The Dinobots are a three-member subgroup consisting of the leader Grimlock, Swoop, and Snarl. Violent and primitive, they were granted sparks by the Key, and a range of combat abilities by Megatron. While they bear the Autobot insignia, they have no interest in taking part in the Earth conflict. All they want is to live on their island, with the occasional trip to the mainland to beat the tar out of someone.
—Grimlock tells it like it is, "Black Friday"
Grimlock and the Dinobots were originally animatronic dinosaur models at the Dino Drive theme park that were badly damaged by the clumsy Autobot Bulkhead. The remains were brought to Isaac Sumdac's lab for repair, where the disembodied Megatron took an interest in them and attempted to turn them into robotic attack drones as practice for re-creating his own body. Thusly rebuilt, the Dinobots went on a rampage at Dino Drive, but were restrained by the Autobots when Ratchet and Bumblebee captured them in an electromagnetic field. When the Key reacted by tugging her toward her Autobot friends, she plugged it into Bumblebee's weapons systems to boost their powers, but this only resulted in the Dinobots being blasted with AllSpark energy. The three robots were apparently left deactivated by the blast and were returned to Sumdac's lab once more. It was there, however, that the full extent of their exposure to the AllSpark's energy was revealed, as the three Dinobots suddenly came to life!
The Tyrannosaurus dubbed itself Grimlock and declared itself to be leader of the group, despite Megatron's attempts to give the trio orders. In contrast, the lab's other occupant, the Tutor Bot, happily responded to Megatron's cries for obedience and began a lesson on dinosaurs, their connection to fossil fuels, and the use of fossil fuels in cars. The simple-minded Grimlock took this to mean that cars "ate" dinosaurs, and Megatron convinced the trio to destroy these "fossil feeders", including the only thing worse than cars...cars and trucks that turn into robots. Equipped with deadly fire-breath thanks to Megatron's enhancements, the Dinobots set about their task immediately, inevitably drawing the attention of the Autobots. At Bulkhead's suggestion, the Autobots drew them to a deserted parking lot, where the Dinobots wound up defeating themselves by melting down the lot's maccadam surface into tar and getting stuck in it.
Sumdac intended to destroy the Dinobots, writing them off as mindless machines, and Optimus Prime agreed with his decision, but Prowl could sense the spark of life within them. With Bulkhead's help, he relocated them to a deserted island where they could live peacefully and undisturbed. Grimlock took an almost immediate dislike to some birds that defecated on him, but his anger had an unforeseen effect: It triggered another of Megatron's enhancements and caused him to transform into robot mode! Snarl and Swoop were quite shocked, but Grimlock was rather pleased with the results.
Some time after the Dinobots were deposited on the island, Meltdown arrived to use the island as a hideout to create transformable humans. With his acid touch, he forcibly made the Dinobots his servants under threat of pain. In addition to having them serve as guards, Meltdown sent Swoop to kidnap Sari Sumdac. When Prowl and Bulkhead arrived to investigate, the Dinobots attacked them. After being dropped into Meltdown's base, Captain Fanzone, who had followed the Autobots, grabbed one of Meltdown's protective suits, which he used to trap the villain. Now free of Meltdown's control, the Dinobots transformed into robot mode and prepared to take their revenge on him. This wasn't totally unexpected; Prowl even offered Meltdown a choice: prison or the Dinobots. Then Colossus Rhodes and two of Meltdown's early transforming-humans experiments walked out, and the Dinobots turned their attention toward them, terrifying the trio of mutants right before pulverizing them. Captain Fanzone decided that as long as the Dinobots stayed out of Detroit, he didn't have a problem with them being on the island, but Bulkhead and Prowl remained unsure whether or not they should inform Prime of what happened.
It turned out that they decided to tell Prime nothing, but they were forced to reveal the truth when the Decepticons began preparations for a strike. Optimus was taken to Dinobot Island and tried to convince the Dinobots to help. Grimlock pretty much told Prime to slag off, saying that they destroyed robots. Autobots' ship crashed on Dinobot Island, and the Autobots and Decepticons held their battle there. No sign of the Dinobots.Later, the
After the Cybertron Elite Guard arrived on Earth, Optimus took Supreme Commander Ultra Magnus and Sentinel Prime to investigate Optimus Prime's claims that the AllSpark was dispersed. En route to the ship, the Dinobots jumped the Autobots. Sentinel Prime was unimpressed, telling them to "shoo". Grimlock's transformation was a little more impressive, as was his sword. Ultra Magnus summoned lightning with his hammer, and the Dinobots snuck away into the wilderness.
It was later learned that Blackarachnia had washed ashore after falling off the Autobot ship, and the Dinobots took her in. Grimlock, an Alpha Male in the worst sense of the word, immediately claimed "Spider-Lady" as his, and he was not above using force to remind Swoop and Snarl. While she recuperated, Blackarachnia explored Meltdown's lair and discovered his genetic research. Realizing that he could remove her organic half and make fully robotic, Blackarachnia had the Dinobots liberate Meltdown from prison. After learning of their involvement, Optimus Prime, Prowl, and Bumblebee arrived, but Blackarachnia infected Bumblebee and Prowl with her venom, demanding that Optimus help Grimlock retrieve a genetic modifier from Meltdown's lab. However, once he had the modifier, Meltdown decided to remove the robotic half from Blackarachnia, intending to gain an organic Transformer, and sicced his two mutants on Prime and Grimlock. Fortunately, Swoop and Snarl arrived to help Grimlock, and Optimus removed the modifier before it changed Blackarachnia. Meltdown attempted to retrieve the device, but touching it caused him to break apart at a molecular level. Blackarachnia used Grimlock's jealousy to her advantage by getting close to Optimus, compelling Grimlock to attack the Autobot. Seeing that she had fled, Grimlock begged Blackarachnia to come back, saying that he loved her, but to no avail. Grimlock ran off practically in tears. Swoop and Snarl seemed okay.
The Dinobots watched the Constructicons explode on the beach. They probably liked the pretty lights.
When the Autobots are brainwashed by Soundwave, Sari arrived on what's left of the island to enlist the Dinobots to help. They refused to "help an organic". When Sari asked where Snarl is, Grimlock states that they aren't talking.
- Grimlock (Voyager, 2008)
- Gold fire Grimlock (Voyager, 2009)
- Grimlock (Activators, 2008)
- Fireblast Grimlock (Activators, 2009)
- Swoop (Deluxe, 2008)
- Snarl (Deluxe, 2008)
- Excepting Optimus Prime and Prowl, the Dinobots are the first Autobots seen with actual weapons, each with flame-based abilities: Swoop's flail, Snarl's club and Grimlock's sword
- It's never been explained where their faction symbols came from.
- Thus far, only Grimlock has actually learned to talk. The other Dinobots just aren't too bright. (And as there are no voice actors listed for Snarl and Swoop yet, this might take a while, especially because the series has ended).
- Snarl was originally the name of the stegosaurus Dinobot, whereas the triceratops Dinobot was named Slag. Hasbro holds the US trademark for "Slag" unopposed, and renewed it as recently as Xmas 2007, but is no longer using it as a name because it is a (slightly) dirty word in the United Kingdom. Wonder what they'll do about upcoming Deluxe-class toy "Git McPoofter"?
- All three Dinobots got their names from three Decepticons: Grimlock got from Megatron's speechs, Snarl got from Scrapper as a pet and Swoop got from Blackarachnia from the Allspark Almanac book.
- Although the Dinobots are not considered part of the main cast, as of "A Fistful of Energon", they have made more appearances than the least seen of the main Decepticon roster, Blackarachnia.
- Although Sludge isn't a character in the show, his G1 incarnation appears as the mascot/symbol of the oil company the Constructicons steal from.