In the distant future, the evil Unicron wages a final war for ultimate control of the Universe, summoning a vast army of Decepticon forces from across time and space. Responding quickly, Optimus Primal gathers his own army of heroic Autobots and marches into battle against the aggressors. As the enemy sides clash in the biggest war the universe has ever seen, their bodies emit a powerful radiation known as Energon. Little do they know that Unicron is secretly harvesting this mysterious force to increase his own strength!

-- from the Transformers: Universe marketing materials

The Transformers: Universe toy line began in late 2003 and continues through 2004, with toys being released at the same time as Armada and Energon. Universe, however, doesn't exist in the same continuity as those two do. Instead, it follows events in the Beast Wars and Beast Machines continuity, integrating the character Unicron and "officially" tying it to Generation One as well.

The Comics

Unlike Armada and Energon, there's no cartoon to promote the Universe toys. The comic book produced by Dreamwave Productions, then, is the only official storyline that Universe has to its name. This series follows the adventures of Optimus Primal and the Autobots of Cybertron versus Unicron and the Decepticons. In addition to the Universe characters themselves, the comic takes its title to heart and resurrects (literally) characters from all the Transformers continuities, including Armada and Generation One.

The Toys

You might think this is pretty daring and clever of Hasbro, but in fact Universe is anything but original. The toys attached to the Universe name are all repaints of toys from older lines including Beast Wars, Beast Machines and Robots in Disguise. Some of these toys preserve their original names, but most do not. Indeed, many -- like Ratchet and Inferno -- are repaints of toys from one line using names from another. It is likely that the sole purpose of Universe, besides parting long-time collectors from their money, is to keep certain Transformers names in circulation so Hasbro doesn't lose trademark rights to them.

    DELUXE - medium-sized Transformers sold in blister packs
    • Ratchet (Autobot) - emergency SUV - red repaint of Robots in Disguise X-Brawn
    • Inferno (Autobot) - fire chief car - white/red repaint of Robots in Disguise Prowl
    • Blackarachnia (Decepticon) - spider - repaint of Beast Machines Blackarachnia
    • Reptilion (Decepticon) - iguana - repaint of Beast Machines Transmetals Iguanus
    • Snarl (Autobot) - lion - repaint of Beast Machines Snarl
    • Silverbolt (Autobot) - winged wolf - repaint of Beast Wars Fuzors Silverbolt
    • Dinobot Striker (Autobot) - stegasaurus - repaint of Beast Wars Dinobot Striker
    • Skywarp (Decepticon) - jet - repaint of Beast Machines Jetstorm
    • Dinobot Triceradon (Autobot) - triceratops - repaint of Beast Wars Dinobot Triceradon
    • Skydive (Autobot) - pteranodon - repaint of Beast Wars Dinobot Swoop
    • Sunstorm (Decepticon) - jet - repaint of Armada Thrust
    • Prowl (Autobot) - police car - repaint of Robots in Disguise Prowl
    • Side Burn (Autobot) - sports car - repaint of Robots in Disguise Side Burn
    • Inferno (Autobot) - white/maroon sports car - repaint of Robots in Disguise Prowl
    • Fireflight (Autobot) - white/blue fighter jet - packaged with Mini-Con rescue truck Firebot and bomber jet Thunderwing
    ULTRA - larger Transformers sold in boxes
    • Razorclaw (Decepticon) - winged tiger - Beast Wars Fuzors Tigerhawk repaint
    • Depthcharge (Autobot) - manta ray
    • Tankor (Decepticon) - tank - Beast Machines repaint - packaged with Obsidian
    • Obsidian (Decepticon) - helicopter - Beast Machines repaint - packaged with Tankor
    • Optimus Primal (Autobot) - gorilla - Beast Wars repaint
    • King Atlas (Autobot) - white fighter jet - repaint of Machine Wars Starscream, which was in turn a repaint of European/Japanese Generation One Skyquake
    • Ruination (Decepticon) - repaint of Robots in Disguise combiner team, which was in turn a repaint of Generation One Combaticon team
    • Nemesis Prime (Decepticon) - black mammoth - repaint of Japanese Beast Wars Neo Big Convoy
    • Air Raid (Autobot) - blue/red fighter jet - packaged with Wind Sheer
    • Wind Sheer (Decepticon) - grey/maroon fighter jet - packaged with Air Raid
    • Autobot Whirl (Autobot) - blue/grey helicopter - packaged with Mini-Con transport plane Gunbarrel and helicopter Makeshift
    • Nemesis Strika (Decepticon) - yellow/maroon/grey attack vehicle
    • Soundwave (Decepticon) - white/purple/yellow missile transport - repaint of Machine Wars Soundwave - packaged with Space Case
    • Space Case (Decepticon) - grey/purple/maroon fighter jet - packaged with Soundwave