Skip main navigation

Transmedia starts with film: Transformers

A case study: Transformers

This network of intertextuality has also been seen in the wake of the now-famous Transformers (transforming robot) toys that, after being introduced to the market, eventually became part of a an larger narrative surrounding a battle between good and evil.

Unlike other works in the science fiction genre, where robots are typically machines operated by humans, these new transforming robots were life-forms from a distant planet called Cybertron and were immersed in a great war of their own. Through the movies and an animated series, the Transformer toys became phenomenally popular. And from the robots’ origins to the details of their intergalactic conflict, their personification provided the background for Transformers (2007), a story with human protagonists that helps audiences understand the inner psychology of both the humans and robot characters.

Prior to the film’s release, the graphic novel Transformers: Movie Prequel (2007) was published, providing context for the upcoming movie. A prequel is typically a work that prefigures a later work, meaning it addresses events that predate a film’s original story. Transformers: Movie Prequel takes place in the robot world’s physical setting, Cybertron, where the robots are engaged in a battle of absolute good versus absolute evil. The four-part series provide interesting insight for those wishing to better understand the story of Transformers either before or after viewing the film.

The film’s release also brought on the debut of a video game, Transformers: The Game, which reached store shelves in Korea approximately three months before the movie’s release. Though the game’s premise was a direct reflection of the story in the film, it still offered the experience and control over the trajectory of the story. Depending on which narrative the gamer chooses, one can become an Autobot that fights to save Earth, or a Decepticon that seeks to destroy it.

This article is from the free online

Transmedia Storytelling

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education