Generation One continuity
Transformers: the Movie (1986) and Season three of the animated series
Magnus first appeared in Transformers: The Movie (1986) voiced by Robert Stack, where he was introduced as the commander of Earth's Autobot city in 2005 and as an old friend of Optimus Prime. As such, when Prime was mortally wounded in battle, he chose Magnus to be the Autobots' new leader and possessor of the Matrix before passing on. Magnus' command was short-lived though, as he was later torn apart by a squad of Decepticons seeking the Matrix for Unicron, a mechanical planet that devoured worlds and feared that the artifact could destroy him. Unicron's fears proved true, as the young Autobot Hot Rod retrieved the Matrix and used it to destroy him, then succeeded leadership of the Autobots as Rodiumus Prime, while a revived Ultra Magnus became his second-in command. He would continue in this role throughout the majority of the cartoon's third season (where he would be voiced by Jack Angel), until Optimus Prime was revived towards the end of the season. He would then appear in the last three episodes of the cartoon, "Rebirth" parts 1-3.
Marvel comics continuity
While he never appeared in Marvel's American comics, Magnus featured quite prominently in the original material that Marvel UK produced alongside reprints of American stories. In these adventures, Magnus hailed from the modern era, but frequently clashed with the future Decepticon leader Galvatron (beginning with the story arc "Target: 2006").
Originally meant to assist the Wreckers in an operation for the Autobot resistance on Cybertron, Magnus was instead called away to investigate the disappearance of Optimus Prime on Earth, which had been indirectly caused by Galvatron's time travel. Together with a group of Autobots from the future, Magnus tricked Galvatron into returning to his own time and restoring Optimus Prime, but delaying his return to Cybertron left him too late to aid the Wreckers, and their leader was killed.
Trying to overcompensate for his earlier failure, Magnus fell for a ruse that almost led the Wreckers and himself to execute Optimus Prime as an imposter. Prime's actions spurred doubts in Magnus mind, and after having Optimus' identity verified, the two began working together as a rather effective team for the Autobot resistance on Cybertron. They were eventually forced across a Space Bridge to Earth, alongside Megatron, by Decepticons fearful of the unchecked power of their leader's anti-matter powers, which he had used in a last-resort against the Autobot duo. While Prime and Megatron soon found themselves back amongst their troops, Ultra Magnus was left in a remote woodland. While he decided to seek out the other Autobts on Earth, he also saw a unique opportunity to enjoy some peace as he explored the planet.
Magnus' peaceful travels ended when Galvatron returned, this time planning to siphon the power of a volcano to augment himself. Once again, Autobots from the future came to Magnus' aid, but they proved less effective this time round, and despite a growing fear of the future Decepticon, Magnus managed to stop Galvatron unassisted by burying himself and his opponent in the volcano.
After several months, Galvatron freed himself, while Magnus was retrieved by the Sparkabots (Sizzle, Fizzle and Guzzle), who became his companions for his remaining adventures. All his previous encounters had taken their toll however, so that when the Sparkabots and he confronted Galvatron while investigating Shockwave's activities, Magnus became paralyzed with fear. He rose to the occasion though when his friends' lives were threatened; he put his fears aside, trounced Galvatron and vowed to defeat him once and for all when they met again.
A final showdown between Galvatron and Magnus was not to be however, and his last stories in Marvel UK's line saw him confronting Transformer zombies and an Autobot mad scientist alongside the Wreckers and their temporarily-revived former leader Impactor, and then shutting down illegal arena battles on Cybertron.
IDW Publishing Continuity
Ultra Magnus was among the security forces on Cybertron led by Sentinel Prime. Although he was aligned with the Autobots, he would pursue an autonomous goal of hunting down and punishing all criminals on Cybertron. One day, he would go to the planet Zull to capture Swindle who was wanted for dealing in critical mass weaponry. A native of the planet, Karzai Lorcha, tried to defend Swindle but Magnus took down all his guards and captured Swindle, while telling Lorcha that he knows that he harbors wanted criminals and that he'll bring Zull down if he finds him with another Cybertronian criminal. While taking Swindle to the regional Decepticon command hub to face a military tribunal and court-martial, Swindle decides to strike a deal with Magnus. Magnus says that there's nothing he could do to make him bend the law but Swindle tells him he knows the location of Scorponok. Hearing this, Magnus would ultimately leave Swindle on a remote planet and go after Scorponok due to how high-profile Scorponok's crimes were. These were for breaking the limits of sharing Cybertronian science as well as other felonies. From the information he got from Swindle, Magnus ends up at Nebulos. Using various disguises, he breaks into the Zarak Consortium which he suspects is where Scorponok is. However, despite his disguises, Scorponok notices him and Magnus works quickly to try to stop him. As they fight, a being named Zarak comes and tries to stop the fight only to be accidentally killed by Scorponok. Afterwards, he escapes and covers his tracks so Magnus can't follow him. Eventually, Magnus would find Swindle again on the planet Buras and Swindle would make another deal with Magnus.
