Although the subject of this post is not just a film, but a toy series, cartoons, books, comic books, video games, etc. I am going to mostly reference the movies, as this is a Faith and Film post. Today, I’m going to talk about the spiritual story hidden in everyone’s favourite robots in disguise, the Transformers.
Hasbro brought out their line of transforming robot/vehicles in the 80’s and probably had no idea of the massive cultural impact they were about to make. Growing up, I don’t remember many of my friends NOT having several Transformers. The cartoon was created to further market the toys, and the story of the Autobots and the Decepticons was further fleshed out. In 2007, Michael Bay released his Transformers film, portraying the alien robots in live action. This was then followed by two sequels (with another possibly coming out next year), cementing the Transformers in the 21st Century.
Yet, it was not until the last time I watched the first movie, a couple months ago, that I realized I had heard the story before. The battle between the Decepticons and the Autobots was not particularly original, for it only had put new terms on a very old story. I realized that the Transformers are analogies for angels!
For many, this might take a minute to sink in. I’ll give you a minute…
For those still with me, let me run through the story, drawing out the similarities between Hasbro’s transforming toys and a major part of Judeo-Christian spirituality.
On another world, far away, intelligent beings that are completely unlike humans exist. They are not made of flesh, but of steel (just as the angels are of spirit). Everything is peaceful and harmonious, until one of the beings, Megatron, desires more power and leads his allies, the Decepticons into battle against the Autobots. This coincides with the Christian tradition that Lucifer, greatest of the angels, led a rebellion of angels in Heaven. And like the angelic counterparts, the Transformers continue to battle into the present.
Both the Fallen Angels and the Decepticons end up on earth. The result? The possible destruction of humankind. For the Decepticons, the destruction of earth is merely a byproduct of their search for the Allspark, but the wicked intention is clear: the Decepticons are the demons of this story.
Even Megatron’s name bears a striking resemblance to the angelic scribe of Heaven: Metatron. This angel is recorded in Medieval Jewish tradition as being the biblical Enoch after God transformed him from a man into an angel (not recorded in the Bible, but attested to in extra-biblical literature). He sits near the throne of God, writing down whatever God and the angels need written down. While the characters are completely different, the similarity in names in noteworthy, at least.
The Angels and the Autobots arrive to protect humanity. They fight tooth and nail to stop the villains from destroying human beings. They see themselves as hidden guardians of our people, willing to risk all to keep us from harm. The Autobots are led by Optimus Prime, who, like the archangel Michael, the commander of Heaven’s armies, is often depicted wielding a powerful sword.
Many Christian traditions also hold to the idea of personal guardian angels. We see Bumblebee taking care of Sam throughout the movies, helping him battle alien robots and get the girl of his dreams. Even when the mission is over, Bumblebee requests to stay with Sam to guard and protect him. Sounds very guardian angel-like to me.
Finally, the spiritual realm is hidden to most of humanity. I cannot claim to see spirits, angels, demons, or anything like that. I know people who can, but for most of us, it’s not a reality we get to experience. In the same way, the Autobots and the Decepticons are hidden from humanity in their vehicle forms. They are “Robots in Disguise.” Their actions usually take place far from the eyes of the public, with few “miraculous” interventions happening in densely populated areas.
You may not find this particularly enlightening, but it’s just one example of finding the “big story” hidden in the movies we watch each week. I hope, as we continue to look at films through the lens of faith, that you will start to see more of the meta-narrative in the weirdest of places. When you do, let us know. Because the more we see of God in our daily lives, the closer to Him we can become. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Autobots, roll out!
September 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM
This is now so obvious to me that I am surprised it ever passed me by! “…More than meets the eye…”
I wrote a paper on Transformers Part 1 for my Film and Religion class in university (best elective course…. EVER), but instead wrote on the themes of sacrifice and redemption in the movie.
Very interesting indeed! Great post, and thanks for sharing!
September 23, 2013 at 6:47 PM
Thanks Jared! It’s amazing how quickly you start to see the influence of Judeo-Christian imagery when you start to look for it. I would love to take…or teach…a Film and Religion course one day. I’ll definitely let you audit if you like.
Thanks for coming by and reading!
February 28, 2016 at 9:42 PM
This started out way better than I thought, but then fell off the rails at the end. Did it end? I wasn’t sure because it felt like it went on forever.
April 6, 2017 at 9:46 PM
well you are right but you also need to keep in mind since satan is the prince and power of the air and this is indeed a Hollywood film, things will be flipped upside down. what I’m saying is the rolls are reversed where the Devil is the good guy and God and his angels are evil….so the reality is that the autobots and indeed the devil and his angels who fought for freedom(freedom from the tyrancal laws of cybertron/heaven. as stated by optimus the decepticons fought for tyranny. just remember there are many stories from marvel and dc comics that are not original they come from biblical narrative but flip the roles to make God evil and devil good. superman came from krypton. his weakness is kryptonite which is a matrix of crosses from his home planet. no human weapons can hurt him-same thing with demons no human based weapons can hurt them but a simple prayer sent up to heaven/krypton will see them flee your presence.
