Transformers: Prime

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Transformers: Prime
Transformers Prime logo.jpg
Genre Action/Adventure
Science fiction
Based on Transformers by Hasbro
Developed by Roberto Orci
Alex Kurtzman
Duane Capizzi
Jeff Kline
Voices of Peter Cullen
Steve Blum
Frank Welker
Jeffrey Combs
Ernie Hudson
Josh Keaton
Sumalee Montano
Daran Norris
Nolan North
Kevin Michael Richardson
David Sobolov
Adam Baldwin
Clancy Brown
Tania Gunadi
Michael Ironside
Andy Pessoa
Markie Post
James Horan
Tony Todd
Gina Torres
John Noble
Peter Mensah
Opening theme "Transformers: Prime" by Brian Tyler
Ending theme "Transformers: Prime" by Brian Tyler
Composer(s) Brian Tyler
Matthew Margeson
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 65 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Alex Kurtzman
Roberto Orci
Jeff Kline
Stephen Davis
Running time 21–22 minutes
Production company(s) Digitalscape
K/O Paper Products
Darby Pop Productions
Hasbro Studios
Polygon Pictures
Original network The Hub / Hub Network
Original release November 29, 2010 (2010-11-29) – July 26, 2013 (2013-07-26)
Followed by Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015)
Related shows Transformers: Rescue Bots[1]

Transformers: Prime is an American computer-animated television series based on the Transformers toy franchise by Hasbro that aired on Hub Network from November 29, 2010 to July 26, 2013. The series was followed by a TV movie, Predacons Rising, which premiered on October 4, 2013 and concluded the show's story. Transformers: Prime focuses on the heroic Autobots that make up "Team Prime", which consists of Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Arcee, Bumblebee and Bulkhead. Throughout their battles, the Autobots are aided by three human children and with their help attempt to protect the Earth from the villainous Decepticons and their leader Megatron.

Development of the series began in early 2010 with the announcement that Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, screenwriters of the first two live-action films, would be creating the series. Casting began soon after with the announcement that Peter Cullen and Frank Welker would reprise their roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron. According to executive producer Jeff Kline, the two characters, along with Bumblebee, were considered "must-haves" for the series and from that point on, they tried to include characters that would contemplate their personalities "rather than emulate them". From the early stages of development, a story bible had been created so that the writer had a basic idea of where the plot was heading. Early in development, it was announced that the first season would consist of 26 episodes; the first five airing as a miniseries from November 29 to December 3, 2010; the rest episodes aired from February 11 to October 11, 2011. While the first season was still running, it was announced the show had been renewed for a second season, also consisting of 26 episodes.



Transformers Prime is set in the “Aligned” continuity, taking place after the video games and books – Transformers: Exodus, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Transformers: Exiles, and Transformers: Retribution.

The Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, operate from a former American military missile silo near Jasper, Nevada. The team, also known as Team Prime, initially consists of Optimus, Arcee, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, Ratchet, and Cliffjumper, who is killed in the five-part pilot “Darkness Rises”; and later, Wheeljack, Smokescreen, and Ultra Magnus. Knock Out, the Decepticons’ medical officer, later defects in the television movie finale Predacons Rising. The Autobots also have several human allies – Jack Darby, and later his mother, nurse June Darby, Japanese transfer student Miko Nakadai, computer prodigy Rafael Esquivel, and American government agent William Fowler.

The Decepticons, led by Megatron, operate from their warship, the Nemesis. Other members include Starscream, Soundwave and his minion Laserbeak, Knock Out, Breakdown, Airachnid, the Insecticon hive led by Hardshell, Dreadwing and his brother Skyquake, and Shockwave. Shockwave creates the series’ third Transformers faction, the Predacons, consisting of Predaking, Skylynx, and Darksteel.

Other antagonists in the series include Unicron, an evil, planet-eating Transformer, whose body serves as the Earth itself; and MECH, a human faction which wishes to create a new world order through cutting edge technology stolen from the Transformer's deceased.


In the season one pilot, “Darkness Rising”, Cliffjumper is murdered by Starscream, and his corpse used by Megatron to test the necromantic Dark Energon, to create an undead army from Cybertron’s fallen. The plan fails when the Autobots destroy Megatron’s space bridge, leaving him in a comatose state. He eventually recovers, taking back his leadership from the treacherous Starscream, who later defects to follow his own path. In the series finale, the Autobots and Megatron join forces to prevent the rise of Unicron. Optimus uses the Matrix of Leadership to knock Unicron back into hibernation, but in doing so, loses his memories and regain his pre-war personality of Orion Pax.

