In Beast Machines several of the Maximals are shown with different colored sparks such as yellow, white, red, purple (possibly expressing their individuality and/or a special connection to the Matrix/Allspark). In Beast Wars, Megatron had a blue spark but after he spends centuries trying to purge the organic elements from his body, Beast Machines shows that his spark has become a violent shade of red.

The sequel series, Beast Machines explored the concept on a much deeper level. Sparks, it explained, are fragments of the Matrix," the "well of all sparks" that currently exist, have existed, or ever will exist. Sparks leave the Matrix upon the birth of new Transformer life so that they may learn, grow, love and truly experience life, and then, with the passing of the Transformer, the Spark returns to the Matrix, assimilated back into it to share all the knowledge it has gained with the whole but their individuality is not extinguished.[10] In knowing this, it can be taken that the object known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, long stated to hold the wisdom of the ages, is a gateway to this realm, where the amassed knowledge it contains can be consulted (where the sparks of those who have formerly held the Matrix retain their individuality and can be communed with). Similarly, this link explains the object's ability to create new Transformer life in the Marvel Comics, via the transferral of a Spark from the Matrix. Vector Sigma, was also revealed to possess a connection to the All spark, thereby explaining its ability to bestow life.

Nearly all Transformers series after Beast Wars have made use of the term "Spark" (though usually just in passing mention, often the result of dubbing). Of all the new continuity elements introduced by Beast Wars and Beast Machines, the Spark is unarguably the one concept which has been embraced the strongest by the fandom, with the vast majority of fans happily retroactively using it in reference to the older stories.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise[edit]

The Allspark played a small role in Transformers: Robots in Disguise. As revealed in "Ultra Magnus: Forced Fusion!", Optimus Prime was chosen by Vector Sigma, "the Allspark" of Cybertron, to carry the Matrix of Leadership and lead the Autobots. This series also featured the ideas of energon, sparks and protoforms.[11]

Unicron Trilogy[edit]

Armada and Energon both showed a few Transformers sparks (as orbs of light) transferred to new bodies after their old bodies were too badly damaged to be repaired or destroyed completely. Primus and Unicron's sparks were also shown in Energon, Primus as a very large glowing orb and Unicron as a small black/green orb. One can suppose that a Transformer himself can send his own spark away sometimes or even use it as a kind of weapon. Transformers: Energon also shows both the Autobots and Decepticons having made an alliances with the humans to find Energon, a fuel source which can be mined on Earth, Mars, and the Moon. In Cybertron, the cyber planet keys are said to be fragments of the spark of Primus, divided and sent to the four corners of the universe to share the wisdom of Primus. The four master keys (colored gold in the toy line) need to be gathered and inserted into the Omega Lock to awaken the spark of Primus and transform the planet Cybertron. In the toy line the Omega Lock is needed to completely transform Primus, however it does not require the insertion of any of the cyber planet keys. At the end of the Cybertron series, it was decided that the unified planets should join together and bring the once again divided keys to other destinations in the universe to spread the knowledge of Primus even further. Hence, again putting Primus into stasis lock within a reformatted, renewed Cybertron.

Live-action film series[edit]

In the 2007 Transformers live-action film, the AllSpark (spelled as two words in the movie) is able to bring mechanical and electronic objects to life, essentially turning mundane objects, as long as they are electronic or mechanical, into Transformers. The Autobots and the Decepticons seek the AllSpark throughout the film. The Autobots intend to use the AllSpark in an attempt to rebuild Cybertron and end the war, while the Decepticons desire to create an army of robot soldiers to conquer the universe. The movie's AllSpark is a combination of the Creation Matrix and the Underbase from the US Marvel Comics series, and Vector Sigma from the animated series. The AllSpark takes the shape of a gigantic metal cube with Cybertronian runes carved into it, but is converted by Bumblebee into a smaller form that a human can carry in his hands (described as football-sized in the Alan Dean Foster novelization). During the conversion, the AllSpark is shown to be composed of numerous smaller cubes, which fold inward upon each other to shrink the whole. In the novelization and early movie scripts, the AllSpark is referred to as "the Energon Cube". It is also referred to as "the Cube" several times in the film itself. IGN described the AllSpark saving the day as one of the worst moments of the Transformers movie.[12]

