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Sparkplug (Transformers)

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Sparkplug is the name of several fictional characters in the various Transformers series in the Transformers robot superhero franchise.

Transformers: Generation 1[edit | edit source]

Irving/William/Col. Daniel "Sparkplug" Witwicky
Transformers character
File:Sparkplugwitwicky.jpg
Sparkplug in the episode "More Than Meets The Eye Part 2".
Voiced byChris Latta
Information
AffiliationAutobot ally
Sub-groupHumans
Alternate modesNone

Sparkplug Witwicky is the patriarch of the Witwicky family who was vastly unlike his two sons, in that he was portrayed in startlingly different ways across the two main fictions. The Transformers Classics Mirage toy sports an advertisement for Witwickey Sparkplugs, a reference to this character.

Marvel Comics[edit | edit source]

Although Sparkplug started out as being quite similar to his animated counterpart in the comic book universe, aiding in the repair of Bumblebee when his son, Buster, brought the injured robot to his garage, his personality took a sharp turn after he was kidnapped by the Decepticons. Instructed by Megatron to develop a process that would convert Earthen gasoline into fuel they could consume, Sparkplug drew on his memories of his time as a mechanic in the Korean War, recalling an instance where he had sabotaged the enemy vehicles' fuel and brake lines, and did the same to the Decepticons, poisoning their fuel and allowing the Autobots to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. However, before this heroic act could come to light, many of the Autobots believed that Sparkplug had betrayed them, and an over-reactive Jazz let loose with his flamethrower, causing Sparkplug to have a heart attack. Thankfully, he soon recovered, but his opinion of the Transformers had changed with that action, and he forbade Buster from interacting with them again.

Ironically, Sparkplug would also come to fall prey to a hypnotic Decepticon device in the comic book continuity as well, drawn in by Ratbat's "Wash and Roll" car wash scheme, which mesmerised humans into giving up their gasoline to the Decepticons in a complex-yet-effective plan. Buster was able to break the hypnotic effect with a splash of water, and Ratbat's plan was foiled, but Sparkplug was given even more cause to hate the Transformers and their involvement in his life when the Predacons destroyed his garage and a vengeful Ratbat captured Buster. Even worse for Sparkplug, when his older son, Spike, returned from college, he took up with the Autobots and was binary-bonded to Fortress Maximus, becoming a mechanical freak in his father's eyes. Spike subsequently saved Buster from the Decepticons, and his father was overjoyed to have his two sons back, although Spike's bond with Fortress Maximus kept him returning to the Transformer war and eventually resulted in his death in battle against Megatron.

Sparkplug's real first name was given as William in issue #3, but was later contradicted in #31 when he gives his first name as Irving.

Animated series[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug is Spike Witwicky's father. In addition to being a highly skilled automotive mechanic and engineer, "Sparkplug" Witwicky had, in his lifetime, also worked in the crystal mines of Burma, and was working on an oil rig with his son, Spike, in 1984 when a Decepticon attack brought the Transformers into his life. Rescued from drowning by Optimus Prime, Sparkplug became a friend and ally to the Autobots, mainly excited at the prospect of encountering and learning about strange new alien machines and technology he could work on.

A frequent mechanical assistant to Ratchet and Wheeljack, Sparkplug is skilled in physical, practical arts, but like many fathers, lacks knowledge about his son's esoteric tastes, such as types of music, and dinosaurs. Sparkplug owns an automotive garage in New York City, which the Autobots refitted to serve as a secondary command base while they were far from their main headquarters.