Transformers: Robots In Disguise continuity
The first new character to bear the name of Ultra Magnus since the original version of Generation 1 was known as "God Magnus" in the Japanese line from 2000, Transformers: Car Robots. God Magnus owed his name and alternate mode to Ultra Magnus (and also to Godbomber, an earlier character who disassembled to form armor for his Prime-styled partner), so when the series was translated for release in the West in 2001 as Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the name change was obvious, and Ultra Magnus returned to TV screens for the first time since the G1 series. Later, a smaller Spy Changer figure of Magnus, unique to Robots in Disguise, was released.
Ultra Magnus transforms into a car carrier capable of transporting other Autobots such as the Autobot Brothers. In addition to his remarkable strength and fighting ability, he is armed with the "Blue Bolts" - a variable-configuration weapon of immense destructive power. His weapon can either fire as a rapid fire gun or as a high powered laser. His back-mounted jetpack allows for periods of short flight. In addition to these new abilities, for the first time, was able to combine with Optimus Prime (Robots In Disguise toyline) forming Omega Prime.
As a nod to their origins in Generation 1, Ultra Magnus (voiced in the series by Kim Strauss) and Optimus Prime (Fire Convoy in Japan) were created at the same time by Alpha Trion, but when Prime was chosen to carry the Matrix, Magnus felt passed over, and was left carrying a grudge against his brother. That grudge eventually exploded into violence when he arrived on Earth with the intention of taking what he believed was rightfully his - by force, if necessary. Before meeting up with Optimus, Magnus fought and easily defeated the Decepticons on his own (not even Ruination could beat him). When he met Optimus, he offered Magnus a chance to join him, but Magnus outright refused and attacked him. Severely injuring Prime, who refused to fight back, Magnus tracked him to a desert island, where he pretended to offer him the hand of friendship, only to attempt to absorb the Matrix for himself, forcing the brothers into the combined form of Omega Prime (God Fire Convoy). Through this link, Magnus was also able to channel the power of the Matrix, which he used to supercharge the Autobot Brothers into newly-coloured forms. Although Magnus remained a free agent, refusing to take orders from his brother, his animosity dwindled and he frequently helped the Autobots by combining with Prime to battle the Predacons and Decepticons. As Omega Prime, they faced Galvatron together at the Earth's core and defeated him once and for all.
Note that in Car Robots, there is not one singular Matrix, but multiple ones, each held by a high-ranking Autobot. Magnus already possesses a Matrix, and simply seeks to steal the power of Prime's to increase his own (the overspill resulting in the supercharging of the Autobot Brothers).
The character of also made one appearance in Dreamwave Productions' Summer Special in a story presented as being in continuity with the animated series, which pitted him against Scourge, as both denied and debated their Autobot heritage and relation to Optimus Prime. No further RiD stories were published by Dreamwave before their closure, as Beast Wars claimed victory over RiD in a poll to choose the next mini-series.
Although the Robots in Disguise incarnation of Ultra Magnus did not return to TV screens, his toy was re-released on the shelves of Sam's Club in 2003's parallel-universe-spanning Transformers: Universe line, slightly redecoed with bluish-black parts in place of his dark blue ones. Featured in the pages of the Transformers: Universe comic book exclusive to the Official Transformers Collectors Convention, this character was established to the RiD Magnus, who, along with Optimus Prime, was plucked from his home universe at a point after the conclusion of Robots in Disguise to become part of a battle between armies gathered from across space and time by Unicron and Primus. Led by Optimus Primal into the final battle, the combatants found their conflict halted when Unicron began to crumble beneath them. Primal's team gathered together to escape through a portal, but when Magnus and Prime passed through, they did not find themselves where they expected...
