Whether you’ve seen the Transformers or not, chances are you’ve at least heard of Optimus Prime and Megatron, the two primary characters from the franchise. Optimus Prime is the franchises main protagonist, the heroic leader of the benevolent Autobots, while Megatron is his nemesis, the ruthless leader of the villainous Decepticons. And while most materials portray them as bitter rivals, they haven’t always been enemies and this article is going to explore the exact relationship between the two.
Optimus Prime and Megatron are not and have never been brothers, regardless of the Generation in question. The two of them have been brothers in arms and close friends, initially, but they weren’t brothers. The signification “brother” is, in their case, exclusively symbolic and has no other meaning.
In case you haven’t heard, Optimus Prime and Megatron are going to be the focus of today’s article. We are going to explore the exact relationship between the two characters, especially before they became rivals. You’re going to find out whether they’re actually related or not and why Optimus Prime calls Megatron “brother”. In the end, you’re going to find out whether Optimus Prime has a brother or not (even if it isn’t Megatron). Enjoy!
What is the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron?
If you want to simplify the relationship between Optimus Prime and Megatron, the easiest way to do it would be to describe them as bitter rivals, and you wouldn’t be wrong, not really. The degree of animosity between them might vary from Generation to Generation, but whichever iteration you consider, they are always going to be rivals.
And while they do share some mutual respect for each other, the degree of which also varies, that isn’t nearly enough to stop them from fight each other, with Megatron always being the one who is willing to take their fight further.
But, this is really just an oversimplified description of their relationship, which is far deeper and more complex than you can even imagine. In order to fully grasp that complexity, we are going to give you a short introduction to the history of Cybertron and how Optimus Prime and Megatron became who they are.
In the early history of the Transformers universe, the planet Cybertron was ruled by the malevolent Quintessons, a superior alien race responsible for the construction of the Autobots and the Decepticons. Their only intention was to sell them throughout the galaxy and to use them as slave labor or for entertainment purposes.
At one point, the united Transformers rebelled against the Quintessons and defeated their alien oppressors, thus gaining freedom. The Autobots and Decepticons lived in a peaceful society where the Autobots gathered Energon as the working class, while a group of militaristic Cybertronians were in charge of defending the planet (the army group).
Peace was not long-lasting, however, as former Autobot leader, Megatronus Prime, betrayed his brethren out of pure eagerness for power and allied himself with the evil Unicron, who wanted to completely consume Cybertron in order to become more popular.
The two of them formed a pact. Unicron was ultimately defeated, as was Megatrons Prime, who had by then already been renamed The Fallen. These are the events that would eventually lead to the creation of the Decepticons.
Peace, although fragile, was restored but things went south once more when the Autobot leaders of Cybertron became corrupt. This led to Megatron, then an anonymous gladiator, instigating a rebellion against the corrupt government. A young Autobot, then known as Orion Pax, was initially a member of that rebellion, idolizing Megatron, a hero of the oppressed masses.
The insurrection was successful and Megatron became the planet’s new leader but soon became corrupt as the leaders he had rebelled against. Orion Pax, who would soon become Optimus Prime, then had to leave his former ally to lead the Autobots in their fight against the terror of the Decepticons.
And you know what happens later. The two became rivals.
Why does Optimus Prime call Megatron “brother”?
Now that we’ve established their common history, we can continue with the explanations. You might have heard Optimus Prime call Megatron “brother” and since we do understand how that might confuse you, we’re going to explain the meaning of the phrase.
Before we begin, though, you have to know that phrase name has not often been used in the source materials and that it’s not really a habit of Optimus Prime or Megatron to call the other “brother”. Still, we are aware that it has happened in some adaptations of the original stories, which is why we decided to write this for you.
We assume that, by now, you have realized that Optimus and Megatron aren’t actually brothers (even if we disregard the issue of how the Transformers reproduce). That much was obvious from their history. But, they were brothers in arms at one point in history, when Megatron led the rebellion that brought down the corrupt leaders of Cybertron. The two of them worked closely back then, they fought together and their “brotherly” connection was quite deep, but nothing more than symbolic.
So, if you stumble upon a scene where Optimus Prime calls Megatron his “brother”, or vice versa, you are now aware that it is not a literal signification, but a symbolical one.
Who is Optimus Prime’s brother?
Now, does Optimus Prime, like, even have a brother? If you look at the majority of the canon’s history, you’ll notice that Optimus had no siblings whatsoever. The Autobots were his close allies, but they weren’t really related. This has changed in some recent comic book stories, but we do assume that it’s not fully canon.
Namely, Dreamwave Productions launched a retelling of the Generation 1 stories before it went defunct in 2005. In this version of the old stories, Optimus Prime has a brother in Ultra Magnus, a character who had usually been portrayed as Optimus’ closest ally alongside Bumblebee.
This was a longstanding fan theory before Dreamwave actually confirmed it, but this retcon was actually short-lived and it never managed to overshadow the traditional canon.