After watching Bumblebee, this question arose in my mind. What are these Transformers? Are they some post-biological species or a different species all together?

In the movies, the way they are represented seems like robots or advanced "machine" beings. But if they are machines (which they seem to be), what is their energy source? Do they change over time or remain the same? How they reproduce?

  • 3
    I don't know if there is a true answer. These are based on a kids' cartoon that probably didn't have much scientific logic behind it. Jan 31, 2019 at 16:55
  • 1
    It had some serious marketing logic behind it though - the cartoon was simply an advert for the toys [& not the other way round as many people think]. Change the characters [or their abilities] every season, sell new toys, ad infinitum [or ad nauseam, depending on your POV ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 31, 2019 at 20:05

1 Answer 1

  • The Transformers are "self-configuring sentient modular extraterrestrial robotic lifeforms", originating from the planet Cybertron.

    Optimus Prime transforms from truck ..

  • They are powered by 'Energon', a source of energy ubiquitous on the Transformers' home planet and in their culture, that is not only used as a power source for themselves - consumed like food, or - and their machines, but also as currency. On a more fundamental level, it's "the basic building block of Transformers' bodies and sparks"; 'sparks' being the souls of Transformers (more on Energon here).

  • They don't change significantly..
    ..unless you count (apparent) size (more on that on SciFi SE).

    ..to towering robot.

    "Clearly, the pitiful humans at Hasbro are so overwhelmed by the awesomeness of Cybertronian life forms that they can't get the scale right."

    - Starscream breaking the fourth wall in Transformers Comic Issue 23

    The 'life cycle' of Transformers does nonetheless have a sequence of stages that can be interpreted as 'growing up':
    "Transformer life begins with the purposeful construction of a body by an existing individual or group". At this stage, the 'protoform' (introduced in the Transformers spin-off Beast Wars), "an unfinished, "embryonic" Transformer body", is the first identifiable stage, which can be seen as birth, since "these simple "skeletal forms" [..] are kept covered in nutrient gel within stasis pods that nurture and protect their apparently fragile forms".

    Alternatively, the Transformers have been created directly as "complete, fully mechanically built and functional, though lifeless, robotic bodies".

    From spark to protoform (from Transformers: Salvation, 2017)
    From spark to protoform.


    at a certain point, these newly constructed forms are either "switched on", infused with life from an outside source, or scan an alternate form, and solidify into a finished, mechanical robotic form. Life begins.

    They are "preprogrammed with a complete personality and most of the basic knowledge necessary to survive and socialize in the world". I gather they have self-learning abilities, and at this point there enters a stage with relatively no changing or ageing, except in their programming. They can live for "millions of years without any noticeable alteration or ageing", and are theoretically immortal. Some individuals seem to have an altering appearance, and are

    shown to look different and "younger" at earlier times in their lives. These changes seem to be signs of advancing age. While they could also be a simple factor of their gaining new or upgraded bodies, the clear intention is that their later forms are more lined, worn and less spry, suggesting ageing.

    Screenshot of Jetfire in Revenge of the Fallen
    Jetfire in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. A robot. With a cane.

  • As for reproduction: apart from the aforementioned assembly, there are two other possibilities of a new Transformer life form coming into being, namely through 'budding' and 'sexual' reproduction:
    • 'Budding', where a mass of growth on a Transformer's body spontaneously bursts free after being induced by a form of energy, and quickly evolves from 'protoform' to a completely developed individual.
    • Besides that, there are rare hints of 'sexual' reproduction, or, rather, Transformers of both genders 'spawning' offspring, but the process is unclear.

Additional sources:
Comic page at top: The Transformers (Marvel US) #2, "Power Play!"

  • 1
    the process isn't unclear, I believe it is censored instead.
    – montelof
    Jan 31, 2019 at 23:44
  • This is a good answer, I'm too scared to click those last 2 links though Feb 1, 2019 at 9:50
  • That's understandable, but I assure you there is little explicit content on those pages, just some innuendo :)
    – Joachim
    Feb 1, 2019 at 10:14
  • @montelof If it was kept vague consciously, sure; if it was just implication, no - either way, it's unclear.
    – Joachim
    Feb 1, 2019 at 10:17

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