Wheeljack is his own worst enemy. Something of a crackpot inventor, a good half of his creations blow up in his face, and that's just if he's lucky. He's simultaneously one of the Autobots' greatest assets and problems; for every successful gadget he builds, there's one which requires Ratchet or Hoist to put him (and his lab) back together. But once in a while he strikes gold, which has won him respect from even the Decepticons.
He is, however, not a complete nerd. As good as he is in the lab, Wheeljack is just as amazing on the road, since there're few stunts he can't pull off. He enjoys showing off both on the design table and on the streets.
- French-Canadian name: Invento, Cric (as Action Master)
- Italian name: Saetta
- Hungarian name: Kerék (Wheel); sometimes Kormányos Jack (meaning Steering-wheel Jack, Yoho!)
- Russian TV dub name: Gonsheek ("Racer")
Marvel Comics continuity
Following the almost total defeat of the Autobots by Shockwave, Ratchet returned to the Ark and began to reactivate the fallen warriors. Wheeljack was the second Autobot after Prowl to be brought back on-line, so that he could aid Ratchet with his technical skills. He saved the Autobots from total destruction by remote-controlling Optimus Prime's deactivated body and using it to intervene in Grimlock's attempted execution of Guardian, who had been booby-trapped with a nuclear bomb.
Wheeljack was later an early casualty of a disastrous attack on Galvatron led by acting Autobot Commander Jetfire, though he was not seriously damaged.
To give the Autobots some air (and combiner) power, Wheeljack designed the Aerialbots, though all but Silverbolt's minds were incomplete and they almost killed a human. Wheeljack later later had to erase their minds and unfortunately, by this time, Bombshell had implanted a cerebro-shell in Optimus that, while not controlling him, allowed the Decepticons to tap into the Creation Matrix to create the Stunticons. It was not directly referenced, but it is assumed that he helped build the Protectobots as well (which allowed Megatron to create the Combaticons).
Later, he aided Optimus Prime in a plan to temporarily fake his own death, in order to teach the Earth-bound Autobots to learn to cope without him. Wheeljack was the only Autobot Prime told of his plan, probably since Prime needed him to build a facsimile construct in his likeness to be destroyed. When Megatron did destroy the facsimile, even Wheeljack mistakenly believed Prime had been killed.
After Optimus Prime died, the Autobots chose Grimlock as their new leader, but things didn't go so well, so Wheeljack called his friend Sky Lynx to help deal with the situation.
Although it wasn't depicted, he was assumed destroyed by the Underbase-powered Starscream. Grimlock eventually revived him with Nucleon, along with the rest of the Autobots' deactivated roster. After the defeat of Unicron, Wheeljack mourned the second death of Optimus Prime and discovered the betrayal of the Decepticons who sabotaged the Autobot spacecraft before leaving the dying Cybertron. Grimlock saved the day again though, providing some stolen Decepticon cruisers. However, when they followed the Decepticons to Klo, the Autobots were ambushed and nearly wiped out. Bludgeon was about to dismember Wheeljack when he was saved by the timely arrival of the reborn Optimus Prime and the Neo-Knights.
Marvel UK future timelines
When Galvatron infiltrated the Ark to brainwash some new troops, Wheeljack was one of the deactivated Autobots he attempted to control. Wheeljack and the others turned the tables on Galvatron, subjecting him to his own dream bug technology. Back in action, Wheeljack felt somewhat out of place among the various Headmasters and Targetmasters and Powermasters wandering around the Ark now. On a scouting mission, he and Prowl grumbled to one another about how they just wanted some good ol' fashioned Decepticons to beat up on. Obligingly, the Constructicons Mixmaster and Long Haul showed up right then to stop the Autobots from finding out about their evil plans. Thrilled about fighting bad guys who weren't "MicroHeadTargetmasters with a Pretender shell", Wheeljack and Prowl tracked down the Constructicons' leader, Megatron, nearby, and learned of his plans to destroy Earth's atmosphere. While Wheeljack distracted Soundwave and the Stunticons, Prowl leapt aboard the "atmo rocket" and knocked it off course, saving the planet.
