Matrix of Leadership
|Matrix of Leadership|
Concept art of Prima, a member of the original thirteen Primes, with the Matrix in the handle of his sword designed by artist Ken Christiansen.
|Plot element from the Transformers franchise|
|Publisher||Marvel Comics (introduction only)|
|First appearance||Transformers issue #10 (November 1985)|
|Created by||Bob Budiansky|
|Type||A program or an oval-shaped container, holding a glowing crystal within.|
|Function||Transfers leadership of the Autobots to the recipient.|
The Matrix of Leadership (originally called the Creation Matrix) is a fictional artifact in the Transformers toy and media franchise created by Hasbro. In most incarnations, it is a legendary talisman that is passed down to new leaders of the Autobots, the franchise's main protagonists. The Matrix has been one of the transformers franchise's most prominent elements, appearing in almost every Transformers comic and television series, as well as the live-action film series.
- 1 Comics
- 2 Animated series
- 3 Books
- 4 Video games
- 5 Live-action film series
- 6 Primes and Matrix holders
- 7 Other Matrix-related objects
- 8 Matrix toys
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The first appearance of the Creation Matrix, later also known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, was in Marvel's Transformers comics, where the Matrix's first appearance pre-dated its cartoon appearance by over a year. The Creation Matrix was first described as a computer program in Optimus Prime's mind, required to bestow life on newly created Transformers, considered the inspiration for the All Spark Cube in the 2007 Transformers live action film. Prime was captured by the Decepticon leader, Shockwave, his head separated from his body, and the Matrix program used to bring the Constructicons to life. Before Shockwave could animate Jetfire, however, Prime transferred the Creation Matrix to the mind of Buster Witwicky, who used it to take control of Jetfire and rescue Prime.
During the UK-only story 'Crisis of Command', Prowl advocated exploiting the Creation Matrix to animate dedicated war machines. Optimus Prime was opposed to this ethically questionable move, and decisively ruled against it after a period of fierce debate amongst the Autobots. The Decepticons were able to tap the energy of the Matrix to create the Stunticons and Combaticons when Prime used it to give life to the Aerialbots and Protectobots, but Prime's subsequent destruction left all assuming that the Matrix had been destroyed.
However, this was not so. When Prime was resurrected as a Powermaster, he revealed the truth - the Matrix was actually a physical object, stored within his chest cavity, which the Autobots had unwittingly lost when Prime's body had been blasted into space. Shockwave had merely tapped residual energy from his head. Thus began a Matrix Quest to recover the talisman - but the Autobots had no idea what was waiting for them. The Creation Matrix had retained an imprint of each of its former holders, giving it a rudimentary sentience that had, during its exile in space, come to question the nature of evil. Recovered by the Decepticon, Thunderwing, who also had a Matrix affinity, the Matrix itself became tainted with evil and took control of Thunderwing, attacking the Autobots, and forcing them to jettison it into the depths of space once more.
The true nature of the Creation Matrix then became apparent as the threat of Unicron bore down upon Cybertron. The Matrix was a fragment of Primus, the Transformers' deity, responsible for the creation of their race. Encoding a portion of his lifeforce as a genetic matrix, set in light patterns within a crystal, Primus had given his children a means of creating new life, as he had created them. Amidst the Unicron crisis, Thunderwing returned, but was destroyed by Unicron, allowing Optimus Prime to purify the Matrix and destroy Unicron himself.
Subsequently, Megatron stole the Matrix from Prime in order to animate a new legion of troops for himself, only to have Starscream steal it in turn, and use it to merge himself with the Decepticons' battleship, the Warworld. Rather than fall prey to evil, however, the Matrix's overwhelming goodness began to affect Starscream, and he relinquished the power rather than have his personality altered. Prime was then able to use this goodness to purify the Swarm, a dark byproduct of Transformer reproduction.
Devil's Due Publishing
In the third volume of the Devil's due comics the android Serpentor downloaded information on the history of Cybertron from Soundwave. Mentioned among that information was the Quintessons, Alpha Trion, Megatron and Soundwave, the planet of Junk, a warrior named Optimus Primal and the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Serpentor decides to take the Matrix for himself in order to gain something close to a spark or a soul.
