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The Dinobots are several teams of characters in the fictional Transformers Universe. The groups are made up of several robots, each of whose alternate mode are those of dinosaurs or similar prehistoric animal.

Transformers: Generation One

The Dinobots are a group of five Transformers, part of the Autobot faction. Their exact origins and abilities vary from one version of Transformers to the next, but they are always exceptionally powerful Autobots, able to sustain heavy damage and wield heavy firepower against their foes. In all media, they are depicted as being fiercely independent and liable to break away from the main group of Autobots when the mood takes them. They are also the only known group of Autobots that can fly in Robot mode very much like most Decepticons.



Due to their unique alternative modes, their memorable personalities and their fighting prowess, they are fan favorites in their cartoon, comic book and toy incarnations.

Animated Series

The creation of the Dinobots was almost happenstance. One particular day at Autobot Headquarters, the Autobots detected unusual seismic activity from within the walls of the cave. Ironhide investigated the disturbance and found the fossilized bones of dinosaurs. After researching more dinosaurs, Wheeljack made the suggestion that, because of their brute force and power, dinosaurs working for the Autobots would shake up the Decepticons. Ratchet agreed, suggesting robotic forms and Optimus Prime authorized the project.

Shortly after, Grimlock, Slag, and Sludge were created and unveiled, but during the presentation, the Dinobots went awry due to their lack of intelligence. They began to ransack Autobot Headquarters, inflicting major damage to Teletraan I. Wheeljack managed to subdue the Dinobots with his shoulder-mounted magnetic inducer. The Dinobots were deactivated and stored in the cavern where they were constructed. Later, when many of the Autobots were in peril from a Decepticon ambush and end up as prisoners, the Dinobots were given cerebral upgrades by Wheeljack's Memory Components increasing their intelligence, but only to the point of possessing broken language, and rudimentary logic. This did not make them "civilized", but the upgrade allowed them to follow instructions and be sent into combat.

The Dinobots performed admirably in combat, saving the Autobots, forcing the Decepticons into retreat, and earning a permanent place in the Autobot ranks.

Pleased with the Dinobots, Optimus planned to have Wheeljack and Ratchet create two more while the first 3 Dinobots guard a meteorite (which later turns out to have unstable energy). Chip Chase manages to recommend a Stegosaurus and a Pteranodon for the next two Dinobot models. Dismayed by his losses to the Dinobots, Megatron discovered and briefly exploited personality weaknesses that turned the Dinobots against the Autobots. Megatron has Soundwave secretly scan their brains. Upon finding out that Grimlock is arrogant, Slag is violent, and Sludge is stupid, Megatron takes his Decepticons and uses that information to get the Dinobots on his side while the other Decepticons steal the meteorite. Meanwhile, the Autobots begin construction of the new Dinobots and then test them against Bluestreak, Ironhide, Prowl, and Sideswipe. At the site where the meteor was, Optimus is attacked and defeated by the Dinobots -- convinced by Megatron to do so since Grimlock was stronger than Prime, and as such, he should lead, and the Dinobots should follow the strongest leader. Rather than kill Optimus Prime, the Dinobots take Optimus Prime to Megatron so that Grimlock could destroy Optimus in front of him. Snarl and Swoop are sent to where the Decepticons have the meteorite and Optimus Prime. When the energy that was harvested proves too volatile for Energon conversion and explodes, Snarl and Swoop attack, engaging their fellow Dinobots. Both Dinobot factions are equal until Grimlock is knocked near the meteorite when it is about to explode. Optimus Prime saves Grimlock as the meteorite explodes. Grimlock reconsidered his betrayal after being saved by Optimus Prime. Angered at being tricked, Grimlock, Slag, and Sludge converge on Megatron who retreats with his Decepticons.

They proved very useful when Megatron brought Cybertron into Earth's orbit through the Decepticon Space Bridge.

They are often brought in to face the largest threats. They have tangled with Devastator numerous times (their method of battling gestalts is to multiple-team them repeatedly until they disassemble), defeated or stalemated Megatron (Grimlock was often able to battle him on his own), and even survived an assault against Unicron.

Marvel Comics

In the comic version, the Dinobots are quite different from their cartoon equivalents. They were not created on Earth, but are in fact Cybertronian Autobots. The Dinobots are something like an Autobot elite special ops team, under Grimlock’s direct command. It is made quite clear that the Dinobots’ first loyalty is to each other over their fellow Autobots.

