As I get set to return to work this is most likely the last of these for awhile, until I find another excuse to talk about the franchise I love. So today we are going to look to the other villain faction in the franchise, The Quintessons.
The Quintessons first appeared in Transformers The Movie 1986. While retreating from Galvatron and his Unicron empowered Decepticons Hotrod’s ship was damaged and crash landed on the planet Quintessa home of the Quintessons and various robotic life that too could Transform (the Quintessons’ couldn’t) namely the Alicons and Sharkticons. These strange squid like aliens continuously putting any life form they find (especially robotic ones) on trial where they inevitably found them innocent… then dropped them in a pit to be killed by Sharkticons (who were more like piranha).
These courts were presided over by a Judge, a tear drop like alien with 5 faces it could rotate around representing Death, Rage, Laughter, Bitterness and Doubt. While the Judge is accepted as the most iconic form of Quintesson there were indeed many others like the Prosecutors, Scientists even some Humanoid ones. It was a rather diverse race but the 5 faced judges was just such a good design that it’s the one we all think about.
Now in the movie no explanation for this race was ever given. Original plans had them working with or worshiping Unicron but these were never introduced in the plot.
It was the 5 part opener for season 3 that the Quintessons importance to Generation One came about. During the Space Olympics meant to show this new age of peace post millions of years of war with the Decepticons, Kup Ultramagnus and Spike Witwicky are captured by a group of Sharkticons. While Hot Rod suspects the Decepticons (natural mistake, been at war for millions of years) at the end of the episode they find the Decepticons were in no condition to have done so while the kidnapped people find their real abductors, the Quintessons.
The 5 parter has the Quintesons as the true antagonists as in “The Five Faces of Darkness“. They manipulate the Decepticons to attack the Autobots as well as even blow up their own planet as a calculated manoeuvre. These were a very different enemy from the aggressive Decepticons. Cold and calculating as well as disturbingly being so accurate in understanding how the Transformers think they can easily work past a lie, and a statement said when giving Energon to the Decepticons, hinted at something deeper.
For on the 4th part The Truth, was revealed when Hot Rod delved into the knowledge contained in the Matrix. He learned the Quintessons’ were the original creators of the Transformers. Having made them as working robots and war robots before the sentient machines knowing the difference between right and wrong rose up to overthrow the cruel makers… before the two sides then fell out and fought amongst each other for a few million years.
For all of season 3 they remained a third faction. Though often working with the Decepticons through deceit and giving them access to powerful new weapons, it was clear they would turn on them the moment the Autobots were dealt with. They were the original makers of the Transformers after all and shown to be even greater than the Junktions at construction and repair.
They had many memorable episodes showing their cosmic villainy such as a semi linked two part story, first with them brainwashing the Junktions to tidy up the planet of junk so they could find a lost data cylinder (which backfired as the Junktions then sent the brainwashing signal to other worlds) and the second half of the tale where it was revealed stored on that data cylinder was all their transactions, including those that showed they were selling weapons to two sides of a inter stellar war and thus instrumental on it continuing all for their profit. Another memorable story had them try to alter history by transporting a young Alpha Trion (then called A3) out of his time to stop him from taking part in a important battle that would end the Quintessons’ control of Cybertron in the past.
There was ONE “positive” example of their skill as in the season 3 finale. Sky Lynx was sent to find one to repair and bring back to life Optimus Prime to save the universe. It is made clear he’s doing it to save his own skin though, being saved by Sky Lynx when he was being chased by some infected Sharkticons. This was the last we saw of the aliens though as they didn’t appear in the 3 part story of Season 4 but had it continued there were plans to have them work with Unicron.
Now the Quintessons didn’t appear in the comics which used the more mystical creation story involving the Transformers’ god Primus and as G1 ended The Cosmic Origin was widely accepted as the true origin. Beast Wars cementing that one as it delved more into the spiritual element of the Transformers.
Interestingly though the Unicron Trilogy did iron down the Primus origin for Transformers. In the second series of it Energon did contain a Quintesson character, Alpha Q. Though never called a Quintesson his name and design made it clear he was one with his multiple heads that spun around a central hub and lots of tentacles.
Other than this though they didn’t really appear in Transformers till Cyberverse (I’ll get to that). They got named dropped now and then such as Swindle mentioning them in Animated as well as more homage’s like Quintessa in The Last Knight (though that film sucked and makes so many continuity issues) and were included in the history of the Transformers in the aligned continuity where they were implied to have been created by one of the 13 primes Quintus Prime (who it also implies they killed).
It was Cyberverse where they first returned to animation in a big way. Once more becoming a major enemy to both the Autobots and Decepticons in its third season. Seeing them as a race of extra dimensional beings that travel the multiverse judging universe (by their clearly flawed standards) and most often destroying them. Having between episodes conquered Cybertron and trapped most of its populace in a simulation while they drained their sparks of energy for a later revealed purpose. This version also contained multiple different kinds of Quintessons as well as the always popular Judge. Though I do have one major issue with how they were portrayed in Cyberverse… THEY KEEP MISPRONOUNCING THE NAMES! this isn’t like the name from a comic book or pre voice acting game, they were spoken in a major movie and through the franchise its QUINTESSON not Quintessen, it’s a O not a E. (last of these for awhile most likely I’m allowed one last rant).
This was also the start of the Quintessons’ proper getting a toy. Alpha Q had a mega sized one in Energon but now a Judge got a toy. And it wasn’t the end. In the WFC Earthrise toy line, toys are actually getting released as part of the Quintessons’ factions, a new Judge, an Alacon and a Battle Master all being part of this faction.
So while their role as the creators of the Transformers is passed in favour of Primus, their roles as another faction of villains has been embraced even if they don’t appear as much. They are often in the background waiting for their chance to threaten Autobot and Decepticon (also no, no one ever thought Tarantulas and the Tripredacus Council were creations of the Quintessons. Megatron’s statement involving Unicron in the next episode planted the seed of what people thought they were.. though saying it out loud it would have worked.)