Unicron, the Monster Planet. Cruising between two suns, the ringed planet drifted through space before setting his sights on Lithone. As he approached, he opens the many teeth on its surface, shining a beam of blood red energy onto the other planet. Unicron crushed Lithone between two massive claws, ripping whole cities apart. A tractor beam sucked up all the remnants into his open maw, including any shuttles hoping to escape. In a matter of minutes, he ingested the world and its entire robotic population, melting down stone, metal, and living beings to power his flight.
I challenge you to show me a bigger threat to the galaxy born from 80s cartoons than Unicron. A force of evil in the galaxy, Unicron was arguably the baddest bad guy produced by Saturday morning, arriving on the big screen of Transformers: The Movie in 1986. At the end of the film, the planet converts to robot form before raining destruction upon Cybertron and its inhabitants, blowing the minds of every kid in the theater. Only with the power of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership is powerful enough to destroy Unicron, forcing him to rip his body to pieces before he explodes, his disembodied head replacing the two moons he had previously devoured.
Obviously, the cartoon needed to introduce a threat bigger than anything in the Transformers series, but even the other 80s cartoon movies failed to produce anything nearly as scary as Unicron. It got me wondering how the other shows would have dealt with Unicron if he came floating to their planets. Would GoBotron or New Texas be able to fend off the Monster Planet? Do they have any weapons capable of defeating him?
To determine that, we have to look at his weakness to the Matrix. The power of the Matrix is described as the combined wisdom of all the Primes, and besides destroying Unicron, it could cure the Hate Plague, a disease that infected organic and technological life with the need to destroy. We could look at it as a beam of pure “goodness”, but if that was the case, the Care Bear Stare could wipe Unicron out. Instead, I’m just going to consider it as an energy source, directed at Unicron specifically, leaving the Autobots and Cybertron safe from destruction. So, do any of the other cartoon worlds have something powerful enough to defeat Unicron?
Let’s start with GoBotron, since it and its inhabitants are the closest to Unicron’s source material. I’m going to be focusing on a few different episodes, namely the Return to GoBotron mini-series and the episode Nova Beam. I want to look at the Roguestar, the massive flagship of the Renegades. The hammerhead shark-looking ship appears on some episodes to be nearly the size of GoBotron itself, so it could mount a pretty defense against Unicron. However, the 5-part mini-series it makes its first appearance in doesn’t do it any favors. The ship’s only weapon, besides a fleet of Thrusters, was a mode-lock beam that forced GoBots to assume their alternate mode. At the end of the story, the Guardians scare away the Renegades with the use of their Power Warrior super warrior, but considering the Roguestar sustained one hit from the combiner before retreating, I can’t say the Power Warrior is any more or less powerful than the giant ship.
In the episode Nova Beam, the titular weapon mounted on the Roguestar can cause stars to explode, wiping out entire solar systems. Finally, something that might destroy Unicron. The only problem is the beam itself only seems to affect suns, as a comet and the Roguestar itself were hit with the beam without sustaining any damage. Granted, if they blew up a sun near Unicron, they might be able to kill him, but unless they spotted him from far away (which Lithone seemed incapable of), the explosion of the sun would destroy GoBotron as well. Of course, this could all be moot as the Nova Beam wasn’t even invented by Cy-Kill’s Renegades but by their human accomplice, Professor Braxis.
Prysmos, the home of Merklynn and his Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords, represents an interesting clash between a purely magic adversary to Unicron’s technological nature. Eternia and Etheria, which we will get to, both offer a mix of sorcery and technology to fight off Unicron, but Prysmos only has spells and totems to defend itself. And due to the Visionaries’ extremely limited capability, with their animal and totem summons getting a single use, they wouldn’t be able to do much against Unicron, assuming Merklynn could even teleport them to Unicron’s surface. Considering the various defenses built within Unicron’s body, they wouldn’t last long before being picked off.
But what if instead of the Knights and Lords, Merklynn cast his magic against Unicron himself? To find out, we need to look at The Overthrow of Merklynn. In it, Darkstorm, leader of the Darkling Lords, throws Merklynn into Wizard Jail and steals a tome and Merklynn’s orb. Upon reading the secret Spirit spell, the Darkling Lords are plagued by disasters like earthquakes, fireballs, and floods. Darkstorm frees Merklynn to reverse the spell, only to find out that the disasters are a fail-safe, forcing the thief to return the book and sphere to Merklynn. It could be argued that Merklynn could cast a similar destructive spell on Unicron, but it’s hard to tell if it could affect the attacking planet’s metallic and mechanical landscape, especially since one of the spell’s effects is summoning little monsters. The other limiter is that the disasters were only in a small vicinity around the thieves and weren’t world wide as the Darkling Lords were led to believe.
