In Transformers: Dark of the Moon while on a tour of Earth, Optimus offers Sentinel the Matrix of Leadership and Sentinel declines, claiming it more fitting for Optimus since he knows the planet and people of Earth better.

Later, we discover that

Sentinel betrays the Autobots in favor of a Decepticon alliance, intent on bringing Cybertron to Earth.

Why doesn't Sentinel

take the Matrix of Leadership, weakening those he knows he'll be opposing, gaining the power associated with it and preventing its presumable destruction along with the Autobots as planned? Surely, there was to be continued life after the story’s action which could have made having the Matrix valuable and useful... particularly in dealing with the Decepticons.

I've seen this question in other forums, but never with a well-formed, logical answer. Perhaps there isn't one, but it seems too simple to say it was poor scripting or some illogical emotional bond that doesn't seem to remain valid throughout the movie.

Was there some technical reason for the refusal, like accepting the Matrix of Leadership would have prevented him from acting as he did?

  • can someone tell me how Optimus has the matrix of leadership in the dark side of the moon, how he gives it to sentinel. in revenge of the fallen, the fallen takes the matrix. puts it in the machine, and then Optimus blows it to a billion pieces. never goes back to pick it up. it doesn't exist no more. yet some how he has it inside him on the 3rd movie. doesn't make sense and I haven't seen anyone else ask this question anywhere !!
    – user48747
    Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    Welcome to SFF.SE. If you have a question, you should ask it separately. You might want to have a look over the tour to get an idea what we're all about, and we have some guidance on asking good questions as well Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 19:21
  • “it seems too simple to say it was poor scripting” — having for some reason decided to watch all of these Transformers travesties, it seems exactly simple enough to me. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 11:00

8 Answers 8


There's no certain answer as you said it. But for me it wasn’t poor scripting. It’s an everyday situation that 80-90% of the world experiences.

You have to gain trust before you can betray them. You can’t betray someone when you don’t have their trust.

Yes, we know, Sentinel is being trusted when the Matrix was offered. But do we know for sure that Optimus was really willing to give the Matrix, or it was just a test on his part? Because of the dramatic scene between the two, the "might be" plan of Optimus of testing Sentinel was camouflaged. But since Sentinel did not take the matrix and served some sweet words to his successor, Sentinel got an upvote in their own personal Stack Exchange network.

Then without warning: bam! One ranking officer for the Autobots is dead. Was it that easy for Sentinel to get the kill? Yes! Because there is the back-to-back trust.

When somebody is back-to-back with each other, they trust within their 180 degrees of vision that they are protected plus the trusted man on your back to cover the rest of 180. Then you can get killed if that back betrays you.

  • 2
    I would up vote but for the last paragraph, which I don't understand. I suggest you delete it, it seems like a personal rant. Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 16:35
  • Agree with @Wikis here, that last bit confuses your otherwise cogent response. And while there are elements of this answer (trust building) discussed elsewhere that I've found, the angle of "Optimus may be testing me, cozy up closer" is fairly well-stated and not something I'd come across (or overlooked). I still think it's a detrimental decision on his part, but who says just because they're sentient machines they have to follow my idea of logic. :-/
    – Josh
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 0:20
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    Yeah its a personal rant lol. Just erased it.
    – Sid
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 3:37

Sentinel quite clearly states though that he was headed to Earth on a deal with Megatron years ago before he got intercepted and crashed on the moon. He had already betrayed the Autobots before his little nap. There was no sudden change of motive within the movie, he was literally covering his ass and deceiving the autobots. Therefore there still doesn't seem to be a rational explanation for his decline of the Matrix.

I like the idea that the Matrix wouldn't work for him as a traitor. That seems plausible, and consistent with the idea of Hot Rod from gen 1 (even though different gens/story lines).


I think it happened because Sentinel Prime was not working for the Decepticons. He just wanted to save his planet. He would have been thinking that if he took the Matrix and the Decepticons got it, it will not be good for the world so he refused.

  • True. Sentinel was not trying to buy Optimus's trust. He was truthful while saying Optimus was true successor and loyal to Cybertron all the way, unlike Megatron. He just wanted his home at any price, and so he became the bad guy.
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 4:13

The Matrix was never destroyed when Optimus destroyed the sun harvester containing the MoL. He retrieved it after battling Megatron and killing Fallen. In Dark of the Moon, Sentinel was offered the MoL by Optimus but turned it back because he knew it would be against the ideals of the fellowship of the Primes to expose the MoL to Decepticons.

Remember, Sentinel was not a power-hungry renegade. He wanted to unite all Transformers and then restore Cybertron; Optimus betrayed him and the entire Cybertron species.


In the second movie, Prime's ancestors told the boy that the Matrix could only be earned! By definition of "earned", it probably means "true leader of the Autobots' cause", like the boy sacrificing everything to save Optimus. Likewise, Optimus does everything for the "good" cause.

If Sentinel was to take the Matrix, it would probly vanish into "Sand" revealing to Optimus he wasn't the old Sentinel he knew. Maybe I'm missing something but to me it's pretty clear why he refused. I know that Megatron and the others wanted the Matrix but still in the second movie the ancestors told the true secret of the Matrix, Sentinel must have know everything about the Matrix as he was the oldest Prime.


If he took it he would have shown himself as a traitor because it would have dusted. That's the only logical answer I could ever muster, anything else if poppycock.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. It appears that this has already been suggested, (the other answer is more clear) but neither this answer nor the other offers anything other than opinion. Are there any concrete facts you can point to that support this interpretation?
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 20:48
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 20:56

The Matrix is a combination of Knowledge and Wisdom of all leaders of the Autobots before Optimus, it could have detected the Sentinels deception and stopped him from carrying out his plan. Or warned Optimus, if you remember "The Return Of Optimus Prime" when Rodimus gave Optimus the Matrix and he put it in his chest it did not seem to sit to well. And in the end, Optimus gives it back to Rodimus, the Matrix kept Optimus from carrying out the Quintessons' plan.

  • 1
    The Return of Optimus Prime is a Gen-1 episode. That is a completely different continuity from the Michael Bay live-action films. Thus far, Hot Rod/Rodimus and the Quintessons do not exist in the movie-universe.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 21:41

Simple answer like what you said:

  1. Sentinel was already evil and would not therefore take the Matrix
  2. If he did, it would fall into dust because it wouldn't trust him and
  3. He knew if he did take it, it would be against the codes of the Prime and knew he wouldn't need it anyway.

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