Fresh from their adventure with old, familiar enemies, Wheeljack and Prowl both joined the new Earthforce team Optimus Prime set up under Grimlock's command. Operating out of a shuttle in the Canadian wilderness, the Autobots began constructing a larger Earthbase on site. Although the location of their base was unknown, the construction-in-progress was open to attack, and so a 24-hour guard watch was arranged. One dark and stormy night, Wheeljack was trying to keep warm on guard duty using a thermo-heating unit from the ship, but it overheated and started smoking on him. He knocked over a table and lamp while trying to shut off the device and attracted the attention of a polar bear, which ended up chasing him back towards the shuttle. To top it all off, he was jumped from behind by Skydive, who had seen all the mess and mistaken Wheeljack for an attacking Decepticon. It was not Wheeljack's best night ever.
When a new thought-activated set of nightlights called Sleepfast was released to human buyers, Wheeljack got suspicious and tested the little items. He found not only the presence of Cybertronian technology in the devices, but also evidence that the thought-sensitive nightlights would eventually turn on their owners, allowing them to manipulate the humans' minds as well as read them. Wheeljack took Snarl to investigate the Sleepfast warehouse, and they ran into the mastermind behind the scheme, Mindwipe. The Autobots used the thought-activation effect of the Sleepfasts to will all several hundred nightlights on at once, temporarily blinding Mindwipe.
Finally, Autobot Earthbase was completed, and Wheeljack called the entire team outside to witness his defense grid in action. Prowl was dubious at the lack of obvious protection, and so Wheeljack handed him the activation remote. Once Prowl hit the button, Wheeljack tossed a rock towards the base, where it was instantly obliterated by the retractable laser cannons. When Prowl expressed concern that someone could knock the defense system offline, Wheeljack assured him that once the defense system was activated, it could only be deactivated from a console inside the base. Prowl paused for a minute, took a head count, then turned hesitantly to Wheeljack and asked, "So who's inside with the console NOW...?"
The response? "Oh..."
While Prowl and the other Autobots braved the defenses in order to reach the console and turn off the security system, Grimlock grabbed Wheels by the ankle and shook him out upside-down over the snow for good measure.
When Optimus Prime returned to Earth for an inspection of the new operation, he also brought back Tracks' body for Wheeljack to reactivate in his Bodyshop. Grimlock was hardly impressed with the idea of bringing the vain and complaining Tracks back to life, and he tried to derail the process. Despite his efforts, though, Wheeljack not only revived Tracks, but Optimus Prime decreed that Tracks would remain with Earthforce instead of going back on the Ark with him. Later, Wheeljack diagnosed Snarl with corrodia gravis, prompting the Autobots to seek out the only compatible Transformer who could give him a systems boost: Starscream.
While investigating an apparent planet-wide genocide on J'asik, Wheeljack joined Perceptor and First Aid on a science team in attempting to find out just what had destroyed all life on the planet so utterly. Their findings were so surprising, the team double-checked 50 times before confirming the results: A Cybertronian biological by-product had somehow achieved quasi-sentience and motivation, and was prowling the galaxy as the entity known as the Swarm. The full impact of their discovery was cut short, however, by the arriving armada of Jhiaxus and his second generation Cybertronians, the accidental harbingers of the Swarm. The battle with Jhiaxus kept the Transformers occupied long enough for the Swarm to find them on Earth. Presenting a united front, the Autobots and Decepticons desperately attempted to drive back the creature. Wheeljack cooked up a method of dramatically augmenting Frenzy's sonic powers, but while the Decepticon was consumed by the excess power pumping through his system, it seemed to do little good against the Swarm. Wheeljack's final fate is unknown.
American cartoon continuity
- Voice actor: Chris Latta (US), Osamu Saka (Japan) Katsumi Suzuki (Attack of the Autobots and Day of the Machines only)
Wheeljack was one of the original crew of Autobots aboard the Ark when it crashed into the Earth four million years ago. Originally a boxy-shaped transport affixed with retractable, bumper-mounted cutting blades, Wheeljack was reformatted in 1984 to be a speedy and rare Lancia Stratos Turbo custom racing car.
