When a small crew of maintenance Autobots comes into possession of the powerful AllSpark, a battle with their long-forgotten enemies sends them crashing toward a strange, distant planet known as... Earth.
- German Title: "Transformieren und Abfahrt"
- Japanese Title (1st part): "Transformers, the New Chapter!" (新章！トランスフォーマー Shinshō! Transformers)
- Japanese Title (2nd part): "The Heroes called Autobots." (英雄、その名はオートボット Eiyū, sono naha Autobot)
- Japanese Title (3rd part): "'The Secret of the Allspark" (オールスパークの秘密 AllSpark no Himitsu)
- Polish title: "Transformacja i jazda"
- Spanish (Latin american) Title: "Transformence y Avancen"
In deep, deep space, Optimus Prime watches some old history videos, prompting Ratchet to complain about him watching that "junk" when the other members of the crew need assistance. Prime wonders if they were designed for more than repairing space bridges. The two 'Bots transform into their vehicle modes and head out into the asteroid field.
Outside, Bulkhead, dangling from a high rock by his wrecking ball (and becoming quite queasy in the process), is freed by Bumblebee, who also ends up taking a tumble. Bumblebee complains about the sheer amount of rocks blocking the space bridge node, and one is shattered unexpectedly by Prowl's throwing star. Prime gives his troops a speech about teamwork (which Prowl moans at theatrically), but at that point the space bridge lights up, sending rocks and Autobots flying. Fancy footwork by Optimus saves each of his teammates from the debris, and a well-aimed grappling line shuts down the bridge. With his subordinates stunned at their leader's skills, Prime is forced to admit he trained at Cybertron's military academy. Bumblebee's query as to what the hell he's doing on a nowhere maintenance assignment is left unanswered as they notice something glowing in the rubble.
Prime clears away the debris to reveal a large, chest-like object. Ratchet is horrified and immediately demands they throw it back into the space bridge, but an alert from Teletran-1 announces the arrival of a signature consistent with the long-lost Decepticons. Ratchet then insists they take the object and just get out of there post-haste.
On board their ship, Ratchet finally reveals what they've found: the AllSpark, the source of all Transformer life that was lost centuries ago. Optimus, worried about the oncoming Decepticon signal, contacts the Cybertron Elite Guard for help. After taking a bit of snark from Sentinel Prime, Optimus reveals what they found, which shuts Sentinel up fast. Sentinel then puts the crew through to Ultra Magnus, who tells Optimus Prime to stay put while they send reinforcements... and not to worry about that Decepticon thing. Optimus, considering this to be a really stupid move, orders the crew to start booking it out of there.
This proves wise, as the signal is indeed a Decepticon ship—a command ship, in fact. The identification markings are ones that Optimus and Ratchet recognize, meaning its commander can only be one person: Megatron, leader of the Decepticons. On board the Decepticon ship, Starscream doubts the AllSpark is aboard the Autobot ship and declares Megatron a fool. Lugnut denounces Starscream as a traitor, while Blackarachnia calls Lugnut an idiot for his blind loyalty and Blitzwing insults her before his face changes and he just acts... well, crazy. The Decepticons (except Blitzwing who was on his crazy face singing The Itsy Bisty Spider in the background) continue to bicker at each other until Megatron enters, shutting up all of them. The Decepticons chase the Autobot ship, and Starscream volunteers to board them. Megatron quickly shoots that idea down, ever suspicious of his second-in-command's motives. Just before he leaves, Starscream wishes his commander "luck" with a pat on the back... affixing a bomb to Megatron in the process.
Megatron makes his way to the Autobots' ship and begins to melt his way through its hull. Optimus uses external manipulator arms to grapple with Megatron, until the bomb detonates, sending the ship careening uncontrollably into a space bridge node, which explodes after they go through the gate. Starscream begins to make a speech declaring himself the new Decepticon leader, but the other three have abandoned ship, noting that the fireball from the space bridge explosion is only getting larger. Too late, Starscream realizes the trouble he's in...
