Acting as second-in-command of the elite troops Megatron took with him aboard the Nemesis, Starscream was among the Transformers trapped in stasis on Earth for four million years after the Decepticons attacked the Autobot craft, Ark, causing it to crash on the planet. When the ship's computer, Teletraan I, was reactivated by a volcanic explosion in 1984, the Decepticons were the first to be reactivated and were restored with new Earthly alternate modes. Before departing, Starscream shot at the Ark as a petty parting gesture, causing a small tremor that knocked Optimus Prime into the path of the reconstruction beam, allowing the Autobots to be restored, and the war to continue on Earth.
As the war continued, Starscream's old friend Skyfire was discovered frozen in the Arctic Circle, and Megatron noted how concerned Starscream was to see Skyfire rescued; Starscream even took control of the revival process and successfully re-awakened his old friend. It was this friendship that initially led Skyfire to join the Decepticons, but when the latter refused to hurt humans, both Megatron and Starscream voiced their disgust. Not long after, several Autobots came to investigate the Decepticon activity and were subsequently captured; Starscream prepared to execute them and Starscream offered to forgive Skyfire if the latter would accept the first shot. Skyfire, disillusioned by his old friend's new warlike ways, joined the Autobots instead, and Starscream no longer gave him a second thought.
During the cataclysmic events that ensued when Megatron transported Cybertron into Earth's orbit, Starscream attempted to use the Decepticons' human ally, Doctor Arkeville, for his own purposes. Starscream forced him to take him to his secret lab, where he destabilized Arkeville's exponential generator, which, when it reached critical mass, would destroy the Earth. Starscream then fled with Arkeville to Cybertron, where Starscream intended to collect the energy released in Earth's destruction. When Optimus Prime and Megatron were forced to work together to stop Starscream's plan, Starscream returned to Earth to investigate why the generator had not exploded. Meanwhile, to remove the threat of the generator, Prime loaded it into Megatron's gun barrel and fired it into space — blasting Starscream out of the air in the process, causing him to fall to Earth and into a vengeful Megatron's clutches. Starscream was a prominent figure in most of Megatron's schemes over the next year, but also made several further plays for power — teaming up with the Triple Changers Blitzwing and Astrotrain to betray Megatron, only to be double-crossed himself; duping the paranoiac Autobot, Red Alert into allowing him to acquire the Autobots' Negavator weapon; destroying Megatron's Nightbird robot to maintain his own position of power; getting drunk on energon, and more. Ironically, given his invariably treacherous nature, he was the first to sniff out Nurgill's treachery when the Decepticons united with the underwater residents of Sub-Atlantica to take over the world. Generally, almost every time that (the virtually indestructible) Megatron sustained even the slightest damage in a battle, Starscream would claim that Megatron had "fallen", and frantically urge the Decepticons to immediately follow himself as their new leader.
Starscream would make use of his old scientist profession in the future, particularly when he and several other Decepticons were temporarily displaced in time to medieval England. When the weapons of the time-displaced transformers ceased functioning, Starscream knew how to use available materials to create gunpowder as a substitute for himself and the other Decepticons. He was also able create an electric dynamo to replenish their depleted energy.
In 1985, Starscream was responsible for the creation of the Combaticons by liberating their imprisoned personality components from a detention center on Cybertron and installing them into five World War II vehicles left over from the Battle of Guadalcanal. He changed them into more modern vehicular forms (for example, he made Vortex the helicopter out of a crashed World War II fixed-wing aircraft). He intended them to be his own private army after he was exiled from the Decepticons for attempting to betray Megatron one too many times. Although the Combaticons had defeated Devastator and had Megatron relinquish control of the Decepticons to Starscream using their combined form, Bruticus, they were defeated by an intervening Menasor.
Megatron subsequently had Astrotrain relocate Starscream and his giant ally Bruticus to an asteroid in deep space. Finding himself once again in exile, Starscream vowed revenge.
Despite the promises of revenge on Megatron from his creations, Starscream abandoned the Combaticons, blaming them for his failure to take over the Decepticons (where in reality they had helped him succeed). In mix of cabin fever and boredom, took his chances venturing into outer space. Ironically, the Combaticons ended up taking control of Cybertron and altered the space bridge to push the Earth into then sun, achieving revenge on Megatron, the Autobots, the Decepticons, and the Earth. Starscream arrived on Cybertron and tried to reclaim his leadership over his creations, but was imprisoned by the Combaticons along with Shockwave.
