For more than 30 years, Transformers has been an animation icon in popular culture. Today, during the “Transformers Animation: Then and Now” panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Hasbro took a moment to look back on the animated history and evolution of the beloved franchise.
The Transformers animation retrospective goes all the way back to the original The Transformers Generation 1 animated series, which debuted in 1984 and ran through 1987. This series introduced viewers to the most iconic Autobots and Decepticons, including Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, and Bumblebee, and eventually introduced new subgroups like the Dinobots and the Combiners. This era also saw the Transformers appear on the big screen for the first time The Transformers: The Movie, an animated epic that introduced Unicron and Galvatron and transformed Hot Rod into Rodimus Prime.
The Generation 1 continuity continued in Beast Wars: Transformers, the first CG animated Transformers television series, which ran from 1996-199. The series took place in the far future, where Autobots and Decepticons had been “upgraded” to animal-lie robots called Maximals, led by Optimus Primal, and Predacons, led by Megatron. Beast Wars was followed by a sequel series titled Beast Machines.
In 2002, Hasbro created a new Transformers continuity and sage. The Unicron Trilogy began with Transformers: Armada, continued in Transformers: Energon, and concluded in Transformers: Cybertron. The series returned to the 2D animation of the original Transformers cartoon, but with modern character designs that would introduce the classic character to an entirely new generation.
Most recently, the animated saga of the Transformers anew. Using modern CG-animation, Transformers: Prime and Transformers: Robots in Disguise takes place in the same Aligned Continuity as the Transformers: War for Cybertron video game series.
While films like Transformers: The Last Knight may keep Transformers in the mainstream public eye, The Transformers will always be at home in the realm of pure animation.