An unknown distance away, the Autobot ship reappears above a small blue and green planet. Prime checks on his troops, but Megatron has gotten aboard, having survived the explosion, but at the cost of his right arm. Prime uses his grappling line to shut off the gravity, making it more difficult for Megatron to fight. All five Autobots face off against the Decepticon, but he's too strong (though Prowl does manage to cut off Megatron's damaged arm). Prime and Megatron both end up in the storage bay where the AllSpark is... and as the ship enters the atmosphere, Prime is able to blow the hatch and kick the screaming Megatron out of the ship.
On a small farm, a young boy hears a thud and runs to where something has landed in a not-too-distant field. He is shocked to find a robotic head staring lifelessly up at him.
Meanwhile, Prime orders his team into emergency stasis pods to prepare for a crash-landing. He manages to steer the ship away from the city below and gets to a stasis pod just before the ship plunges into Lake Erie.
Fifty years later, Detroit is once again a thriving city, but instead of manufacturing automobiles, robots are the city's stock-in-trade. Isaac Sumdac is talking to a public school class taking a tour of his facilities, which gets interrupted by Isaac's daughter, Sari Sumdac, and her robot dog, Sparkplug. As Sari is carted off to her lessons by a robot tutor, Isaac shows the school kids a nanotech lab, just in time to witness a roach infused with microbots grow out of control and start consuming everything in sight. Isaac tries to keep things calm, but the monster bursts out of the lab...
The monster continues to grow, absorbing just about everything it touches to increase its size and power. In the process, it destroys a lot of the factory. Captain Fanzone, the S.W.A.T team, the fire department, ambulances, and robot drones arrive, but the creature absorbs several of the responding vehicles, too. Fanzone uses a bazooka-type weapon and destroys the beast, despite Sumdac's objection. This protest proves well-founded, as the remnants of the creature start flowing back together again, save for one piece that drops into the nearby lake and works its way down to the Autobots' ship, its nanites seeking the absorbable technology there. It infiltrates via a small breach in the outer hull, but thankfully, the ship's intruder alert systems are functional and awaken the Autobots before any damage is done. Examining the situation, they decide to have Teletran 1 give them Earth forms so they can blend in and help out. A probe is launched into the chaos and scans various vehicles, including an ambulance, a police motorbike, an armored personnel carrier, a fire truck, and Captain Fanzone's car. Everyone deploys except Ratchet, who remains behind to analyze the sample of alien material.
During the fight, Bulkhead and Bumblebee spot Sari trying to wrest her security key from Sparkplug's mouth. Mistaking which is owner and which is pet, they approach her, but Bulkhead's greeting only scares her away. She quickly gets nabbed by the monster, but Bumblebee saves her, earning her trust and friendship. Prowl attempts to take on the bug-slug by himself, against Prime's orders, and gets absorbed. Prime orders Ratchet to join them in battle to save Prowl, but the old veteran insists that finding a "cure" code to neutralize the nanites' programming makes more sense than coming out and getting trashed. A somewhat chastened Prime agrees, and Ratchet soon delivers the goods. However, the new program must be uploaded by direct contact—meaning from inside the monster. This means the smallest, fastest one of them has to do it. Bumblebee reluctantly takes on the task. The beast has been using some of Prowl's absorbed intelligence and comm link tech, though, so it knows what they're planning and is now smart enough to fight back. Despite this, Bumblebee succeeds in delivering the code, and the bug dissolves into a dusty shower of deactivated nanites. Prowl is soon uncovered, but he's suffered grave wounds and must be taken back to the Autobots' ship for repairs. Sari pesters Bumblebee to be taken along, and her new friend reluctantly agrees, since there's no time to make her go away quietly.