In season two, Megatron manipulates the amnesiac Optimus into decrypting the Iacon archives, which contain coordinates to Cybertronian relics hidden on Earth. Jack travels to Cybertron, obtaining Optimus’ memories from Vector Sigma, and restores them to Optimus. The season mostly is based around the hunt for the Iacon relics. Starscream obtains the four Omega Keys, which power the Omega Lock, a device which can reboot the dead Cybertron, and gives them to Megatron in return for clemency. Optimus destroys the Omega Lock, but not before Megatron uses its powers to create a new base, Darkmount, on Earth. The Decepticons then target and destroy the Autobot base, unaware the team escaped before hand using their ground bridge.

The third season, under the subtitle of “Beast Hunters”, begins with the reunification of Team Prime, introducing Ultra Magnus as Optimus’ second-in-command. The Autobots successfully destroy Darkmount. Shockwave arrives on Earth, planning to create an army of Predacons, starting with Predaking. But when Predaking shows intelligence, Megatron has Shockwave terminate his project, pinning its destruction upon the Autobots. Soundwave later kidnaps Ratchet, Megatron forcing him to rebuild the Omega Lock using synthetic Energon. Ratchet informs Predaking of the truth, and he defects. During the battle for the Omega Lock, Bumblebee is shot by Megatron, falling into the synthetic Energon. However, he survives, gaining a healed voice, and runs Megatron through with the Star Saber, killing the Decepticon leader. The Autobots use the Omega Lock to restore Cybertron and head home victorious.

The series ends with the television movie, Predacons Rising, where the Autobots and remaining Decepticons rebuild Cybertron. Unicron reanimates Megatron, possessing his body, planning to kill Cybertron, actually his brother Primus, using Dark Energon-infected Predacon corpses. Optimus and Wheeljack retrieve the AllSpark from deep space and return to aid their comrades. Optimus uses the AllSpark’s container to imprison Unicron’s spark. Megatron, disillusioned with the prospect of tyranny, disbands the Decepticons and leaves Cybertron. Optimus reveals he fused the Matrix of Leadership and the AllSpark into one, and must fuse with Primus’ core to restore life to Cybertron. Bidding farewell to his comrades, Optimus Prime flies into Cybertron’s core to begin a new era for the Transformers.

Cast and characters[edit]

Peter Cullen Arcee Bumblebee Kevin Michael Richardson Jeffrey Combs Wheeljack Nolan North Michael Ironside
Peter Cullen Laura Bailey Will Friedle Kevin Michael Richardson Jeffrey Combs James Horan Nolan North Michael Ironside
Optimus Prime Arcee Bumblebee Bulkhead Ratchet Wheeljack Smokescreen Ultra Magnus

The series stars Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), who acts as the leader of the Autobots. In his fight to protect the Earth, Optimus is aided by Ratchet (Jeffrey Combs), who acts as the teams medic and responsible for sending the team out on various locations using the Groundbridge. Bulkhead (Kevin Michael Richardson) acts as the teams muscle and heavy lifting. Arcee (Sumalee Montano) can transform into a motorcycle and is considered the team's most agile fighter. Rounding up the cast is Bumblebee (Will Friedle), who is the team's scout; Bumblebee remains voiceless throughout most of the series due to his voice box having been damaged and has to communicate through beeps.

During the first season, the Autobots encounted Wheeljack (James Horan), one of Bulkhead's fellow Wreckers. While initially appearing for one episode in season one, the character would play a more important role and join the team in the latter half of season two. During the same season, Smokescreen (Nolan North) also joins the team. During the final season, Ultra Magnus (Michael Ironside), who is Optimus' second-in-command, comes to Earth to aid him and the Autobots in defeating the Decepticons.

