The negatives for the matted widescreen version of the film were either destroyed or lost, and for a time only the VHS full-screen version of the movie remained. The North Carolina School of the Filmmaking in Winston-Salem carries a print of the movie assembled from different reels of other prints of the movie found in its archives. The pieced-together print is in good condition. This should be noted that this widescreen version of the movie was achieved by "matting down" the original full-screen animation, essentially chopping off the top and bottom.
Many of the second-season characters (Stunticons, Aerialbots, etc.) do not appear in this movie because they did not exist at the time the movie was written. However, most of them suddenly appear in the post-movie episodes.
Two Cyclonus-style robots are created in the movie; one from Bombshell (Insecticon) and one from Skywarp (Decepticon jet). Many fans have speculated which one became the "real" Cyclonus. Cyclonus was (apparently) originally intended to have many duplicates under his command ("and his armada..."), like Scourge and his Sweeps. However, only one duplicate was created on-screen and was never seen again after that shot. This has led fans to write fanfics about a character called "Armada".
One of the original demands of the Transformers toyline and cartoon series was that no female Transformers could appear, as the toys were marketed strictly towards boys. However, writer Ron Friedman fought hard to include female robots in the Transformers lore, as his daughter was a huge fan of the franchise. This lead to the creation of Arcee, a female Autobot debuting in this movie, as well as a number of other female characters introduced during season 2 of The Transformers (1984). Ironically, despite being one of the movie's feature characters, no toy of Arcee was produced during the entirety of the original Transformers line, though at least one rejected prototype was designed. Arcee became the most famous female character in the Transformers brand, and numerous incarnations of her appeared in various other cartoons, comics, movies and toy series, but this was only in 2014, 28 years after her introduction, that Hasbro finally released a toy based on this movie's design.
In the Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie, Autobot City is referred to as Fortress Maximus. The character and toy for Fortress Maximus would not be introduced until nearly a year after the movie's release.
Nearly most of the new characters that appear in this movie were newly designed. The Hasbro toys were based on the movie's character designs. The exception was Ultra Magnus, who already had a toy in the Japanese "Diaclone" line. His character model was based on the toy, and given new colors.
Although Walker Edmiston is credited as voicing Inferno, the character is strangely absent from the movie. As revealed by an early working script, his sole line in the entire film would have been "Good luck, Magnus", which was to be said during Galvatron's assault on Autobot City, as Ultra Magnus lead his Autobot troops to the space shuttles.
(at around 5 mins) At the movie's beginning, when the Autobots are taking off on their ship, Optimus Prime orders "Cliffjumper, commence countdown." Cliffjumper was voiced by Casey Kasem, who was the host of America's Top 40 Countdown for many years. This was obviously a little joke added by the writers, considering we didn't need to hear a shuttle countdown, and any character could have done this.
In the original script, "Life Sparks" would have had a very important role. No such objects are ever mentioned in the finished movie. However, a full decade later in Beast Wars: Transformers (1996), Sparks were canonically introduced into the Transformers franchise.
One potential plot proposed by writer and story editor Flint Dille and creative director Jay Bacal would have involved Optimus Prime embarking on a journey to discover the origin of the Transformer race, as well as find out that their home planet is actually a giant robot itself. Using the Matrix, the planet Cybertron would have transformed into a robot to face off against the evil Transformer planet Unicron, a pawn of the Quintessons. Their script was written in response to the original movie draft which they saw as incoherent, but was discarded shortly after presenting it to the executives. However, some elements of their script did turn up in the finished film, and a drastically re-imagined origin story for the Transformers was detailed in the cartoon's third season - the Quintessons, minor one-scene villains in this film, were re-imagined as the creators of the Transformers and had no ties to Unicron.
The 20th anniversary DVD special edition of this movie was released from Sony Music Video on November 7, 2006. The 30th anniversary Blu-ray special edition of this movie was released from Shout! Factory on September 13, 2016. Both special editions feature remastered video and include the widescreen and full-frame versions of the movie.
