Faction: Maximals (Formerly of the Predacons)
Function: Front-Line Combat
Beast Mode: Velociraptor
Featured In: Beast Wars (1996-1999)
Voiced By: Scott McNeil
I think that it’s safe to say that ever since the premiere of the Transformers franchise in the 80’s, there hasn’t been a generation yet who hasn’t grown up watching one incarnation or another. For me, it was the Beast Wars cartoon series that I thought was a thousand and one times better than any other cartoon at its time. Not just for the fact that it was one of a few cartoons that were animated entirely through computer animation, which for its time was nothing short of miraculous in too many ways to count, but for its characters.
Chief amongst them, as well as my own personal favorite Transformer overall, is the honorable warrior known simply as Dinobot. Now, I’m not certain as to why Dinobot chose such a name as it seems that most Transformers, particularly those of the Beast Wars generations of Maximals and Predacons, often take a new name inspired primarily by their new alternate modes. Perhaps it was a tongue-in-cheek nod towards the actual group and, technically speaking, the first true generation of beastial Transformers the Dinobots, or rather, one particular dinobot’s constant war with authority.
Make no mistake, Dinobot is an honorable warrior and would sooner die than allow his honor to be besmirched in any way, even going so far as to save his opponent from certain death said opponent’s own clumsiness. Dinobot’s greatest vanity is his firm belief that he would make a better leader than either Megatron, of the Predacons, or Optimus Primal, of the Maximals. Considering that the former is a madman whose psychosis only worsens throughout the series and onto the sequel show Beast Machines and the latter is an admitted scientist/explorer than an actual warrior… I can kind of see his point.
Dinobot is a vicious fighter both in and outside of his beast mode, a form that he and virtually all of the Transformers have to be in for most if not all of the time. This is primarily due to the fact that the setting of this war is on a primordial Earth so latent with raw energon that the Transformers run the risk of permanent stasis-lock, their form of coma, if they’re exposed to it for too long. However, staying in beast mode for long durations is not a good thing either as the animal instincts can begin to override the Transformer’s sense of self to a point where they begin to act like the animal that they are.
In his beast mode, Dinobot is a velociraptor, or at least one commonly described from the 90’s. Though he rarely fights in this form unless his opponent is also likewise transformed, Dinobot has shown to be quite versatile as a velociraptor, even managing to not only overcome his literal organic clone but… ahem… delighting in the meaty spoils afterwards. In his robot mode, Dinobot is armed with a swirling helicopter like blade that allows him brief moments of flight—or rather falling in style—and a rotating sword likely composed from his beast mode’s spine. Aside from this two deadly weapons, Dinobot’s eyes are capable of firing beams of pure kinetic force and he has demonstrated many times his love of taking potshots at any Predacon fliers, most notably Waspinator.
Of the Predacons, Dinbot doesn’t strictly have a rivalry with any one in particular aside from the leader Megatron. Dinobot’s earlier betrayal, and a few later schemes, loosened more than a few screws in Megatron’s head and is likely the driving force behind the insane scheme he employed in the Beast Machines series. Still, if there’s any Predacon in particular that Dinobot fights the most frequently… I’d say it’s a toss up with Waspinator, the “Kenny” of the series who somehow always manages to get his head blown off every other episode, or Terrorsaur the Beast Wars equivalent to Starscream.
On the Maximal side of things, Dinobot has a firm respect of Optimus Primal as a leader, for the most part, but the true gem of the team dynamics comes from his interactions with Rattrap. The two of them have a love-hate relationship insomuch that they love to hate each other with Rattrap constantly calling Dinobot “Chopperface” and Dinobot responding in kind by referring to him as “Vermin.” The two of them are constantly at each other’s throats and would sooner die than admit to actually caring about the other.
Dinobot’s greatest triumph was one that earned him a firm place in my heart and in the hearts of several countless fans. I say the former for Dinobot was the first of the Beast Wars franchise to be included in the Transformers Hall of Fame. More specifically, in the first actual year of the Hall’s creation and standing amongst such characters as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron (Original), and Starscream. But I digress.
One of Megatron’s many schemes was by far his most insane and depraved one yet. Having stolen the Golden Disk from the archives of Cybertron, Megatron planned to use the disk as a means of rewriting history as the disk itself contained all of the histories of Earth and its people, but more specifically, a message/plan from the original Megatron.
One of these plans implemented by his descendent, the Predacon Megatron, was to exterminate the ancestors of the human race, then located in a small valley with equally small numbers. All that stood between the extinction of mankind was Dinobot against the entirety of the Predacon forces. Not only did Dinobot manage to win, he did so at great cost being the first true casualty on the Maximals’ side in the Beast Wars and the first good character I had ever seen to die.
Needless to say, I was bawling for hours on end after that episode.
Yet, death would not be the end for Dinobot. Not with Megatron’s madness achieving a new, frightening leap in the form of experimentation with cloning and the “Transmetal” technology. Transmetal Transformers are those whose beast modes are technological whilst their robotic forms are more organic in appearance and are oftentimes gifted with a vehicular third mode as well.
Megatron, seeking a means of increasing his faction’s numbers and getting an otherwise perfect soldier back on his side cloned Dinobot once more and upgraded said clone all the way to Transmetal II, similar to the first generation but losing the third mode in favor of attaining a “supernatural” power. In Dinobot II’s case, a level of regeneration that bordered on the obscene in speed and efficiency.
However, for the clone to truly function as a Transformer, it would need a spark and seeing as the original Dinobot’s had gone on to the Transformers’ afterlife, Megatron took a piece of the immortal spark of the Transformer Rampage and put it into the clone, thus creating a version of Dinobot with all of his combat prowess and none of his honor.
That is… until Rampage’s death, but that’s a story for another place and another time.