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A timeline for the events of the Generation One animated universes. Japanese-only historical events are in italics.
(CONTINUITY NOTE: Beast Wars and Beast Machines take place in a universe that likely shares many facets of this timeline. Though exactly which and how many of these events, or those of the Marvel Comics timeline, occur in that continuity is unknown, a link to the Beast Era timeline is provided for reference here at the points where a major historical event from those shows would occur.)
The Dawn of Time
Millions of Years Ago
"Near the beginning of the universe," an entity known as Primacron began to create. Among the beings to which he gave life were the first mechanoids known as "Primitives," one of which he took as his assistant in his continuing experiments. His creations steadily grew bigger and more complex until eventually, he created the planet-sized transforming robot called Unicron. Primacron intended for Unicron to consume all life in the universe, leaving it a blank slate for him to do with as he wished, but Unicron rebelled. Seriously injuring Primacron, he set out into the universe on his own, and Primacron's assistant escaped to a world near the centre of the galaxy.
>12 million years ago
12 million years ago
The alien Quintessons established themselves on the metallic planet of Cybertron. The planet's precise origins are never divulged, but it is known to have rocky sub-levels, indicating an organic beginning - however, whether or not the Quintessons colonised an existing metal world or terraformed an organic one is never revealed.
Seeking to create a race of slaves to serve them, the Quintessons used their technology to create bio-mechanical beasts known as Trans-Organics. The designs were a failure and it was decided to mass-produce robots for slaves instead. Forging their bodies in the fires of the Plasma Energy Chamber and imbuing them with intelligence using the mega-computer Vector Sigma, the Quintessons created two classes of robot - consumer goods and military hardware. Quintesson culture grew progressively more decadent, and the robots functioned or were deactivated at their whims - violent gladiatorial matches were held amongst the robots, with the losers smelted and their raw materials used to create new robots.
At some point during this period, the consumer goods robots came into possession of the mysterious Matrix of Leadership. The origins of this talisman are unknown (there is some suggestion it may be connected to Primacron's assistant), but it was passed from robot to robot through the years. Known holders during this time include the "Ancient Robot", the "Powerful Robot" and the "Brooding Robot".
Eventually, the consumer goods came to know the difference between freedom and slavery. They rose up in rebellion against their Quintesson creators, and the First Cybertron War began.
11 million years ago
A rebel cell of consumer goods robots led by A-3, including Beta, turned the Quintesson slave brand into a symbol of freedom when they assaulted the Quintesson's Hive City. Although they met resistance in the form of the Quintesson's gigantic Dark Guardian robots, A-3 activated the Coda Remote device he had placed within his slave brand, deactivating the Dark Guardians and allowing the robots to take the city. This proved to be a key victory in the war - from this victory, the Quintesson line of dominoes began to fall, until the aliens were eventually defeated, and forced to flee the planet.
Peace then came to Cybertron for a time, with the robots building their own society, during which time, the Matrix was held by the "Pre-Transformer".
>9 million years ago
The violent military hardware robots, now known as the Decepticons, sought conquest, and began the Second Cybertronian War when they turned their agression against the consumer goods, now called the Autobots, at the time led by the "New Narrator". A series of conflicts ensued, with both sides claiming victory at different points in time, , but ultimately, never having been designed for combat, the Autobots realised the futility of attempting to match the Decepticons strength and firepower. Under the leadership of the "U-Haul Robot", the Autobots turned instead to stealth, reconstructing their bodies so that they could transform into vehicles and machinery. It was thanks to this new innovation that the Autobots were ultimately able to win - or at least stalemate - the war, and ruled the planet for many centuries. With the peace policed by the Guardian Robots, reprogrammed version of the Quintesson's Dark Guardians, energy became plentiful, and the planet shone with a healthy golden glow, denoting this period as the Golden Age of Cybertron.
9 million years ago
Eventually, however, the Decepticons also developed transformation, and coupled the technology with robot-mode flight powers to renew their aims for conquest - thus it was that Megatron was born. .
Assembling a small group of like-minded individuals, including Shockwave and Soundwave, and increasing his ranks by using his Robo-Smasher to reprogram Autobots, Megatron staged an attack on one of Iacon's outer cities. Additionally, around this time, he was also responsible for taking the life of the "U-Haul Robot", who entrusted the Matrix to the aged A-3, now known as Alpha Trion, but whether or not this occurred in the same attack mentioned above is unknown. .
