I love Transformers and one of the first things I have wanted to do when I first joined Villains Wiki is do a Pure Evil proposal for Megatron from the Beast Wars/Machines duology but unfortunately I am far away from having enough edits to do so. However, upon looking into the series, I believe the main protagonist and good counterpart to Megatron qualifies as Pure Good. Without further ado, let’s discuss Optimus Primal.
What's The Work
The Transformers Beast Wars franchise is a 1990s and early 2000s science fiction television series consisting of the titular series Beast Wars and its sequel Beast Machines along with a prequel short film known as the Theft of the Golden Disk. The story is set 300 years into the future with the Autobots having won the war, with their descendants known as the Maximals ruling over the defeated descendants of the Decepticons known as the Predacons. One day, a group of Predacon criminals led by Megatron (a predacon who named himself after the famous decepticon) steal the Golden disk, a mysterious object of incredible power and betray their boss Cryotek by stealing a ship and fleeing Cyberton whilst selling him out to the Maximals. The Maximal government sends out an alert but the closest ship to pursue Megatron isn’t a military or police ship but an exploration ship led by science officer Optimus Primal. They pursued the Predacon group through a transwarp (basically hyperspace plus time travel) portal, traveling millions of years into the past and crash landing on Earth with the protoforms (first stage of transformer life) onboard the maximal being launched out to avoid damage. Since Earth was rich with raw Energon, the transformers were forced to take on organic animal forms lest they short circuit and thus the Beast Wars began to recover the protoforms and secure the Golden Disk.
The sequel Beast Machines begins when the Maximals wake up on Cybertron with no memory of what happened and being pursued by mindless drones. They eventually discover Megatron has somehow conquered Cybertron and committed a genocide against his own people, with the Maximals rushing to find out what happened.
Who is He/What Has He Done?
Optimus Primal is the main protagonist of the Beast Wars franchise. He was a science officer charged with disposing of Protoform X later known as Rampage on a safe uninhabited world (more on this later in the Corrupting Qualities section). However on the way he and his crew are tasked with capturing the rogue band of Predacon criminals led by Megatron and to retrieve the disk. Upon crash landing on Earth, both crews take on animal forms and despite Primal’s warnings, the hotshot maximal known as Cheetor ran off on his own to race and gets attacked by the Predacon called Waspinator. Both crews arrive to help their fellow bot and Optimus Primal tries to convince Megatron not to resort to violence but instead resolve their differences peacefully but Megatron refuses and the fight begins. Optimus rescues Cheetor when Rattrap refuses to and when they get back to the base when the ex-Predacon Dinobot challenges him to a duel for leadership of the Maximals and despite his attempts to talk some sense, Primal reluctantly duels him. When Primal wins and refuses to kill him, Dinobot tries to knock him over a cliff but regrets this decision and helps him up to continue the fight. Megatron and the Predacons use this opportunity to attack and when Optimus and Dinobot are knocked nearly off a cliff, Optimus refuses to let Dinobot fall to his death to save himself. The two are rescued by Rhinox and the Maximals get to safety as the Predacons head out to a mountain rich with Energon. Both groups arrive and fight once more with Primal defeating Megatron but Megatron launching a missile to kill Optimus but Dinobot swatting it aside saving him. Both groups flee with the misdirected missile causes a chain reaction to destroy the mountain with Primal announcing that the Beast Wars have began. The Beast Wars would have many battles with the Maximals gaining new allies in reformatted protoforms like Tigatron, Airazor, and Silverbolt while Megatron corrupts a few protoforms like Inferno, Quickstrike, and Blackarachnia, the latter of which later defects. The season 1 finale has Optimus Primal successfully saves both Maximals and Predacons along with all of Earth from the mysterious aliens known as the Vok, but Megatron rigs the ship to explode seemingly killing him.
The explosion of the Vok’s superweapon causes a quantum surge upgrading the transformers bodies into Transmetal forms. The Maximals are outnumbered and nearly destroyed but Optimus is revealed to be alive with Rhinox getting his spark and implanting it into a new Transmetal body and saves the Maximals. Optimus and Cheetor later rescue Blackarachnia and Silverbolt from Rampage/Protoform X and the Maximals mourn the loss of Dinobot who died sacrificing himself to destroy the Golden Disk and protect a protohuman (Neanderthal) village. Optimus Primal teamed up with Ravage, an ex-decepticon turned Predacon police officer to arrest Megatron as Cybertron had finally received their location due to the vok explosion/quantum surge. The season 2 finaleMegatron discovers the location of the Ark carrying the Autobots and shoots Optimus Prime in the head along with destroying the maximal baseand in a desperate attempt to save the leader and prevent the altering of history, Primal placed Primes spark into his chest causing his body to grow and mutate in a Transmetal II form.
