In the Transformers Universe, the two greatest warring factions were the benevolent Autobots and the sinister Decepticons. The Decepticons have always been traditionally led by Megatron. The Autobots are led into battle by none other than Optimus Prime, no matter which iteration we are talking about. It has always been the leadership of Optimus Prime that has saved the Autbobots and the humans from the wrath of the forces of evil. But Hasbro had a few other ideas. In order to spice up the sales of their Transformers merchandise, it tried introducing a new Autbobot leader – Ultra Magnus.

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Even today, Ultra Magnus replacing Optimus Prime is considered the greatest ever debacle in the history of Transformers.

When Did That Happen?

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While it never happened in the live action Michael Bay movies, we did see ultra Magnus succeed Optimus Prime in The Transformers: The Movie, an animated film from 1986 based on the cult classic original Transformers TV series. Ultra Magnus is chosen by Optimus to take over his mantle and lead the Autobots in his stead. While the character fits the bill on paper, it was clearly visible he was not ready for the responsibility.

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In the world of Transformers, one simply cannot become the Autobot leader if the predecessor wills him to. To truly assume the mantle of Optimus Prime, one must also be chosen by the Matrix of Leadership. The Matrix is a powerful artefact from Cybertron that contains eons worth of knowledge about the universe and from other long dead Transformers. To be chosen by the Matrix to wield its power is no easy feat and Ultra Magnus, despite fitting the aesthetics of a leader, was totally not the one for the job.

Optimus Prime‘s final moments sees his body go dull and the last of the energons leave him be. In his final moments, he takes the Matrix of Leadership out of his chest and Hot Rod picks it up. Hot Rod actually becomes a Prime later on called Rodimus Prime. So this was basically a bit foreshadowing for the things to come. Hot Rod hands it to Ultra Magnus, who is perplexed at the thought of becoming a Prime. He asks Optimus why would he chose him when he is just a mere soldier. As a soldier, he is extremely skilled but only at carrying out orders, not giving them. Magnus repeatedly says he is not worthy of the mantle but Optimus Prime is convinced Ultra Magnus is worthy of becoming a Prime.

Why Ultra Magnus Is Not Worthy

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The events that happen later prove why he is not a worthy leader. When Hot Rod and Kup’s ship takes extensive damage when trying to escape Autobot City, they are left stranded in enemy controlled territory. When Springers springs the enws on Ultra Magnus, the latter annoyingly replies – “I can’t deal with that now.” A leader would never leave one of his own behimd. But it is the annoying tone in which he completely sidelines the issue of Hot Rod and Kup being held captive that seriously makes us question his abilities as a leader.

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Had it been Optimus, he would have at the very least mourned their losses. Magnus then almost loses his life while trying to use the Matrix to defeat Galvatron and Unicron. He loses the Matrix in the process and also leaves his team leaderless. Throughout the events. Ultra Magnus just unabashedly keeps on making grave errors in judgment. It almost costs the Universe the Autobots. He is an amazing soldier. But making him the successor to Optimus Prime was a gamble that should have never been taken.

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