The Transformers: The Movie (1986) minus Unicron?

KingSwoop

Member
Citizen
From an in-cannon perspective, how would the G1 canon have differed had Unicron not shown up in The Transformers: The Movie (1986)?

There are, I think, two big features worth exploring - (1) the change of leadership and (2) the Autobot Moon Bases. Let's start with the latter. We don't know much about the autobot moon bases, but they seem to be largely automated weapons development facilities. It's possible that Ultra Magnus and other autobots we didn't see in the first two seasons of the show fortified these locations during the Ark crew's big sleep, but it's likely that after forming an alliance with Earth to supply energon (presumably more effectively than Megatron's schemes...), they were able to develop these from refugee camps to fortified weapons facilities. Optimus tells us that "all we need is a little energon and a lot of luck," which suggests they were ready to begin an invasion of at least part of Cybertron when the movie began.

It's possible the moons also had an army of Cybertronian autobots who were destroyed, or that they were already on Cybertron waiting for the invasion. More autobots is always a good thing, but given Season 1 & 2 depicted Cybertron as baren, but the movie depicted it as having a robust Cybertronian population... in at least one city... it's not really clear what numbers we're working with, so all we really have to go by are Optimus and Megatron's plans, with Optimus planning full scale invasion, while Megatron plans to... destroy autobot city, thereby threatening the energon supply to the moons and/or undermining the Earth/Autobot alliance. This suggests, at least to me, that this isn't an issue of manpower, but of energon (which isn't surprising, since G1 Transformers was a rather unambiguous reaction to the 70s oil crisis) - if the autobots had a consistent supply of energon, they'd win the war. And guess what? It seems that they do regardless of whether Unicron shows up.

The second big difference is the leadership. Ultra Magnus seems to be battle hardened, but is more of a follower than a leader. He'd likely follow Optimus Prime's plans, but perhaps pause the invasion to rebuild Autobot City. Starscream, I suspect, won't fare much better; I suspect he'll want to shore up support for his leadership, which means two things: (1) small, symbolic victories he can brag about, and maybe (2) sending his rivals off to die. Neither of these are going to tip the war in the Decepticon's favor.

After a short period of relative calm, Ultra Magnus would be back in Optimus's position and follow through with his invasion of Cybertron. Starscream could follow in Megatron's footsteps and try to undercut this by sabotaging supply lines, or pre-emptively invading a moon, but I halfway suspect Starscream will sign a peace treaty at the first sign of a bloody nose, ceding half of Cybertron to the autobots, perhaps in exchange for energon aid. This could lead to a cold war on Earth, as Decepticons try to secure their own alliances, energon, or destabilize the human/autobot alliance.

The real threat, however, is Megatron who obviously still functions. If he gets picked up by the Quintessons or Junkions, he'd return to take over the Decepticons and likely catch Ultra Magnus unaware. It's also possible that disgruntled Decepticons might go looking for him, given the number of witnesses. No offense to Magnus, but Megatron is on a different level, and I suspect that if he's caught off guard, Ultra Magnus might fall, especially if Starscream's machinations really helped to put the Decepticons on a more solid footing.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
It's hard to imagine what the story of TFTM would have been like without Unicron since he was there from the very first draft of the movie written by Ron Friedman.

I suppose Flint Dille's "The Secret of Cybertron" script could have overtaken it, but that was only written at all because of how "incoherent" Friedman's first draft was. And if it hadn't been rejected, it might have also robbed us of both "The Key to Vector Sigma" and "Five Faces of Darkness", both of which repurposed ideas from "The Secret of Cybertron" after it was rejected (though, the concept of a journey to the center of Cybertron reused by "The Key to Vector Sigma" was originally drawn from a pitch for a Season 2 episode titled, appropriately, "Journey to the Center of Cybertron").

There's also the toy aspect to consider. Contrary to how most of the 1984-1986 G1 toys were developed first as toy molds that were made into characters later, the main new characters of TFTM were developed as characters first and then made into toys. Would Galvatron still have been created as a character and then designed as a toy if there was no Unicron to reformat Megatron into him? Would something else in the movie have reformatted Megatron instead?

