Dinobots: chances are you grew up with them and chances are, you loved them. After all, what kid isn’t into the two things that the Dinobots represented – robots and dinos?
As super cool-looking robots that can transform into dinosaurs, these additions to the Transformers mythos quickly became a huge hit with fans, especially the younger afficionados.
Over the last thirty-three years, these robot dinos have had their adventures told in just about every medium possible. They’ve appeared in cartoons and comics, they are regularly found on shelves in toys stores, and in 2014 Grimlock and the gang made their live-action big screen debut in Transformers: Age of Extinction, stealing the show from Decepticons and Autobots alike.
There are a million little facts and figures about the Dinobots, and we’ve taken on the task of finding fifteen of the most interesting tidbits just for you!
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Dinobots.
15. Michael Bay Hates The Dinobots
You might think that a guy like Michael Bay – a guy known for loving giant explosions and rotating cameras and all the insanity that movies can bring into our lives – would jump up and down with delight just to have the chance to make a movie that included the Dinobots.
You might think that, but you would be wrong.
While being interviewed by Empire Magazine for the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Bay explained why the Dinobots hadn’t shown up yet; “They’ve never been discussed [for inclusion]. I don’t like them. Actually, I hate them.”
At some point, Bay relented. The Dinobots finally showed up in Transformers: Age of Extinction, though they only arrive for the final battle – and Slag, Slash, and Snarl ended up being cut from the film entirely.
14. The Dinobots Were Built By Wheeljack and Ratchet
While the origins of the Dinobots would change multiple times over the years – and we’ll look at some of those changes later – their initial introduction in “S.O.S Dinobots” showed that these grumpy bots were built on Earth by Wheeljack and Ratchet. The duo got the idea for the Dinobots after Ironside found some dinosaur bones near the Autobot base – better known as The Ark.
Right off the bat, the Dinobots showed the Autobots that they weren’t the kind of bots who just blindly follow orders – almost as soon as Ratchet turned them on, the Dinobots started destroying the Ark. The only thing that could stop them was Wheeljack’s magnetic inducer.
13. Optimus Prime Wanted The Dinobots To Be Destroyed
After the three initial Dinobots trashed the Ark in “S.O.S. Dinobots”, Optimus Prime ordered Wheeljack and Ratchet to destroy their creations. Seems like Optimus isn’t a fan of Autobots who don’t bend the knee to his rule – something Grimlock and the gang refused to do.
Luckily for the Autobots, Wheeljack and Ratchet didn’t get around to getting rid of the Dinobots right away. The Autobots ran into a bit of trouble when the Decepticons launched a sneak attack on the Ark and captured every Autobot except for Wheeljack. With no other option, and with his teammates about to be turned into junk, Wheeljack upgraded the Dinobots and convinced them to help him save the other Autobots.
12. The Dinobots Have Combined to Become “The Beast”
In 2004, a one-shot comic, Transformers: The Beast Within, was included with the UK DVD release of the second half of the second season of Transformers. This comic is pretty controversial with die-hard fans.
In the comic, Autobots and Decepticons are in the midst of a massive battle that could well end the war between the two factions once and for all. The Autobots are losing, with characters being killed left and right. Grimlock knows what he must do, but to do it could cost more than a victory is worth. On his word, the Dinobots combine to become “the Beast.” As the Beast, they quickly destroy the Decepticons. Then, unable to control themselves, the combined Dinobots turn on the Autobots. The comic ends on that cliffhanger.
11. The Dinobots Were An Elite Special Ops Team From Cybertron
The Dinobots made their comic book debut in July 1985, and with their four-color premiere came a second origin. Why Marvel decided against the origin given in the cartoon is unknown – chances are the writer of the comic didn’t watch the show and Hasbro just didn’t care about the continuity of their toy line.
Whatever the reason, in the comics, the Dinobots weren’t built on Earth by two of the Autobots, but came from Cybertron and were an elite special ops team who would often plan and pull off raids on Decepticon bases without telling the Autobot leaders what they were up to.
The Dinobots were on the Ark with the rest of the Transformers when it crashed on Earth, but they woke up earlier and instead of bringing everyone out of stasis, they decided to go off on their own and be cool dinosaurs.
10. Grimlock Crowned Himself King of the Autobots
The Marvel Transformers comic was originally planned as a four-issue miniseries, but it proved so popular that the book just kept going, lasting eighty issues overall. As with their G.I. Joe comic, Marvel paid little attention to the cartoons and just told the stories they wanted to tell. For Transformers, this included killing off Optimus Prime in issue 24 of the comic.
In the comic, Optimus Prime battles Megatron in a video game called Multi-World, with each leader agreeing that whoever loses must be destroyed. Prime wins the game but does so by cheating so he gets the big goodbye.
9. Grimlock published a review of the Transformers movie
You younger guys and girls may not know this, but comic books used to include a letters page at the end of every issue. It gave readers a chance to write in and have questions about their favorite characters answered by the editors and writers of their favorite books. Sometimes entire debates would go on for months on end in these letters.
For the UK version of Marvel’s Transformers comic, the letters page was handled by different Transformers at different times. The Marvel team used this to fill in gaps in continuity, explain away random problems readers had and, from time to time, they would use the letters to make little jokes or take jabs at other comics and cartoons.
During Grimlock’s run as the bot who responded to mail, he reviewed 1986’s Transformers: The Movie and claimed that the comics were based on true events.
8. The Beast Wars Deluxe Dinobot Figure Came With a Mutant Mask
In 1996, the Transformers were re-imagined for a new cartoon series and toy line called Transformers: Beast Wars where, instead of machines, each Transformer turned into a different animal. In Beast Wars, the Dinobots were cut down from five members to two. One Dinobot had the rather dull name “Dinobot” and was a Velociraptor (likely chosen because of the success of Jurassic Park three years earlier).