During the series, not much is said about the Dinobots’ time on Cybertron. Most of what is learned comes as hints or references in dialogues. We learn Swoop has a grudge against the Decepticon Divebomb, caused by a number of defeats the Dinobot suffered to the Decepticon in fights over the name 'Divebomb', Swoop's original moniker. We also learn Grimlock and the Dinobots were as powerful and rebellious on Cybertron as they are on Earth, going so far as launching successful raids against the Decepticon forces without the knowledge of the Autobot leaders. In one such raid, the Dinobots stole a number of Decepticon spaceships and hid them away so well they were still intact when the Autobots returned to Cybertron 5 million years later.

The Dinobots were aboard the Ark with the other Autobots when they originally crashed on Earth. However, soon after the crash, Shockwave landed on Earth in search of the Ark, and the ship’s computer (A.U.N.T.I.E.) reactivated the Dinobots.

This would be all the US comics would see of the Dinobots for some time, but in the UK comics, Ratchet led the Dinobots back to the Ark, only to encounter a deranged Guardian robot. They beat him, but lose Swoop in the process, prompting the Dinobots to walk out.

Earthforce

In a breakaway storyline begun by Marvel UK, Grimlock was appointed commander of a group of Autobots on Earth monitoring Decepticon activities - and naturally the Dinobots came with him. They fought many battles against the forces of both Megatron and Shockwave.

Generation 2

Grimlock and the Dinobots were soon in the thick of it again in the Generation 2 comic (following on from the end of the US comic), leading missions against the Decepticons mechaforming efforts (thinking it was Bludgeon's forces, when in reality it was Jhiaxus' second-generation Decepticons). Discovering the scale of their efforts, Grimlock called in Prime - only to be captured by Jhiaxus. The Autobots and Dinobots escaped, and Grimlock again struck out on his own with the Dinobots and a force of volunteers to strike a blow against Jhiaxus - only to be again captured. Prime would rescue them, however, teaching Grimlock some much needed leadership lessons in the process.

The Dinobots later came with Optimus Prime and the Autobots back to Earth in response to a special emergency beacon activated by G. I. Joe in response to a major attack by first Bludgeon, then Megatron.

Dreamwave Productions

Slag, in Cybertronian form from Dreamwave comics.
The Dinobots appeared in Dreamwave's reimagining of the Generation One Universe, this time with an expanded origin. Shortly before the second story arc of the War Within, The Dark Ages, Grimlock created a specialized attack group called the Lightning Strike Coalition. Five members of this group would go on to become the Dinobots on Earth, by the time of the "Age of Wrath" they were openly acting as Grimlock's bodyguards, with Grimlock even referring to them as "Dynobots". At this stage the group did not yet have the absolute loyalty that the Dinobots would later be known for. In this story arc, Swoop openly questions Grimlock’s orders. When faced with a dilemma, the other four members of the Coalition choose to go help the Autobots and leave their leader to fight elsewhere on his own, something the later Dinobots would never do. Here Swoop transformed into a Cybertronian jet, while the other Dynonbots transformed into different types of Cybertronian tank.

The Dinobots later made their first appearance in the Generation One Series. The backstory had it that the Dynobots were dispatched to Earth to discover what had happened to the missing Ark. They encountered the Decepticons who would become the Insecticons, with both sides blasting each other into stasis lock. Although Grimlock would appear first independently of the Dinobots, they would later appear in the second volume revived by Grimlock, before crashing on Cybertron. Killing Octane and stealing his ship; however, they ran into trouble when the local Autobot forces believed them to be traitors and fired on them, with Ultra Magnus gunning down Grimlock, before battling giant Sentinel robots dispatched by Shockwave. Repaired by the Autobots (now convinced of their intentions), they then participated in the final assault on Shockwave, where Grimlock rescued Magnus and Optimus Prime. Dreamwave's closure prevented any further stories being told, but it is known that the Dinobots would have returned in volume 3 #11 of the Gen 1 comic.


Devil's Due Publishing

The Dinobots also appeared in the second G. I. Joe vs the Transformers series from Devil's Due Publishing, with yet another different origin. In 2004 the Dinobots were among the Autobots under the leadership of Optimus Prime who attempted to take back the planet Cybertron from the Decepticon tyrant Shockwave. After an accident with the teleportation systems of the supercomputer Teletran-3, the Dinobots found themselves sent back in time and landed on the planet Earth. They were reformatted in the forms of Earth dinosaurs. A group of humans were able to bring the new Dinobots back to Cybertron and they helped overcome Shockwave.

Grimlock also had a prominent role in the third series as one of the Autobots sent to Earth to deactivate Cybertronian technology, only to end up battling the human created cyborg Serpentor. Snarl also appeared briefly as part of the combined Autobot/G.I Joe force attempting to rescue Optimus Prime, fighting alongside Storm Shadow.