And the biggest question of all is, if Unicron was fully taken out of the equation from the story of TFTM, what then would have been the big threat that the movie would build up to for its final climax?
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
Since you said "in-canon" I'm going to ignore previous drafts and what was going on in toy shelves.

First thing, obviously, is Lithone doesn't get wrecked so the entire opening of the movie is gone. Ultimatley all this means is Kranix isn't available to let Hot Rod and Kup know what Unicron's name is, which given Unicron isn't around, isn't a problem.

Megatron probably dies in space (You could write it that he gets found by the Quintessons or Junkions and that's where he gets the upgrade, but for the purposes of this theoretical, he meets his end, ironically just after securing the greatest victory in Decepticon history with the death of Optimus Prime.) and so the rest of the film is Starscream leading the Decepticons, likely attacking the "real threat" of the Autobot moon bases while the bots are either dead or on Earth.

Since the Autobots don't get attacked on Earth, they're able to make a beeline back to Cybertron without getting waylaid onto Quintessa and Junkion, so instead it's probably a two-front war on each of the moons rather than two groups on two planets. You could even split them up the same. Put UM's crew on Moon Base 2 so Daniel can hunt for his dad, while Hot Rod/Kup and the Dinobots take Moon Base 1, since the Dinobots are already familar with the facility (You can see them working there at the beginning of the movie)

Final section would obviously be on Cybertron instead of in Unicron.
Starscream likely blows it and either just fails or fails so hard he gets dethroned outright. Ultra Magnus probably stays in command unless he dies or he sees a better alternative. Without Unicron I'm not sure the matrix still exists, and there's probably no more darkest hour so Hot Rod gets to stay the turbo-revvin' young punk that he prefers to be.

Without some cataclysmic event, I don't see how the Autobots retake Cybertron, unless they have something they were cooking up on the moons. (Why WERE they rigged with explosives?) so S3 is probably the Autobots having gained a foothold on Cybertron while the Decepticons descend into a civil war.
 

Platypus Prime

Well-known member
Citizen
Transformers Minus Unicron Minus Color Plus Liege Maximo Plus Color...

Ok, I just realized how we got Generation 2.
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
Transformers Minus One

Actually takes place in 1982 and just reboots the plot of the original, but more modernized with a award winning human storyline.
 

KingSwoop

Member
Citizen
Megatron probably dies in space...
To be fair, Megatron did survive a dunk in lava and millions of years of stasis lock in the Ark. Space isn't going to kill him. Where he drifts is an empirical matter, but given there were witnesses, I suspect an enterprising Shockwave or whomever could go pick him up given enough time.
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
To be fair, Megatron did survive a dunk in lava and millions of years of stasis lock in the Ark. Space isn't going to kill him. Where he drifts is an empirical matter, but given there were witnesses, I suspect an enterprising Shockwave or whomever could go pick him up given enough time.

I think it's important to note that Transformers don't die of injuries in the movie, (hang on, hear me out) they die because the plot requires them too and the circumstances around those deaths seem wildly inconsistent.

Like, Brawn, one of the tougher Autobots, dies to a shot to shoulder while Ironhide gets shot multiple times in his chest and still manages to crawl over to Megatron in a futile attempt to stop him, meanwhile getting attacked like that took out Prowl and Ratchet. Meanwhile, as has been noted a million times before, Optimus Prime dies from a couple of attacks to his side abdominal, while Ultra Magnus literally gets blown to pieces and is managed to be repaired.

Thematically, it makes sense for Megatron to die without even being able to enjoy the fact that he finally took out Prime, consumed by the evil he surrounded himself by.

And obviously, when the Quintesson brings back Optimus Prime for real, Megatron probably wouldn't be too far behind.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
Like, Brawn, one of the tougher Autobots, dies to a shot to shoulder
O rly? ;)

TFTM_-_Brawn%27s_death.jpg
 

Undead Scottsman

Well-known member
Citizen
Okay, shot to the clavicle (or whatever the TF equivalent is), but you get my point.