The Matrix of Leadership first appeared in the animated Transformers series in The Transformers: The Movie, when a dying Optimus Prime passed it to Ultra Magnus. Prime was the seventh holder of the Matrix - after the death of the sixth holder, Alpha Trion briefly kept the Matrix safe before bestowing it upon Optimus. Before passing away, Prime spoke of a prophecy – one day, "The Chosen One" would rise from the ranks of the Autobots and use the power of the Matrix to light the Transformers' darkest hour. That darkest hour soon came upon Cybertron in the form of the world-eater, Unicron, who knew that the Matrix's power was the one thing that could destroy him. Recreating Decepticon leader Megatron as Galvatron, he dispatched him to destroy Ultra Magnus and the Matrix, but when Galvatron obtained the talisman, he tried and failed to use its power against Unicron. Ultimately, the Chosen One who could open the Matrix proved to be the youthful Hot Rod, who reclaimed the Matrix and was reformatted by its power into Rodimus Prime, before opening it within Unicron and releasing its power, which tore Unicron apart from within.
As the animated series progressed, more was divulged about the nature of the Matrix that had not been explained in the movie. When injured in battle, Rodimus' consciousness briefly entered the Matrix itself, and he discovered that it was more than a mere source of energy - it, in fact, contained the amassed wisdom of deceased Autobot leaders throughout history (this was previously hinted at in The Transformers: The Movie when Hot Rod heard the voice of Optimus Prime as the Matrix turned him into Rodimus Prime, and even before that during Optimus's death scene when Optimus told those present not to grieve because "Soon I will be one with the Matrix."). Venturing into the Matrix a second time, Rodimus was shown the history of Cybertron by the ancient Autobots whose consciousnesses existed within the Matrix, revealing to him the Quintessons' role in the creation of the Transformers. When he was resurrected, Optimus Prime later did the same thing when faced with the Hate Plague, and came to a drastic conclusion - to cure the madness of the plague, he expelled all of the wisdom from within the Matrix, saving the universe, but emptying the Matrix and leaving only a shell.
The Matrix's story subsequently branched off in two directions following this, as America and Japan took the story in their own unique directions. In the US finale, "The Rebirth", Optimus Prime used the shell of the Matrix as a substitute key to access Vector Sigma. Conversely, in Japan - where the Matrix is treated simply as a reservoir of pure energy - the shell was left hidden on Earth to slowly recharge its depleted energy. However, the emptying of the Matrix had disestablished Vector Sigma, leading the Autobots to search for its location before Optimus Prime sacrificed himself to restore the computer's balance. The ghost of Alpha Trion re-energized the Matrix, but Optimus Prime merged with Vector Sigma to stabilize it, and Rodimus Prime was again left in charge of the Autobots.
No origin was ever offered for the Matrix of Leadership in the animated continuity, but it was vaguely hinted that it was in some way connected to the origins of Unicron, perhaps to explain why it was his antithesis. Unicron was created by the insane genius, Primacron, but turned on him. After Unicron's attack against his master, Primacron's assistant was shown to flee, and from his damaged robotic body, an object that appeared to be the Matrix emerged. If this truly was intended to be the Matrix, how the Transformers obtained it was never revealed.
In the 1990s animated series, Beast Wars and Beast Machines, the nature of the Matrix was explored and evolved. These series used "The Matrix" as a term that referred not merely to the physical object, but to an actual other-dimensional realm — the Transformer afterlife also called the Matrix, the well of all sparks that are, have been, or ever shall be (hence the name "All Spark" used in the 2007 live action movie). From the Matrix springs all Transformer life, and when a Transformer dies, their spark returns to the Matrix, sharing its life experience with the collective, creating a huge store of accumulated wisdom and knowledge. Understanding this, it can be retroactively assumed that the physical Matrix object wielded by Autobot leaders in the cartoon continuity is not simply a storehouse of knowledge itself, but rather, a gateway to this afterlife realm. Similarly, this also explains its ability to bestow life as seen in the comic book continuity — by transferring a spark from the Matrix through its connection to the realm.
