The longest-running antagonist for the Autobots of the Transformers franchise is Megatron, the ruthless leader of the Decepticons. Across the animated series, original comic book series and live-action films, Megatron has often been depicted as the mortal enemy of Optimus Prime, even killing the Autobot leader in the 1986 animated film The Transformers: The Movie.
However, in the new continuity created by IDW Publishing's Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye comic books series, Megatron's role and alignment was significantly reimagined. Now, we're taking a look back at the history of Megatron and how the IDW canon gave Megatron a surprising, unlikely role in the world of the Transformers.
Who is Megatron?
Megatron was the heir apparent to the Fallen, one of the thirteen original Primes that betrayed the others and his creator Primus by siding with Unicron against him. Megatron, in turn, would create the Decepticons, a rival faction to the Autobots ruling the Transformer home world of Cybertron. Originally possessing to the ability to transform into a handgun, parental concerns would lead him to adopt a transformation into a tank instead.
After rallying the Decepticons to first strike Autobot installations at the edge of Autobot City, Megatron and his forces would quickly plunge all of Cybertron into a planet-consuming civil war. In a climactic battle, Optimus Prime and Megatron would mortally wound one another for the final fate of Cybertron. Soundwave would recover his dying leader, bringing Megatron to Unicron who gave the Decepticon leader an upgraded body dubbed Galvatron for the Decepticons' undying loyalty.
More Than Meets the Eye
IDW's comic book reimagining of the Transformers franchise introduced Megatron as the first hybrid Transformer, with a superspark powering his constructed body. The series largely took place in an alternate timeline, with reality written by a powerful faction of antagonists known as Functionists who had significantly altered history through time travel. Frustrated by the caste society imposed on Cybertron by the Functionist Council, Megatron began writing critical pieces of the ruling class in secret, leading to the creation of the Decepticons from those sympathetic to his plight.
Relocated to a mining outpost for his writings, Megatron was sentenced to gladiatorial games after assaulting a Functionist Senator and killing one of his guards. The experience hardened him and gained him a growing number of followers, which eventually erupted into a civil war between the Decepticons and Autobots. Over the course of the conflict, Megatron and Optimus Prime grew to respect each other despite their opposing ideologies before Megatron was suddenly betrayed by Shockwave.
An Unlikely Alliance
In the face of enduring a shocking betrayal from a trusted Decepticon and barely surviving a grave injury in the process, Megatron began evaluating his actions and motives. After Shockwave killed Bumblebee, Megatron surprised everyone by taking the fallen Transformer's insignia and proclaiming himself an Autobot. The combined might of Optimus Prime and Megatron would bring Shockwave back to his senses, resulting in his death while the two former enemies narrowly escaped a similar fate.
Convincing Optimus of his continued sincerity, Megatron was assigned to co-captain the spaceship the Lost Light alongside the Autobot Rodimus Prime. The crew set out into deep space to discover the whereabouts of the mythical Knights of Cybertron and learn their secrets as the Transformers attempt to rebuild. While the Autobots are initially distrustful of Megatron and even lead a mutiny during their cosmic odyssey, Megatron eventually earns his crewmates' trust and loyalty as the ship continued its epic voyage.