Though I never noticed before that they didn't keep the entry and exit points consistent between the two shots.

Based on the first shot it hits his clavicle and exits out of his side, probably missing most of his vitals if I'm to be honest. (Unless TF's have some sort of super important bits on the outer sides of their bodies.. though given what happens to Optimus....)

The second shot it appears to have hit his upper left pectoral and exited out of his back somewhere.
 

The Mighty Mollusk

Scream all you like, 'cause we're all mad here
Citizen
Okay, shot to the clavicle (or whatever the TF equivalent is), but you get my point.

Though I never noticed before that they didn't keep the entry and exit points consistent between the two shots.

Based on the first shot it hits his clavicle and exits out of his side, probably missing most of his vitals if I'm to be honest. (Unless TF's have some sort of super important bits on the outer sides of their bodies.. though given what happens to Optimus....)

The second shot it appears to have hit his upper left pectoral and exited out of his back somewhere.
Well, the blast could've punched through in one spot, hit something inside (presumably something vital enough to be fatal), and got deflected into a less direct exit point. Happens to humans if a bullet hits a bone.

Or it could just be dodgy animation.
 

Tuxedo Prime

Well-known member
Citizen
Well, the blast could've punched through in one spot, hit something inside (presumably something vital enough to be fatal), and got deflected into a less direct exit point. Happens to humans if a bullet hits a bone.

Or it could just be dodgy animation.
"Spalling" is, if memory serves, the technical term for the former, as was the explanation given for Brawn's second trip to extended stasis lock (per the "Tales of the Intermezzo" story, "Planet Brawn").

The World's Worst Fanfic gang, of course, had no compunction about making endless "Brawn's bad shoulder" jokes. But then MegaZarak in Headmasters had a weak point RIGHT UNDER THE FACTION SIGIL, so.... there's canonical precedent, is what I'm saying.
 
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Superomegaprime

Wondering bot
Citizen
I think what would happen is:
Megatron with the other barely alive cons just drift across the stars falling into stasis lock until they crash land somewhere, likely Junkion, where the cons sort of become apart of Junkion with Megatron getting rebuilt as a more powerful verison of himself, but no clue how to get off Junkion as he likely takes parts for the Junkion ship without realising its a ship, after all, he is looking at junk in his optics

On Cybertron, after time of calm, Starscream launches a disasterious attack on the Autobot Moon bases, as he sees them as the biggest threat to controlling Cybertron, after a forced retreat as the Autobots from Earth have arrived to take command, of the battle, the Decepticons would start fighting among themselves again and likely spiltner into multable factions, thus when the Autobots invade, the divided cons are overwhemed and forced to retreat if they don't die, Starscream's glory, is all but gone as he sits upon his throne yelling orders that don't get obeyed or when he given a order, its no longer relevent to what going on at the time! I would think the Autobots gain control of key parts of Cybertron and the cons scattered and without a single leader who can unite them, aren't a big threat as before and a large chunk flee Cybertron and end up on Char, broken and defeated, similar to how we see them in season 3 openner.

Hot Rod, is given command of Autobot city on Earth with Kup serving as his mentor and vice commander, Jazz & Cliffjumper are in charge of Moonbase 1, while Bumblebee with Spike are in charge of Moon base 2 while Magnus attempts to reconstruct parts of Cybertron as shippments of Energon arrive from Earth to help revive the planet and they deal with the fallen who been left scattered across the planet surface! Ultra Magnus slowly realises, that Optimus was right to chose him to be the next leader of the Autobots as he has what it takes despite the fact he wants to be a follower!