IDW Publishing

The Dynobots attack Shockwave in Transformers Spotlight #1.
The Dinobots would make their first chronological IDW Publishing appearance in issue 3 of The Transformers: Megatron Origin, where all 5 were seen as part of Megatron's gathering of gladiators and insurgents that would eventually become the Decepticons.

They appeared chronologically later in The Transformers: Spotlight issue on Shockwave, having, as in other continuities, defected to the Autobots. In this stand-alone tale the Dinobots (here, as in the War Within, referring to themselves as Dynobots) sought revenge on Shockwave for a past incident involving Shockwave's destruction of an Energon cache that they had stolen - and nearly them with it. Being denied a chance for revenge by Optimus Prime, the Dynobots went rogue and tracked Shockwave to prehistoric Earth, where he was ensuring that seams of rich Energon that he had seeded took root. Unable to survive in the Energon levels on the planet (reminiscent of the problem facing the Maximals and Predacons in Beast Wars), they adopted technorganic dinosaur modes and teleported down to Earth to engage Shockwave. Despite their determination and ferocity their own impulsive nature would prove their undoing; the concept that the Dynobots could have followed him for simple revenge Shockwave shut down his higher logic functions, allowing him to single-handedly devastate the Dynobots. He would not enjoy his victory for long - Grimlock had set the weapons on their ship to fire on their location, exploding a volcano and burying all combatants in lava.

It is interesting to note that unlike most other versions of the character, their alternate modes, while still dinosaurs, are techno-organic - a sheath of synthetic flesh over robotic alternate modes. However, near the end of the story, their flesh is blown off by Shockwave's cannon blast, suggesting that if they return it will be in their familiar metallic dinosaur forms. Amusingly, a reason is also given for their choosing of dinosaur modes - they reject mammalian forms as not having enough "bite".

The eventual fate of the Dynobots would be revealed in The Transformers: Escalation where it was shown that the bodies of the Dynobots and Shockwave were being dug up by the mysterious defense organization called Skywatch. After the events of The Transformers: Devastation Skywatch dug up Grimlock as a defense measure, but his reawakening was sabotaged by the Machination. After a battle with Scorponok, the other Dynobots were reactivated by Skywatch - manipulated by the Machination who wanted them to kill Grimlock. (Spotlight Grimlock).

Generation 2

The Generation 2 toy line had releases of Grimlock, Slag and Snarl in a variety of recolors, and missing their missile launchers. There were plans to release Swoop in Generation 2's toy line but this never came to pass.

Beast Wars

Grimlock was the only original Dinobot who was reformatted and rebuilt as a Maximal some three centuries after the end of the Great War. The Maximals and Predacons traveled back in time into Earth's prehistoric past where they assumed the forms of beasts, in the case of Grimlock, the form of a Velociraptor. The Beast Wars Grimlock toy is the same mold as the Maximal Dinobot, who appeared in the Beast Wars cartoon (although Grimlock did not).

Grimlock in his reimagined raptor form has appeared in IDW Publishing's mini-series Beast Wars: The Gathering. He battled Magmatron, but lost, later joining Razorbeast's Maximals on Earth.

Beast Machines

The Dinobot Airraptor
When Megatron unleashed the technorganic virus on Cybertron during Beast Machines, many Maximals and Predacons were wiped out. In a desperate attempt to combat the virus, the Oracle supercomputer reformatted a group of surviving Transformers using DNA schematics derived from the former Maximal warrior Dinobot. Thus were born the Beast Machines Dinobots:

The Dinobot Terranotron



Transformers: Dinobots

Dinobot's version of Swoop/Terranotron
In 2003 a set of Wal-Martmarker exclusive toys sold simply as Transformers: Dinobots featured repaints of Beast Wars molds as 6 Dinobots. One of the Dinobots sets included Grimlock (a repaint of Beast Wars Dinobot) and Swoop (a repaint of Beast Wars Terrorsaur). Some versions of Swoop were named Terranotron on the box because of trademark issues with the name Swoop.

How the Transformers: Dinobots toy line fits in with the other Transformers lines is unclear. The previous Robots in Disguise and Armada lines contained many non-show repaint toys, but the toys don't mention either line on the boxes. The Dinobots toys came out just before the Transformers: Universe series, which was almost entirely repaints of old toys - so some fans consider it a precursor to that series.


Transformers: Energon

Energon Swoop
There were two Dinobot figures released as part of the Transformers Energon toyline: Grimlock and Swoop, who can merge to form the giant robot Mega-Dinobot. They did not appear in the cartoon.


Transformers: Classics

In November 2006 a Deluxe-sized Grimlock was released, and three Dinobot Minicons were sold in a 3-pack; only one of which carries an original Dinobot name: Swoop.

