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As one of the Long Runners, Transformers has spawned a lot of repeated storylines over the decades.

General

  • Somehow; maybe through the AllSpark, Vector Sigma, being wired into a Cybertronian body, touching a Spark, being infused with Energon, etc; a human ally will be turned into a Cybertronian. This is a rather divisive one.
  • In canon, Transformers are The Ageless. They can be killed, but they cannot die. Not the case in fanfiction. In fanfiction, they have a natural end to their lifespan just like humans. Though weirdly, Alpha Trion (who is older than Cybertronian society) is never affected by this.
  • Likewise, Cybertronians are an asexual race in canon, lacking any form of reproductive organs and needing some form of MacGuffin (the AllSpark, Vector Sigma, etc.) to propagate. Not in fanfiction. Here they're able to reproduce just like organics can, maybe even crossbreed with organics. Which begs the question of why they need the AllSpark in the first place...
  • Newborn Transformers; usually called "protoforms" in canon but known as "sparklings" in fanon (though the latter term has creeped into canon once or twice); spend anywhere from a few hours to a week as a "baby" but will nonetheless be fully aware and lucid, needing only some basic instructions to go out and make their way in the world. Assuming that they're not simply Born as an Adult. Fanfics feature sparklings as just metal versions of human newborns, having been carried in the same way and needing the same degree of care and nurturing.
  • Rewriting one's own Ultimate Universe styled Transformers story.
  • There's a female Cybertronian who's been incredibly abused (physically and emotionally) but is also one of the Autobots' best fighters and is both morbidly grim and hilariously fun at the same time. She's also harbouring some Dark Secret with Megatron having a Villainous Crush on her.
  • An incredibly abused human girl with a mental disease runs away from home is found by an Autobot, usually one of the grumpy ones, and is raised by them.
  • Writing up a Transformers Shattered Glass version of the show.

Crossovers

  • The usual set-up for Crossovers is to have the Space Bridge malfunction, dumping the Autobots and Decepticons elsewhere (which is said to be the case for My Little Pony/Transformers). In the case of Beast Wars, the Maximals and Predacons interfere with a Vok site that sends them to another Vok station somewhere in time and space.
  • Whatever Cool Car (or Cool Starship) exists in the other property is a Cybertronian or is turned into one via the AllSpark.
  • Magic and Transformers don't mix. How else are the Squishy Wizards not supposed to just be stepped on?
  • The Transformers are deeply intertwined in whatever mythology of the other property's lore. Usually the result of a previous Cybertronian landing in whatever setting or the result of the Thirteen Primes travelling the universe (don't try and figure out how a group that died billions of years ago interacted with a group that was around only a few thousand years ago).
  • If the other property takes place on another planet, just shift everything there (i.e.: the Ark/Axalon and the Nemesis/Darksyde crash in Equestria or the AllSpark winds up Tatooine).

Transformers Generation 1

The Transformers

The Transformers

  • Folding the Transformers into the Marvel Universe is the most common one. Designed solely based on Rule of Cool.
    • If the fic attempts to bridge the gap between the original series and Regeneration One, then it's common to feature A.I.M. as the group of humans that pilfered the Ark and awoke Megatron. Megatron will then proceed to dish out a Curb Stomp Battle to the Marvel Universe.
    • Relating to Transformers/Marvel crossovers in general, it's a rather common sight that to have Primus and Unicron be immune to the Infinity Stones with the consequence being that the Cybertronians can't use the Stones.
  • Fanon Discontinuity for Regeneration One is also popular with some fans sticking to the world of Transformers Classics.

2005 IDW Comics

  • As Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls, the notion that female Transformers died out after the First Cybertronian Civil War is done away with in 98% of stories based off of IDW1.
  • Doing away with the Hasbro Comic Universe and keeping the story solely about the Transformers is a popular one, focusing the action on Cybertron instead of Earth.
  • Having Onyx Prime be Onyx Prime and not Shockwave.
  • Changing the end of Transformers: Unicron so that half the main cast doesn't die and Cybertron survives (Earth dying is popular but not required). Usually feature Primus and Unicron as the Eldritch Abominations that they're usually presented as.
    • The alternative to Unicron is to present him as having split himself into five, mirroring the Guiding Hand, who are actual gods here.
  • Featuring more interactions between the Lost Light and Cybertron.

Beast Wars

  • A Cybertronian from the era of the Great War; usually an Autobot female, or a neutral female with Autobot sympathies; somehow ends up on prehistoric Earth; time travel may or may not be involved; and meets up with the Maximals. Or a just an ordinary human girl somehow ends up outside the Axalon.
  • Undoing the Happy Ending Override of Beast Machines.
  • Plugging in the gaps of how the Maximals and Predacons arrived on Earth.
  • The Maximals and Predacons crashing, or winding up, in the modern day instead of the prehistoric era.