The Dinobot figure included a mutant mask that never appeared in the cartoon. According to the book The Unofficial Guide to Transformers 1980s Through 1990s Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition, this mask was part of the early designs for the cartoon. When the show’s creators decided to get rid of the mask, the toy was already in production.
7. The Dinobots Believed That They Were Real Dinosaurs
In a fourth origin story (counting Beast Wars as a third origin) – this one for the 2007 cartoon Transformers: Animated – the Dinobots were created by a dude named Professor Sumdac after Bulkhead smashed a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs at an amusement park called Dino Drive.
Professor Sumdac, with the help of Megatron, used the destroyed animatronic dinos to create the Dinobots. Somehow, Sumdac didn’t realize that he was helping Megatron create a bunch of nasty bots to mess with the Autobots, but that’s Professor Sumdac for you!
The Dinobots, once again consisting of just the original three, eventually join the Autobots, though they refuse to believe that they are Transformers themselves. Grimlock and the crew are sure they are real dinosaurs. The Autobots ended up bringing the Dinobots to a jungle so they could live as dinosaurs, but then Grimlock accidentally transformed and realized he was a robot. That goofball!
6. The Autobots Believed Grimlock Was a Decepticon
In the 2015 series Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the Dinobots received yet another origin story.
In this version, Grimlock is the only Dinobot and he arrived on Earth by way of the crashed Autobot shot Alchemor, which held a number of Decepticon prisoners. When the Alchemor crashed, almost all of the Decepticons escaped. The only one who stayed in stasis was Grimlock. When Grimlock did wake from stasis, it was because he heard the voice of the Decepticon called Underbite and really wanted to beat him up.
While Grimlock had the Decepticon symbol on him, it quickly became clear to Bumblebee that he wasn’t actually a Decepticon. Turns out that Grimlock was locked up because he had caused a whole lot of property damage on Cybertron. He wasn’t evil, he was just really into breaking things. With all that nonsense cleared up, Grimlock joined Bumblebee’s team.
5. There’s an Unreleased Beast Wars Transmetal Dinobot Toy
While there was a Transmetal Dinobot figure released in McDonald’s Happy Meals in 1998, there was never a version released to toy stores. Plans for a full-sized figure as part of the Transmetal line were scrapped early into the production, possibly never making past the concept art stage.
The design was reworked and turned into Transmetal Terrorsaur, the member of the Predacons who turned into a Pteranodon (and whose name likely had to be cleared by Hasbro legal since it was super close to White Terrorsaurus from Power Rangers).
The Transmetal Terrorsaur design was later retooled and made into two more figures, Beast Machines Terranotron, and Armada Terrorsaur. Those Hasbro toy designers really know how to get the most bang for their buck.
4. BotCon 2006 Had An Exclusive Dinobot Figure
Collectors have a love-hate relationship with exclusives. If they can get their hands on the exclusive, they love it. If they can’t, they hate it. Surely, there are a lot of Transformers collectors who see the BotCon 2006 Dinobot exclusive in their dreams, always close, but always just out of reach.
This figure, which was sold exclusively at the 2006 Transformers convention, is a remold of Armada Hoist which is itself an homage to the Beast Wars Dinobot. The idea of the figure is that this is a version of Dinobot from before he chose an animal form. Instead of turning into a Velociraptor, the exclusive Timelines Deluxe Darksyde Dinobot turns into a backhoe.
3. The original Dinobots writer Also Wrote The Novelization of The Empire Strikes Back
While there’s no sure answer to who created the Dinobots, the first person to write them into a story was Donald Glut. Glut has had a long writing career, with a fair amount of it based in animation. Along with twelve episodes of Transformers, he also wrote for Challenge of the GoBots and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Glut also worked in comics, mostly on horror titles, but he did venture into superhero titles from time to time, including Captain America and X-Men Adventures.
As if that isn’t enough, Glut has also written over 65 books, including the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. These days, Glut’s work is focused on a more mature audience with movies like The Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula, Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood, and Dances with Werewolves.
2. Dinobots Were One Of The Biggest Selling Toys Of 1985
While they were introduced to the world in the October 1984 episode of Transformers, “S.O.S Dinobots”, the toys didn’t hit shelves until the next year. According to the December 1985 issue of Playthings, the Dinobots were one of the biggest selling toys of the year, and with good reason – they were awesome.
The Generation One figures of the original Dinobots – Grimlock, Slag, Sludge Snarl, and Swoop – made with die-cast metal and plastic, had some of the best articulation in the G1 line, though the Triceratops Dinobot Slag did have a conjoined foot-base. Of course, something like a conjoined foot-base wasn’t going to keep any kids from wanting to own a metal Triceratops who can shoot fire from his mouth, so this little detail didn’t hurt sales any.
1. In Their First Animated Appearance, Grimlock Has Two Vastly Different Head Designs
If you watch enough cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s, you’ll notice that the animators tended to mess up a lot.
Sometimes Batman‘s cape would be red for a few seconds in an episode of Challenge of the Super Friends, or maybe Duke’s voice would come out of Shipwreck’s mouth for one bit of dialog in an episode of G.I. Joe. As kids, we didn’t really notice, and as adults, we laugh at these weird moments.
One of the more interesting ones in Transformers G1 is Grimlock’s head, which keeps changing in his first appearance. Most of the time Grimlock has a very simplistic design for his head, but every now and again his head takes on an amazing amount of detail, almost like there was one artist who gave Grimlock’s noggin everything he had.
Do you have any other Dinobots trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!
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