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Transformers: War for Cybertron, not to be confused with the video game with which it shares a name, is a Netflix original series that premiered on July 30th 2020, based on the Transformers toyline of the same name.

Like the toys it was based on, there are three seasons planned for the show: Siege (set in the waning days of the war on Cybertron), Earthrise (set as the Autobots hunt for the AllSpark in space) and Kingdom.

Tropes used in War for Cybertron include:


General

  • Adaptational Villainy: Cybertron's neutral population is usually composed of Autobot sympathizers or people who are just sick of war being committed in their species' name. These neutrals are amoral jerkasses who are Only in It For the Money. And those are the decent ones. The bad ones have organized themselves into the Mercenaries, essentially space mobsters.
  • Adapted Out: Humans? What are those?
  • Animesque: Marketed as a "Netflix original Anime".
  • Merchandise-Driven: Usually not even worth mentioning for a Transformers show, but it's painfully clear that the character models are cribbed from the toys. However, the cartoons never feature any of the gimmicks of the toyline.

Siege

  • Adaptational Badass: Astrotrain, usually a Butt Monkey, is huge, rivalling the Ark in height.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Bumblebee. Usually the Nice Guy among the Autobots, he starts out as a Neutral who's Only in It For the Money.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Impactor was originally a Decepticon.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Cog. This is his first major role in the franchise.
    • Mirage has always been there in G1 stories, but he's never been as prominent as he is here.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The series opens with the Decepticons having all but won the war.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The females have battle damage, but it's far less than that of their male counterparts.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The mindset of most Autobots. The issue is then that Optimus has a Black and White Morality.
  • Broken Pedestal: With the Autobots inching towards extinction, most Autobots begin the series thinking a lot less of Optimus' Mildly Military leadership than usual.
  • Cloning Blues: Soundblaster's origins are said to be his Berserk Button.
  • Composite Character: While Red Alert has his G1 design, he has the personality of his Unicron Trilogy counterpart.
  • Cool Gate: The Space Bridges as always.
  • Darker and Edgier: Cybertron is in ruins and the Autobots are teetering on the verge of extinction. Ultra Magnus outright says that their focus should be on survival, not victory. Even the colour palette is heavily muted, reflecting the bleak state of Cybertron, and the Autobots are littered with battle damage. It's not until the very end of the first season that the series has even a glimmer of hope.
  • Death by Adaptation: Ultra Magnus usually lives to see the War's end, sometimes even becoming the new Autobot leader. Here he dies before they even leave Cybertron.
  • Deal with the Devil: Magnus, under cloak, approaches Decepticon High Command to try and bargain for peace in Optimus' stead.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Mirage takes on Hound's usual ability to project incredibly lifelike holograms.
    • Follows the Dreamwave comic's approach to Soundblaster, presenting him as a clone of Soundwave.
  • Defector From Decadence: Omega Supreme strikes out from his fellow Guardians to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Demoted to Extra: Much like Cyberverse, the usually prominent Arcee and Prowl have very small roles to play in the story. Ironhide is also demoted to being simply a bridge officer.
  • Egopolis: Megatron's citadel is decorated with stained glass pictures of himself.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Megatron states that he would never try and remove the AllSpark from Cybertron.
    • Soundwave is against Shockwave's plan given that it runs the risk of crippling planetary infrastructure.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
  • Extremely Short Timespan: At most, the series takes place over a week.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Impactor and Mirage.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Magnus summarizes Megatron as such.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Optimus towers over Elita-1.
  • Hypocrite: Jetfire refuses to let Skywarp commit murder. As Starscream later points out, he accomplished this by murdering Skywarp.
  • I Choose to Stay: Elita doesn't board the Ark, staying behind to fight Megatron's rule over Cybertron.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Megatron starts the first episode by saying he won't resort to genocide. By the third, he's been pushed to one.
  • Killed Off for Real: Ultra Magnus, Skywarp, Moonracer, and Impactor.
  • King Mook: Jetfire is the only Seeker who doesn't share Starscream's body-type and the series opens as with him as their leader.
  • La Résistance: Megatron refers to the Autobots as "the Autobot Resistance."
  • Mildly Military: Optimus Prime as always, but the other Autobots, Elita-1 in particular, seem to be getting rather fed up with this lax approach.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Like in the G1 pilot, Bumblebee and Wheeljack are scouting the ruins together and are ambushed by the Seekers.
    • Bumblebee mentions that he used to vacation on Velocitron before the war.
    • Magnus' cloak is rather reminiscent of Megatron's in Dark of the Moon.
    • Much of Cybertronian technology and architecture is identical to its appearance in Transformers Prime. Hardly a surprise since both shows were animated by the same company. The screens even have the same sound effects.
    • The AllSpark has its design from Transformers: Cyberverse. Its launched off-world in a similar manner as it was in that show and, like its counterpart there, is able to teleport around the planet.
    • The Space Bridge is located in Sector Seven.
    • Mirage pulling off Me's a Crowd is an insanely obscure reference to his original character bio.
  • Never My Fault: Megatron. The Autobots' actions are forcing him to meet aggression.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Magnus just puts on a cloak. His gigantic shoulders, arms, legs, and bits of his face are still visible. But not one Decepticon recognizes who this mysterious stranger is.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Shockwave's plan with the AllSpark is an ultimate version of this, opting to end the war by reformatting the entirety of the Autobot faction.
    • Soundwave is opposed to Shockwave's virus given that it's liable to cripple planetary infrastructure which will adversely affect the Decepticons.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Seems to harken back to the original cartoon's position that the Autobots and Decepticons are two separate races with Alpha Trion having brought freedom to Cybertron.
  • Sequel Hook: Sent through the Space Bridge, the inactive Ark drifts through the void before Teletraan-I detects an unknown vessel on approach.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In most continuities, Omega Supreme is the Last of His Kind but here, the Guardians have survived the Great War.
  • The Starscream: Averted. Starscream didn't mention any desire to seize the throne and served Megatron loyally.
  • The Stoic: Averted with Optimus Prime. He loses his cool every now and then.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Shockwave and Soundwave aren't very impressed when Megatron promotes Starscream to command of the Seekers.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ultra Magnus going to negotiate with Megatron.
  • We Help the Helpless: Ratchet's clinic doesn't discriminate based on faction.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Optimus and Magnus with Megatron.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ultra Magnus truly believed that he could peacefully end the war by just talking to Megatron.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Sparkless.

