Universe was a Transformers franchise running primarily from 2003 to 2005. It was conceived as a supplement to the runaway success of Armada, and consisted of redecoes and retools of older Transformer toys, both creating new characters and re-creating old ones. This approach allowed Hasbro to meet increased retail demand for Transformers, without having to greatly increase the brand's development staff and budget.
The fictional storyline for the franchise was written to accomodate the toyline's wide-ranging nature. Set in a Generation One universe sometime after the events of Beast Machines, Universe deals with a struggle between the Minions of Unicron and the Children of Primus. Unicron, injured and floating in deep space, plucks Transformer warriors from across the multiverse and deposits them on his surface. The Transformers are forced to fight each other, and as they do so, Unicron absorbs energy from them in order to repair himself.
The line lacks a clearly-defined starting and ending date. The name Universe first appeared on toys released in 2003. However, in 2002 the BotCon exclusive toys bore the name Expanded Universe, and BotCon characters extending as far back as 1996 were all portrayed as being in-continuity with the convention's Universe comics.
The franchise largely ended in 2005, although a few more Universe toys trickled out to discount stores with a low frequency in 2006 and even in mid-to-late 2008 toys from the Cybertron franchise were still appearing at discount under the Universe label.
The Universe franchise consists of only two components: