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The Primes are defined as being

They are usually portrayed as the first thirteen living beings created by Primus, the creator of the Transformers and their home planet of Cybertron.

I know there are several Transformers creation stories, so this may vary.

Autobots have a different back story

Autobots were the descendants of a line of robots created as consumer goods by the Quintessons on the planet Cybertron. Their bodies were forged by the Plasma Energy Chamber and given intelligence by the mega-computer Vector Sigma in order for the work to be carried out.

So while the Primes, with the exception of the fallen, seem to be on the same side as the Autobots they seem to be a different class of being.

Do the Primes count as Autobots?

 

Background:

There was another question asking if any Autobots had become Decepticons. The Fallen was cited as an example. This would only be true if all Primes were Autobots to begin with.

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    Count as Autobots by whom? – Misha R Dec 12 '16 at 13:39
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    I think he means from a creationist point of view, as in the same "species". – Edlothiad Dec 12 '16 at 15:15
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    @Edlothiad I think what he means should be made a bit clearer in the question. The question needs to establish standards by which we can decide whether or not to count them in. Until then it's opinion-based. – Misha R Dec 12 '16 at 17:53
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As you mentioned, the answer to this depends on which Transformers timeline or continuity is used.

In the Generation 1 (1980s) continuity the timeline doesn't include the creation of the Thirteen Primes, although several Autobots use the word Prime in their name when they assume leadership (e.g. Optimus Prime, Sentinel Prime, Rodimus Prime). So in this sense, yes the Primes are Autobots.

Using the current "aligned continuity" from toy maker Hasbro, which is used by various computer games and recent animated TV shows, Primus creates The Thirteen (Primes) to battle it's nemesis Unicron. This is long before the Allspark is activated and the creation of Transformer life which later divides into the Autobot and Decepticon factions. So in this context answer is no, the Primes are not Autobots.

In the Transformers live action move continuity the Primes are the first beings created by the AllSpark. Much later, the descendants and followers of the two surviving Primes evolve into the Decepticons and Autobots. Again, in this context the Primes are not Autobots (but some Autobots e.g. Optimus are descended from them).

  • In the IDW continuity the Primes also predate the creation of the Autobot (or Decepticon) moniker, so they too aren't Autobots either. – System Down Dec 14 '16 at 0:22

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