Culture

Transformers Lockdown: Before Earth

Since we are in another lockdown I felt time to dig out a few more ideas for Lockdown articles. Today we will look at something that although it had its origins back at the start of the franchise it’s in more recent years that it shoots to prominence even becoming one of the selling point of some lines, Cybertronian forms.

But first what is a Cybertronian form?

Simply put, the Cybertronian form refers to the alt mode (aka the transformed form of a Transformer) it had before coming to Earth. These can be seen very early on such as on the very first episode of the original cartoon with Wheeljack, Bumblebee and some Seekers (Soundwave’s Lampost form as well). These are usually somewhat alien or futuristic looking vehicles but still clearly serve the same role as their later Earth form would use. The Seekers strange triangular jet forms being very fondly remembered.

While the core toy line and characters would consist of Earth modes there were notably some characters that never assumed an Earth mode such as Shockwave. This is partially because he was from a different toy line than the main toys (having been made by a company other than Takara) but in story it’s because he never came to Earth normally so never assumed an Earth mode. With Season 3 and the movie we got a new set of core characters that had more futuristic forms I’d say it’s safe to say these can be counted as Cybertronian forms since by this point being “in disguise” kind of has lost its use. As for why those that did assume Earth modes haven’t changed back? Probably they liked our designs – yay humans.

Cybertonian forms or to be more specific the forms main characters had before getting their more iconic ones were often a curiosity. Sometimes we would get toys meant to represent their original alt modes would be released but mostly as convention exclusives (so if you want to get one they are very expensive) but mostly it’s never shown or released.

Of note in the Unicron Trilogy era we got a lot more toys and characters that never assumed an Earth mode and in Transformers Cybertron we got the idea of Cybertronian colonies that took transformation in its own direction and so also usually had somewhat Cybertionian alt modes.

However with recent times we have had major releases with the selling point of using their pre Earth modes. The War of Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron games both featured events before coming to Earth so all the characters had Cybertronian alt modes (as well as being a really good game sadly licensed so can’t get anymore and my 360 died) and through the Generations toy line released a bunch of toys featuring their Cybertonian forms.

With more shows and comics putting a heavier emphasis on action or interaction on Cybertron we are seeing more Transformers with these alien alt modes. Such as the first part of the War for Cybertron toy line (not to be confused with the War for Cybertron game and Generations line) called SEIGE all the characters had their pre Earth states. Of note though there were some complaints that some of the Cybertronian forms looked far too much like Earth vehicles especially when compared with previous examples.

But yes, it’s rather interesting seeing over the years something that started only appearing in media not the toy lines to then maybe having a rare special edition toy to now having whole lines dedicated to the subject.

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