Earthrise

  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Bug Bite is now Cybertronian rather than a Go-Bot.
    • Rather than a Cybertronian, Scorponok is some other form of mechanical life that was also enslaved by the Quintessons.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Doubledealer is far more noble than he usually is.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Doubledealer makes his first animated appearance.
    • The Quintesson Death face is usually the most prominent. Here Deseeus' Wrath face is the dominant one.
  • Bad Future: Galvatron comes from one, one where it's implied Unicron won.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Decepticons, Mercenaries and Quintessons.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The Quintesson Deseeus. For all their power, Megatron is just so much more relentless.
  • Bigger Bad: Unicron is coming.
  • Crapsack World: As all the other times across the Transformers multiverse, removing the AllSpark from Cybertron killed the planet.
  • From Bad to Worse: The situation on Cybertron has somehow gotten worse.
  • Good Needs Evil: Inverted. It's pointed out that the Decepticons need an enemy to fight to maintain order amongst themselves.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: It's outright said that Megatron is no better than a Quintesson judge.
  • Human Resources: The Decepticons need lots of energon to fuel the Nemesis. And with Cybertron dying, there's only one source of energon left...
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Space Bridge is in the Nebulon system.
    • The Autobots swear by the Thirteen Primes.
    • After the Space Bridge explosion, the Ark and Nemesis find themselves in IDW's Dead Universe.
    • Galvatron's time travel opens a door to the time vortex styled like his introduction in Transformers: The Movie.
  • Non-Indicative Name: For a series called Earthrise, Earth only appears in the last half of the last episode.
  • Ramming Always Works: With all weapons and shields down, the Nemesis uses itself to ram the Ark.
  • Reality Ensues: Megatron quickly points out why being The Starscream doesn't work. Just because you're second-in-command, it doesn't guarantee that people are as loyal to you as they are to the original leader.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Galvatron is clearly hoping to do this. When Unicron pulls him back to his time, he passes on the mission to Megatron, saying the Golden Disk can help.
    • After getting a vision of the future from the Matrix, Optimus notes that he can do this if he kills Megatron.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: After a season on Cybertron, Earthrise moves to the larger galaxy.
  • Sequel Hook: As the Ark and Nemesis fall towards Earth, a Velociraptor watches everything.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Star Trek terms are frequently tossed around when discussing spaceships.
    • The Mercenary craft's superlaser looks suspiciously like the one on the Eclipse.
  • Ungovernable Galaxy: As always in Transformers, there are Quintessons and unscrupulous Cybertronians hiding behind every nebula.
  • Villain Has a Point: As everyone, even Optimus Prime, points out, Megatron was right to say that Optimus shouldn't have removed the AllSpark from Cybertron.