Prime and Magnus's toys were released once more in 2005's Transformers: Cybertron--exclusively to Costco, with Magnus's toy remaining unchanged from his Universe redeco--with bios which once again presented them to be the same characters from RiD and Universe. It was within the pages of the Cybertron comic available through the Official Transformers Collectors Club that the story was continued, as the portal through which Magnus and Prime had vanished in Universe transported them into the Cybertron universe; there, a black hole left in the wake of Unicron's destruction in that universe had caused multiversal ripples which had resulted in the collapse of Unicron in the Universe timeline the brothers had just departed, and materialized on Cybertron...
In the Cybertron universe, Cybertron was under attack by two of the Heralds of Unicron, Nemesis Prime and Ramjet. They had already damaged Alpha Trion, and while Ramjet engaged Vector Prime in a duel high above Cybertron, Nemesis Prime got past Sentinel Maximus and revealed his plan - he was going to use the Dead Matrix, a corrupted version of the Matrix of Leadership, to drain the lifeforce of Primus and use it to revive Unicron (destroyed in a black hole at the conclusion of Transformers: Energon). But he was confronted by the most unexpected foe of all - Omega Prime. Omega then split into Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus, and while Prime attended to Primus, Magnus defeated Nemesis Prime. Informing Sentinel Maximus of what went on, they then stored the Dead Matrix away forever, unaware they were being observed by an alternate version of Soundwave.
Soundwave subsequently stole the Dead Matrix and threw it into the black hole, reviving Unicron, who took a nearby planet as his new body. Unicron attacked Cybertron again in the midst of a Mini-Con civil war, duelling with Sentinel Maximus and Omega Prime. The battle was inconclusive, but Unicron was driven away by Primus himself. The brothers recovered--only to receive the Unicron Trilogy version of Optimus Prime, bearing word of Vector Prime's death in battle. Prime and Magnus were subsequently seen planning the hunt for Unicron.
Transformers: Animated continuity
In the Cartoon Network series Transformers Animated, Ultra Magnus serves as the Autobot commander on Cybertron and Optimus Prime's superior and father figure, he believes Optimus has potential to be a born leader, despite being kicked out of Autobot Academy. His head resembles that of the Generation 1 character's super robot mode. He wields a large war hammer called the Magnus Hammer, which can discharge massive amounts of electricity and command lightning bolts. He turns into an 8-wheeled missile launcher truck. In doing Ultra Magnus' voice, Jeff Bennett emulates the voice of the late Robert Stack, who voiced Magnus in The Transformers: The Movie.
A bust of Ultra Magnus appeared in Master Yoketron's dojo as a member of their Cyber Ninja Corps in the episode "Five Servos of Doom" during a flashback of Prowl's training during the Great War.
During Ratchet's flashbacks in "Thrill of the Hunt", Ultra Magnus is shown ordering Ratchet to get Arcee and her access codes back no matter what. Then, Ratchet has more flashbacks during "Transwarped" when he remembers after getting Arcee's access codes, he followed Ultra Magnus and Highbrow to where Omega Supreme was built. Ultra Magnus informed Ratchet that Omega was built to be a doomsday weapon and that they have to do anything to win the war.
In the pilot of Transformers Animated Ultra Magnus learned that Optimus Prime's crew had discovered the Allspark and ordered them to stay put until it could be retrieved. He also told Prime not to try to be a hero; unfortunately Optimus disobeyed and had the Ark take off anyway, stating that "Ultra Magnus wasn't carrying the Allspark".
He comes to Earth personally in the episode "The Elite Guard" with his fellow Cybertron Elite Guard members Sentinel Prime, andJazz. He took on an Earth-vehicle mode. After the battle against some out-of-control police droids and a fragment of the Allspark was retrieved, Ultra Magnus began to respect Optimus Prime as a commander and told Sentinel Prime that he can learn a thing or two from him.
He briefly appears at the end of "Return of the Headmaster" talking to the Primes about what happened, and then going to inform Cybertron Command about some important matters.
