|“||It sure is nice when one of my inventions actually works!||„|
|~ Wheeljack, Fire on the Mountain|
|“||Don't worry, boss! If Jazz doesn't know, Wheeljack will be happy to improvise. It's my specialty!||„|
|~ Wheeljack, Dis-intergrated Circuits|
Wheeljack is the name of several fictional characters in the various Transformers universes, usually as a resourceful inventor, even if his devices can be unreliable.
Wheeljack is the mechanical engineer and scientist of the Autobots in the Transformers television and comic series based on the popular toy line produced by Takara and Hasbro. His vehicle mode is a Lancia Stratos Turbo 5 race car sporting Alitalia livery. Note that car #539 is the only surviving Lancia Stratos Turbo, only two were ever built by Lancia (compared to the rest which feature a different bodyshell).
Wheeljack is described as the mad scientist of the Autobot forces as he is always inventing new weapons and gadgets. These weapons and gadgets, while derived from the desire to benefit the Autobot cause, often bring great danger and introduce unpredictable elements into critical situations. He is the most accomplished driver (while in car mode) among the Autobots and enjoys displaying his skill level through various road stunts. Wheeljack possesses the ability to fly for relatively short distances (800 miles) using solid-fuel rockets in his arms. From his shoulder mounted cannons, Wheeljack can shoot magnetic inducer, shrapnel-needle, and gyro-inhibitor shells which can disrupt a target's sense of balance. He is often his own worst enemy due to the explosive and potentially damaging nature of his experiments.
Wheeljack, who was voiced by Chris Latta, was the first Transformer ever shown in the Generation 1 cartoon series. Also, his is one of the few Cybertronian vehicle forms shown - in his case, a boxy van-like vehicle. His robot form is distinguished by large bulbs on either side of his head that light up when he speaks. In most episodes, he was seldom seen at the front lines in battle - but he was often fundamental to the plot. He, and the Autobot medic Ratchet (occasionally in cooperation with the human Sparkplug Witwicky), were often shown working together creating various devices, weaponry, and even additional Autobots. Often, these devices were sought and sometimes obtained by the Decepticons and used against the Autobots. In the episode "The Immobilizer", he created a device capable of "immobilizing" anything and Decepticon forces were able to capture and use the device against the Autobots. Wheeljack was the primary architect of the Dinobots, although they rarely seemed to have any particular affinity for him. Along with Ratchet and others he also helped to create the Aerialbots out of old Cybertronian shuttles. As the series progressed, Wheeljack's responsibilities were increasingly taken on by the Autobot scientist Perceptor. In The Transformers: The Movie, set in the year 2005, Wheeljack was assigned to Autobot City on Earth. Wheeljack was presumed killed in the invasion of Autobot City by Megatron’s forces, and his injured or possibly deceased body is dragged to cover by Arcee. According to storyboards of un-made scenes he tried to help Mirage but was blasted several times by Thundercracker and Megatron along with Windcharger. In the same storyboards, it is Smokescreen, not Wheeljack, who lies dead, and Wheeljack himself can be seen alive during Devastator's attack. It is also worth noting that Wheeljack (and Windcharger's) bodies do not change colour to the grey black colour associated with Transformers when they die. Wheeljack also has an anomalous appearance in Transformers: Victory, a mistake made by several post-movie, Japanese-exclusive series because the movie did not reach Japan until 1989 (Prowl and Ironhide were also shown alive in a Japanese-exclusive series, though a later Japanese-exclusive story explained Prowl's presence).
Events from the UK-only comic stories are in italics.
War on Cybertron
As revealed in The Magnificent Six, early in the War, before Optimus became leader, Wheeljack was part of the Magnificent Six, a strike team comprising himself, Jazz, Inferno, Sunstreaker, Prowl, and Stampede, tasked with infiltrating Decepticon territories to sow chaos. During a mission to the neutral town of Yuss, they defeated a small band of Decepticons and were considered heroes by the locals. However, the team team found themselves facing off against Megadeath's elite cadre in retaliation. The Magnificent Six held Yuss's borders for a week, but the neutrals, resentful of the violence, sold them out.
As Megadeath's captives, the six were tortured for a week. Sadistically, Megadeath gave five of them blasters, and offered them and offered him freedom if they could stop him killing the unarmed Stampede. Wheeljack and the others could not bring themselves to take up arms. Megadeath then gave the Autobots two hours to find his neutral prisoners before he obliterated the entire region. The Autobots instead hid, and ambushed Megadeath when he came to investigate. Though Wheeljack and Prowl nearly died in battle, the remaining three Autobots crippled their torturer. Megadeath refused to divulge where he had stashed the neutrals, so the Autobots left him to die to his own device. When later questioned about what had transpired during their mission, the survivors claimed not to remember any of it.