Kingdom

  • Adaptational Jerkass: All of the Maximals. Makes sense considering that, instead of a utopian future where the Autobots restored Cybertron, they come from a Bad Future where Cybertron had to survive without the AllSpark. Hardly surprising that they're bitter.
  • Backup From Otherworld: When the AllSpark is returned to its temple, the sparks it starts summoning back to it hold off Galvatron and Nemesis Prime long enough for it to reintegrate itself with Cybertron.
  • Badass Boast: When Soundwave notes that the Nemesis has no weapons, Megatron notes that he's a weapon.
  • Bigger Bad: In the finale, Galvatron and Nemesis Prime reveal that they manipulated everything, even the Maximals and Predacons' time travel, to get their servos on the AllSpark. And even then, they're but unwilling pawns to Unicron.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The Golden Disk can only be accessed by Megatron's unique energon signature. Or by whomever has his spilled energon...
  • Cessation of Existence: Discussed by Optimus Primal. With the AllSpark returned to Cybertron, the future of the Maximals and Predacons is now an alternate timeline. Maybe it still exists or maybe it's winked out of existence with the Maximals and Predacons liable to follow at any moment.
  • Decomposite Character: Predacon!Scorponok still has his mindless thug attitudes but his chummy eagerness to please his master is given to Predacon!Megatron and the original Megatron's relationship.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Everyone in the Kaon Arena. Happens when a stadium full of volatile material falls on you.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Unicron. He leans into this trope even more than usual, outright saying he knows everything, being able to reach and see across time.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dead Universe.
  • Enemy Mine: In Episode 6, Autobots, Decepticons, Maximals and Predacons come together to defeat Galvatron and Nemesis Prime and save Cybertron.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: When the Ark returns to Cybertron, it's a frozen wasteland with no one alive.
  • Half the Man He Used To Be: When a Seeker tries to prove that Ramming Always Works, Primal uses this to show that it does not.
  • It's All About Me: Galvatron and Nemesis Prime want the AllSpark to kill Unicron uncaring that this may destroy it and leave Cybertron a dead husk.
  • My Future Self and Me: Galvatron and Megatron and Nemesis and Optimus Prime.
  • Mythology Gag: Everything in Episode 3 goes out of its way to harken back to the Beast Wars episode "Code of Hero". Including Dinobot's death.
  • One Steve Limit: Megatron tells his Predacon counterpart to find a new name at one point.
  • One-Man Army: Alone, Galvatron and Nemesis Prime are a match for the whole cast.
  • Screw Destiny: Starscream. After Unicron laughs that Starscream is too cowardly and inept to do anything, 'Scream goes out of his way to make a difference and show fate who's boss. His "The Reason You Suck" Speech speech to Megatron in the end is pretty much offering his master to join him in doing this.
  • Sequel Hook: Unicron summons Galvatron and Nemesis Prime back to him at the end, having thought up a new plan. Starscream even notes that he can still hear Unicron.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: As Starscream laughs when he learns who Galvatron is. Megatron was born a slave and he will and after everything he did, Galvatron winds up as Unicron's slave. Megatron's whole life was All for Nothing.
  • Smug Super: The Maximals and Predacons are not shy about how low-tech they view Autobot technology as.
  • Spotting the Thread: The Maximals are forced to reveal that they're time-travellers when Optimus Prime realizes that not enough time has passed for them to speak of the AllSpark leaving Cybertron as some ancient tragedy.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Dead Universe. One can gather data about alternate futures when passing through it.
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