In the prequel comic book, the AllSpark is described as being of unknown origins, and the reason of existence of the alien race and its planet Cybertron. It is also described as a sacrosanct object that gave them life, sustenance, and kept their society in complete equality and peace. Optimus Prime is shown sending the AllSpark away from Cybertron to prevent the Decepticons from controlling it. The comic book shows, and Megatron alludes to, a wormhole in orbit that the AllSpark is heading towards and then travels through. If it is assumed that the wormhole deposits the Allspark not only spatially but also chronologically (four million years in the past) along with Megatron, this could explain why the Allspark has been on Earth for four million years while the 13 original transformers in Revenge of the Fallen do not appear until 17,000 BC. The prolonged absence of the AllSpark causes Cybertron to die, and forces both sides of the conflict to search the galaxy for it. The AllSpark is revealed to have landed on Earth, in the future site of the Hoover Dam. The AllSpark and Megatron are later hidden inside the Dam by a (fictional) Men in Black-like Federal agency called "Sector 7". In the prequel novelization and film, it is revealed that the Autobots and Decepticons have been seeking the AllSpark for millennia, following transmission signals released by the AllSpark once every thousand years. The Autobots seek it to rebuild Cybertron; when they have become desperate, however, Optimus decides to destroy it rather than let it fall into Megatron's hands. Optimus believes that a new home world can simply be rebuilt by means of the AllSpark once Megatron is no longer a threat. The Decepticons are looking for the AllSpark and Megatron, intending to dominate all life with the use of one and under the leadership of the other. During the battle between Optimus and Megatron, the AllSpark is ultimately driven into Megatron's chest by Sam Witwicky, destroying both the Decepticon leader and the AllSpark. A shard of the AllSpark remains, which is claimed by Optimus Prime before handing it over to the U.S. government for safekeeping on their behalf.

Two years later, however, Ravage steals the shard and gives it to the Constructicons so they can revive Megatron with it. Megatron's master, the Fallen, reveals that the Cube was essentially a vessel, and that its power and knowledge, thought lost with its destruction, can never be destroyed, only transformed, therefore, there was a chance to retrieve it. The second film also reveals another smaller AllSpark shard that was on Sam's jacket the day he killed Megatron, which transfers the knowledge of the location of the Matrix of Leadership in the form of visions of Cybertronian symbols directly into Sam's mind. Sam entrusts the shard to his then-girlfriend Mikaela Banes, who places it within her father's auto garage. The shard is then later used to reactivate the ancient Seeker Jetfire, who assists the Autobots and their human allies in locating the Matrix of Leadership. In the film, the Fallen had created a device called the Energon harvester, which collected Energon by destroying a sun. In Transformers: The Reign of Starscream (the comic book sequel to the first film), Starscream uses the knowledge gained by Frenzy while inside the Hoover Dam complex from Sector 7 to build a new cube. He then sacrifices several transformer (three or four Autobots and one Decepticon) "traitors" in order to use their sparks to jump-start the cube. Various Autobots are shown throughout the comic as working on the cube - including, at one point, using a hammer and chisel to engrave new glyphs on the new AllSpark. Other than this engraving and activating process, little is shown of the construction of the AllSpark.