Throughout the war on Cybertron, as revealed in Spacehikers Wheeljack rescued fellow Autobot Sky Lynx numerous times, leading to the two becoming friends. As seen in Surrender, Wheeljack was at the battle of Jan-Ja where Optimus Prime rallied the troops in the defence of Iacon.
Marvel's the Transformers
Early battles of Earth
After the Ark crash landed on Earth in The Transformers, Wheeljack and the others lay dormant for 4 million years, when they were reactivated, and Wheeljack gained a race car alternate mode. As the Autobots counted their ranks, he apologised to Ratchet for being "the guy you've had to patch up most." Finding themselves in dire need of fuel, the Autobots found a solution when Bumblebee befriended Buster Witwicky, Buster Witwicky, whose father had suggested a means of converting gasoline to Transformer fuel. Wheeljack and the rest of the Autobots met with the humans, only to be caught in a fight with the Decepticons upon meeting them. The battle ended with Sparkplug being abducted. Later, after Sparkplug was rescued, Wheeljack made a couple of cameos, including being hung from the Ark ceiling after Shockwave defeated the Autobots.
After Ratchet took back the Ark, and revived his comrades, Wheeljack was the second, to be revived, after Prowl, so that he could aid Rachet in the lab, as seen in The Wrath of Guardian. Wheeljack used the Ark's computers to track down the Guardian droid, reprogrammed by the Decepticons, that was running wild within the ship. Upon finding the droid, Wheeljack discovered that it had been booby-trapped with a thermo-nuclear bomb. In The Wrath of Grimlock, He saved the Autobots by remote-controlling Optimus Prime's deactivated body and using it to intervene in Grimlock's attempted execution of Guardian, preventing him from exploding. Guardian fled, and the Autobots began planning on how to defeat him. The droid burst into the medical bay some time later, now intent on detonating the bomb within his body himself. Swoop seemingly sacrificed himself to save his fellow Autobots, and Wheeljack and the others mourned by placing a marking beacon for the lost Dinobot.
In Dis-integrated Circuits, Wheeljack accompanied Jazz on a mission to secure a fuel supply for the Autobots. He stayed in the background while Jazz forged an alliance with the human G.B. Blackrock. When Starscream and Frenzy showed up at the unveiling of Blackrock's new anti-robot cannon, Wheeljack blasted Frenzy with magnetic powder, which buried the Decepticon in an avalanche of ferrous materials. Wheeljack was saved from an attack by Starscream when Circuit Breaker brought the Decepticon crashing to the ground. However, when Wheeljack thanked the human for her help, being anti Transformer, blasted him in response.
After Ravage was captured, and subsequently escaped, in Crisis of Command Bumblebee attempted to chase down Ravage on his own. Bumblebee's signal was soon after detected returning towards the Ark, and Wheeljack headed out to welcome him. He was instead met by Bumblebee's severed arm, delivered by Laserbeak to goad Optimus Prime into a trap. After Bumblebee's rescue, in The Icarus Theory the Autobots detected an unidentified flying Transformer heading towards the Ark, and assumed battle positions to meet him. Wheeljack and the others wound up battling a mind-controlled Swoop, and were unable to subdue him. Optimus ended the battle by issuing Swoop an order, prompting the rebellious bot to break free of the mind-control.
As seen in flashback in Perchance to Dream, Wheeljack became obsessed with the technology the Decepticons had used grant life to their decent defector Jetfire, reckoning it could be the way to reactivate those recently killed in the Dinobot Hunt. While sneaking about G.B. Blackrock's power plant to uncover clues to the technology's workings, he encountered Ravage. Ravage offered him a deal, to use Ravage's neuro-control helmet to brainwash Jetfire into rejoining the Decepticons, and thus Wheeljack would be given the information he needed. Wheeljack returned to base and had Jetfire come to the workshop under the pretence of giving him a tune-up. Despite distrusting Jetfire, Wheeljack ultimately did not go through with brainwashing him. Returning to the factory, he found it on fire, and realised that Ravage would not have upheld their bargain.
To boost the Autobots numbers, in Rock and Roll Out, Wheeljack installed the minds of Grapple, Skids, Hoist, Smokescreen, and Tracks from crystals into bodies that were created by the Ark. In I' Robot-Master, while going though Earth's broadcast, Wheeljack discovered a message from human "super-villain" Robot-Master, shown across all channels, that he was behind the Transformers, and making terrorist demands. Wheeljack sent the transmission to Optimus. Via another broadcast, Wheeljack was able to determine the whereabouts of Megatron, who had become idle due to a lack of fuel out in the open. He transferred the necessary coordinates to Optimus's mapping circuitry so that he could lead a team to the Decepticon's location.