Wheeljack was part of the battle unit organized by Jazz to first challenge the re-awakened Decepticons on Earth. He was involved in the battle at an off-shore oil rig, where the Autobots would meet the Witwickys, human workers who would befriend the Autobots. Wheeljack developed an especially close friendship with Sparkplug Witwicky, as the two were both gifted mechanics. Wheeljack was next part of the team that attempted to stop the Decepticon plot to overload Sherman Dam.
A restless engineer, Wheeljack has developed all manner of contraptions and equipment for his personal use and for use by his fellow Autobots, often with catastrophic results. He designed the compact yet extremely powerful explosive that nearly trapped the Decepticons in the ruby crystal mines of Burma, a magnetic inducer device capable of stopping Transformers cold in their tracks, and a gyro-inhibitor shell that could incapacitate even Megatron for short spans.
Upon discovery of dinosaur bones in caverns within the Ark's volcano, Wheeljack and Ratchet were inspired to construct robotic version of dinosaurs. The Dinobots were originally too dangerous and too primitive to control, leading to Optimus Prime commanding that the project be abandoned, but Wheeljack secretly persisted. He developed memory components that increased the Dinobots' intelligence, turning them into valuable, if sometimes unpredictable, members of the Autobot forces.
Concealed in Wheeljack's left wrist is a fire suppression system, which no doubt came in handy when one of his devices would blow up in his face.
Wheeljack met his untimely end not from one of his own inventions, but from an overwhelming Decepticon attack on Autobot City. Arcee pulled his lifeless chassis away from the battle to prevent the Decepticons from desecrating it. What a nice girl.
- (Note: Wheeljack has the distinction of being the first Transformer to appear in an episode of any animated series.)
Japanese cartoon continuity
- Voice actor: Shinobu Satouchi
- (Note: Wheeljack's not-being-deadness is never addressed. Though to Japanese viewers during the original airings, this was not a noticeable discrepancy, as the movie where he died had not been shown in Japan until after Victory had aired. However, the original Movie storyboards show Smokescreen as the dead Autobot next to Windcharger). It is also possible that if Skids was successful with Operation: Distant Thunder then Wheeljack could have survived his apparent demise in the movie via Project Bodyshop.
Japanese Generation 2 manga
Wheeljack along with Perceptor and Jetfire discovered new properties of the matrix which allowed Optimus Prime to revive himself as Laser-Rod Optimus Prime after a crushing defeat by Megatron.
When the Dinobots were injured in a Decepticon attack in the year 2005, Wheeljack headed to Earth to arrange the transplantation of Grimlock's mind into a new Binaltech body. On his return journey to the Autobots' moonbase, however, his shuttle was hijacked by time-tossed Decepticon Ravage, who had begun a plan to alter the course of history. Wheeljack was shown a brief glimpse of the near future—including the deaths of himself and many of his comrades—but managed to escape Ravage's clutches. Ravage himself promptly returned to Cybertron and exhumed the Kronosphere, using it to tip the balance of the decisive battle occurring at that time. Whereas the outcome would have originally favored the Decepticons, leading to their total conquest of Cybertron, Ravage ensured an Autobot victory, altering history and leaving the heroes to face the looming threat of Unicron alone.
Aware that history had been altered, Wheeljack was faced with a dilemma: Should he stop Ravage's plan and restore the timestream, even though it would mean the death of many Autobots, including himself? His salvation, he hoped, lay in the GT System, a device that allowed a singular spark to control many duplicate bodies simultaneously. Dubbing his original body the "Alpha Unit," he constructed the "Beta Unit" based on Grimlock's Ford Mustang body, as well as the ominous third "Omega Unit," a mysterious body about which nothing is known.