In the film, exposure to the AllSpark can repair Transformers (as shown when it heals Frenzy during the film) and convert Earthly machines into feral Cybertronians. A Nokia N93i cell phone, a Mountain Dew vending machine (named "Dispensor" in the Robot Heroes toy line), the airbag compartment in a sport utility vehicle's steering wheel, and an Xbox 360 are all shown being converted in this way. The cell phone robot is destroyed following the demonstration, but the fates of the other feral Transformers remain unknown and it is presumed they have been dealt with. In Revenge of the Fallen, even as a sliver of its former self, the AllSpark's power is potent, as it brings all of the appliances from Sam's kitchen to life - one of which was a pyromaniac toaster bot, named Ejector in the toy line, among others. Just like the first film, they are seen forming instantaneously and immediately upon contact with the AllSpark's power and then furiously attacking the things nearest to them, armed with a full arsenal of diverse weapons. The kitchen robots, as well as Sam's room, are destroyed by Bumblebee. The energy output of the AllSpark is cited in the prequel comic as having a greater power output than the entire city of Chicago at its time of discovery. According to the comic, the Three Mile Island accident was caused by a failed attempt to extract energy from the AllSpark. On the basis of the second film, it must also be assumed that the AllSpark has a finite maximum power output, about equal to that of a star. In Transformers: The Game, the Autobot Campaign and the Decepticon campaign will determine the fate of the AllSpark. If the player completes the Autobot Campaign, Optimus Prime will use the AllSpark to kill Megatron. If the player completes the Decepticon Campaign, Megatron will become one with the AllSpark and use its power to turn Earth into his own empire by converting all machines into his Decepticon army.

Transformers Animated[edit]

In Transformers Animated , the AllSpark plays a similar role to its 2007 film counterpart. It is the source of all Transformers' life (In the episode "Blast From the Past", Ratchet states that the Cybertronian race is over 10 billion solar cycles (years) old). Megatron states he shall use its power as an ultimate weapon to crush the Autobots. In order to end the Great War (shown in the series debut as 'historical' clips from the 1984 G1 series), the Autobots cast the AllSpark into a space bridge network gate to a random destination somewhere in the galaxy, thereby preventing the Decepticons from getting it. This ends the war, and finally allows the Autobots to drive the Decepticons off of Cybertron and into exile. Unlike the live-action film, it is in the shape of a round sphere, rather than a square cube. By the series finale, when the Lugnut Supremes are reprogramed by Starscream to activate their self-destruct protocols, Prowl and Jazz used Processor Over Matter to reassemble the AllSpark, hoping to use its power to contain the explosion. However, they would only be able to make it half way, as Prowl decides to use his own spark to complete it, sacrificing himself and dying in the process. The completed AllSpark is later seen around Optimus' neck, in a container resembling that of the Matrix of Leadership. In addition, Starscream mentions "The Well of All Sparks" in one episode, implying that the afterlife from Beast Machines still exists in this continuity.

Transformers: Prime[edit]

In Transformers: Exodus, Protoforms are the robot modes of Transformer's and the AllSpark resides in the "Well of All Sparks" on Cybertron, where it carried out the will of Primus by creating every Cybertronian life. When the Autobot/Decepticon war erupted, however, the AllSpark briefly ceased to produce life in a seeming act of divine rebellion, only to apparently change its mind and create one final generation — including Bumblebee—who entirely joined the Autobots. As the Decepticons besieged Iacon, Optimus Prime made the decision to eject the AllSpark into space. After the war had drained Cybertron of energon, forcing the Autobots and Decepticons to depart the planet, the Autobot Ark emerged from the space bridge to an unknown spiral galaxy, and detected the energy of the AllSpark nearby.

In Transformers: Prime, the Autobots and the Decepticons are in a race to retrieve deposits of Energon from Earth. Energon is used as a power source and as ammunition. Energon is also revealed to be unsafe for humans. Energon itself is made from the essence of Primus. It is also revealed that the reason the Energon deposits are on Earth in the first place is because they were hidden away on Earth and other planets during the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons on Cybertron. A darker version of Energon called Dark Energon (also known as the Blood of Unicron) is also known to exist. Megatron is the only major user of Dark Energon. The power can bring dead Cybertronians back to life as zombie-like Terrorcons. Dark Energon can also strengthen a Transformer like it did with Megatron. It is revealed at the end of season one that Earth's mantle is really made of Dark Energon. In "Flying Mind," Megatron used Dark Energon to automatically heal the Nemesis. A side effect of this awakened the Nemesis' dormant personality, Trypticon, and use its stasis guns to freeze the Autobots and Decepticons. Once the Dark Energon was drained from the Nemesis by Jack, Miko, and Raf, the Nemesis' artificial intelligence went dormant. In "Alpha: Omega," Megatron exhumed the arm of a Prime and used the Forge of Solus Prime to forge a shard of Dark Energon into the Dark Star Saber.

