Transformers: Animated (U.S. TV)
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Much like Peter Cullen returning as Optimus Prime in the 2007 live-action Transformers film and Frank Welker returning as Megatron in the game and prequel DVD tied in to that film, Susan Blu and John Moschitta, Jr. reprise their roles as Arcee and Blurr, respectively. Both characters first appeared in Transformers: The Movie and became regulars in the original TV series from season 3 until its cancellation. Judd Nelson, who was also featured in Transformers: The Movie, reprises his role as Rodimus. In addition, Corey Burton reprises his role as Shockwave, as well as Spike Witwicky in several cameo appearances.
Previously known as its working title Transformers: Hero, this series was retitled Transformers: Animated to distinguish it from the live-action film.
"Weird Al" Yankovic, who plays Wreck-Gar in the series, is also a G1 alumnus, having recorded the song "Dare to be Stupid" for Transformers: The Movie. Though modeled after his G1 incarnation, Wreck-Gar's design was more influenced by Yankovic himself.
David Kaye is the only voice actor to have played both arch-rivals Optimus Prime (in Transformers: Animated) and Megatron (in Beast Wars, Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon and Transformers: Cybertron).
Blitzwing's triple face change is an homage to Generation 1's Quintessons, which had five faces on their bodies. Many fans have also compared him to Man-E-Faces from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Blitzwing's "Icy" face appears to be an homage to Col. Wilhelm Klink of Hogan's Heroes, while his "Hot" face is a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his "Random" face resembles a Jack-o-Lantern.
Sari's pet robot dog Sparkplug is named after the G1 human character Sparkplug Witwicky (Spike's father).
Despite sharing their names with their G1 predecessors (except Bulkhead), the Autobots' personalities are based on different Autobots (and some Maximals from the Beast Wars series) from past titles. Optimus Prime can be compared to Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime and Optimus Primal. Prowl acts more like Mirage. Bulkhead's character is reminiscent of Rhinox from Beast Wars. Ratchet is very much like Kup. Bumblebee has been compared to Transformers: Armada's Hot Shot.
The episode "Total Meltdown" was initially not aired on U.S. television due to the steroid and wrestling references. On June 25, 2007, professional wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son before committing suicide as a result of continuous use of illegal steroids. Following several investigations, twelve other wrestlers were suspended by World Wrestling Entertainment in compliance with the company's Talent Wellness Program.
The streak effects used on the Bumblebee vs. Nanosec are a nod to the Light Cycle race in the 1982 sci-fi film TRON.
In the episode "Garbage In, Garbage Out", Wreck-Gar throws a motorcycle at Bumblebee. The motorcycle looks similar to Wreck-Gar's G1 incarnation.
With George Takei as Yoketron, Transformers: Animated is the second Transformers title to feature the voice of a Star Trek cast member. Leonard Nimoy, best known as Spock, voiced Galvatron in Transformers: The Movie.
In the episode "Sound and Fury", when the TV news station goes on a break after the news reporter is attacked by his camera-bot, a picture of Kremzeek appears on the "Please Stand By" screen. Kremzeek was an energy lifeform created by Megatron in the original series.
For his role as Ultra Magnus, Jeff Glen Bennett emulated the voice of the late Robert Stack, who voiced Magnus in Transformers: The Movie
Metroplex and Fortress Maximus, the Autobots' bases in Cybertron, are designed after the original G1 toys, though they do not transform into robots in this series.
The Transwarp Drive system and Wasp's mutation to Waspinator on episode 36, "Predacons Rising", is an homage to the 1986 film The Fly.
In "Human Error Part 2", when Wreck-Gar prepares to battle Soundwave, he pulls out an accordion - "Weird Al" Yankovic's signature musical instrument.
The episode title "Five Servos of Doom" is a reference to the G1 episode "Five Faces of Darkness."
The episode title "Decepticon Air" - which takes place aboard an Autobot Elite Guard ship carrying Decepticon prisoners - is a parody of the 1997 action film Con Air, which is about a plane carrying prison inmates.
Shockwave's color change at the end of the episode "This is Why I Hate Machines" is an homage to the two color variations of the G1 Shockwave toy. Prior to being sold as a Transformers product, the toy was molded in dark gray; the G1 version was re-molded in purple.
Unlike the other characters in the series, Perceptor is voiced using PlainTalk, a speech synthesis software available on Apple Macintosh computers. This was done because Perceptor removed his personality from his programming to store more data.
Yoketron was named after Hideaki Yoke, Takara's lead toy designer.
In the episode "Predacons Rising", when Blackarachnia and Waspinator emerge from the transwarp generated by Waspinator's body, Blackarachnia encounters a cheetah, a gorilla, a rat and a rhinoceros - the Beast modes of Cheetor, Optimus Primal, Rattrap and Rhinox, respectively. This possibly means that Blackarachnia and Waspinator have wound up in the Beast Wars universe.
Sentinel Prime was designed to resemble the comic book character The Tick. At the same time, Townsend Coleman (who played the title role in The Tick animated series) was chosen to do the voice of Sentinel.
Meltdown's mutant henchmen are references to G1 Pretender Decepticons. The Fish Mutant resembles Submarauder, while the Mammal Mutant resembles Bomb-Burst.
Starscream's transformation sequence pays homage to Macross with him transforming to Gerwalk mode halfway through robot mode.
Many of the characters in this series were patterned after comic book superheroes and super-villains. Examples include Bulkhead (The Thing from Fantastic Four), Lugnut (The Hulk), Ironhide (Colossus from X-Men) and Cyrus "The Colossus" Rhodes (Bane from Batman).
Bumblebee calls Optimus Prime "Boss-Bot", which was the nickname of Optimus Primal given by Cheetor in Beast Wars.
The Witwicky family from season 3 of the original series - Spike, Carly and Daniel - makes cameo appearances on several episodes of this series.
Sari is one of only two known transformers with a human alternative mode. The other one is from the second live action Transformers movie.
In the DVD special "Career Day," a bunch of children are "interviewing" Optimus Prime and asks a bunch of things that fans have been wondering about ever since Prime's G1 incarnation. These questions are: how can he see in vehicle mode when his head disappears into his body, where does the trailer come from when he transforms into a truck, and where does it disappear to when he goes back into robot mode.
In the 3rd season episode "Decepticon Air" is a tribute to the G1 Optimus Prime. When Optimus Prime transforms into a fire truck to escape the Decepticons, he is shown with a trailer. When he transforms back into robot mode, his trailer just wanders off and disappears like in the G1 series,
The Starscream clones are most likely a tribute to the G1 Seekers - the disposable Starscream look alikes who are only distinguishable from Starscream by their color (and that they are mostly only in the background)
In the episode "Decepticon Air," Sari's typing sequence is likely a tribute to Ghost in the Shell - particularly, Doctor Willis' typing in the first movie.
In episode 1, the sound effect used when Bumblebee jumps into the mouth of the mutated robot cockroach is the famous mechanical sound from the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man.
The scene in episode 1 where Prime turns gray before his spark is extinguished is a reference to original Prime's death in Transformers: The Movie. This is also the depiction of other robots whose sparks are extinguished in subsequent episodes of the series.
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