The Matrix was also used as a nickname in the Beast Wars series for the facility which produced Maximal protoforms. The Matrix also appeared when Optimus Primal merged his spark with that of the original Optimus Prime, but this Matrix was incorrectly shown to be Prime's actual spark. The Matrix was instead implied by Rhinox to be a part of Prime's actual spark ("That Spark has the Matrix with it!"). Though a conclusion to this error is considered that while in stasis lock, Prime's extensive life energy is connected to the Matrix. A similar effect which happened to Rodimus Prime of the G1 series where after he was severely damaged had gone into stasis, and though alive, appeared to exhibit no traces of life in his body since his spark was connected to the Matrix. However, BotCon exclusive comic "Primeval Dawn, Part 1" states that the thing held by Optimus Primal is just a Matrix-shaped Spark chamber, the real Matrix is actually concealed in a compartment beneath the Spark chamber.
Robots in Disguise
In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the Autobots are the main race on Cybertron, and fought in a series of Cybertronian Civil Wars against their enemies, the Predacons. The Allspark, Vector Sigma, chooses which Autobot is to be granted the Matrix and thus the position of commander-in-chief. The Autobots were already on Earth when the Predacons arrived, having taken the form of Earth vehicles to work as camouflage and established a global space bridge network and a central base monitoring the entire planet. In the original Car Robots series, there is not one singular Matrix, but multiple ones, each held by high-ranking Autobot commanders. Magnus already possesses a Matrix, and simply seeks to steal the power of Fire Convoy's to increase his own, with the overspill of energy resulting in the supercharging of the Autobot Brothers.
The Optimus Prime of the alternate universe of Transformers: Armada also possesses a Matrix (Much like the original Matrix, it serves as the symbol of the Autobot Commander). Prime is indeed a title given to leaders and Matrix-bearers in the Unicron Trilogy, as evidenced by both Vector Prime and Optimus Prime, but no other Primes are ever named. In Galaxy Force, Override (Nitro Convoy), Scourge (Flame Convoy), Evac (Live Convoy), and Metroplex (Megalo Convoy) all hold the title of Convoy as leaders of their respective planets, but this scheme does not carry over into the western translation, and so the Prime appellation does not apply. Likewise, in Super Link, the Japanese version of Energon, Rodimus is known as "Rodimus Convoy", hearkening back to the name of his G1 predecessor. But again, this does not follow through in Hasbro's materials. Interestingly, Vector Prime is not known as Vector Convoy in Japan, but Vector Prime, while Optimus maintains the traditional Convoy title as Galaxy Convoy.
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.
The Matrix appears a number of times in Transformers: Prime. In the first season finale, it is mentioned that Optimus carries the Matrix within himself, and it carries the wisdom of the Thirteen Primes who preceded him. Optimus unleashed the power of the Matrix into Unicron's spark after it was discovered that the Chaos Bringer was the planet Earth. However, in doing so, not only did he lose the collective wisdom of the Primes, but lost his own memories as a Prime, thus causing Optimus to believe he was still Orion Pax, his previous identity. However, before departing to Earth's core, Optimus entrusted the Key to Vector Sigma to Jack Darby, a means to restore his memories as well as the Matrix, as Vector Sigma contained not only the memories of Optimus, but those of any and all holders of the Matrix, which in this continuity appears to be only the original thirteen Primes and Optimus himself. The Key was then used to recharge the Matrix as well as restoring Optimus' memories during the three part season two premiere.
In the premiere episodes of the third season, when Optimus is dying after the destruction of the Autobot base, he states to Smokescreen that the Matrix chose him. When Optimus died briefly, his chest opened and revealed the Matrix of Leadership to Smokescreen, but instead of taking it, Smokescreen revived Optimus with the Forge of Solus Prime, making him a new more powerful body. The Matrix remained with Optimus until the events of the movie Predacons Rising, when, in a desperate bid to save the AllSpark from Unicron, he used the Matrix as its new container. As a result, Optimus and the Matrix became one with the AllSpark, and both were sacrificed into the core of Cybertron in order to create the chance for new life to be born from the Well of AllSparks.
Set with in the same universe as Transformers: Prime, it's younger-sister series Transformers: Rescue Bots (the two shows aired concurrently), would occasionally featured Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. In the episode "Odd Bot Out', Optimus located the Liquefier, an Iacon relic that was threatening Griffin Rock, and used the Matrix to shut it down.