Optimus Primal would later meet the bounty hunter Depth Charge who reluctantly agreed to ally himself with the Maximals if only because his archenemy, Rampage was on the other side. After a Cheetor was supposedly killed, Primal blamed himself but he turned out to be alive and Primal helped him tame his monster side. After their supposed deaths, Tigatron and Airazor were revealed to be alive and combined into a Vok agent called Tigerhawk who destroyed the Predacon base which Primal surveyed to make sure the original megatron spark was not destroyed and after the Vok sacrificed themselves to kill Tarantulas, Tigerhawk was restored to his original personality and joined the Maximals. The finale has Primal discover that Tarantulas had located the decepticon warship called Nemesis and headed out with Tigerhawk to stop Megatron from reactivating it but they were too late. Tragically, Tigerhawk was killed by Megatron and Primal went back to the Ark to get a plan. Unfortunately he was too late as Megatron activated a tractor beam to disable the ark and destroy to win the war for the decepticons. Primal crashed into the ship and dueled Megatron despite knowing he couldn’t win against megatron with the spark of the original. However, with the help of a cloned and redeemed Dinobot II, they bought enough time for Rhinox to crash a shuttle, taking Megatron captive, and downing the ship with Dinobot II going down with the ship. That ends the Beast Wars with the Maximals taking a captive Megatron (the rest of the predacons were abandoned/betrayed by Megatron and killed or killed by the Vok’s quantum surge with the exception of Waspinator who was treated like a king by the humans and decided to stay) back to Cybertron.
Beast Machines has most of the Maximals awake on Cybertron being hunted down by drones and soon discovering that Megatron had conquered the planet and effectively committed genocide, killing all Cybertronians with a virus and brainwashing and placing some of their sparks (souls) into new drone bodies to form his new faction called Vehicons with three generals, Tankor, Jetstorm, and Thrust. The Maximals have reverted to pre Transmetal beast mode but he gained access to the computer called Oracle who reformatted the Maximals into techno organic forms, and eventually they regain the ability to transform. The Maximals meet the sole survivor of the genocide, a maximal called Nightscream and reformatted him to save his life. The Maximals discover what happened and the fate of Rhinox, and Silverbolt during their transwarp back to Cybertron heavy turbulence ensued, allowing Megatron to break free and supposedly fall to his death but in reality travel months back in time before the Maximals arrived, allowing him to engineer a virus to wipe out his own species as the virus paralyzed transformers but most of the Maximals survived due to their Transmetal forms which merely caused they to be trapped in their beast form while Rhinox and Silverbolt were paralyzed like everyone else due to not having a Transmetal form. Rhinox became Tankor, Silverbolt became Jetstorm, and Thrust was Waspinator who fled the humans after they turned on him. While Silverbolt was able to be rescued, Optimus Primal’s conversation wit Rhinox did not go so well as Rhinox now decided of his own free will to side with Megatron and a technological society, sadly Tankor/Rhinox’s attempt to usurp Megatron failed and he was killed for good. Feeling responsible for Megatron’s horrendous crimes, Primal became increasingly ruthless and withdrawn, planning to turn Cybertron into an organic society through the use of the Plasma Energy Chamber the Oracle had shown him. He finally decided to use it when Megatron defeated the other Maximals clashing with Vector Sigma which Megatron tried to use to turn Cybertron technological, with Primal soon dissolving and disappearing.
Season 2 opens with Primal in the matrix and realizing that his actions would destroy Cybertron and that he was becoming increasingly extreme, deciding that a technoorganic society was best, as it was balanced. He had a conversation with the spirt of Rhinox who felt remorseful and refused Primal’s offer of help, deciding to remain in the Matrix as punishment for his actions. It turns out that this was a test from the Oracle and Primal passed, deciding to return him to his body. Although Megatron was presumably dead and the Maximals in control of his base, his spark still lived. The Maximals discovered another maximal called Botanica who helped her revive the dying orchards of Cybertron. Megatron was able to trick Optimus into giving him the codes to Oracle and reformatted himself into a technological body, a gigantic form of Primal’s last body in beast wars to mock him. Megatron lost what little sanity he had left and decided to just kill all transformers permanently by absorbing their sparks and using the key of vector sigma to reformat Cybertron through its coreinto a purely technological society with him as a god. He successfully extracts the sparks of all the Maximals except Primal, who realized the only way to restore balance was to kill himself and Megatron and plunge themselves into the Core. He successfully distracts and disarms Megatron, plunging him and his nemesis into the core, saving the rest of the Maximals and Waspinator along with all of Cybertron now techno organic.