The subsequent arrival of Unicron prompted the Autobots to initiate "Operation: Distant Thunder," which saw Skids use the chronal warp on Dinobot Island to send Wheeljack's memory data back in time, in hopes of alerting the Autobots in the past and preventing alteration to the timestream. The plan didn't go as expected, and reality started to go into a severe state of whack, until a mysterious black Optimus Prime appeared and sealed the time portals that had been created. Operation: Distant Thunder had succeeded in preventing the mainline timestream's alteration, but the Binaltech timeline, first destined to be replaced and erased, had been saved by the newcomer and was now its own distinct, divergent universe.
Dreamwave comics continuity
Wheeljack suffers from a mild form of mode attachment, feeling more comfortable in his vehicle mode than robot mode. As a consequence he does his best thinking in vehicle mode, often while attempting something insanely dangerous.
Wheeljack was part of Grimlock's unit, along with Kup and Ironhide, at the time when Sentinel Prime died and Optimus Prime rose to command the Autobots. When the Decepticons placed Iacon under siege, Grimlock took his group to Kaon to look for Optimus Prime, who had gone seeking Megatron. While there, they discovered planetary engine turbines that were providing power to a mechaforming process that was destroying Iacon. Arriving, Prime instructed Wheeljack to shut down the engines in a... creative way (it blowed up real good). Wheeljack grumbled a bit that all his education and mechanical engineering skill had led up to just blowing things up. The group managed to return to Iacon, where Prime halted his order to abandon the planet.
When Prime and Megatron disappeared during a space bridge explosion, Grimlock broke off from the Autobot army and formed the Lightning Strike Coalition, taking his former squad members with him. While Kup and the Dynobots attacked the Predacons, Wheeljack and Ironhide hijacked some shuttles carrying raw Energon, making Starscream very angry. That's always a plus.
Wheeljack was one of the engineers that designed and constructed the Ark, and part of the ship's original crew.
- (Note: A version of the events of the Sunbow cartoon episode "Autobot Spike" appear to have taken place in the time between 1984 and 1998.)
Wheeljack was among the Transformers involved in the Ark II disaster. He survived the explosion of their spacecraft, crashing back to Earth where he and several others lay deactivated and frozen within an iceberg until awakened by Optimus Prime in 2002.
Wheeljack participated in the assault on Lazarus's Canadian headquarters. When General Hallo's attempt to bomb the Autobots and the Decepticons out of existence instead caused a violent expansion of Megatron's cyber-virus, Wheeljack and Mirage were the first Autobots to free themselves. While Prime took some of the Autobots after Megatron, Wheeljack diagnosed the nature of the cyber-virus, and created a set of anti-viral blasters that used the Autobots' energy to return the converted matter to normal. The intervention of Canada's military force scuttled that plan when they fired into the virus, expanding it beyond the point the Autobots could contain. In response, Wheeljack converted a nearby satellite dish into a giant anti-viral weapon, channeling all of his remaining energy into it. He succeeded in destroying the virus, but was left near death.
Later, when Shockwave and Ultra Magnus came to arrest the Autobots as war criminals, Wheeljack was one of the Autobots secretly left behind by Optimus Prime under Jazz's command. Like most of the rest of that group of Autobots, Wheeljack was beaten to the point of stasis lock by Bruticus some time later and dumped into a nearby swamp. He was dredged out by an EDC task force and repaired, in time to rejoin the other Autobots when they started construction of Autobot City.
IDW comics continuity
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In the time preceding the war Wheeljack was an mechanoid as touched by the sacrifice of others as one could expect from this kindly future Autobot. It comes as no surprise then that he was front row at the state funeral of Kaon Security Service officers Fastback and Bumper.
Wheeljack is part of a detachment of Autobots that has operated covertly on Earth for at least four years, attempting to foil a Decepticon insurgency. He appears to be continuing in his role of technical scientist and gadgeteer for the Autobot detachment; he builds a device that can interface the SM-40 palmtop computer with the systems aboard the Autobots' Ark-19 spacecraft. Wheeljack, like his fellow Autobots, would come to watch the showdown between Megatron and the Ore-13-powered Starscream.