In Transformers: Exodus, the Matrix is mentioned to have been the jewel in the hilt of Prima's Star Saber. Optimus Prime would later receive the Matrix from the Core of Cybetron during the Great War. When the Autobots traveled into space, the Matrix served to guide the Autobots on their journey to find the AllSpark as recorded in Transformers: Exiles, as well as serving to witness to other Transformers of Optimus' status as a Prime. In Transformers: Retribution, the Quintessons used a copy of the Matrix to trick Optimus into traveling to the planet Aquatron and launching their invasion of Cybertron. However, this would later backfire on them, as Megatron seized this Matrix and control of their Sharkticon army before losing it to General Tyrannicon, who perished shortly thereafter.
In Transformers: War for Cybertron, when he reaches the core of Cybertron, Optimus Prime is given a portion of the core's spark in the form of the Matrix of Leadership. He is told that as long as the Matrix survives, so will the core of Cybertron. In this continuity the purpose of the Matrix of Leadership is to restart the computer core of Cybertron after it completes a purge and healing process to rid itself of dark energon, a process which requires it to shut down for millions of years. This event triggers the exodus of Transformers to leave Cybertron, presumably as no energon is being produced by the deactivated planet. In effect, the Transformers face a planet wide famine and will starve to death if they stay. This makes Optimus Prime the first Prime of Cybertron to ever possess the Matrix of Leadership. It is not yet a traditional badge of office for the Prime. The Prime immediately before Optimus, Zeta Prime, never carried the Matrix of Leadership as it had not yet existed, and the planet is populated by Transformers who existed before the Matrix of Leadership.
Live-action film series
The Matrix of Leadership also appears in the Transformers film sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It is introduced into the film when the Fallen uses it to activate the Sun Harvester hidden in Cairo, Egypt. The original Primes had hidden it there, sacrificing their own lives to protect humanity from the power of the Harvester. The appearance of the Matrix is similar to that of the original G1 appearance, but the "handle-bar" is more triangular and is striped. A small energy ball is encased by a netted metal cage (spherical) in the middle. Sam Witwicky, joined by Mikaela Banes, Leo Spitz, Seymour Simmons, Skids, Mudflap, and Bumblebee, search through a temple for the Matrix and find it surrounded by the bodies of the original Primes. When he holds it in his hands, it turns to sand and he later discovers it has to be earned and not given. It is earned by Sam's sacrifice for Prime, and is used to revive Optimus Prime after the attacks of Megatron and his minions. It is then stolen by the Fallen and used to power the Sun Harvester, but is apparently recovered after the Fallen's death and the destruction of the Harvester. In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Optimus Prime uses the Matrix to revive Sentinel Prime. He then offers it to Sentinel, but he refuses. It is unknown if Optimus still has the Matrix, for it was never seen in Age of Extinction.
Primes and Matrix holders
The title of "Prime" is usually given to the leader of the Autobots and bearer of the Matrix of Leadership though there are a few exceptions, the most notable of these was in Transformers Animated, where Prime was not a title, but a commanding rank amongst the Autobots, as indicated by Optimus to Sentinel, and second only to that of Magnus. In Japanese translations of Western Transformers fiction, as well as original Japanese fiction such as Beast Wars II, the equivalent to the Prime rank is Convoy. For example, "Rodimus Prime" would translate as "Rodimus Convoy" in Japanese, while "Lio Convoy" would translate as "Leo Prime" in English.
In the fictional narrative of the Transformers universe, the Prime linage began with the Thirteen Original Transformers created when the universe began by Primus to aid him in his battle against Unicron. They went on to become the foundation of life on Cybertron. The story concept of the Original Thirteen, as well as three of their members (Prima, Liege Maximo and The Fallen), were created by comic book writer Simon Furman. The evidence for "Prime" being a rank in the original comic and cartoon is weaker than elsewhere, but the case can still be made. The comic would introduce the "Creation Matrix" and portray "Prime" as a religious title, while the cartoons' "Matrix of Leadership" was held by Prime as a military title. Though many Matrix-Bearers are seen, and all are by definition Autobot Leaders, only four are ever named on screen: Alpha Trion, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, and Rodimus Prime. Without knowing any other names it is hard to make a concrete case here for "Prime" being a title given only to Matrix-Bearers. Two decades later, the All-Spark Almaniac, revealed the names of all the "Prime's" seen in this continuity: Primon, Prima, Prime Nova, Guardian Prime, Zeta Prime, Sentinel Prime, Alpha Trion, Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, and Rodimus Prime.