Aside from helping Bumblebee to plant a bomb that disrupted the Decepticons' crystal-mining operations in Burma, Sparkplug's biggest role in any Transformer adventure was when he was captured by the Decepticons and became the first subject of Doctor Arkeville's mind-controlling hypno-chip. Although he was rescue by the Autobots but was still under the Decepticon control, as he unknowingly sabotaged many of the Autobots under the preface of repairing their systems and Teletraan One. Sparkplug regain his senses for a brief minute when Spike asked him what's wrong but he didn't know why as he can't stop himself then tried to tell Spike about what the Decepticon wanted him to do but could't when Doctor Arkeville put him back under Decepticon control then left with them. Sparkplug attack his friends but was able to snap out the Decepticon control for a brief moment, when he heard Spike voice along with being reminded that those are his friends he was attacking. However, Sparkplug was put back under Decepticon control again when Doctor Arkevillie raised the output in his hypno-chip. Sparkplug was later taken to Cybertron to toil their energon cubes under Shockwave's command, until Wheeljack successfully created a device to undo the hypno-chip's effects. After being freed he thank everyone for not giving up on him, especially Spike, then helped them stop the Decepticon plan.

Sparkplug was never seen or referred to again after the second season of the original Transformers cartoon series.

Books[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug appeared in the 1984 sticker and story book Return to Cybertron written by Suzanne Weyn and published by Marvel Books.[1]

Sparkplug appeared in the 1984 sticker and story book The Revenge of the Decepticons written by Suzanne Weyn and published by Marvel Books.[2]

Sparkplug was featured in the 1985 Transformers audio books Autobots' Lightning Strike, Megatron's Fight For Power, Autobots Fight Back and Laserbeak's Fury, as well as Decepticon Hideout from the 1986 series. He is not named in any of the books, simply being referred to as "Spike's father".[3]

Sparkplug is featured in the Find Your Fate Transformers book 'Attack of the Insecticons' by Lynn Beach. His invention of the Sun-Pak, a way to power Autobots by solar energy, drives the plot.

Sparkplug Witwicky appears in the 1985 Forest Rescue Mission coloring book published by Marvel Books.

Dreamwave Productions[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug made no appearances in Dreamwave Productions' version of the G1 universe, instead playing a part in its newly sculpted backstory. After the successful defeat of the Decepticons through a joint Autobot/human operation, Sparkplug was one of the "Magnificent Seven" - a crew of seven humans who would accompany the Autobots and their Decepticon prisoners on the Ark II back to Cybertron, which also including Americans mechanical engineer Mark Marsh and sociologist Linda Richards, Japanese biologist Akira Yashimura, German chemist Rolf Meyer, Russian architect Rudolph Vesic, and British Oxford Professor, Henry Lanson. Sadly, shortly after the Ark II departed Earth's atmosphere, it exploded as part of a plan by Shockwave, taking the lives of Sparkplug and the Magnificent Seven and thrusting the Transformers into stasis.

IDW Publishing[edit | edit source]

A character by the name of Colonel Daniel Witwicky appears in the second issue of IDW Comic's All Hail Megatron series, it is unknown whether his full name is Daniel. When Danny makes his first appearance his dialog implies a knowledge of cars. This fact, as well as comments made by writer Shane McCarthy on the IDW forums, imply that this character may actually end up being "Sparkplug" Witwicky. Eventually, it was revealed that this is the case.

Toys[edit | edit source]

  • Classics Deluxe Mirage (2006)
The original Mirage received an upgrade in 2006 in the Transformers: Classics line. This Deluxe class car came out in the second wave of the Classics line. Instead of having advertisements from Ligier on it, this Mirage advertised Witwicky Sparkplugs on his spoiler, a reference to the human character from the original Transformers animated series, Sparkplug Witwicky. This toy was designed by Alex Kubalsky.[4] The transformation of this Mirage is very faithful to the original toy.[5]
The mold for this figure was also used for Universe Decepticon Drag Strip[6] and Transformers: Allspark Battles Decepticon Fracture.[7]

Transformers: Armada[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug
Transformers character
Information
AffiliationMini-Con
Japanese namePrime
Sub-groupMini-Cons
Rank5
PartnerOptimus Prime
Motto"We must all learn to live in peace!"
Alternate modesSports Car, Cybertronian vehicle

Sparkplug is the young Mini-Con partner of Optimus Prime. He bears a striking resemblance to Bumblebee from the G1 series. He transforms into a sports car and normally powerlinks with Optimus on his left shoulder. He is very open and outgoing, and quickly makes friends with Alexis, Carlos, and Rad. Sparkplug usually operates the mobile command base trailer when Prime is not using it in his Super Mode.[8]

While he was essentially the "leader" of the Mini-Cons in the Armada cartoon, like many Mini-Cons, he played a much bigger role in the comics. He was discovered inside the Mini-Con ship along with the Street Action Team (Perceptor) by the kids, and quickly teamed up with Optimus.