(at around one hour and 6 mins) When Wreck-Gar unveils the Junkion spaceship, he announces that the "new, improved Junkion planet is sleek, sexy import with turbo handling". This nonsensical line is what had remained of the Junkion planet's original concept, namely that the whole planet was capable of turning into a giant spaceship. In this movie, the spaceship is just one of the planet's many features, rather than the planet itself. This was later given the name Minnow in the book "Transformers: The Complete Ark" (2009).
In a bizarre kind of way, this could be said that the Decepticon 'Shockwave' appeared in two movies in 1986, the other being Aliens (1986). In the MedLab scene, just before Ripley reaches out to hug Newt after setting off the fire alarm, there is a futuristic piece of medical apparatus with three objects handing down off of it that can be briefly seen in the foreground. These objects are actually three Transformers toys, namely the Decepticon 'Shockwave' made by Hasbro in 1985 (though it's possible that the toy might even be the earlier 'Galactic Man' sold by Radio Shack). The toys have been spray-painted a dull silver colour and are displayed in their laser gun 'mode', but with each of the robot toy's arms (i.e. the laser gun's barrel) split apart. In this 'semi-transformation' the toy is made to look looks kind of like a futuristic grasping tool or perhaps even a laser scalpel.
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 62% of 26 surveyed retrospective critics gave this movie a positive review, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The website's critical consensus calls this movie, "A surprisingly dark, emotional, and almost excessively cynical experience for Transformers fans."
Because of the toy department, the advertising department, and the animation department all working independently of each other, the Hot Rod character switched between three different colors before his traditional red/burgundy color scheme was finalized for the franchise. Originally, the toy department was going to color him magenta. But they incorrectly colored the plastic parts of the first prototype figure as a bright pink while his metal parts and flame stickers were colored the correct shade of purple. At the same time, the advertising department were coloring him a bright red color for their promotional drawings and posters, showing that the familiar color of the leader of the Autobots was going to be kept red. While even still, the animation department was bouncing back and forth between magenta and burgundy at different times throughout the movie as they could never settle on one color for the character all throughout the run time of the film. Sometimes Hot Rod would be seen as purple in one scene, and then sometimes he would be burgundy in another. As to which department started working on Hot Rod's design first is still unknown. But the fact that he was to become the new Autobot leader and how it was meant to be kept under wraps until the movie premiered played a part in the color confusion. It was only after the film had released that the final toy design would be colored red, while the continuing television show would portray him as being burgundy. However, Shout Factory, the license holders for the DVD and Blu-ray releases of this movie for all of the 2000's, was allowed to hire a post-production studio named 'FotoKem' to alter the color timing so that Hot Rod would be the bright pink color of the prototype toy throughout the entire movie on their 4k disc, released in 2021. Shout based their decision to make these changes on some unconfirmed "original animation cells" they alleged to have acquired, but have never shown publicly.
Bob Holt is uncredited as Unicron's roars. The roars are stock sound from the Sunbow library. They made the Transformers movie and the 1982 Incredible Hulk cartoon series where Holt played the titular character.
The movie was produced at the same time as G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987), by the same company. It had been agreed that both movies would suffer the loss of their lead heroes, Optimus Prime and Duke. Production started on G.I. Joe first, but Transformers ended up being completed and released first. Optimus Prime's death sparked a huge amount of controversy, causing the writers to change Duke's death to a coma. G.I. Joe was released direct to video. Had that movie been released first, Optimus Prime might have survived.
In the theatrical release, Spike says "Oh shit, what are we going to do now!" when he and Bumblebee realize that blowing up the moon did not affect Unicron. "Oh shit" had been included to guarantee a PG rating; G-rated movies got fewer daily showings than other films at the time. The line was excised from home media releases until 2000, when it was restored on Rhino Home Video's release and has remained on subsequent releases.
The movie kills off many original characters: Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, Brawn, Wheeljack, Windcharger, Megatron, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Shrapnel, Kickback, and Bombshell. The third season reveals that Huffer also died off-camera at some point during the movie. 2b1af7f3a8