In the live action film, the Dynasty of Primes are the first wielders of the Matrix and used it to power a Sun Harvester. After learning that Earth contained intelligent life, they refused to use it and The Fallen fought them over it. He was too powerful for them so they stole it and sacrificed themselves to hide it. Sam Witwicky found it but it crumbled to dust in his hands. However, in a vision, the Dynasty gave it to him to wield as he proved worthy of it, telling him that the Matrix is something that must be earned not found. He used it to revive Optimus, but The Fallen took it before it completely healed Optimus. Used to power the Sun Harvester, it survived and was given back to Optimus after he destroyed the harvester.
In the "Aligned Continuity" (which includes the video games Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, their tie-in novels Exodus, Exiles and Retribution, and the television series Transformers: Prime), the Prime rank is similar to its portrayal in the original series. "Prime" is the name given to the leader of the Autobots and holder of the Matrix of Leadership, which is passed down to a successor at the end of the current Prime's reign. characters shown to be part of the Prime lineage in this continuity include Optimus Prime and Sentinel Zeta Prime (referred to as "Sentinel Prime" in the novels and "Zeta Prime" in the video games).
Although the Creation Matrix is the one single force forged from Primus with the ultimate power to bestow life and destroy Unicron, there have been other Lesser Matrices of Leaderships forged. These Matrices were forged from the Vector Sigma and bestowed to a select few including: Lio Convoy, Big Convoy and Fire Convoy.
In Japanese continuity, Optimus Primal is depicted as bearing one of these Matrices, which is in conflict with the American series, in which he did not possess one (as he was merely a scientific explorer and starship captain of no notable standing). These Matrices mimic the abilities of the original Creation Matrix. In the Transformers: Zone OVA and Battlestars: Return of Convoy, the planetary Zodiac, also known as Zone Energy, replaces the original Autobot Matrix of Leadership as a means of repairing, reformatting, and/or reviving Transformers. According to the extended biography given in the Transformers Collectors Club magazine for 10th Anniversary Optimus Primal, he carries the Matrix of Purification, which can be used to cure the sick, and be used to "ease the strain of Unicron's corruption from Cybertronians".
In Beast Wars Second, Lio Convoy used his Matrix to create Lio Junior. These Lesser Matrices can also power up their hosts. In order to defeat the titanic Destron known as Majin Zarak, Lio Convoy tapped into the power of his Matrix and was powered-up to Flash Lio Convoy, while Optimus Primal tapped into the power of his Matrix and became Burning Convoy. Together their Matrices formed the powerful Matrix Buster attack which defeated Majin Zarak. Lio Convoy later combined the power of his Matrix with that of Big Convoy's Matrix (which was used to power-up his Big Cannon) to defeat Unicron.
In Transformers: Car Robots, also known as Transformers: Robots In Disguise in Western countries, God Fire Convoy (also known as Omega Prime) was powered by Fire Convoy's (also known as Optimus Prime's) personal Matrix, which also augmented itself with the God Sword forged by Brave Maximus, also known as Fortress Maximus and used it to defeat Devil Gigatron (also known as Galvatron). Not all Lesser Matrices are good. Like Primus, Unicron also forged some Matrices which were used to manipulate certain Transformers to his dark designs. Unicron was able to control the Predacon known as Galvatron through the Galvamatrix, as well as the Predacon Overlord Shokoract, through the Matrix of Conquest which housed Unicron's Dark Essence itself.
