As one of the most popular toy franchises in history, the massive world of the Transformers is about as complex as the cars, trucks, and planes they turn into. With the original cartoon and comic series premiering in the fall of 1984, an entire generation of children were glued to the TV as they watched these gigantic sentient robots beat the ever-living daylights out of each other. From teaming up with FBI agents Mulder and Scully to becoming honorary members of The Avengers to even joining forces with Ray, Egon, and the rest of the Ghostbusters gang, there have been some amazing Transformers crossovers over the years—as well as a few odd ones.
Originally printed and sold under the Marvel moniker, the early Transformers comic series had its fair share of superhero references and cameos, most notably in issue #3 when Spider-Man showed up in his symbiote costume to save the Autobot Gears from almost certain destruction. But more than just comics, the Transformers have also had tons of successful toy crossovers. Star Wars Transformers is arguably the most popular, with collabs like a transforming Millennium Falcon and TIE fighters that turn into Darth Vader himself. There's even a Transformers/Back to the Future mashup that took everyone's favorite '80s time machine and turned it into one of the coolest (and most popular) Transformers toys ever made.
On the surface, a bunch of these crossovers read like fan service to old-school fans (Ghostbusters, The Terminator, and Back to the Future were all released within the same time period, and ergo feature a bunch of overlapping fans), but when you dig a little deeper you realize that most of these crossovers work surprisingly well.
After traversing the galaxy and engaging in a war that’s been waging for a few millennia, it makes sense that the Transformers would have crossed paths with at least a few interesting characters. Some may be a little more far-fetched (Angry Birds), while other crossovers are pretty obvious (G.I. Joe). Either way, there's no denying these giant robots know how to get around.
Transformers vs. the TerminatorPhoto: IDW
It was only a matter of time before the Cybertronians took on Skynet. Set in the year 2029, the Decepticons have conquered Earth and left a trail of destruction in their wake. In order to strike back, Skynet sends one of its own back in time to stop the Decepticons before they're able to reactivate themselves after crashing their ship into a dormant volcano on Earth, Skynet hopes to ensure its future survival.
In a marriage of franchises that works on so many different levels, fusing the Transformers with the world of the Terminator makes sense for a number of reasons. For starters, both timelines span multiple eras but coincidentally begin in 1984, making it easier to connect the two universes seamlessly. Second, both worlds focus on menacing all-powerful machines that are basically lording over their weaker human counterparts. If Skynet was able to reduce humanity to rubble, just think of the kind of destruction Megatron and his cadre of maniacal Decepticons could wreak.Surprisingly cool crossover?
Probably one of the more popular crossovers, The Transformers/Avengers team-up takes place during the famed Infiltration comic series, which was the first in a three-part epic that centered on Megatron and the Decepticons invading—and inevitably conquering—modern-day Earth. At times it comes across as lip service to fans of both franchises, but considering the Autobots have long fought with (and against) superheroes, it also kind of works.
While the Transformers comic license is currently owned by IDW, a long, long time ago Marvel held the rights, and throughout the series’ multi-year reign numerous superheroes popped up. Harking back to the heyday of the ‘80s, this collaboration includes all your favorite Marvel and Hasbro heroes (and villains) teaming up together.Surprisingly cool crossover?
G.I. Joe and the TransformersPhoto: Dreamwave
Released: 1987, 1993-94, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014-17
In the original crossover, the Autobots teamed up with the Joes as the Decepticons teamed up with Cobra. Naturally, Megatron double-crosses Cobra, who begrudgingly joins forces with the Autobots to take down Megatron and his cronies once and for all. Throughout multiple editions from multiple decades, the G.I. Joe/Transformers crossovers have been a staple in almost every continuation.
Easily the biggest crossover in the Transformers world, it makes sense that the two worlds would intersect. For starters, both franchises were created around the same time, featured many of the same voice actors, and the shows even shared the same soundtracks. Note that over in the U.K., G.I. Joe was rebranded as Action Force, where the two franchises crossed paths in multiple one-offs.Surprisingly cool crossover?
After detecting a Cybertronian signal emitting from a distant planet called Earth, Optimus Prime and his crew of loyal Autobots set out to investigate. What they uncover is so powerful and so nefarious that they need to team up with the Ghostbusters, who are currently chilling out in modern-day Brooklyn, in order to save the planet.
The ghost of Starscream has always been a recurring plot point in the greater TFdom, which is why bringing it to the Ghostbusters universe was so brilliant. Released in commemoration of both series’ 35th anniversary, this marriage of franchises seamlessly tied the two universes together without ever having to grasp for straws. Of course, the introduction of the new Ectortron robot, a Transformers crossover toy that features an incredibly toon-tastic Ectomobile alt mode, definitely helped bridge the gap.Surprisingly cool crossover?