As far as Transformers go, who actually likes Rodimus Prime? Infamously taking over leadership of the Autobots after Optimus Prime’s untimely and frankly brutal passing, Rodimus wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms.
Now, after over 30 years, fans actually really like him again. Like, more than Optimus. And that’s all thanks to a little comic line: More Than Meets the Eye (MTMTE) and Lost Light. Written by James Roberts, the series helped breathe new life into the character. But he has a history in the franchise outside of the comics and G1.
Here are 10 Rodimus Prime facts even the most die-hard Transformers fans didn’t know.
For a while, Hasbro was blocked from using the name Hot Rod. It all comes down to trademark battles. Probably the most famous case of Hasbro being blocked from a toy and therefore, being blocked from using the character in the Transformers franchise, is Bumblebee. After a few years of being contested, Hasbro did regain that trademark and thus, the age of the Bumblebee began.
Hot Rod was in a similar situation. Thanks to archrival Mattel, Hasbro couldn’t build enough of a case to reclaim their Hot Rod. Over the years, Mattel registered similar trademarks like “Hot Rods” and “Hott Rodd.” Considering pretty much all of these were car-related or for Hot Wheels, that’s a double yikes for our transforming robot car.
Hasbro did regain the trademark in 2016, coinciding with the launch of Transformers: The Last Knight. When in doubt, build a major movie franchise to get your characters back!
9 Back To The Holomatter
While Transformers used hologram all the way back to the beginning of G1 (Hound was a trendsetter), IDW gave them a new meaning. Their potential was kind of wasted in the beginning, with Bumblebee simply using his as a distraction and its appearance was just a reference to Lindsay Lohan’s Herbie: Fully Loaded character.
And in walks MTMTE, where holomatter avatars were tweaked to reflect a bot’s personality. Rung and Brainstorm were behind the operation, resulting in some fun, humanized robots. Of course, Rodimus looks like he walked right out of the 80s and is definitely a love letter to Marty McFly. What makes it funnier is that IDW also publishes the Back to the Future comics.
8 Cameos, Everywhere!
Despite not being featured in another TV show, aside from the ongoing Transformers: Cyberverse series (psst! Watch it for free on Hasbro’s YouTube channel), Rodimus pops up in quite a few continuities. He appeared in the Transformers: Cybertron episode “Balance” as one of the wise elders. Other models in that episode include the G1 versions of Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, and Jazz.
Another homage to him in the Unicron Trilogy comes from Transformers: Armada. Hot Shot’s Powerlinx upgrade has a very Rodimus-esque redeco. Given that they have similar names and personalities, it’s unlikely that this is purely coincidental.
7 Evil Clone!
No, we’re not just talking Shatter Glass. For this, we take a jaunt into the Wars manga, the 2015 Japanese continuation of the Generation 1 continuity. In an effort to seize the Matrix and end the Prime legacy, Megatron and Shockwave made a bunch of evil Autobot clones. You know, like ya do.
But Autobots will be Autobots and Dark Hot Rod turned on the Decepticons to destroy them. Hooray! He later merged bodies with Hot Rod and the day was saved. Sounds like your typical G1 Transformers episode. Don’t worry, Hasbro gets their turn.
6 Split On the Matrix
When the war ended and Cybertron was revived, Optimus Prime gave one half of the Matrix of Leadership to Bumblebee and one to Rodimus. By then, the Matrix had no power, but the symbolic gesture was enough considering Bumblebee remained as leader of the Autobots on Cybertron until the Dark Cybertron arc (oof, that page flip).
Rodimus’s half of the Matrix was later shattered in an attempt to kill a killswitch meant to destroy all cold constructed Cybertronians. Rodimus survived, but with the guilt of cold constructed lives on his hands.
5 Starscream: The Movie
Towards the end of the first IDW run, Thundercracker certainly didn’t let his dreams be dreams. Interested in Earth television before the others left for Cybertron, Thundercracker started writing scripts and, well, if there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s Starscream’s vanity.
Flamewar, first introduced in Fun Publication’s Timelines comics, was cast by Thundercracker to portray Rodimus. Understandably, she questioned her inclusion in the movie, if only because Rodimus really had nothing to do with Starscream’s story. It becomes a funnier in-joke when Thundercracker assures her that including Rodimus would attract viewers. Given that a wider variety of fans gravitated towards the MTME/Lost Light line than the main one, Thundercracker’s reasoning is entirely sound.
4 Rodimus Minor
Rodimus kinda got robbed out of a larger role in Transformers: Animated (TFA). Originally, he was supposed to be Optimus’s rival and the jerkface of the series. Thankfully, that role fell upon Sentinel, the actual jerkface of a handful of other Transformers stories. Yeah, he’s still not forgiven for the Ironhide Cosmic Rust incident.
Though Rodimus had his own Cosmic Rust incident too, he’s been confirmed to be okay. He got better! Other fun TFA facts include that Judd Nelson reprised the role and his toy reads Rodimus Minor. TFA uses Prime as a rank rather than a title of divinity. But canonically, he does hold a Prime ranking and from what little we see of him, he probably deserves it.
3 Rodimus Cron
So if you’re like most Transformers fans, you probably haven’t watched the Machinima web series. Don’t feel bad, you’re...not missing too much, though Frank Todaro’s spot-on Chris Latta Starscream is worth it.
In the second installment of what is now the Prime Wars Trilogy, something super questionable happens to Hot Rod. Instead of becoming a Prime, as he does in every continuity he’s included in, he became a...Cron?
Overlord forced Hot Rod to take the Matrix of Chaos and essentially, become a herald of Unicron. The Matrix of Chaos was later removed by Optimus Primal (heck yeah Beast Wars) and he turned back into Hot Rod. But still. Rodimus Cron. That should explain the toy.
2 The Rodimus Star
Perhaps a tad narcissistic, but they do hold some emotional merit. Rodimus created them to reward his crew for literally anything, like fixing a hull breach, neat handwriting, and even abandoning your evil ways. Right, did we forget to mention Autobot Megatron?
The most important of the Rodimus Stars is the one that traveled with Megatron through the functionist universe. He later returned it to Rodimus sometime during the final issues of Lost Light, sort of passing on a life lesson. Rodimus then left this star on Ratchet’s grave among vials of innermost energon from other crewmembers.
1 The Unofficial Point One Percenter
While not officially said outright, we can assume that Rodimus is a Point One Percenter or at the very least, an Outlier. Though we actually have a pretty large amount of confirmed Point One Percenters, canonically, the percentage for these bots is actually way lower. Weird, right?
Rodimus has both an affinity for the Matrix and has his own sort of superpowers that don’t fit with his vehicle mode. He only uses his powers twice in his entire IDW run, most likely due to the massive amount of energy it takes. And by the time he was hunting down Getaway, he wasn’t exactly in the right mindset to use it. But it would’ve been cool to see what would happen if it was used on Tarn. Like...just roast the DJD. That would’ve looked so cool.