During the Transformers: Generation 2 toyline, Optimus Prime received multiple toy forms in a relatively short period of time, and to explain these numerous bodies, the tech spec of his "Go-Bot" incarnation, credited an internal "Reconfiguration Matrix" with the change (similarly, the original Matrix is credited with reformatting Prime from his "Hero" body into his "Laser" body in the Japanese G2 manga). The Reconfiguration Matrix has subsequently been credited with the reformatting of Ironhide into his Transformers: Timelines body represented by the toy available exclusively at BotCon 2005, and with the rebirth of Ultra Magnus and the creation of his new body represented by the 2006 eHobby exclusive "Laser Ultra Magnus" toy. Where exactly this internal Reconfiguration Matrix comes from is still a mystery, but a few long-time Transformers fans have speculated that it was somehow derived from the planetary Zodiac (Zone Energy) in the Transformers: Zone and Battlestars storylines.
Matrix of Conquest
The 1998 to 2000 BotCon story would introduce Decepticon Matrix of Conquest, a container created by Shokaract to hold the life force of Unicron. Shokaract, discovering the Chaos Bringer's presence on prehistoric Earth, in the time of the Beast Wars, Hunter (Shokaract's identity at the time) created a container similar to the Matrix of Leadership to hold Unicron's life force so he could carry it around to grant him power. The name is a direct mockery of the Matrix of Leadership, since that object was responsible for Unicron's destruction. It granted Shokaract many of Unicron's powers, including reality manipulation, but was erased from history when the Covenant of Primus united their Sparks to sever Shokaract's hold on the past version of Unicron's life force, allowing it to slip back into the timestream and thus erase Shokaract.
The Matrix of Conquest reappears in Beast Wars: The Ascending, except that Shokaract is being used to revive Unicron in a similar fashion to Galvatron in Beast Wars Neo, and is unaware that he is intended to be Unicron's new host. After harvesting large amounts of Angolmois energy, Shokaract ends up confronting several Maximals and Predacons using the Matrix's power, including Big Convoy, before being transported outside of time, where he meets the similarly displaced Predacon leader Magmatron. Upon learning of Unicron's intentions for him by viewing the future that will result, Shokaract refuses to be a party to it, and rips the Matrix of Conquest from his body, killing himself and restoring Magmatron to the proper flow of time. Whether or not the Matrix of Conquest was destroyed by this act or ended up trapped in the dimension outside time is unknown.
Exclusive to the Transformers: Universe storyline, the Dead Matrix was a version of the Matrix of Leadership that had been corrupted by Unicron after being stolen from one dimension's version of Optimus Prime. Defeated by Megazarak, this Optimus was tortured by Unicron and driven insane, eventually recreated as Nemesis Prime. Accompanied by Ramjet, Nemesis Prime infiltrated the Spark Chamber of Primus on Cybertron, the Champion of Unicron planning to drain Primus' Spark with the Dead Matrix and use it to resurrect Unicron. While their efforts were not completed due to the efforts of Vector Prime, Sentinel Maximus, Alpha Trion, and the timely arrival of Omega Prime, the Dead Matrix still managed to absorb some of Primus' energy. Recovered by Soundwave, the Dead Matrix was flung into the black hole created by Unicron's destruction resulting in Unicron being reborn.
The 2014 video game Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark introduces the Dark Spark, a dark relic that was said to be the equal but opposite force to the Matrix of Leadership. Whilst the Matrix granted wisdom, its antithesis allowed its user to bend the fabric of the universe and its inhabitants to its will. It also apparently has the ability to travel between universes. The Dark Spark's creation was debated by ancient Transformers such as the Patterners and the Disciples of the Thirteen. One group claimed that it was the Spark of Unicron himself while the other saw it as the ejected corruption from the Well of All Sparks. After witnessing its dark power, the Crystal Guardians from Crystal City decided that this artifact needed to remain hidden forever and thus placed it within an underground vault protected by some of their warriors. In the aftermath, the Dark Spark was considered a myth.