Once on board, Sari's refusal to stay still and quiet causes 'Bee some embarrassment. He quickly and discreetly ejects her into a ventilation port and joins the others. However, the port opens onto a shaft that takes Sari right to the chamber where the AllSpark is being kept. Curious, she touches it, and it reacts to her, sending its energies into her security card key and reconfiguring it into a key of another sort entirely. Prime finds her almost immediately thereafter, but with no time left to spare away from Prowl, he has to bring her back with him to the repair table. Ratchet's prognosis is bleak, but the Key abruptly reacts, glowing and tugging her toward Prowl. Bumblebee, seeming to grasp what's happening, helps her onto the table, and as she approaches, her key reshapes itself to fit into a slot on Prowl's chest. She inserts it, and with a burst of energy, the Autobot ninja is whole again. The Autobots then take Sari home and, after a brief misunderstanding, are made heroes and are even invited to a ceremony.
In outer space, Starscream sits aboard the damaged but functional Decepticon ship, babbling that he will find the AllSpark, even though he's been attempting it on his own for the last fifty solar cycles. The ship's computers then detect the traces of AllSpark-like energy in action, and Starscream learns where the Autobots are...
The Autobots are later seen trying to fit in. Bulkhead gets firsthand experience in traffic jams, some birds mistake Prowl for the statue of the bald guy next to him, Bumblebee learns how organics fuel up, and Ratchet can't get a stasis nap without getting a dozen or so parking tickets. Optimus Prime remarks that the Autobots are programmed to respect life, which they always understood to stem from the AllSpark, but as organics are life, they must respect and protect them too. Optimus also expresses curiosity about how little organics are made. Sari's whispered explanation leaves him rather... shocked. The Autobots make a new home base out of a building Sari's dad got out of a merger, an abandoned auto factory that Bumblebee describes as a real fixer-upper—a REAL fixer-upper. All of a sudden, they get alerted to a fire. The Autobots proceed to douse the blaze and save its victims, no problem, unaware they are being watched by Starscream.
The next day, during the inauguration ceremony for the Sumdac Fully Automated Rapid Transit System (F.A.R.T.S., for short), Starscream enters Earth's atmosphere and takes on a group of fighter jets. He destroys all but one, which he scans. As the civilians and Autobots watch the aerial display of the Crimson Angels, Isaac Sumdac notices there is an extra jet present that he didn't hire. That one jet then leaves the formation and streaks toward the ceremony platform, where it transforms into Starscream, who fires his null-ray cannons at the Autobots.
After a short fight, which the Autobots lose, Starscream knocks out Bumblebee and takes him, Isaac, the mayor, and Capt. Fanzone hostage in the F.A.R.T.S. train, flying it to the top of a very tall tower. He demands that the Autobots deliver the AllSpark if they want him to release the train car. The Autobots don't trust him, but don't want to risk human lives, so Sari offers a plan, but they ignore her. She continues to tell a sob story until the Autobots listen. The Autobots proceed with her plan, and Prowl and Sari fly up to the transit pod to rescue the hostages while the other Autobots keep Starscream busy. Once Starscream realizes what's happening, he takes a brief beating but recovers quickly. Starscream then throws the train—thus keeping his end of the deal—with Sari, Prowl, and Bumblebee on top of/in it. Between Bumblebee's agility and Prowl's thrusters, Sari is rescued and the train lands without much damage. The Autobots then challenge Starscream to a friendly game of Keep Away, during which Starscream almost gets the AllSpark, but Bulkhead gets it instead, because he said he got it. A furious Starscream unleashes a devastating, prolonged (as in nearly 12 seconds) null-ray blast on the Autobots, briefly knocking them all senseless.
With the Autobots down, Starscream takes the AllSpark from Optimus and blows a couple of blocks of Detroit right off the map. Not ready to give up, Optimus climbs all the way up a building to get it back from Starscream, which Starscream doesn't see coming because he was too busy gloating. After a quick back-and-forth exchange of possessing it, both grab it at the same time. As they struggle, the AllSpark opens and emits a strange energy wave that blasts Starscream away.