Animated series[edit | edit source]

In the episode "Runaway", Optimus Prime sent Sparkplug to get the Mini-Cons Astroscope, Payload and Skyblast to talk about using their Requiem Blaster form as a weapon for the Autobots.

Dreamwave Productions[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug appeared among the Mini-Cons in issue #18 of the Transformers: Armada comic book who aided Over-Run using the Mini-Con Matrix in the defeat of Unicron.

Books[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug appeared in Transformers Armada: First Contact by Chris Sarracini and James Raiz.

Fun Publications[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug appeared in the text story from Fun Publications called "Force of Habit." This story explained where he was during the events of the Cybertron story. Ultra Magnus was the commander of various Autobot ships sent to other planets in search for the Cyber Planet Keys. Sparkplug served as captain of the Valiant which was sent to a region near Betelgeuse.

Video games[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug is among the characters appearing in the 2004 Transformers video game for the PlayStation.[9]

Toys[edit | edit source]

  • Armada Mini-Con Sparkplug
Sparkplug was released as four toys. The first was a fairly accurate representation that came with the Armada Optimus Prime figure. As with all Mini-Cons, it could powerlink on any of a number of ports studded over Prime.
Sparkplug's overall design was heavily inspired by the Generation 1 character, Bumblebee. While the final animated version has some minor design changes, the comic book version retained a lot of details making him very similar to Bumblebee. The Sparkplug toys released in the Armada toy line all take on the more Bumblebee-like design.[10][11]
  • Armada Mini-Con Corona Sparkplug
The second, Corona Sparkplug, was a slight redeco with a metallic gold vacuum-metalized paint job and came in a number of different sets, including with the recolored Powerlinx Optimus Prime figure.
The golden Corona Sparkplug figure released in later sets is most likely inspired by Bumblebee's metamorphosis into Goldbug. Both characters had slight robot-mode redesigns with a similar vehicle mode and change from a basic yellow to gold. The two characters also have other parallels, such as being Prime's so-called "side-kick".
  • TV-Boy Micron Prime
There was also a green version exclusive to TV Boy magazine in Japan under its Japanese name, Prime.
  • Built to Rule Mini-Con Sparkplug
Finally, a Mega-Blox version was available with the Built-To-Rule Optimus Prime model set. While not very accurate in its robot mode, it was a fair representation in vehicle mode.[12]

Transformers Cinematic Universe[edit | edit source]

Ronald "Ron" Witwicky
Transformers character
Voiced byKevin Dunn
Information
AffiliationNone
Sub-groupHumans
FunctionHead of Neighborhood watch.

Ronald "Ron" Witwicky is Sam's father, played by Kevin Dunn. Unlike the cartoon, from which the film draws much of its inspiration, "Sparkplug" is not used as a nickname, although Roberto Orci has stated that this may possibly occur in any future sequels.[13]

Movie plot[edit | edit source]

In the first film, Ron is oblivious of the true nature of his son's car, even at a point when the entire Autobot team is moving around outside his house. He is portrayed as a caring father but also as a rather picky person, cheapskate and a miser, who is at time obsessive in regards to his lawn and often enjoys playing jokes on his son. He also seems to have an irrational fear of earthquakes. Screenwriter Roberto Orci confirmed Ron knows the truth about the Transformers by the end of the first film.[14] Unlike the first two films, in the third film, he has a beard. He and Judy leave Washington DC before the final battle.

Transformers Animated[edit | edit source]

In Transformers Animated, Sparkplug is the name of two characters.