In the Great War, Megatron came to believe in its existence and dispatched Shockwave, Soundwave and Starscream to find it. This led these Decepticons into the underground levels of Cybertron where they fought Insecticons and the Guardians and before arriving at the vault containing the relic. After they disabled the security system, they returned to the vault to find that Sideswipe and Ironhide had been following them. The two Autobots trapped the Decepticons in the vault and fought their way through a horde of Insecticons to bring Optimus Prime the relic at an old train station. Despite Starscream's attempt to stop them, they departed for Iacon on a train only for Soundwave to detonate a bomb he had hidden on the track. Optimus tried to fool the Decepticons into thinking that he had the Dark Spark but Sharpshot saw through the ruse and deduced Ironhide was carrying it. After Sharpshot defeated Ironhide, Shockwave seized the relic and proceeded to Kaon with it receiving back up in the form of the Combaticons. At the gates of Kaon, Shockwave managed to enter with the Dark Spark by having Bruticus take Cliffjumper prisoner.
Megatron inserted the Dark Spark into his chest, mirroring the way Optimus held the Matrix. Shockwave designed an experiment, with Cliffjumper as one of the test subjects, with the Dark Spark that would remove an Autobot's will to fight. Cliffjumper escaped with the help of Optimus and Jazz before this could bear fruit and Optimus Prime came to the lab where Shockwave and Megatron were. Megatron displayed here that the Dark Spark had some connection to Dark Energon and was able to use it to resurrect dead Autobots. Despite Megatron using Autobot Terrorcons as an army against Prime, Optimus bested Megatron in combat. Enraged, Megatron swore to rip the Matrix from Prime who responded by unleashing its power on the Decepticon leader. Megatron tried to counter with the Dark Spark only to bested and knocked unconscious. The Dark Spark was blasted into another universe.
In the Transformers: Age of Extinction universe, the Dark Spark was glimpsed by Lockdown who made it his prize. He was able to retrieve from the impact site despite resistance from Optimus Prime and placed it in his chest. Prime explained to Drift and Bumblebee exactly what the Dark Spark was explaining he knew of it through the Matrix. Lockdown schemed to use the Dark Spark's abilities to return to the height of the war on Cybertron and bring the war into the present day. Through this he would be extremely well paid by Megatron once again and he planned to continually interfere with the war temporally so he could always have a steady flow of income. He was eventually confronted by Prime who bested him in combat allowing Drift to remove the Dark Spark from the bounty hunter's chest. Prime used the Matrix to send the Dark Spark through time and space. Arriving in the Transformers: Generation 1 universe, the Dark Spark appeared as a purple comet and was witnessed by Optimus Prime who had hoped the day would never come when he would have to face it.
- Lio Convoy (1998): Although his Matrix was not detachable, Leo Prime was the first Transformer toy to come with a Matrix, though technically it is an Energon Matrix. The Matrix was part of the chest sculpt, located inside a left chest panel. The figure was released in international markets by Hasbro in 2008 under the name Leo Prime.
- Big Convoy (1999): The first Transformer to come with a Matrix that was detachable. Its handle design allowed Big Convoy to hold the Matrix, although it meant altering the handle from its more orthodox shape.
- Transformers: Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime (2000): Like Lio Convoy, the RiD incarnation of Optimus Prime's (Super Fire Convoy in Japan) Matrix was a permanent fixture inside a chest panel. Looking little like the standard Matrix design, this feature was treated simply as a power cable port in the animated series.
- "Matrix Glow" Ultra Magnus (2001): The "Matrix Glow" recolor of G1 Ultra Magnus, mostly cast in translucent yellow, was released in 2001 as an homage to the scene from the animated movie when the Matrix passes to Ultra Magnus and for a brief moment he is bathed in its yellow light. This occurs shortly before Optimus Prime's death. The toy does not actually include a Matrix.
- Convoy/Optimus Prime (late 2001 New Year Special Re-issue): Made of solid die-cast metal, this Matrix was designed to fit inside the chest cavity/seats of the original Optimus Prime/Convoy toy. It also came with a chain so that collectors could wear the Matrix as a neckpiece. Although this Matrix was sculpted to look just like the original Matrix, the design of Optimus Prime's fists meant that he was unable to hold it.
- Transformers: Armada Optimus Prime (2002): The Leader-class Optimus Prime figure from this toyline featured a non-removable Matrix sculpted inside his chest. Notably, the smaller, Supercon size-class version of the figure did not.
