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In the first 2 films the Transformers transformed parts of their bodies into guns (for example, Bumblebee and Ironhide are seen in closeups doing that. Also the cube-infected items do that). In the 3rd and 4th films, all of a sudden, they use handheld guns and swords (in 4 we see them running out of ammunition for the first time, even) instead of transforming parts of their bodies like in the first two films.

Is there any in universe explanation for this (aside from the script writers suddenly finding hand held guns and swords cooler after 2 films not using them)?

  • 5
    Because kaboom! kapow! Look at all the explosions! Ooh, Shiny! – Valorum Mar 5 '15 at 21:22
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    Micheal Bay caring about a cohesive, properly constructed universe? Nah. What @Richard said, pretty much. – Alfredo Hernández Mar 5 '15 at 21:46
  • That is why I asked if there is any IN universe explanation. out of universe.......the writers did a horrible job in terms of consistency (even more so when it comes to characters staying in character......only say bumble bee and the other autobots behaving like decepticons....or when they want to kill a guy at all costs then "you are old scrapmetal now" -uhm ok taht was bad we are we are going now and pout-) – Thomas Mar 5 '15 at 21:51
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    And out of universe its clear that they thought with part 3+ that hand held weapons are way cooler now. – Thomas Mar 5 '15 at 21:57
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    Because, Michael Bay – Robert Mar 6 '15 at 15:28
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+100

Out-of-Universe

After the negative outcry following Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, there were several minor creative differences introduced in the third film. Some of these differences were in how the Transformers looked & acted. For instance, many of the racial stereotypes depicted in "Revenge of the Fallen" were toned down considerably for "Dark of the Moon." In addition, several attempts were made to give Decepticon characters additional dialogue & personality. This trend continued with "Age of Extinction", with both Optimus Prime's original truck form (albeit white) and the Dinobots being added largely as fan service.

It's likely that the switch from "home-grown" weapons to actual weapons was simply one of these changes, perhaps in a bid to bring it closer to the source material.

In-Universe

The most reasonable in-universe explanation is that the new weapons were designed by (or with the assistance of) the NEST Team scientists. It's shown that NEST has begun experimenting heavily with Cybertronian technology during the three years between "Revenge of the Fallen" and "Dark Side of the Moon", along with help from the Autobots. It's highly likely that the weapons seen in use by the Transformers were, in fact, a product of these joint efforts.

  • Although nest seems to have used only human made weapons with the exceptions of those handed to them during the final battle by the autobot scientist. Aside from that autobots seemed very very cautious in giving out technology (even during transformers 2 already) – Thomas Mar 12 '15 at 21:44
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I can't see there being any possible in-universe reason otherwise I'm sure it would have been mentioned in the films. Then again, it is Michael Bay...

I think this change was made due to artistic license and the need to create dramatic effect by "running out of ammunition".

  • Although that need only came up once in transformers 4 and not in 3 where it was introduced. there it was interestingly even a mix sometimes between the two types (inbuilt and handheld) – Thomas Mar 9 '15 at 8:46

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