During "Mission Accomplished", he informs Optimus and his crew to pack up and get ready to head back to Cybertron. After Jazz detects an Allspark fragment, the latter character and Ultra Magnus head out to investigate. They fail and they get delayed getting to the train station where he get seriously ticked off at Optimus for disobeying and, for a while, not providing proof that there are Decepticons on Earth. When Starscream falls out of the sky, Ultra Magnus orders everyone to stand back and before the Decepticon blast him in the face at point blank range. He recovers and later takes Sentinel Prime and Jazz back to Cybertron to fight a Decepticon uprising.
He would later inform the earthbound Autobots of the escape of the traitor Wasp, telling them to keep an optic sensor out for him during "Autoboot Camp."
He appears in "Transwarped" in present time battling the Deception uprisings and then back on Cybertron where he figures out that the uprisings were too organized and deduced that Cybertron may have a double agent. He then sends Sentinel and Jazz to Earth to get an update from the Earthbound Autobots.
His next appearance is in "Where is thy Sting?", assuring Longarm Prime (Shockwave) that Sentinel, Jazz, Jetfire, and Jetstorm could proceed with their mission. Later, with Longarm's cover being blown, Shockwave savagely attacks him off-screen, leaving him gravely injured, and stealing his hammer. He is barely able to reveal the identity of his attacker to Ironhide. According to Alpha Trion in "Decepticon Air," Ultra Magnus is currently on 'spark-support.' By this time, Sentinel Prime takes over as the new Magnus. In "This Is Why I Hate Machines," the attack by Shockwave and the image of Ultra Magnus in the infirmary are used as propaganda in Sentinel's fanatical government policies. While on spark-support, Ultra Magnus is nearly destroyed by his own hammer when Shockwave attacks the infirmary, but is saved by Ratchet, who takes the hammer with him to Earth and promises to return it once Ultra Magnus recovers.
In a series of flashbacks by Optimus Prime during "Endgame Part 1," it is revealed that Ultra Magnus was the one who had expelled Optimus from Autobot Academy, pertaining to his involvement with the loss of Elita-1. However, due to his special fondness for the cadet, plus suspecting that Sentinel wasn't telling the entire truth about the incident, Ultra Magnus spared Optimus from total disgrace. Ultra Magnus pulled some strings to have Optimus assigned to a group of Autobots, (namely Ratchet, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, and later, Prowl), and put in command of a starship, (later revealed as Omega Supreme). He also gave Optimus the rank of Prime.
For a time, Ultra Magnus's ultimate fate was not revealed before the end of the series, but Derrick J. Wyatt stated that if a fourth season of the show was made, Magnus was to have died from his injuries.
Transformers: Prime continuity
Ultra Magnus is the leader of the Wreckers.
The Animated Series
Ultra Magnus (voiced by Michael Ironside) appears in the third season of Transformers: Prime, entitled Beast Hunters. He is revealed to be Optimus Prime's second-in-command, who survived the war for Cybertron. He is a by-the-book commander, requesting that the Autobots, with the exception of Rachet, and even the humans address him as "sir". He arrives at Earth and meets with Arcee and Jack, revealing that he detected five Autobot life signatures that remained online. Later he helps Bulkhead, Wheeljack and Miko escape from the Predacon dragon, Predaking, before finding Ratchet, Bumblebee and Raf at the Harbinger. He decides that the Autobots must defeat Megatron once and for all and offers them a large supply of weapons to assist in the fight.
- Height: 32'
- Weight: 4 tons
Transformers: War for Cybertron - Ultra Magnus (voiced by Jamieson Price) appears in the Nintendo DS version of the game and has the alternate form of a Cybertronian Fire Truck. Ultra Magnus first shows up during the battle in Iacon versus Trypticon after the beast crash landed on Cybertron. During the course of the battle Ultra Magnus was pinned down and called upon Ironhide and Jetfire for assistance. After the battle Ultra Magnus was lost in the sewers and was corrupted by Dark Energon by the Decepticons. An Autobot team located Ultra Magnus when the tried to plant explosives in the sewers to prevent Decepticons from using them. The team battled Ultra Magnus which purged the Dark Energon from his systems and lead him out of the sewers.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - Ultra Magnus appears as one of the 5 downloadable characters in the Havok pack for the multiplayer aspect of the game. His alternate form is a Cybertronian Fire Truck.