For whatever reason, Megatron's actions were not made full public knowledge, and the Decepticons' impressive fight powers made them objects of hero worship for the young Autobot dock worker, Orion Pax. Orion couldn't believe his luck when Megatron approached him about securing a warehouse for his use, but soon came to realise the Decepticon's true evil nature when he revealed his plan to steal the energy in the other warehouses. Orion's girlfriend Ariel was shot down by Megatron, and when Orion attempt to avenge her, he met the same fate. Rescued by the time-displaced Aerialbots, Orion was brough to Alpha Trion, who was in the process of developing a means to reconstruct Autobots into truly battle-hardy configurations. Orion became the first to undergo the process, and was reconstructed into Optimus Prime. Given the Matrix by Alpha Trion, he became Autobot leader for the newly-begun Third Cybertronian War. Ariel is rebuilt into Elita One.
4 million years ago
Cybertron passes near Earth's solar system. The planet's energy supplies have been drained to critical by the war.
Optimus Prime and his Autobots create the Ark, planning a space expedition to search for new sources of energy. Megatron and his Decepticons learn of this and prepare the Nemesis to follow them. A Decepticon assault on the Ark's launch bay leaves Prime and the other male Autobots believing Elita One and her Female Autobots have been destroyed.
The Nemesis ambushes the Ark and in the conflict the two ships spiral down and crash to earth.
100 thousand years ago
Kup visits the planet Dredd and is captured by Orbs, a local slaver race. He is forced to work in the death crystal mines, but manages to sneak away from his work detail. Heading into the caves, he finds a group of imprisoned robots. As he prepares to free them, the monster called Chaos appears. Kup is so frightened that he flees. He never forgives himself for leaving those other robots behind.
8 thousand years ago
By this time, Cybertronian technology has advanced to include the ability to mimic the appearance of organic life on other planets through Pretender shells. Three Decepticons - Blood, Gilmer, and Dauros - take a starship to Earth. They are pursued by an Autobot starship crewed by Metalhawk, Lander, Diver, and Phoenix. Crashing on the planet's surface, the two groups discover Stone Age humanity. The Autobots disguise themselves as these native sapients, while the Decepticons take on disguises optimized to strike fear in the humans, giving rise to belief in demons and mythical monsters.
A human from the future year of 1985 and several Autobots and Decepticons including Starscream arrive through a time-space transportation system left in an ancient ruin on Earth. They are drawn into a territorial battle, but with the assistance of an old man claiming to be a wizard, they return to their original era.
Humanity unearths a spaceship that crashed on Earth several million years before, and discovers a Cybertronian weather control unit called the Power Core. The Power Core's activation causes a great disaster, but the King of Persia seals it inside a golden shell. Renamed the Pearl of Bahoudin, it is buried in the ground once more.
A volcanic eruption reactivates Teletraan I, the internal computer of the Ark. The Autobots and the Decepticons awaken, and restart the Great War. The Autobots befriend Spike Witwicky and his father Sparkplug.
Approximate birth date of Daniel Witwicky.
The far-flung Future!
The Decepticons have proven to be the losers of the last great war.
The Decepticons successfully conquer Cybertron, forcing the Autobots to evacuate the planet for Earth.
The Battle of Autobot City. Optimus Prime is killed, and Ultra Magnus becomes the new Autobot Commander. Megatron is reformatted into Galvatron, by Unicron. He kills Starscream whose spark floats aimlessly around space/time for a while. Galvatron then attempts to enslave Unicron with the Matrix. Unicron attacks Cybertron. Hot Rod opens the Matrix, and destroys Unicron, allowing the Autobots to reclaim Cybertron. Hot Rod becomes Rodimus Prime, the new Autobot leader. The disappearance of Galvatron, and the absence of other strong leaders such as Starscream and Shockwave causes the Decepticon Empire to disintegrate.
Optimus Prime is restored to life in an attempt to end the Hate Plague. The Matrix of Leadership is emptied.
The events of 2005-7 (Season 3) take place at this time in the Japanese version.