- 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime/Masterpiece Convoy (2003–2004): The Matrix included with this figure is both removable, and can be held by Optimus Prime, due to his individually articulated fingers. This is the first Matrix that can also actually open, and can be made to glow in its traditional blue color via an LED inside Optimus Prime's chest cavity. The Matrix was also included in the Japanese-only Masterpiece Ultra Magnus redeco of the toy, as well as other redecos of Convoy (Perfect Edition, Black Edition, Sleep Edition). Like the Matrix of Cybertron Prime, this too can fit in the chest of the original Optimus Prime.
- Transformers: Cybertron Optimus Prime (2005): The Transformers: Cybertron incarnation of the character (known as Galaxy Convoy in Japan) comes with a Matrix which can be stored inside the chest and removed, and can be held by the figure, somewhat awkwardly (his fingers are one solid section, but can move). Interestingly, the Matrix toy itself is perfectly sized to fit inside the cab of the original Optimus Prime toy and many fans have taken to storing it there. Prime's Planet Key also has a Matrix theme to its sculpt, although the gold accents are only available in the Japanese version of this toy.
- T.H.S.-01 Galaxy Convoy (2005): A beautifully sculpted Japanese exclusive miniature of Galaxy Force Galaxy Convoy (Cybertron Optimus Prime). The figure features an opening chest, as with the larger counterpart. The tiny Matrix which is revealed can be removed, although an electrical screwdriver or fine tweezers may be necessary! Unlike the Generation 1 version, this matrix has a yellow interior.
- T.H.S.-02 Convoy (2006): Essentially a small 4 inch tall version of Masterpiece Convoy, he too came with a removable Matrix, which cannot be opened. As with the T.H.S. line, he comes with a variety of hands for different functions. Two hands have slots in them to slip the handles of the Matrix into and it will allow him to hold it. It has weight and is made of die-caste metal.
- Revoltech Convoy (2006): Able to be held awkwardly but artfully in Convoy's left hand, this Matrix does not fit into his chest. Also, adhering to the comic-look roots, the Matrix has a small pale dot in the blue center giving it the feel of a glow and gloss.
- Galvatron (2005 re-issues): The Japanese-exclusive reissue of the Galvatron toy, recolored to match his cartoon appearance, includes a die-cast Matrix accessory. (The Matrix accessory used is the same mold as the one used in "New Year Special" Convoy, covered in gold chrome detailing.) Also included was a shorter version of the chain from the "New Year Special" Convoy version, this time to be worn by Galvatron, not the owner. Additionally, another version of the toy (in its original colors) exclusive to the eHobby website features the same accessory, painted in a vacuum-metalized green in reference to the comic book incarnation of the Matrix. Because of the thick gold and green coatings, Galvatron's version of the Matrix will not fit in an Optimus or Ultra Magnus chest cavity without paint wear between the Matrix's prongs or light filing down of the divider between Prime's truck cab seats.
- Matrix of Leadership Replica (2006): Sculpted by Robert Lee. This item was limited to 1,000 pieces and distributed by Diamond Select Toys in conjunction with Art Asylum. It came with a golden display stand with the Autobot symbol on the front and a replica of the Key to Vector Sigma. Using 3 AA batteries and the replica Key to Vector Sigma accessory (placed on the backside of the display stand), with the Matrix placed on it, it can change colors from blue to purple, to green, to red, and back again.
- Transformers: Hunt for the Decepticons Battle Blades Optimus Prime (2010): A Voyager Class figure of Optimus Prime from the 2009 film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. His chest holds a removable Matrix of Leadership.
- Transformers: Reveal the Shield G2 Laser Optimus Prime (2011): On this Deluxe Class figure, an imprint of the Matrix of Leadership appears behind his chest.
- Marvel (US) Comics, Transformers issue #10, page 2, panel 3
- Marvel (US) Comics, Transformers issue #5-6
- Marvel (US) Comics, Transformers issue #10
- Marvel (US) Comics, Transformers issue #6, page 10-11
- Marvel (US) Comics, Transformers issue #11, page 20, panel 1
- Marvel (US) Comics, Transformers issue #11, page 13-14
- "Transformers: The Movie". Indy Week. 2006-12-17. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- TFW2005.com - Voyager Class Battle Blades Optimus Prime Hi-Resolution Gallery