Robot dog[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug
Transformers character
Information
AffiliationNone
FunctionSari's pet robot dog.
Alternate modesNone

Sparkplug, also known as Sparky, is Sari's robotic pet dog who likes to chew on Sari's key. According to Professor Sumdac, he built Sparkplug as a gift for Sari on her birthday. In "Transform and Roll Out!", Sparkplug and Sari fight over the security key, and Sari got the key after the mutated lice scared away Sparkplug. Even though Sparkplug is Sari's pet, Bulkhead and Bumblebee first thought that Sari was Sparkplug's pet. Bulkhead questioned, "Why would a four-legged bot want a pet that big?". In "Sound and Fury", Sparkplug has not been seen much since Sari took an interest in Soundwave. Luckily for him, Isaac still loves him, who is aware Sparkplug's novelty wore off for Sari. He is not seen in the crowd towards Soundwave when mind-controlled. In "The Return of the Headmaster", once Henry Masterson got his hands on Sparkplug, he becomes an evil robot drone of Henry Masterson and attacks Optimus Prime and Sentinel (without his body).

Human[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug Witwicky
Transformers character
Voiced byBumper Robinson (1st appearance), David Kaye (2nd appearance), John Mariano (3rd appearance)
Information
AffiliationNone
FunctionOne of Sumdac's miners, construction worker.
Alternate modesNone

Sparkplug Witwicky is a human miner who works for Issac Sumdac. In "Nature Calls", Sparkplug Witwicky was overseeing two construction bots in a mine, being paid by Isaac Sumdac to find something. Only problem was, that something found them...and it had friends (space barnacles). Sparkplug was attacked, and was presumed dead. In "Sari, No One's Home", while the Autobots were looking for Scrapper and Mixmaster, the Autobot Bumblebee thought that Sparkplug Witwicky's truck was Mixmaster, and fired several bursts from his stingers, which did nothing to damage the truck. Upon being attacked by another alien lifeform, Sparkplug displayed both calmness and familiarity with modern slang by asking "Dude, why you whaling on my truck?" after Bumblebee's attack. In "Three's a Crowd", Sparkplug Witwicky drove an oil tanker and got mugged by the Constructicons.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon[edit | edit source]

Major "Sparkplug"
Transformers character
Information
AffiliationAutobot ally
Sub-groupHumans
PartnerWhirl

Major Sparkplug (last name unknown) is a toy-only character partnered with the Autobot Whirl.

Toys[edit | edit source]

  • Dark of the Moon Human Alliance Basic Major Sparkplug/Autobot Whirl (2011)
Major Sparkplug is packaged with the Autobot Whirl and is compitable with any Human Alliance figure.

Transformers: Rescue Bots[edit | edit source]

Sparkplug
Transformers character
Information
AffiliationNone
FunctionBurns family pet dog.
PartnerChief Charlie Burns
Alternate modesNone

In Transformers: Rescue Bots, Chief Charlie Burn's dog is named Sparkplug. He has not yet appeared in the television series, only in the little pack in story comics that come with the toys.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-04-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-12. Retrieved 2014-09-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. Decepticon Hideout. Ladybird Books. 1986. ISBN 0-7214-0989-X.
  4. PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things” » Archive » Transformers’ Toy Design
  5. Grimlock image Archived 2006-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  6. TFW2005.com - Decepticon Drag Strip
  7. TFW2005.com - Fracture
  8. Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc. p. 140. ISBN 1405304618.
  9. Atari Begins the ``Ultimate Conflict with Worldwide Release of 'TRANSFORMERS' Video Game, Business Wire, May 12, 2004
  10. Sparkplug (2003) - Mini-Con - www.tfu.info
  11. Sparkplug - Transformers: Armada - Toy Gallery - Photos 1 - 25
  12. Toy Wishes Announces 2003 'Hot Dozen'; Magazine Hits Newsstands Today; Celebrated Magazine Predicts 'Must Have' Toys for Holiday 2003. Business Wire, October 8, 2003
  13. TRANSFORMERS message board - View Single Post - Roberto and Alex: Questions Archived 2010-01-04 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Roberto Orci (2007-07-06). "Orci and Kurtzman Questions: Post movie". Official site. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-08.

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