The explosion has left Prime dangling precariously, and he takes a tremendous plummet to the pavement. He notes weakly that he now knows what it feels like to be a hero, then dies, but Sari uses the Key to revive him. The Autobots later go about fixing up Detroit, earning the enduring gratitude of the citizenry. Professor Sumdac is also grateful, for the Autobots saved him and Sari, but he fears what will happen if the Autobots—not to mention the rest of the world—were to discover the source of his robotic empire.
Unseen by Sumdac, one of the optics of his source of technology glows in a darkened room. Megatron still functions...
- Written by: Marty Isenberg
- Directed by: Matt Youngberg, Yutaka Kagawa, Minoru Yamaoka, Makoto Fuchigami
- Original airdate: December 26, 2007
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
Optimus Prime: "Do you ever get the feeling that you were programmed for something more than just repairing space bridges?"
Ratchet: "I got a diagnostics program that can delete that feeling like a bad line of code."
- —Ratchet crushes Optimus's dreams into a fine powder and puts them in his oil.
Starscream: Megatron is a fool who has been chasing a ghost for centuries! I seriously doubt we'll find this "AllSpark" aboard such an insignificant vessel.
Lugnut: Traitor! Megatron is wise! Megatron is bold! Megatron will return the Decepticons to Cybertron and...
Blackarachnia: And wipe our homeland clean of the stench of "Autobot tyranny," bladdy blah blah blah! Did you memorize that speech, Lugnut, or is it just hard wired into that thick one-track processor of yours!?
Icy Blitzwing: As you see, Blackarachnia, your demeanor is unpleasant as zat accursed organic mode of yours.
Blackarachnia: Blow out your actuator, three-face.
Hothead Blitzwing: Ze name iz Blitzwing, insect-remember it! Cause it's ze last zing you're gonna hear before I...
Random Blitzwing: Express my feelings in song! Ze itsy bitsy spider...
- —And we can't wait for his album, The Sound Of Destruction!
"Know what? You're even uglier at this angle!"
- —Bumblebee, making fun of Megatron's face when floating in the Autobot ship.
Issac Sumdac: This is my daughter, Sari.
Sari: (blows a bubble, which pops in her face)
Issac: Sari, what do you say?
Sari: (struggling to get the gum off her face) Anybody got a pair of scissors? (gum comes off, she puts it in her mouth) Nevermind.
Everyone except Sari and Issac: Ew...
- —Was that really supposed to be a first impression?
(Captain Fanzone and the police forces at the location of the blob monster)
(He screeches to a halt and picks up a megaphone)
"Testi-"(megaphone feedback) "WILL SOMEONE GIVE ME A MEGAPHONE THAT WORKS??!!" (One of the officers hands him another megaphone, and he snatches it)
- —Captain Fanzone gets picky on his speakers.
Bumblebee: Hi, I'm Bumblebee!
Sari: I'm Sari.
Bumblebee: Oh, don't be, I like my name.
- —Introductions and a throwaway joke.
"You know...all things considered...fixing space bridges wasn't such a bad gig."
- —Bumblebee, ready to literally plunge into danger.
Sari: Uh...am I going to be able to breathe down there?
Bumblebee: Oh, sure! ...What's 'breathe'?
- —Bumblebee takes a crash-course in human physiology 101. And fails.
Bumblebee: It followed me home. Can I keep it?
- —Bumblebee asks Optimus if his new friend Sari can stay.
Optimus: But how is it you are able to make these new...smaller organics?
Sari: (whispers something we can't make out)
Optimus: SHOCKED EXPRESSION
- —Optimus Prime asks Sari about the birds and the bees.
Sari: You can trust this face can't you?
Bumblebee: (Gives up) Just keep out of sight until I explain ok.
- — Sari really know's how to get her way, but Bumblebee does it too, much later, because he thought "It worked on me, so why it can't work on Sari?"