In Plight of the Bumblebee, Wheeljack was among those being repaired by Ratchet following recent battles with the Decepticons. In Robot Buster, he and Ratchet constructed a battlesuit for Buster Witwicky so he could join the Autobots in battle, but Optimus Prime quickly vetoed the plan and Wheeljack had to join his fellows in rescuing Buster from Shockwave.
Following the reveal in Second Generation that the Matrix had granted Buster a vision of the Transformers' future, Wheeljack worked with Optimus Prime to design the combining Autobots they had seen, including spying on the Constructicons to learn their technique. He finally managed to bring the Aerialbots on line in Aerialbots Over America, although they had to be sent into battle without full personality programmes, making them a danger to humans. Wheeljack had them mindwiped and improved prior to their next mission in Heavy Traffic.
Wheeljack was also involved in the Autobots' first battle with Galvatron in Target: 2006, where he was injured early in the battle but recovered to welcome Optimus Prime back.
Optimus Prime's death
Upset at the Autobots' performance during the incident, Optimus Prime enlisted Wheeljack's help to fake his own death using a facsimile copy. When the facsimile was found destroyed, Wheeljack was uncertain if it was the real Optimus Prime or not. The real Optimus Prime returned and Wheeljack briefed him and the new Protectobots to confront Megatron and the Combaticons at the hydro-thermocline plant. However, the mission led to Optimus Prime's death. Wheeljack attended his funeral and was among those disabled by sonic mines planted by Trypticon in the aftermath.
Rebellion against Grimlock
When Grimlock took command of the Autobots, Wheeljack initially served him loyally if somewhat resentfully, providing him with information on human criminal the Mechanic and rogue Autobots Blaster and Goldbug. The turning point came when Grimlock dismissed Wheeljack's creation of an independent fuel source, believing they could take what they wanted from humans.
After taking the Ark into space, Grimlock captured four human children who had been helping Blaster and sentenced them to be ejected into space. Wheeljack rebelled against Grimlock by arranging for Sky Lynx to rescue the quartet. He was willing to serve Blaster, but like the rest of the Autobots, lapsed into silence when Blaster surrendered to Grimlock, although he later witnessed the duel between the pair on the moon.
After Optimus Prime returned, he assigned Wheeljack to the taskforce he put together to challenge Galvatron. The mission was disrupted when Optimus Prime and several others were displaced into limbo by the arrival of Rodimus Prime's Autobots from the future. Distrustful of the newcomers, Wheeljack ended up fighting with Blurr alongside Scattershot. He was not seen during the subsequent battle with Galvatron but may have been left deactivated since he was not seen again for some years.
Due to irreconcilable continuity with the main US run, Earthforce occurs in a slightly different timeline. That being said, it is possible some of the events did occur in a different way in the main timeline.
Wheeljack was one of several Autobots revived by Galvatron in a failed attempt to brainwash them into serving him using their darker impulses. He was left lost among the new Autobot army until he and Prowl were sent on an investigative mission and discovered Megatron planning to poison Earth's atmosphere. Wheeljack subsequently joined Grimlock's Earthforce, consisting of several old comrades. He took his turn guarding their base during construction but a mishap with a heater led Skydive to believe he'd been killed. He later took Snarl with him to investigate sentient nightlights created by Mindwipe to try and brainwash humans.
Wheeljack was given the job of designing the new Autobot base's defences. He did a comprehensive job but then made the mistake of activating them while the entire Earthforce was outside the base, meaning they had to fight their way back in. He was later among the Autobots who pursued the Stunticons when they kidnapped journalist Irwin Spoon, but broke off the pursuit to tend to an injured Prowl.
Revived by Nucleon
Wheeljack was among the Autobots revived by Grimlock and taken to Cybertron as reinforcements for the battle against Unicron. In the aftermath of the battle, he was one of those who found the badly injured Optimus Prime and shared their leader's dying moments.
The Autobots followed the Decepticons to Klo but were ambushed and most of their number were left inactive. Wheeljack was badly injured and then spotted by Bludgeon trying to reach his gun and damaged further, probably leaving him inactive. However, he was probably revived not long after by the Last Autobot, who had already revived Optimus Prime and was brought to the planet by him.
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See main article: Wheeljack (IDW Comics)
G1 Wheeljack made a cameo in the pilot of the Transformers: Animated series on a historical video being viewed by Optimus Prime. This historical video was stock footage from the original animated series. A new version of the character made an appearance working with the Animated version of Perceptor on Omega Supreme in season 3. He also had a speaking role in the comics.
Transformers Cinematic Universe
Main article:Wheeljack (Transformers Cinematic Universe)
Main article: Wheeljack (Transformers Prime)
Main article: Wheeljack (Cyberverse)