Bayverse

Bumblebee

  • Trying to split the difference between the directors and make Bumblebee work with the other films. Mainly built around the premise of Sam meeting Charlie.
  • Continuing on from the film's story, either focusing on the other Autobots setting up their base on Earth or that Shatter managed to send a garbled transmission and more Decepticons (usually the Stunticons) have arrived to investigate. Usually features some Canon Welding with the Transformers Aligned Universe, normally in the form of Dark Energon having caused Cybertron to shut down. Blitzwing may or may not have survived.
    • Despite being Adapted Out of the film, Megatron is usually still around in these fics. The general fanon belief seems to be that everyone thought that Optimus had killed Megatron some time prior to the film, leading Soundwave and Shockwave to take charge, only for the great slagmaker to make a Big Entrance when Optimus was surrounded.
  • A very common vehicle for a Crossover is to replace Charlie with someone from another franchise.

Transformers Animated

  • Like any great show that fell victim to a Cancellation, continuing the storyline based on the released concepts of What Could Have Been. Or just making a fully original continuation.
  • As the Great War was a Great Offscreen War in this timeline, stories about Ratchet's experience in it are very common.
  • Exploring Sari's origins.
  • Optimus got left behind on Archa Seven instead of Elita. He now calls himself Tarantulas.

Transformers Prime

  • The early days of the Thirteen Primes seems a very enticing idea to a good number of authors.
  • Transformers Prime spawned a lot of fanfics about Jack Darby undergoing Adaptational Badass and becoming The Chosen One while being powerful enough to defeat all the Decepticons on his own. MECH somehow becomes an incredibly competent threat and Jack/Arcee is very likely to happen here. Jack may or may not be Cybertronian / become a Cybertronian.
    • This premise is a popular segway for Crossovers as Jack may get some MacGuffin from another property, such as the Omnitrix (probably the most popular flavour) or a Green Lantern Ring, to give him fighting capabilities. One brief surge of fics was to make him a Kryptonian. In these, expect the characters from the other franchise to smack around the Autobots and Decepticons who have millions of years of combat experience; though one could argue that they undergo Adaptational Badass to fight on a Cybertronian level. And while the baddies from the other franchise can handle the Autobots and Decepticons, they'll be helpless against a Hormone-Addled Teenager whose battle plan is Attack! Attack! Attack!
    • Given that Prime was rather Friendly Fandoms with The Clone Wars, it's common to see Jack fall into a Space Bridge and wind up in the galaxy far, far, away.
  • As said above, reimagining MECH into a competent threat to both Autobots and Decepticons.
  • As much as everyone loved Prime's high quality CGI, the tight budget also meant that there was a very limited cast of characters to work with. It's very common to have other Autobots and Decepticons, usually Decepticons, hiding out on Earth and join the conflict. Exploring the whereabouts of Elita One (who is sometimes a Composite Character with June Darby) is also very popular.
  • After Robots in Disguise, it was common to continue the story of Prime, disregarding the Sequel Series entirely. Or just write up their own version of RiD, ones that feature several more references to Prime.
  • During the Season 2 hiatus, it was common to see fanfics where Bulkhead really did die from his wounds and how that affected Miko.
  • A short lived craze featured Megatron's Hostile Terraforming of Earth succeeding.
  • When expanding on Cybertron's past, Canon Welding with IDW is very popular. Unlike in the Bayverse, Nova Prime is usually presented as an awful person.
  • A group of neutral Cybertronians, led by a female with a remarkable similarity to the author who feels more human than Cybertronian, is hiding out on Earth. They chance across the Autobots and offer their aid. In fact, they offer so much aid (tactical, medical, and combative) to the Autobots that one wonders why these neutrals didn't just become Autobots in the first place.
  • Starscream, Knock Out, or Dreadwing pulling a Heel Face Turn and joining the Autobots. Breakdown is often spared in these.
  • Soundwave's stint in the shadowzone is a popular idea, usually for crossovers.

Transformers: Cyberverse

  • It's outright said that the Ark crew got up to a lot of trouble during their search for the AllSpark with everything ripe for writing about.
  • Prior to the Season 3 opener, it was popular to explore what prompted Drift's Heel Face Turn.
  • Starscream-redemption fics are quite common, usually involving him making amends in the Afterspark or writing up What Could Have Been by having him survive his stint as a Judge. Windblade shipping usually occurs in the latter option.
  • Exploring Maccadam and Iaconus' experiences during Cybertron's Age of Expansion.
  • As the series notably opted out of featuring Unicron, it's common for the chaos of Season 3 to have attracted him to Cybertron.
  • Following Wild Wheel's adventures during the Old West.
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