"Transform and Roll Out" was released to DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment on June 17, 2008. The DVD includes all three episodes of the pilot movie and two all-new animated shorts. The first short features Optimus Prime attempting to give a speech at Black River Elementary School's career day, but being repeatedly interrupted by nagging questions from some little kid and overwhelming cheers for him to transform. The second features Bumblebee messing up one of Prowl's cool stunts. Together, the two shorts run just under three minutes.
- Bumblebee quotes Megatron has Autobot protoforms for breakfast.
- This is the first time Sari was thought to be a pet. The second was "Rise of the Constructicons".
Animation and/or technical glitches
- Megatron's vehicle mode was depicted flying upside-down, or backwards, or possibly both. To be fair, in space, there is no up and down (and to be even fairer, it's really hard to tell from the toys exactly what is the front of Megatron's Cybertronic spaceship mode), but that does not excuse the fact that any propulsion system used would be in the back of the mode.
- As pre-Earth Prime enters the chamber which will re-format his body into his Earth mode, he walks past Ratchet, who is drawn mostly in his pre-Earth mode, except for the fact that his Cybertronian gut is replaced with his ambulance gut. In the next scene, Ratchet is properly drawn, pre-Earth gut and all.
- Where did the Autobot ship get oxygen anyway? It came from the vacuum of space and ran right into water. Sari is concerned being able to breathe down in the ship(which is under the lake). In reality, she shouldn't be able to breathe down there.
- In addition to that, there's a crack visible in the ship, through where that piece of a bug/monster got in, so the ship should be full of water, not have oxygen.
- But then again, it does come out that she's actually a techno-organic, so maybe she doesn't need oxygen, but that's unlikely.
- In addition to that, there's a crack visible in the ship, through where that piece of a bug/monster got in, so the ship should be full of water, not have oxygen.
- When Sari says to the Autobots it is okay to put down their hands, Bulkhead's face is black.
- When Starscream tackles Optimus Prime through a building as the Autobot tries to escape with the AllSpark, Optimus's axe is missing from Starscream's left wing. It reappears moments later for Optimus to retrieve it.
- In at least one scene, Starscream's Earth-form wing is shown with a spike, in the same manner as his Cybertronian body.
- The train Starscream blasts from the tower falls toward the ground very, very slowly.
- Megatron's pre-earth vehicle mode seems to have two fusion cannons on it or under it. But in robot mode he's only got one on him.
- When we first meet Starscream, he states that he has been searching for the AllSpark for fifty solar cycles. In later episodes, a solar cycle is equivalent to a day and a stellar cycle is used for years. This is the only time a solar cycle has been used to reference years, so either Starscream entered some sort of temporal anomaly or someone messed up. For more
confusioninformation, See this page.
- Sumdac is using Megatron's hand as a chair. However, he seems to be using the right hand, which was blown up by Starscream. (It could have fallen off the Autobots' ship, as it was still clinging to the hull when last seen, but that seems unlikely.)
- When the Autobots emerge from stasis, it seems Ratchet and Bumblebee have switched stasis pods.
- The title of the episode itself is a reference to past Transformers lore.
- Footage from the G1 cartoon episodes "War Dawn" and "More Than Meets the Eye, Part 1" is used as history tapes detailing the events of the first Great War, millions of years prior. This has been confirmed as pure fanwank, and should not be taken as linking Transformers Animated to Generation One, continuity wise.
- The Autobot ship here bears a distinct resemblance to the Ark, albeit with a colour scheme more reminiscent of Omega Supreme.
- Sari's robotic dog Sparkplug is likely named after either Sparkplug Witwicky from G1, the Armada Mini-Con Sparkplug, or both.
- Characters resembling Spike, Carly, and Daniel Witwicky are seen at a hot dog stand, purchasing some sort of futuristic bunless wieners-on-a-stick.
- The Animated Autobots are not the first to use a starship parked at the bottom of one of the Great Lakes as their headquarters.
- When Optimus Prime dies, his body fades to grays, just as Generation One Optimus Prime did in The Transformers: The Movie. His spark chamber opens in much the same manner as well. Only one major difference: no Matrix of Leadership.
