The Transformers franchise is full of various factions of shape-changing sentient robots who help either the Autobots or Decepticons fight for the fate of Cybertron or exist as a third-party from the franchise's central conflict. Of all these factions, one of the most visually distinct is the Dinobots; Transformers who adopt the form of mechanical dinosaurs.
Now, CBR is taking a closer look at the paleontological Transformers faction from their origins in the animated series and comic books to their live-action debut in Transformers: The Last Knight.
WHO ARE THE DINOBOTS?
The Dinobots were introduced in the animated series as a sub-faction within the Autobots. The Generation-1 Dinobots were constructed by Wheeljack and Ratchet after the two Autobots discovered dinosaur bones on Earth. Inspired, they built Grimlock, Slag, and Sludge, who were modeled after dinosaurs but lacking higher cognitive functions and originally behaving like wild animals. Optimus Prime initially orders their destruction after they tear through the Ark only to spare them after Wheeljack upgrades them and has them turn the tide of a battle against the Decepticons.
New Dinobots are created, including Swoop and Snarl, with the team unable to combine like other Autobots but instead function separately as a unit in battle. Changed into dinosaur mode, the Dinobots boast superior endurance and are often tasked with handling missions in more hazardous areas that would severely damage or destroy other Autobots. With this in mind, there is a degree of resentment between the Dinobots and Autobots about the increased risk the team faces but the two factions usually mend fences when faced with a common enemy.
WHAT DID THE DINOBOTS DO?
Unable to defeat the Dinobots unless in their combined forms, Megatron and the Decepticons played on Grimlock and the Dinobots' insecurities and arrogance to cause dissension between them and the Autobots. After coming to blows with Optimus, eventually the Dinobots set up their own headquarters on Dinobot Island, an island full of dinosaurs brought to the present by a time warp.
Various comic book adaptations would reimagine the Dinobots as a specialized Autobot strike force led by Grimlock while the Beast Wars animated series would simplify their origins as a lone Dinobot initially working for the Decepticons who rebelled and changed sides. Taking on the form of a velociraptor after arriving on Earth during prehistoric times, Dinobot is saved by Optimus Prime while dueling the Autobot leader. While the two would maintain a tenuous alliance, disagreeing often, Dinobot would prove to be a valuable Autobot ally during the animated series.
ARE THE DINOBOTS IN THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIES?
The Dinobots make their debut in the Transformers Cinematic Universe in 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction. More bestial than their appearances in other media, the live-action Dinobots cannot speak and are considerably larger than Autobots and Decepticons, with Autobots able to ride their dinosaur counterparts into battle.
The Dinobots are held captive on ship used by the Cybertronian bounty hunter Lockdown only to be freed by Optimus Prime over the course of the film with the Sword of Judgement. Initially wary of the Autobots, the Dinobots agree to help after Optimus defeats their leader, Grimlock, in single combat. The Autobots ride their new allies into battle to turn the tide in the Battle of Hong Kong against Galvatron and his forces. Grimlock and the Dinobots briefly reappear in Transformers: The Last Knight, hiding out from Transformer-hunting forces in Cade Yeager's junkyard before presumably returning to Cybertron on Lockdown's ship.
Whether as their own, fully sentient faction or a more bestial ally to the Autobots, the Dinobots have long been a fan-favorite group within the world of Transformers and have been a recurring mainstay in virtually every media adaptation of the beloved franchise.