Optimus Primal does a lot of heroic deeds and keep in mind that while he technically exists in the same universe as G1 Optimus Prime, he has way less resources than Prime like lower screen time, no battle experience before the events of the story, less than a dozen soldiers compared with Prime’s hundreds if not thousands. His heroic actions include but aren’t limited to:
- Agrees to have Protoform X disposed of non lethally when Depth Charge demanded his execution
- Tries to initially settle his differences with Megatron peacefully, only resorting to violence when that fails
- Rescues Cheetor from the Predacons when Rattrap refused to, remarking that he doesn’t give an order that he cannot do himself
- Tries to convince Dinobot to join the Maximals, and only fights him when he refuses, he refuses to kill Dinobot when he beats him and risks his own life to save Dinobot once again from the Predacons, eventually motivating Dinobot to join the Maximals
- Teleports a bomb into the Predacon base to destroy it when his ship briefly gains the ability to, but he puts a timer to allow the Predacons to escape, proving he values the lives of his enemies, even PE ones like Megatron and Tarantulas much to Dinobot’s chagrin
- Rescues Rattrap from Terrorsaur and carries him to safety
- Saves a Protoform and successfully reformats him into Tigatron who joins the Maximals
- Fakes Rattraps defection in order to infiltrate the Predacons, later sticking up for him and letting the other Maximals out of the dark, saying he wanted the defection to be believable which is why he didn’t tell them originally
- When infected with a virus that causes him to become increasingly uncontrollably aggressive, he orders that the Maximals lock him up until they can find a cure
- Throwing away his only chance of returning to Cybertron in order to rescue Dinobot, leaving no man behind
- Leading a rescue mission of Rhinox from Predacon base
- Disgusted by Dinobot killing a fake clone of Dinobot, even though this clone was a Predacon and tried to kill them all
- Single-handily defeats a Starscream possessed Waspinator and recaptures the Maximal base
- Convinces Tigatron not to abandon the Maximals after his animal friend/love interest dies
- Saves Earth from the Vok by destroying their planet busters at the cost of his body due to Megatron’s betrayal
- Saves the Maximals from the Predacons in his new Transmetal body.
- Agrees to help Ravage arrest Megatron as he didn’t hate Predacons in of themselves but just criminals like Megatron
- Takes Optimus Prime’s spark to save history and prevent Megatron from killing him, making Primal indirectly responsible for Prime’s actions in G1
- Tames Cheetor’s Transmetal II monster side
- When the Vok destroy the Predacon base and seemingly kill the Predacons, he takes no joy in this and hopes that the original G1 Megatron’s spark is still functioning in order to preserve history
- Defeats/Imprisons Megatron and ends the Beast Wars
- Teaches and reformats the Maximals how to transform again
- Reformats Nightscream to save his life
- Tries to and eventually redeems and forgives Rhinox/Tankor after death
- Saves Botanica by reformatting her
- Saves Cybertron and all transformers by sacrificing himself and Megatron to restore balance and reformat Cybertron into a techno organic planet
Now technically he does kill Megatron but this was necessary to save Cybertron as balance needed to be restored and Megatron was going to kill everyone. His last words (the caption quote) seem to imply that he doesn’t really hate Megatron and advises to calmly accept death, which Megatron of course doesn’t do.
Now the only corrupting quality he actually has might get him disqualified, which if it does I will understand but I still believe he qualifies. As I said in the what has he done section, Primal becomes increasingly ruthless and fanatical in his desire to defeat Megatron. He lashes out at the Maximals to leave him alone with the Oracle and his personality becomes allegorical to a fundamentalist. He believes his mission is to turn Cybertron organic and uses the Plasma Chamber to try and reformat Cybertron and an unwilling Megatron. The first episode of Season two is focused on him realizing how wrong he was and how his actions nearly (albeit unintentionally) destroyed Cybertron, instead he should strive for balance, the techno organic. He apologizes for his actions to the Maximals and renounces leadership but the Maximals forgive him and he returns to leadership, shedding this corrupting quality.
With that he stands out for being the only maximal with no permanent corrupting qualities as others have jerkish, arrogant, incompetent, or extremist tendencies like his comrades and the maximal government has, the latter of which conducted horrible, torturous experiments on the man later known as Protoform X/Rampage, causing him to lose his mind and become a serial killer and cannibal. He was willing to redeem Dinobot and work with Ravage and never resorted to kill his enemies until Megatron truly lost his mind and decided to kill everyone
I believe that he qualifies, but what do you think?