Frank Welker Steven Blum Daran Norris Adam Baldwin Gina Torres Tony Todd Peter Mensah
Frank Welker Steven Blum Daran Norris Adam Baldwin Gina Torres Tony Todd David Sobolov Peter Mensah
Megatron, Soundwave Starscream Knock Out Breakdown Airachnid Dreadwing Shockwave Predaking



Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, co-writers of Transformers and its sequel Revenge of the Fallen, were announced in early February to be helming a new Transformers series which would be CGI-animated.[2][3] The title of the series was first announced in February 2010 as Transformers: Prime on Jeffrey Combs' website. Combs also revealed that he would be voicing Ratchet and that the first season would consist of 26 episodes.[4] The series' logo was revealed on May 3, 2010.[5] Orci stated that one of the reasons he and Kurtzman decided to come back to the franchise is because when working on the live-action film, there were limitations on how much screentime the Transformers could appear on-screen and what type of actions they could perform, stating:

There were things we wanted to do in the movies that we just couldn't do and there were character arcs that we wanted to explore with the Transformers that we just couldn't do. We wanted to show more of their mythology and their past and their planet and just hang out with them. You just want to hang out with them! And in the movie, every time you did that, it was very special but it was extremely limited. So there was always another way into the paradigm of what we would have wanted to tell as Transformers stories and this was just a lucky accident that then we got an opportunity to pursue that inspiration - and then find something that obviously we never even thought of for the movies, because it becomes its own thing.[6]

On February 4, 2011, when the show's first season resumed airing, it was revealed that the show had been renewed for second season consisting of 26 episodes, similarly to the first.[7][8][6] The season started airing on February 18, 2012.[9] On March 1, 2013, it was revealed that the third season of Transformers: Prime, which premiered a few weeks later on March 22, would be the show's last.[10] During the same month, it was also announced that following the series finale, a TV movie called Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising would air and act as a conclusion to the story.[11] According to Hasbro Studios vice president Mike Vogel, "[they] knew, from day one, where [they] were going to try to wrap everything up".[12]


Regarding ideas on the show's themes and inspirations, Orci stated that while the live-action film series were "about a boy and his cars", the dynamic between the kids and robots in Prime was to be more similar to The Iron Giant.[13] In a similar statement, Josh Keaton (Jack Darby) revealed in a November 29, 2010 interview with The Trades that while the show does include main human characters, with their relationships with the Autobots being important, the Autobots are at the foreground.[14] According to Jeff Kline, from the beginning they had created a story bible of at least "three years worth of [storylines]" and that "the universal need to find or forge a family and a home" was one of the major themes when developing the series.[15]

According to Jeff Kline, from the early stages of development they wanted to the ensemble of characters small; this was done both for production reasons and to allow deeper characterization and development. The three characters that were considered "must-haves" for the series were Optimus Prime, Megatron and Bumblebee. From that point on, they tried to include Autobots and Decepticons that contemplated those characters' personalities, "rather than duplicate them".[16]

Regarding Arcee inclusion in the main cast, Orci stated that he regretted killing her of in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and that Prime gave them "a chance to do what [they]’ve always wanted to do with her".[17] According the Jeff Kline, the staff wanted to include more Decepticons than Autobots in the series, so that the Autobots would always be at a disatvantage and "make their job that much harder." Additionally, when asked about the death of Cliffjumper and further characters in the series, he said that "when [they] kill a character, [they stay dead]."[18]

In an interview with MTV, Frank Welker (Megatron), when comparing Prime to the original cartoon, said that the writers "go deeper into the evil side of [Megatron] and what’s driving him."[19] In a different interview, Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) said that "the writing is consistent with that of the original series, though in this new version [...] he has a lot more communication with earthlings, and so he tries to be a little more Earthlike".[20]

During New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2011, numerous details regarding season two were revealed. Regarding Optimus' memory loss and joining the Decepticons, Duane Capizzi said that they wanted to satisfy fans' expecations "but take it in unexpected directions. What happens will be pretty unexpected, but pretty organic." On the revelation that Unicron was sealed inside the Earth's core, Kline said that "[they] knew" they had to include him in the series but were initially unsure how. After a writer made the suggestion, they realized Unicron could be included in a way that tied Earth to Cybertron. He also reaffirmed his comment regarding death in the series, stating that "anyone can die" and revealed that "the body count has been upgraded" in season two.[21]

During NYCC 2012, it was revealed that the show would be retitled to Transformers: Prime – Beast Hunters for its third season. In Beast Hunters, the Predacons and Predaking are introduced.[22] By bringing Beasts into the show during the third season, Kline said that this allowed the to further emphasize how Earth and Cybertron are "brother, or twin, planets"; something they had earlier indicated with Unicron's arc in season one.[23] He called the addition of beasts "fantastic" as it allowed them to keep shifting allegiances and "keep the [Autobots and Decepticons] out of balance".[24]


