Does anybody know what the accepted origins are for the Dinobots? In the (original) cartoon Wheeljack & Rachet created them on Earth, but the tech-specs on the original toys (and a lot of the other stories we see) indicate that they came to Earth from Cybertron.

So what is the accepted origin?

  • 3
    Bet this really depends on which timeline/continuity/series you're looking at. For example, in the War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron games they were experimental results created by Shockwave.
    – Mario
    Feb 17, 2014 at 11:11
  • @Mario Yes I finished that level last night, which got me thinking. I believe there is an accepted continuity, so I was wondering what their origins are in that. Feb 17, 2014 at 11:37
  • There are at least two or three different separated continuities. IIRC the video games use the same as the Bay movies, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Others would be the classic animated series (Generation 1/2) as well as spinoffs like Beast Wars.
    – Mario
    Feb 17, 2014 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


Ugh. Transformers Canon...

There are over a dozen Transformers Continuities, and none of them are really more canon than the next.

Some of the primary ones include:

  • Gen 1 TV Show/Beast Wars/Beast Machines
  • Gen 1 Marvel Comics
  • Gen 1 Dreamwave Comics
  • Gen 1 IDW Comics
  • Unicron Trilogy (Armada, Energon, Cybertron)
  • Movie-Verse
  • Animated

The origins of the Dinobots and everyone else differs from one continuity to the next. Thus, there is no universally accepted origin.

That said... Hasbro has more recently decided to try to create what it's calling The Aligned Continuity, which tries to rectify all of the other continuities into a new one. Changes have been made to the histories of some characters to bring them in line with others as best as possible. This new continuity is largely made up of

OK, with all that "cleared up", we can loosely define the new aligned continuity as being the "most canon" (as of now). So what about the Dinobots?

This is addressed in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

The five Autobots which make up the Lightning Strike Coalition are a subgroup led by Grimlock. They are sent to investigate Shockwave and his energon sources, but they are all captured by Insecticons and taken to Shockwave's lab.

Meanwhile, Shockwave was experimenting with a damaged Space Bridge and got it functioning as a view-portal. Using it, he saw pre-historic Earth and the dinosaurs. Being a genetic engineer, he decided to turn the captured Lightning Strike Coalition members into Dinobots.

  • The Lightning Strike Coalition... That's some name. "What should we call ourselves guys?" "How about the Lightning Strike Coalition?"
    – Daft
    Dec 19, 2014 at 15:08

In the original US cartoon (The Transformers), as you stated, Wheeljack is inspired to create them based on the discovery of dinosaur bones in the mountain the Ark is buried in. Initially aggressive & unreliable, the Dinobots are sealed away only to be reactivated later in the same episode, single-handedly retaking the Ark from the Decepticons.

In the Japanese cartoon, the Dinobots are called DinoForce and they're a Decepticon Combiner-Pretender group.

In the Marvel comics, the Dinobots were a special recon unit which was onboard the Ark with the other Autobots when it crashed, but they reactivated several million years before the other Autobots when the Ark was disturbed. Since the dominant lifeform on Earth at the time was dinosaurs, those were the forms they took. They later left the ark and were rediscovered by the other Autobots millions of years later after activation.

In the Dreamwave comics continuity, the Dinobots were a special recon unit sent to Earth to find out what happened to the Ark a million years earlier. After taking the dinosaur forms, they got tangled up with their Decepticon counterparts (the Insecticons) and ended up frozen in stasis until present day.

In the G.I.Joe vs. Transformers continuity, the Dinobots were a group of Autobots who were accidentally transported into Earth's prehistoric past by a malfunctioning Teletran I. When transported, Teletran also gave them the dinosaur forms as part of its stealth protocols.

I'm a big Gen1 guy, so I'm not too familiar with Beast Wars, Generation 2, etc. Also, the Dinobots will be in the upcoming movie Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, but I have no idea what their origins will be. Think of the most ludicrous, non-canon origin you can come up with and that will probably be close.

  • "In the Japanese cartoon, the Dinobots are called DinoForce and they're a Decepticon Combiner-Pretender group." You're referring to Victory I take it? Those guys aren't the dinobots. "Think of the most ludicrous, non-canon origin you can come up with and that will probably be close." Yes :) Feb 17, 2014 at 15:45
  • True, but I've seen the DinoForce toys marketed as the Japanese version of the Dinobots, so I wanted to cover that base as well.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 17, 2014 at 16:07
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    +1 for the GI Joe continuity which I hadn't realised had its own Dinobot origins. Feb 17, 2014 at 17:01
  • The Marvel comics is the origin story I am familiar with and I suspect is what the toys came from. Here in the UK at least the toys and comics seemed to meld together very well (ie no continuity issues between them that I recall but I was quite young at the time).
    – Chris
    Feb 17, 2014 at 19:45
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    IIRC in the 1980s UK Transformers comic continuity, the Ark crashed on Earth in the prehistoric past. Shockwave travelling alone reached earth some time after this and the Ark reactivated a group of Autobots to go and intercept him, modelling them on the local lifeforms (dinosaurs) of the time. The Dinobots & Shockwave fight and all fall into tar pits where they are trapped for millenia until being found and reactivated in the present.
    – user22478
    Feb 20, 2014 at 22:00

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