Live-Action Movies

Although the Dinobots do not appear in the live-action film, a video on the Sector 7 website showed Grimlock rampaging through a construction site. The Dinobots have been mentioned as potential characters for the sequel to the live-action film as a band of Transformers who landed on Earth eons ago, thus their dinosaur forms. The website, seibertron.com had given fans the code to access the Sector 7 website which is DECEPTIBOT in capital letters. The other password is the word 'black'. When asked if the Dinobots would appear in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Michael Bay said "No", but said there will be more Cybertronian species. Roberto Orci recently confirmed that the Dinobots are not in the sequel, describing them as being too difficult to portray onscreen. But there is the possibility that that they will make an appearance in the third movie.

Transformers: Animated

In the Transformers: Animated, the Dinobots are originally animatronic dinosaurs at the fictional Dino Drive amusement park. When Bulkhead accidentally smashes them, Professor Sumdac takes the robotic dinosaurs back to his private lab for repairs. It is this episode that Megatron reveals that he is conscious to Sumdac, and agrees to help him rebuild the dinosaurs. However, secretly Megatron intends to use the newly-named Dinobots for his own experiment to see if he can create successful drones loyal only to him, each possessing the abilities of a transformer along with flame breath attacks in beast mode. Megatron remote controls the new Dinobots, who wreak havoc during the rechristening ceremony, the Autobots are able to stop them with Bumblebee and Ratchet combining their energies to create a EMP to shutdown the Dinobots. However, due to Sari Sumdac's attempt to boost Bumblebee's power, her Allspark Key turns the Dinobots into actual transformers, though they see themselves as actual dinosaurs. Although he no longer has complete control over them, Megatron is able to persuade Grimlock, Snarl, and Swoop into destroying all fossil fuel-powered vehicles and the "car-robots" (the Autobots). Far more resistant to the Autobots' weapons this time, the three Dinobots are trapped and imprisoned in a tar pit. After hearing that Professor Sumdac intends to disassemble the incapacitated Dinobots the next morning, Prowl raises his suspicions that they may be more advanced than they think. Enlisting the aid of Bulkhead, the two Autobots secretly transport the Dinobots to a forest island nearby where they can live in seclusion and peace with nature, utilizing a holographic screen to hide them from the rest of the world. However, Grimlock accidentally figures out how to transform into robot mode, much to the surprise of the other two Dinobots.

The Dinobots were later found by Prometheus Black AKA, Meltdown, who threatened to melt them unless they serve him. Swoop kidnapped Sari so Meltdown could use her in experiments to create a transforming human. When Prowl, Bulkhead and Captain Fanzone captured Meltdown, they told the Dinobots they didn't need to serve him anymore. In their simple logic, they figure that Meltdown isn't one of them, so they transform to beat him, surprising everyone, and allying themselves to the Autobots. They then divert to Colossus Rhodes and the mutants, which they promptly burn.

The Dinobots return in Megatron Rising (part one), approached by Optimus Prime, Bulkhead and Prowl, who want their help against the invading Decepticons. The Dinobots refuse. They also briefly feature in The Elite Guard. They attack Sentinel Prime when he trespasses on their island, but are forced back by Ultra Magnus.

They also appear in "A Fistful of Energon", where Grimlock has a metal spike in his foot removed by Prowl.

They next feature in "Black Friday", where they are seduced by Blackarachnia into helping her remove her organic half.

They made a small cameo at the end of Three's a Crowd, observing an explosion over the lake which contained the Constructicons. Also, in the same episode, an oil tanker has a picture on its side of what appears to be G1 Sludge in his alternate mode getting stuck in a pool of tar.

In "Predacons Rising" the Dinobots are once again coerced into doing Blackarachnia's bidding, bringing them into conflict with the Autobots. In the ensuing battle, they are overwhelmed and defeated by Jetfire and Jetstorm.

In "Human Error(part 2)", Grimlock and Swoop make a brief appearance when Sari, now a teenager, attempts to enlist their help to rescue the Autobots , who have been captured by Soundwave who wants to reprogram them into serving him. When Grimlock refuses to help Sari, she wonders where the third Dinobot, Snarl, is. She soon discovered that Snarl had been domesticated into a pet by the Constructicon, Scrapper, who washed ashore on the island after the explosion at the end of "Three's a Crowd". Scrapper and Snarl agree to help Sari take down Soundwave. After the battle, Scrapper attempts to ride Snarl, but Snarl uses his back legs to kick Scrapper back, seemingly putting an end to their friendship.

References

  1. Cobra Island Toys - Transformer Archive



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