The first voice actor to be cast in the series was Jeffrey Combs as Ratchet. Combs revealed this through his personal website on February 4, 2010.[4] On May 17, 2010 it was revealed that Peter Cullen, who had originated the role of Optimus Prime in the original series and voiced him in the live-action film series, would return as Optimus' voice in Prime.[25] During San Diego Comic Con on July 8, 2010, it was revealed that Frank Welker would also reprise his role as Megatron from the original series. Besides Optimus and Ratchet, further Autobots revealed were: Bumblebee, Arcee and Bulkhead. It was also revealed that Starscream and Soundwave would be part of the Decepticons.[26]

On September 8, 2010 the voice actors for the show were revealed.[27] Kline would later reveal that Hasbro Studios placed high importance in getting Cullen and Frank Welker to reprise their roles as Optimus Prime and Megatron respectivelly.[16]

Steven Blum (Starscream) revealed in an interview that during recording for Transformers: Prime, he and the cast are given the scripts and "a couple of days [...] to figure out where the story is going".[28]

During New York Comic Con 2011, it was revealed that Tony Todd would join the series in season two as Dreadwing.[21]


Music in the series was composed by Brian Tyler. Tyler stated that when he approached to perform the music for the series, they wanted it to be "cinematic, thematic [and feature] classis scores, similar to Star Wars." Live orchestras were used to create the music.[29]

A soundtrack was released on March 6, 2012.

Transformers Prime (Music from the Animated Series)
Transformers Prime - Soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Brian Tyler
Released March 6, 2012 (2012-03-06)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 1:12:24
Label Lakeshore Records
Brian Tyler chronology
Terra Nova
(2012)Terra Nova2012
Thor: The Dark World
(2013)Thor: The Dark World2013


Season Episodes Originally aired DVD and Blu-ray release dates
First aired Last aired Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 26 November 29, 2010 (2010-11-29) October 15, 2011 (2011-10-15) March 6, 2012[30] November 9, 2012[31] December 12, 2012[32]
2 26 February 18, 2012 (2012-02-18) November 2, 2012 (2012-11-02) November 20, 2012[33] March 23, 2015[34] October 14, 2015[35]
3 13 March 22, 2013 (2013-03-22) July 26, 2013 (2013-07-26) December 3, 2013[36] November 9, 2015[37] February 3, 2016[38]


United States[edit]

In the United States, Transformers: Prime aired on Hasbro and Discovery Communications-owned television network, The Hub. Airing started on November 29, 2010, and continued to December 3, 2010, with the rest of season one beginning its airing on February 11, 2011.[39] Beginning December 8, 2012, the series also made a network premiere on The CW as part of its Saturday morning Vortexx block, making it the first Hasbro Studios animated production to make presence in the United States terrestrial television.[40]


On November 9, 2010, Hasbro Studios has announced a broadcasting rights deal with Corus Entertainment in Canada, which includes Transformers: Prime.[41] The series premiered there on January 9, 2011 on Teletoon, half-owned by Corus.[42] As a part of the deal between Hasbro Studios and Turner Broadcasting System Europe announced on December 13, 2010,[43] Transformers: Prime started broadcasting in the United Kingdom and Ireland on September 5, 2011 on Cartoon Network, and later on Cartoon Network Too,[citation needed] and in Central Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East on September 10, 2011 on the pan-European Cartoon Network.

In Singapore, MediaCorp has broadcasting rights for Hasbro Studios programs including Prime, with the English version airing on Okto.[44] In Malaysia, Media Prima has broadcasting rights for Hasbro Studios programs including Prime; the series was broadcast on NTV7.[45] In India, the series premiered on Discovery Kids on May 6, 2013.[46] The third season launched on October 19, 2014.[47]

Home media[edit]

In the United States and Canada, Shout! Factory has the home distribution rights to the series. The complete first season was first released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 6, 2012.[30] The complete second season season was first released on DVD on November 20, 2012,[33] with the Blu-ray version being released seven days later.[48] The third and final season, Beast Hunters, was released on December 3, 2013.[36]



