Why Shockwave is One of the Most Dangerous Transformers

Recently, Movieweb was able to sit down with Transformers: War for Cybertron showrunner F.J. Desanto while he was doing media rounds with award-winning writer Mike Avila, promoting Avila’s new book from Viz Media: The Art and Making of Transformers: War For Cybetron Trilogy. In addition to a great interview, which can be read here, the pair really had some insightful views on a lot of fan favorite Transformers characters, including The One-Eyed Guardian of Cybertron himself, Shockwave.

Over the years, Shockwave has been a menacing threat in all forms of media for the near-40-year franchise, and his presence has constantly been felt in that world. He has amazing power and intellect, both of which, combined, make him one of the most powerful foes for any Autobot or Decepticon to contend with. Here’s a breakdown of why Shockwave may well be one of the most dangerous Transformers in the franchise.


Shockwave in Transformers: Generation 1

Hasbro Studios

In the franchise’s first outing, now known as Generation 1, we learn that while the Autobots and Decepticons have been on Earth for 4 million years in stasis, Shockwave was holding down the fort. This is merely an understatement, though, because the “fort” in question here is actually an entire planet: Cybertron, the Transformers’ homeworld. He and a small contingent remained on Cybertron to contend with a few Autobot rebels for 4 million years. When he finally received the transmission from Megatron that the Decepticons were now safe and accounted for, he acted as if his task was no big deal and that he was happy to do it. In later Transformers: Generation 1 episodes, he is essential in connecting the two worlds, Earth and Cybetron, via the space bridge. In later episodes, his hand cannon is shown to not just destroy, but also vaporize matter — even though a law of physics states matter cannot be destroyed, he succeeds and eviscerates it. This alone would make him feared in all circles as a powerful combatant.

Related: Transformers Rise of the Beasts: All Confirmed Transformers, Explained

Shockwave in Transformers: Prime

Hasbro Studios

Introduced later in Transformers: Prime, Shockwave instantly becomes a major threat. As Arcee recalls the tale of her and her original partner being stalked through the underground of Cybertron, she recounts that Shockwave was at the heart of it all. During the story, it is revealed that, much like Generation One, Shockwave was responsible for a space bridge connecting Earth and Cybertron. The original bridge, however, was destroyed by Arcee while Shockwave was in the middle of transport, and causing its destruction should have destroyed him. And yet, the massive armored figure was shown to survive and join Megatron as his second-in-command in the latter half of the series. Additionally, it was Shockwave who helped create the Predacons in the follow-up series, Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters. Later, he survived an all-out Predacon attack as he seemingly fights them off to his own destruction. It is shown later that he survived this attack.

Shockwave in Transformers: Cyberverse


While Transformers: Cyberverse has its own niche in the franchise, Shockwave is, once again, a major player. Showing loyalty to the Decepticon cause more so than his most known true love — logic — Shockwave developed a series of schemes that were down-right devious. This is true to his dubious core. The mad scientist developed a huge magnetic disruptor to cleanse the Earth of all organic life. The device consisted of half of his ship, which split up over the North and South Poles. After securing the South Pole, the North Pole magnet was nullified just in time by a rampaging Grimlock. Shockwave had other moments of success in the series, such as fooling the Autobots with a hologram on the way to Cybertron, as well as extreme valor in combat. The only thing that stopped him was Megatron’s order for him to extract his “evil” spark to infect Vector Sigma, an act which Cheetor was able to stop. This showed a massive change in his character from this series, as Shockwave being loyal to Megatron is usually not in the cards over his own self-preservation and logic.

Shockwave in Michael Bay’s Transformers Franchise


Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is still some ways away, and while some of the other live action films fell short of fan expectations (via Screen Rant), 2007’s Transformers and 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon are generally well-regarded among fans of the franchise. The latter introduces a new take on Shockwave, and he only sticks around for one film. In this iteration, the One-Eyed Guardian of Cybertron is portrayed as a hunter, and his impact is felt immediately with his giant tentacled machine from the start of the film all the way until he is dispatched by a military corps of humans. While this iteration of Shockwave is unusual, Optimus Prime himself denoted respect to Shockwave at the beginning when asked by the humans who that was. His response was short and hesitant, “That…was Shockwave.” The name was intended to strike a chord with Optimus as a foe to be respected and feared. In general, he is an imposing force in the film; though not seen much, his hunting machine causes all sorts of damage, including decimating a building in which Sam and the others are taking refuge late in the film.

Related: Beast Wars: Every Predacon, Ranked

Shockwave in the Transformers Comics

Marvel Comics

This iteration of the classic Transformers villain is more closely associated with G1 in both looks and prowess. This version explains why Shockwave agreed to cede power and leadership of the Decepticons to Megatron, believing it to be the more logical move. It is also worth noting that Shockwave bested Megatron in combat shortly before this calculated move as well as other times. In the comics, he has beaten and/or extinguished the sparks of many Autobots and Decepticons alike. This list includes, but is not limited to, victories over the Dinobots, Megatron, and Optimus Prime himself. This version of Shockwave is a schemer as well as a true master of logic. Every move calculated and every move to counter those moves taken into account. Although he does indeed cede power to Megatron, this portrayal of the classic Transformers villain does spend a lot of time in command of the overall Decepticon Force, and the times when he does acknowledge Megatron as the leader, he is often named the commander of the Decepticon forces on Cybertron.

Shockwave in The War for Cybertron Trilogy


The final version of Shockwave to be examined is his most recent outing in Netflix’s Transformers: The War for Cybertron. Here, we see him first as an almost weak scientist who has big aspirations, but who also follows Megatrons orders — but there is something brewing in the background. When Shockwave essentially develops a weapon that would strip Autobots of free will, Megatron realizes he must keep an eye on him. He fears what the cyclopean menace is capable of, and his fears are confirmed in the Earthrise portion of the trilogy, when he develops an energy transfer machine that effectively strips all Cybertronian lifeforms of their energy.

During his fight with Elita-1, it is revealed Shockwave is using the energy to make himself stronger at the cost of the planet and its inhabitants. Showrunner F.J. Desanto claims in Movieweb’s recent interview with Mike Avila that we would have seen Shockwave survive his own nuclear winter had Legacy been picked up by Netlfix. He also stated that it is a written rule in the archives of Hasbro that Shockwave is the only Decepticon that Megatron fears. Coming straight from Desanto as well as Hasbro themselves solidifies the notion that the One-Eyed Guardian of Cybertron may in fact be the most dangerous life-form in the Transformers franchise. After all, it’s hard to argue with the forces that literally run the show.