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When Primus created the Transformers, their population "expanded to fill the planet". Because Cybertron is about the size of Saturn, it's not unreasonable to expect twenty billion or more Autobots. Then we have the Great War. In this war, it is widely known that both Autobot and Decepticon armies and population take massive, innumerable casualties and that in the end very few Transformers are left before the Exodus.

Then when we're back to modern Transformer movies by Micheal Bay, and there are fewer than fifty Autobots that survive and reach Earth, where their leader Optimus Prime called them to go. In years their number is halved, and then later halved again, due to attacks by TRF, Cemetery Wind, and Lockdown. Why? There are several ideas I have about this.

  1. Autobots got slaughtered and killed when there was an accident (like spaceships got a virus and powered down)
  2. The Great War killed almost all the Autobots
  3. A lot of Autobots didn't answer Prime's call or couldn't

We see only a few hundred or so Decepticons in the battles of Egypt and Chicago, not even in the thousands. In each new Transformers movie, I was always expecting a "return of the Autobots", where the Autobots would be somewhat equal to the Decepticons in number.

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    Are you asking for the Bay movies specifically, or across all iterations of Transformers media? I've forgotten which novel it was, or which continuity, but in one case, Optimus only brought X number with him to begin with and the rest were either on Cybertron or elsewhere in space. In the Bay movies, I don't remember any of the tie-in novels saying definitively how many survivor Autobots were extant. Aug 25, 2022 at 2:09
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    I haven't watched many of the old Transformers movies, only the Micheal Bay ones. I doubt in any of the Transformer movies there are more than 100 Autobots.
    – Ethan Chan
    Aug 25, 2022 at 2:26
  • In the sequel movie they justify the presence of the newer autobots by saying that Optimus sent out a message asking them to come to Earth
    – Valorum
    Aug 25, 2022 at 6:19
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    "We were once a peaceful race of intelligent, mechanical beings. But then came the war between the Autobots, who fought for freedom and the Decepticons, who dreamt of tyranny. Overmatched and outnumbered, our defeat was all but certain. But in the war's final days, one Autobot ship escaped the battle"
    – Valorum
    Aug 25, 2022 at 6:24
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    " it's not reasonable to expect twenty billion or more Autobots" - from context I assume that is supposed to read "not unreasonable" ? Aug 25, 2022 at 8:32

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