- Teletran 1 (spelled with only one "a" in this universe) dispatches a small satellite very similar to the Sky Spy satellite used on occasion by the Autobots in the Generation One cartoon. The glowing energy "boxes" with which it scans vehicles for the Autobots to transform into are lifted wholesale out of "More Than Meets the Eye, Part 1".
- At one point, Bulkhead refers to Optimus as "Boss-bot", echoing an epithet used for Beast Wars Megatron by the Fuzor Quickstrike.
- Bumblebee mutters "This is what you organics call a real fixer upper". The G1 Optimus Prime was known for saying things like that.
- It's found out that Isaac Sumdac's tech is reverse engineered from Megatron, Gee, I wonder where that came from.
- The escape pods used by the Decepticons to jettison from The Nemesis bear some similarities to the cometary Transition forms of the movie bots.
- Prowl mentions that letting the monster eat Bulkheads hand was better than the rest of him. This is almost like when Ultra Magnus splits off three quarters of the ship and Arcee asks if it was a good idea so Springer says it's better than four quarters.
- Starscream attacks the jets in humanoid mode in a matter just like his movie counterpart.
Real world references
- During the scene where Bumblebee holds Sari in his hands while trying to avoid planes shooting him, it makes a reference to King Kong.
- When Professor Sumdac announces the "Crimson Angels", it could be a reference to the "Blue Angels" of the US Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron who have preformed in Detroit as well.
- In this episode, Tutor Bot tries to teach Sari about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (a major economic blunder of the 1930s).
- Bumblebee's voice is slightly different in this episode from how it sounds later, as is Lugnut's voice, which seems very metallic and has a distinct American accent.
- When Prowl gets birdpooped on, he is standing next to a statue of Hazen S. Pingree, four-term mayor of Detroit and one-time governor of Michigan. In real life, the statue is located in Detroit's Grand Circus Park.
- A refurbished Michigan Central Station makes an appearance as the site for the dedication of Detroit's rapid transit system. The real-life station (abandoned since the '80s) was featured in the 2007 live-action movie.
- When mocking the Autobots, Starscream actually calls Megatron "the great Megatron" without any sarcasm. Apparently, he'll only give a sincere compliment to his leader when he's insulting something else.
- When Optimus comes back to life, he asks, "Is this the Well of All Sparks?" and Sari answers, "No, it's Detroit." This is an allusion to the movie Field of Dreams when Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) asks Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) "Is this Heaven?" and Ray answers "No, it's Iowa."
- According to responses at a panel at BotCon 2008, the unfortunate acronym for Fully Automated Rapid Transit System was totally unintentional...which makes it that much funnier.
- It is interesting to note how Ratchet is able to use his front windshield as a video screen.
- Several elements present in this opener were changed/dropped in the main series, including expressive vehicle modes, the replacement of solar cycles with stellar cycles in terminology and the recolouring of Ratchet's magnetism from yellow to pink.
- During Sari's "conversation" with the AllSpark, it shows her the faces of Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Starscream, then the Cybertronian vehicle modes for Optimus and Ratchet, the AllSpark's case and the Autobots' ship. Then Sari unknowingly shows the AllSpark a man in a suit, a woman, a boy, the planet Earth, pyramids, purple flowers, a horse, an aircraft with a giant cloud coming from the back, a cell and a DNA strand. The woman has dark skin and red hair like Sari.
- This movie was (lovingly) lampooned at the MSTF panel for BotCon 2008, along with "War Dawn", the episode most of the "history vid" footage was taken from.
- It's Detroit. There are guns everywhere. Why are the humans using water to take down the monster?
- It's a show aimed at little kids. You were expecting blood and gore?
- Bumblebee and Bulkhead were the first (and apparently the only ones) to introduce themselves to Sari.
- Instead of being the leader of the autobots like in most series, he is only a leader of a small group of repair bots.
- Rodius Prime was originally supposed to be Optimus' rival but he was replaced with Sentinal.