Megatron, having been rebuilt, works on building a means of escape from Junkion as all trash tends to end up there, Wheelie, remains in hiding on the world of the Quintasons as neither of the Autobot shuttles are destoryed during the voyage to Cybertron and thus neither of them crash! Megatron would escape Junkion after a year or so, stuck on the planet and learns that the Autobots have control of Cybertron completely and the few cons left are in hiding, they inform Megatron of where they think the rest of the cons are, but they can't talk long as they believe the Autobots will locate them as they are now the ones trying to resist those in control!

Megatron, reaching Char in his makeshift space ship, has a bad landing, well the ship does but he gets out with barely any damage and takes stock of what he has to work with, a potenital army that is lacking energon and has low moral, thus he decides that Char will be their base from no onwards for their path to reclaim Cybertron has only just begun!

Starscream, having lost, sits in a cell awaiting a trial for his crimes and all he has is his cape and crown to keep him company and he ponders how everything went so wrong, he finally achived his goal to be rid of Megatron and be leader of the Decepticons, how everything came crashing down!

After this, the Decepticons would remain divided, as threats like Overlord & Deathsaurus would make themselves known to the Autobots, of course Optimus prime would return because of the Hate plauge and get the Matrix from Ultra Magnus and light the darkest hour and become Power Master Optimus Prime and become the only bot outside of Megatron to be able to go toe to toe with Overlord in a one on one fight! Going forwards in the new era of "peace" AKA the space cold war, Punch/Counterpunch is created and tasked with spying on the cons upon Char as they been to quiet for Optimus's liking and he wants to know what they are up to! Meanwhile Megatron is in the same mindset as he has plans for Char, while not a super rich in energon planet, like Earth there is enough to power the basic needs of most of the cons upon the planet and built undergrond bases across the planet as they find energon and Megatron is planning to create a space fortress out of the planet for assulting other worlds, but the surface looks like a baron wasteland still and the cons deemed as the cannon slaughter are the ones upon the surface while the higher ups are in the fortress building and waiting the day of their revenge!

Nobody is going to rescue Starscream, they are happy to let him sit in the cell and a lot goes on, yet, he knows only what he get told by the guard if they want to talk to him.

That kind of, what I think would happen if Unicron hadn't shown up when he did or if he never existed in the G1 timeline!
 

abates

unfortunate shark issues
Citizen
Astrotrain was accelerating towards Cybertron at the time that Megatron was ejected, so the most likely end point for his drifting was Cybertron itself. Whether Megatron could have survived impacting Cybertron at whatever speed Astrotrain was going at the time is another question.

We know that Cybertron left Earth orbit in "The Ultimate Doom, Part 3" in the 80s. It was unlikely to be traveling much more than a fraction of light speed, so it can be presumed to still be within the solar system by 2005. If Astrotrain's journey only took a few hours at most, he'd still need to be traveling at close to the speed of light to make it there. Megatron is tough, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest hitting a planet at light speed might be a struggle for even him to survive.
 

LBD "Nytetrayn"

Broke the Matrix
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
Everyone talks like it's the shot that killed Brawn, and not maybe being on board the exploding space shuttle that crashed into the countryside.
 

Andrusi

Lun!
Citizen
Astrotrain was accelerating towards Cybertron at the time that Megatron was ejected, so the most likely end point for his drifting was Cybertron itself. Whether Megatron could have survived impacting Cybertron at whatever speed Astrotrain was going at the time is another question.

We know that Cybertron left Earth orbit in "The Ultimate Doom, Part 3" in the 80s. It was unlikely to be traveling much more than a fraction of light speed, so it can be presumed to still be within the solar system by 2005. If Astrotrain's journey only took a few hours at most, he'd still need to be traveling at close to the speed of light to make it there. Megatron is tough, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest hitting a planet at light speed might be a struggle for even him to survive.
The real question is whether he'd be considered "hit by pitch."

Everyone talks like it's the shot that killed Brawn, and not maybe being on board the exploding space shuttle that crashed into the countryside.
This is a valid point--we don't know that Brawn was actually dead after that shoulder-ish shot, only that he fell down and stopped doing things. It's possible that, if the other Autobots on board had driven the Decepticons off, he could have been repaired.
 


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