Barring near-mystical or supernatural methods like quantum surges, shoving two sparks into one body, leveling up via The Matrix of Leadership, or intervention by Unicron, can Transformers be manually upgraded?

In Transformers: Prime, we see that biomechs (essentially organs) can be transplanted, but can systems be actually upgraded or given new abilities? Can Bumblebee be made bigger? Faster? Stronger?

  • 4
    apt-get dist-upgrade – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 1 '14 at 1:56
  • @DVK They use Windows. – Umbrella Corporation Jun 3 '14 at 16:56
  • 1
    More pressing, are upgrades backward compatible? – Abulafia Jun 3 '14 at 16:59


In the IDW continuity several bots undergo complete body swaps and upgrades. In the old ongoing Megatron gets a himself completely new body built by Shockwave and Soundwave (with a completely different alternate mode and arm canon) after being badly wounded. It was a major operation, but it was not mystical in any way.





And he's not the only one. Optimus Prime went through several. More recently, Bumblebee, Prowl and Starscream got new bods as well.

However there are limitations to how much stress a spark can handle. So you won't be able to rebuild Wheelie as a Metroplex-sized titan. Only very few Cybertronians have an ability known as Load-Bearing that allows them to have massive upgrades.

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Yes, in the Transformers UK continuity after Bumblebee is destroyed by Deaths Head in Hunters (Transformers #117-118), Wreck -Gar rebuilds him as Goldbug.

enter image description here

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  • It was always my understanding that they just repaired him and gave him a new paint job. Did they actually upgrade him at all, too? – phantom42 Apr 30 '14 at 18:45
  • In the US continuity he's blown up by GI Joe! Can't remember who rebuilds him. – EleventhDoctor Jul 21 '15 at 14:01

This really depends on the continuity/universe you're looking at. If you're just looking for an example, you're able to start right at the beginning: Generation 1, Episode 1

Right at the beginning we see Bumblebee's vehicle mode for the first time, it's some kind of glider:

Cybertron Bumblebee

This is obviously no Volkswagen Beetle. However, later on on Earth Teletran 1 upgrades his vehicle form to better fit into his new surroundings (image from a later episode):

Earth Bumblebee

I don't remember there being any real explanation or anything, but in the classic animation series it's definitely possible, without any higher being or mystical stuff or whatever.

Also, later on during Generation 2, they introduce the so called Headmasters which were upgraded/modified transformers where their heads could transform into smaller robots (or in one case house Spike (if I don't confuse him right now)).

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    The original Cybertronian mode vs the Volkswagon is more of a new alt mode. I'm not sure I'd count it as an actual "upgrade". – phantom42 Apr 30 '14 at 18:43
  • How were the Transformers altered to become the Headmasters? – phantom42 Apr 30 '14 at 18:44
  • @phantom42 - They were modified by Spike and the Nebulans without no mystical "you got the touch" fanfare. – System Down Apr 30 '14 at 18:46
  • @phantom42 I consider it an upgrade (in reverse order if you want). You're going from anti-gravity (whatever means) to wheels, which is a definitive change. And IIRC there've been instances where some floating thing would have been helpful, yet they didn't utilize it. As far as I remember the first transformers with two alternative modes were introduced in the 1986 movie (or possibly a bit earlier; don't remember). If you want another, significantly bigger example of the creation/modification of a transformer, consider Trypticon's creation during Generation 1 (built from earth houses!). – Mario May 1 '14 at 6:53

In Transformers: Animated, the bounty hunter Lockdown stole "trophies" from other bots and used them to upgrade himself as seen in The Thrill of the Hunt and other episodes.

In A Fistful of Energon, Prowl gets in on the action, taking some of Lockdown's upgrades to aid them in their hunt for Starscream.

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It is also possible in the film continuity. Optimus received parts from jetfire after he ripped out his own spark and thus gained flying abilities and a power upgrade.

Additionally they can "upgrade" themselves by scanning a different "stealth form" thus bumblebee became a repaired car when he was fist quite a beat up one.

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  • TBF, Optimus was more wearing Jetfire's remnants. They all fell off quickly into the battle after taking even just a little bit of damage. And the new "stealth mode" does not appear to grant him any new/different abilities - it's just a cosmetic upgrade. – phantom42 Jul 6 '17 at 13:44
  • for optimus: still though he suddenly had a "jetpack" afterwards (tf 3) that he could use and summon which he never had before. The jetpack seemed very similar to what he gained from jetfire. – Thomas Jul 6 '17 at 13:57

In G1 Cartoon Bumblebee is rebuilt into goldbug

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  • Not wrong, but this has already been addressed in more detail in another answer. – phantom42 Jun 3 '14 at 17:30

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