In "T.M.I." and "Stronger, Faster", it was at one point indicated that a synthetic version of Energon existed. The formula for creating Synthetic Energon was partially recovered, and an attempt to produce it was made by Ratchet. However, it proved to have detrimental effects on his mental state even while it enhanced his physical capabilities. Ratchet stated he would continue in his attempts to produce a stable, non-harmful version of it, but no further references have been made to his attempts. The selfsame episode also indicated that Decepticon medic Knock Out may have gotten a hold of a sample of the Synthetic Energon substance. He managed to replicate in "Thrist" where he tested it on Cylas, whose mental stability decreased. After Starscream's disastrous attempt to mix Synthetic Energon with Dark Energon, Megatron ordered Knock Out to hand over his work to Shockwave. In "Evolution" and "Minus One" the Decepticons discovered that after being mixed with CNA of the Predacons, the Synthetic Energon formed pure cyber matter, the same material that was used to create the Darkmount fortress. Megatron decided to use this information to rebuild the Omega Lock and in order to stabilize the Synthetic Energon formula he decided to capture Ratchet and force him to complete the formula. In "Synthesis" Ratchet manages to do that thanks to the Decepticon technology.

A type of Energon called Tox-En debuted in "Toxicity." It is a poisonous version of Energon, for which prolonged exposure is lethal to all Cybertronians. Megatron once used a refined version to decimate an army of Autobots. A container that was filled with Tox-En was among the artifacts from the Vault of Iacon, which was found somewhere in the Equator. Another type of Energon called Red Energon debuted in "New Recruit." It is a type of Energon which can give the user hyper-speed. After being dug up by humans, Starscream managed to claim a sample of Red Energon during a fight against the Autobots.

The Allspark itself appears in Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising, and is the source from which all Cybertronian life is generated. During the war for Cybertron, Alpha Trion created an indestructible container to hold the Allspark, which was a vessel of pure energy, and was sent by Optimus to the deadliest star system imaginable: Theta Scorpia, to protect it from Megatron. Optimus Prime ends up retrieving it from the star system and bringing it back to Cybertron. When Unicron attempts to destroy it, Optimus uses the empty container to capture Unicron's energy form, freeing Megatron (whom he had possessed) from his evil and defeating the dark god once and for all. Optimus then explains to his comrades that he placed the Allspark within the Matrix of Leadership and must sacrifice himself to restore it to Cybertron's ability to create life as his own Spark is now merged with it. After a fond farewell, Optimus flies into the planet's core and becomes one with Primus and the Allspark, allowing it to restart life on Cybertron. Among the new sparks it releases, Optimus' spark is seen one last time as he tells them not to mourn him, calling it merely another transformation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Transformers: Beast Machines Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (1999-07-21)". Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  2. ^ "Transformers: Beast Machines Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (1999-11-06)". Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  3. ^ Transformers: more than meets the ear. Japan Times; September 19, 2007
  4. ^ Bellomo, Mark (2010). Totally Tubular '80s. Krause Publications. p. 115. ISBN 1-4402-1282-1. 
  5. ^ Transformers and Philosophy by John R. Shook, Liz Stillwaggon Swan, 2009
  6. ^ Episode 7, Fallen Comrades, air date September 30, 1996
  7. ^ Episode 28, Coming of the Fuzors, Part 1, air date November 2, 1997
  8. ^ Episode 36, Transmutate, air date March 10, 1998
  9. ^ Beast Wars: The Gathering #1-4 (February - May 2006)
  10. ^ Transformers: the fantasy, the fun, the future, Erin Brereton - 2006
  11. ^ Episode 14, Decepticons, air date September 22, 2001
  12. ^ http://movies.ign.com/articles/117/1177006p1.html

External links[edit]