The Transformers: Prime/G.I. Joe Renegades block of special programming on Friday from 3:30 p.m.–7 p.m. generated significant gains audience versus the previous week among households and key demographics: HH (+111%, 97,000), Persons 2+ (+133%, 142,000), Kids 2-11 (+130%, 62,000), Kids 6-11 (+78%, 32,000), Adults 18-49 (+117%, 50,000) and Women 18-49 (+120%, 11,000).
Bill Gorman[49]

The series attracted an approximate 102,000 viewers per episode.[50]

Critical response[edit]

Eric Goldman of IGN gave season one a "great" 8.0 out of 10. He praised the show for creating fully formed, relatable characters, well-done action sequences, serious-minded storylines and voice acting, singling out Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Jeffrey Combs (Ratchet) and Frank Welker (Megatron) performances; despite this, he criticized Bumblebee's portrayal as mute. He concluded he review by stating that the series "accomplishes its goals, delivering plenty of fun and action, while also incorporating darker and more complex moments that older viewers can appreciate".[51]

Brian Lowry of Variety stated that Transformers: Prime is "unexpectedly sharp" and better than the movies, adding that the show's CGI animation is well-suited for rendering shiny robots and "their vehicular alter egos"; he finished the review by stating that while "there's nothing more than meets the eye here, [..] what does appear is plenty entertaining".[52] ranked Transformers: Prime as #3 on their "Top 10 Best Transformers Series".[53]


Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2011 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Peter Cullen Nominated [54]
Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program Transformers: Prime Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation Vince Toyama Won
Christophe Vacher Won
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Brian Tyler Nominated
Outstanding Writing in Animation Transformers: Prime Nominated
2012 Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Transformers: Prime Won [55]
Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program David Hartman Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation Robbi Smith Nominated
Robert Poole II
Roy Braverman
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Animation Ray Leonard Nominated
Mike Beiriger
"Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" Christophe Vacher Won
CINE Awards CINE Eagle Award Whole crew Won [56]
CINE Special Recognition for Series Television Won
CINE Special Jury Award Nominated
CINE Masters Series Award Nominated
2013 Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation Arato Kato Won
Jason Park
Kirk van Wormer
Annie Award Outstanding Achievement in Production Design in an Animated TV / Broadcast Production Christophe Vacher Nominated

Marketing, merchandise and other media[edit]

Hasbro got the Toys R Us located in Times Square in New York City to cover all of the outside of the store in Transformers: Prime.[57] Several billboards were rented. One even appeared on Broadway in New York City.[57] Additional advertisements were added to comic book backings.[58] A giant statue of Optimus Prime (modeled after his Transformers: Prime design) was shown off at San Diego Comic Con 2010.[59] The statue was later moved to the location of New York Comic Con 2011, where Hasbro debuted their involvement in the convention.[60]

Toy line[edit]

The official launch date of the toy line is December 1, 2011. The release date of July 2011 was incorrectly stated during BotCon 2011, but the December 1, 2011 date was later confirmed by the Hasbro Brand Team.[61] Although earlier resources stated that the line would launch on October 1, 2011[62] or October 11, 2011.[63]

Mobile media[edit]

Ruckus Mobile Media is to deliver Transformers: Prime innovative storybook apps for Android, and iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch). The app will deliver immersive reading experiences with interactive storytelling including title specific activities, coloring and read-and-record functions.[64] The app was slated to release in May 2011,[64] but was not released.


IDW Publishing has released a group of comic books based on Transformers: Prime. A comic book prequel was released on October 13, 2010, in the United States. Followed by an October 26, 2010, Canadian release date. Adaptations of episodes (usually two episodes per comic book) from the series are currently being released, similar to the Transformers Animated comic books. Some Transformers: Prime storybooks are also set for release in April, August and September 2012, in the UK such as Transformers Prime: Official Handbook and Transformers Prime: Meet the Team.

Video game[edit]

A video game developed by Nowpro and Altron and distributed by Activision released in October 2012. The game is available for Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U.


A sequel called Transformers: Robots in Disguise debuted in March 2015. The series features Bumblebee as a police officer and follows his adventures on Earth, trying to catch escaped Decepticon prisoners. Throughout his mission, he's aided by Strongarm, Sideswipe, Grimlock, Fixit, and the humans Denny Clay and his son Russell.[65] Optimus Prime appears in a recurring capacity during the first season as a spirit, before being resurrected in the finale and joining the main cast from season two onwards. The only other characters to return from Transformers: Prime are Ratchet, Bulkhead, Soundwave, and Starscream.


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