The Transformers comprise one of the most popular media franchises of all time. Having started life out as a toy line in 1984, the Transformers have branched out into animated television shows, comic books, countless forms of merchandise and, most recently, a very financially successful live action movie franchise (in spite of the fact that Michael Bay has actually done a pretty terrible job of directing them).
If you aren't already familiar with the Transformers concept (and we have to assume that you probably are, unless you've been living under a rock for 30 years!), it's about two factions of feuding alien robots from the planet Cybertron - the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons - who can disguise themselves as more regular machines (such as cars, trucks, tanks and even portable music players).
There is, however, quite a lot about the franchise as a whole that isn't such common knowledge - and that's what this article is going to be all about. Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about the Transformers:
10 Orson Welles' Last Performance Was As Unicron
The late, great Orson Welles - the famous actor, director, writer and producer whose famous works included theatre production like Caesar, radio broadcasts like War of the Worlds and films like Citizen Kane - passed away in 1985 from a heart attack, but his final work was actually on The Transformers: The Movie (which was released in 1986).
9 Ratchet Was Named After Nurse Ratched
Ratchet is the name of several characters in the Transformers franchise that have appeared in every form of media from the original toy line and the Generation 1 cartoons to the recent live action movies - and he's nearly, but not always, portrayed as an Autobot medic who can turn into an ambulance.
8 Hasbro Initially Rejected The Name "Megatron"
When the idea for the Transformers toy line was first conceived back in the early 1980s, all the names of the potential characters were put forward to toy manufacturers Hasbro. Most of the ideas for character names were immediately accepted by the toy giants, but they were very apprehensive about one - that being Megatron.
7 Optimus Prime Was Meant To Be A Cab Truck
Back when the Transformers first came into being back in the early 1980s, Autobot leader Optimus Prime's original alternate mode in was actually meant to be a cab over truck, rather than the long-nosed Peterbilt truck we know he transforms into today.
6 There's A Transformers Hall Of Fame
Like the worlds of acting, music and sport have halls of fame for their most famous and prestigious participants, the Transformers franchise is now so expansive and vast that it has a hall of fame all to itself.
5 Name Changes
A large number of the characters and concepts in Transformers originally had different names to the ones fans know them as now, prior to the final decisions being made on what they were going to be called - and here are just a few examples of that...
Jetfire (pictured) was originally going to be called "Fireball," Cliffjumper was originally going to be called "Blowout," Trailbreaker was originally going to be called "Guzzle" and Omega Supreme was originally going to be called "Fortress Maximus." The Autobot's space ship, the Ark was originally going to be called "Auntie."
4 Michael Bay Thought People Might Confuse Bumblebee With Herbie
No, you didn't read that wrong, Transformers live action movie director Bay really did think that fans might get mixed up between Bumblebee and Herbie. Of course, Bumblebee was originally a Volkswagen Beetle and was changed to a Chevrolet Camaro for the movies, but we bet you didn't know that was why.
3 They Swore!
Seriously, this is totally real and you can listen in the above video (though, obviously, given the very nature of this entry, we warn you that the video does contain a curse word).
2 They've Crossed Over With Marvel Superheroes
In addition to having quite famously crossed over with the likes of G.I. Joe - something which, along with M.A.S.K., is actually tipped to happen in the live action movies sooner rather than later - the Transformers have actually crossed over with the superheroes of the Marvel universe on more than one occasion.
1 The Same Man Voiced Optimus Prime In The Original Cartoon And Recent Movies
Canadian voice actor Peter Cullen - whose other roles include the likes of Eeyore in the Winnie-the-Pooh franchise, Monterey Jack in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, K.A.R.R. in Knight Rider and countless other characters in various animated shows - famously portrayed Optimus Prime (and several other characters) in the original Transformers cartoon. However, he has also gone on to reprise the role in the recent live action movie franchise!
Cullen - who is now 74 - voiced the lead Autobot in Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Transformers: Age of Extinction. He will reprise the role in the fifth movie in 2017.
Bonus fact: Cullen's voice for Optimus Prime was inspired by John Wayne!
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, TFWiki.net, Complex
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