September 24, 2017 at 11:54 AM
Thank you for your interpretation. As we delve into stories that were never intended as a metaphor for biblical truths, we will see a variety of narratives emerge. I’m not entirely willing to say that all of Hollywood/Marvel/DC will invariably reverse the positions of Satan and God, but it is important to keep our discernment strong. Thanks for joining the conversation!
April 12, 2017 at 2:56 AM
Your post is very apt. Being an avid Transformers fan for the last 24 years, I realized only in the last two weeks that there is a lot of hidden Christian teaching in the original Transformers franchise and started looking on the net to find who else shared similar views and found your highly informative and insightful post … keep it up ..
September 24, 2017 at 11:54 AM
Thank you! It’s amazing how, once you start looking for it, Christian ideas and narratives start popping up all over the place. Even where they are least expected.
September 16, 2017 at 7:13 AM
I sounded crazy a few months ago when I told a friend of mine exactly what this article proposes. I had been reading the books of Enoch. The latest Transformers movie was at the cinemas and it just clicked. It obviously went all the way over my head before I read Enoch.
Now I know I was right. Thanks for sharing. Keep them coming
September 24, 2017 at 11:50 AM
Thanks, Diego! I’m glad things were able to click for you. I doubt all these parallels were intentional, but it’s very interesting to note them when they appear.
September 26, 2017 at 11:00 PM
Brandon, i think most storytellers these days are being influenced by the things we refer to as spirits, angels demons and so on.
there are many links between may books movies and even video games.
These are the modern doctrine of our generation because we no longer have the faith in holy books but for some of us who are looking for the answers, we will find them. I know for one I have, I know the rules but I can’t really list them it’s a hard fact that I was influenced towards such movies and video games to better understand the truth and transformers, Starwars, world of Warcraft, even minor movies books video games taught me of the hidden truth that has been in plain sight this whole time.
tho explaining it will never be easy not without seeming crazy but the story talks of a god older than time, the god is one we all live on, it sleeps tho some know they may gain power offering souls to it, outside of this realm are the parasites, these demons feed on the emotions of the lost souls, ones not protected by holy union, these souls will be consumed the day the old god awakens only those of noble purity may be saved, The power of names and contracts have been exploited by the Luciferians for instance, who knows that understanding the meaning of your true name will entail your destiny, when books and movie draw on other books or movies for inspiration they just become proxies of the same narratives and some interweave with our reality tho not quite giving the truth we are lead to believe but explaining that all of these worlds exist parallel to our own.
I am going to say now anything that is owned by Disney is a perversion of the truth so i wouldn’t trust Marvel movies as much as i would WB and DC as if something is being remade it’s being perverted. Disney has known for some time the new format of Faith will be the movies and music industry and thus we are being forced into a way of thinking by these evil entities and trust me when i say evil i really do mean evil.
Have faith tho, the dots are starting to connect and the truth is being revealed.
the modern day prophets for me are
Philip K Dick
the list is very long but these are def some key players who have produced a narrative filled with the dogma that connects all the dots for me.
it’s very hard for me to not feel like much of these stories are in some way real.
i’ve gone way deeper down the rabbit hole than this,
December 21, 2018 at 12:51 PM
Should a Christian go see movies as the Transformers in Bumblebee.
December 23, 2018 at 9:02 AM
I haven’t seen Bumblebee yet, so I can’t comment on this film specifically. However, it is part of my mission to engage with culture and look for connections to the Big Story in secular films. The connections in Transformers are easy to see and can open the doors to great conversation.
Thanks for asking!
February 26, 2019 at 8:21 PM
Lucifer is also made of Metal and Glass. Just like the Transformers. This I have been studying to connect the dots for many years. He was the MASTER MUSICIAN and his vocal pipes are made of BRASS if you recall scripture. This is not a story, it’s a history and a foreshadowing of our terrifying future. Many Christians talk of that glorious day when Christ will again appear in the clouds upon his return, but what most Christians do not know and or want to accept is the fact that we are going to be lifted into the clouds until after the great battle. It will be a very terrifying time and the reality we see in Transformers is but a taste of what is going to take place on a much much much larger scale. Study some more and you will see that what I am saying is true.
May 5, 2019 at 11:59 AM
I just watched a Transformers movie on tv, and have watched several over and over. As always I get chills when watching the stories, and tears as I think of God and his Angels “never giving up on us” and the posing question I sense being asked – What are you willing to fight and die for? I felt the need to do a search to see if others were making the same connections. I’m not interested in deep details, or in arguing facts. Bottom line – as God’s born again children he can and will and does use any means available to speak personally to our spirit and heart. Not everyone watching the movies will hear. Those of us who do – what are we going to do with what is being spoken to our spirit? Bottom line truth is, our God-given Angels are indeed fighting here for us, in the Spirit realm – exactly like the robots are fighting in the movies. And I thank God for mine! and all the heavy sword slashing that has been done for me. So, as you can see by the replies, you are not the only one who sees and hears. Thank you for sharing.