While the show is dressed in old Western regalia, technology rules New Texas. The planet is protected by its own Marshall, which is part of the Galactic Council. While there are lots of mentions of fighters and starships under the council, like in the episode Bravestarr and the Treaty, there’s not a lot to suggest an armada of crafts is patrolling the universe that could fight off Unicron’s advance. When a new spaceport is built on New Texas in that episode, we only see one ship, and a pretty paltry one at that.
One episode, Runaway Planet, deals specifically with the threat Unicron could pose to New Texas. In it, a planet somehow gets knocked out of its own orbit and New Texas is right in its trajectory. How do you deal with that? You grab your magnamite bomb, about the size of a thermos but strong enough to blow up the incoming planet. The bomb has no problem exploding the threat, but there’s no way of knowing how big the planet is besides Doc calling it such. I’m only dubious for the fact that the planet had only two lone inhabitants, and it didn’t take long for their ship to spot them. Considering Unicron survived an entire moon blowing up in his mouth, maybe he could have survived the magnamite bomb? The other problem I think New Texas would have is a lack of transporting the bomb to Unicron, as the only ship available to deliver it was a long-hauler that just happened to crash on New Texas because of the runaway planet’s gravity distortion, and shuttles aren’t a frequent sight in the show.
Considering Thundera, the Thundercats’ planet is already destroyed at the beginning of the series, we’re of course going to be looking at Third Earth, their adopted homeworld. There’s no doubt the strongest weapon in the show would be the Sword of Omens and its gemstone, the Eye of Thundera. If we look at it as a source of goodness, like how the Matrix of Leadership is treated, there’s no doubt it could hurt Unicron. But if we stick with the perimeters of the article and treat it simply as an energy source, it would be lacking. Many times, when Lion-O uses the sword to fire energy beams, the effects are less than stellar; other times the Eye’s power is limited to more defensive abilities, like blocking the Babylonian Barbarian Boiler’s attack, which was effectively melting the Thundercats’ base. One of the Eye’s biggest offensive feats is shooting down the Ratstar, the Mutants’ big ship. But against the ship’s own completely ordinary gun, the Eye’s beam almost lost. Lion-O did shoot the ship down in the end, but didn’t cause any major damage.
Instead, I think there’s something that would have a bigger chance of defeating Unicron and that’s Mumm-Ra. In the 5-parter Thundercubs, we find out that Thundera originally blew up because an evil weapon called the Sword of Plunder was thrown into a volcano and it overloaded the planet with energy. Later in the 3rd season, we get the episode The Last Day; possessing the Sword of Plunder and imbued with ALL the power of the Ancient Spirits of Evil, Mumm-Ra turns into a giant, causing swathes of destruction as he approaches the Cat’s Lair. Even the Tower of Omens stands no chance against him, being felled in one swing of the sword. Even though the spell only lasted one day, Mumm-Ra it’s enough time for him to mount a huge attack on Unicron. Of course, if Unicron transformed, Mumm-Ra might be in over his head, but I think he would still do some incredible damage to the Chaos Bringer. Using stills from that episode and comparing to this video showing how big Unicron is to Galvatron, I calculate that the giant form of Mumm-Ra was possibly about one quarter of Unicron’s height! And I also learned that scale is so utterly inconsistent in old cartoons!
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe/She-Ra: Princess of Power
The magic on Eternia is capable of just about anything you can think of. And there’s one episode where an evil magician shows just how useful it is to Unicron’s arrival. In the episode Eternal Darkness, with Evil-Lyn’s help, the wizard Tavor creates infinite night for his master, Darkdream. To do so, he casts a spell that moves a moon causing an eclipse. Magic strong enough to move heavenly bodies isn’t uncommon, as on a few occasions, people have controlled comets. But even under Tavor’s control, the moon’s orbit is no match for the strength of He-Man, who pushes the moon far into space. People give He-Man all the credit, but seriously, that Sky Sled has some serious power to keep He-Man still as he pushes it away. He might not be able to defeat Unicron completely, but he can ensure Unicron never gets his claws on Eternia.
Considering that Etheria has a similarly-powered defender, it’s easy to think She-Ra could do the same as her brother. Etheria has another piece to look at and that’s the Horde itself. Instead of being just the force trying to take over Etheria, the Horde exists as an intergalactic empire led by Horde Prime. Similar to Stampede in Bravestarr, Prime exists in a puff of smoke. In Horde Prime Takes a Holiday, Hordak takes over his flagship, the Velvet Glove, and uses the ship’s freeze ray on Etheria. While we don’t quite get to see the effects of the full power beam on the planet, the immense power is almost enough to crush both He-Man and She-Ra under her shield. Without the mystical protection of Grayskull, there’s no telling what kind of damage it could do against Unicron. However, the ship isn’t much of a match against a normal asteroid as it plows into at full power and blows up.
So there you have it – Cybertron isn’t the only planet that could survive an assault from Unicron. What other planets do you think could repel or destroy the Monster Planet? And if you want more ultimate animated evil, check out my books Old School Evil and Old School Evil: The Rejects on Amazon.