Later, after the incident outside Lebanon, Illinois, he and Jazz were sent to investigate a Springfield police impound lot which supposedly held Sunstreaker's remains. Unfortunately, members of the Machination had already arrived with the same purpose in mind, and attacked the bots wielding advanced weaponry eerily similar to their own. Wheeljack escaped mostly unharmed, probably because Jazz took a direct hit from a mortar meant for him. Wheeljack would get his first taste of real damage in Brasnya facing down Blitzwing and Astrotrain, and eventually the drained form of Megatron.
Wheeljack was assigned to work with Hot Rod in rescuing Ironhide, but yet again the Machination decided to interfere—this time in a confrontation with their army of experimental Headmaster clones. Wheeljack's constant tinkering paid off when he was able to escape the Headmasters using a gyro-inhibitor shell. The Headmasters eventually caught up with them however and incapacitated Wheeljack by knocking a pile of junk cars on him. Hardhead went to retrieve Hot Rod and the others, blowing up a Headmaster that was attacking Hot Rod. Hot Rod refused to go though, wanting to see the Headmaster mystery to the end. Hardhead reluctantly let him go and took Wheeljack and Ironhide back with him.
Devil's Due G.I.Joe vs Transformers comics continuity
- Wheeljack (1984, 1991)
- Japanese ID number: C-03
- Accessories: 2 shoulder cannons, 4 rockets, 2 wings
- The original Wheeljack toy, released as part of the 1984 series of Autobots, was based on a Diaclone Lancia Stratos Turbo. He comes with two rocket launchers that can fire four projectiles and two clear wings. In robot mode, the rocket launchers and the wings mount onto his shoulder and back respectively. For some reason, Wheeljack's lower arms/hands cannot lock into his upper arms, leaving them hanging at an angle.
- In 1986, he was made available as a mail-away item (as he was no longer shipping to retail shelves) in multiple offers, including Digital Doom on the Highway to Destruction flier packed with most boxed Transformers toys. He cost $8 and two robot points.
- Unfortunately for many collectors, Wheeljack's mold has been damaged or destroyed, meaning his chances of future reissue looks bleak. The closest version of the figure to currency is the European Classics reissue.
- Wheeljack (Action Master, 1990)
- Accessories: 2 missiles
- Action Master Wheeljack is a non-transforming action figure sculpted based upon his cartoon appearances. He comes with the Turbo Racer, a large red sports car based upon the Ferrari Testarossa that can seat two Action Master figures. The Turbo Racer has an 'attack mode' where it transforms into something vaguely resembling an aircraft made from car parts.
- The Wheeljack figure was later repainted into Slicer.
- Wheeljack (Spychanger, 2004)
- Accessories: Gun
- This version of Wheeljack transforms into a Le Mans racing car. He is cast in white plastic with mostly black paint. The toy has several stickers to represent Wheeljack's earlier Lancia Stratos colours, including his racing number 539. He comes with a small black rifle that can be stored between his legs in vehicle mode.
- Wheeljack (2005)
- Alternator ID number: 13
- Japanese ID number: BT-14
- Accessories: Engine/gun, energo sword
- Alternators Wheeljack is a retool of Alternators Grimlock. He transforms into a 2005 (S197 chassis) model Ford Mustang GT, painted white with blue stripes. In vehicle mode, he features highly realistic styling, opening doors, hood and trunk, as well as a detailed car interior. In robot mode his removable engine becomes a double-barreled laser.
- The Japanese Binaltech release has a slightly retooled head, different paint applications, and is partially constructed of die-cast metal.
- Wheeljack Bust (2003)
- Hard Hero released a polystone bust of Wheeljack, based upon his appearance in the Generation 1 television series.
- Wheeljack (2004)
- Palisades released a 6-inch polystone statue of Wheeljack, based upon Pat Lee's rendition of him in the Dreamwave comics.
- The remold of Alternators Grimlock was originally planned to be Windcharger (presumably in red), but ultimately ended up as Wheeljack instead, with a new head sculpt. Meanwhile, the head sculpt originally intended for Ford-Windcharger ended up being used for the remold of Windcharger (the Honda S2000 mold) instead, now named "Decepticharge".