The Combaticon take over forced another uneasy alliance between the Autobots and Decepticons, who fought Bruticus and ultimately defeated him thanks to a weak spot revealed by Starscream in exchange for Megatron not killing him on the spot.
In "2005", (the storyline year for the events of the 1986 release The Transformers: The Movie), Starscream finally got his long-awaited chance to dispose of Megatron — who was severely damaged following his final battle with Optimus Prime — by jettisoning him from Astrotrain, into the endless void of deep-space. After this, Starscream won the surviving Decepticons' battle to decide a new leader. Starscream's long-dreamt-of reign didn't last long, however — as he was crowning himself leader/king of the Decepticons, Galvatron arrived, deriding Starscream's coronation as "bad comedy." Just as Starscream realized that Galvatron was actually Megatron in a new, more powerful body (provided by Unicron), Galvatron obliterated him, literally turning Starscream's body to ashes with a single blast while in his cannon mode.
Starscream's spark (the core of each Cybertronian that contains their soul/consciousness — referred to as a "laser core" in the original animated series) survived, however, apparently confined to the Decepticon crypt on Cybertron, and he continued to exist in a ghost-like form. When the Decepticon turncoat, Octane, sought refuge from his pursuers in the crypt, Starscream's ghost seized control of Cyclonus's body, and worked with Octane to turn Galvatron over to the Autobots and take leadership of the Decepticons for themselves. Galvatron evaded capture, and returned to blast Starscream (literally) out of Cyclonus -- only for the ghostly Decepticon to quietly take up residence in a Sweep. A short time later, he possessed Scourge and entered into a bargain with Unicron, performing three labors for the planet-eater in exchange for getting his body back. Acquiring the eyes of Metroplex and the Transforming Cog of Trypticon, Starscream's body was restored so that he could comprise the final connection between Unicron's head and Cybertron, allowing the planet to become the chaos-bringer's new body. However, now that he had what he wanted, Starscream reneged on the agreement. At that point, an explosion instigated by the Autobots hurled Starscream and Unicron's head off into space. Starscream was last seen tumbling out of control through space, as Galvatron opened fire on him which pushed Starscream far into space.
After the animated series ended in the U.S., Starscream appeared in animated form in the commercial for the Classic Pretenders.
The precise reason for Starscream's ability to survive after death was never revealed in the original animated series, but would later be covered in Beast Wars. (see below)
Meanwhile, however, on the other side of the Atlantic, the U.K. offices of Marvel Comics were producing their own storylines which were interspliced throughout the U.S. material. Here, Starscream came into his own under writer Simon Furman, who portrayed the character's scheming and ambition with more subtlety than the animated series, making Starscream more intelligent and cunning than clownish. As one of the more interesting Decepticon characters, he was often the focus of his own stories, including a notable Christmas special based around Starscream's misery at being stranded on Earth. In this story and in many others penned by Furman, Starscream had a noticeably British sense of humor, often coming across as wry and sarcastic. He was one of the most formidable warriors in the Decepticon army and adversaries were often shown to be visibly intimidated by him before he had even begun to fight. At different points in the series, he has been shown to best fellow high ranking Decepticons Ravage and Soundwave in combat, as well as the Autobot Brawn.
In these U.K. tales, Starscream was briefly revived from his stasis prison to participate in the events of the Target: 2006 mega-serial, where he teamed up with future Decepticon leader Galvatron. Galvatron tolerated his service with amusement, aware of the irony in the situation — Starscream thought that working with Galvatron would ensure his future, but thanks to Galvatron, Starscream had no future, since he was destined to die at his hands in 2006 (in the comic's alternate-future rendition of The Transformers: The Movie). When Autobots from the future duped Galvatron into turning against Starscream, a repainted Skywarp stood in for Starscream, who Galvatron then blasted. Believing that he had altered his timeline by killing "Starscream", Galvatron returned to his future, while the future Autobots returned the true Starscream to stasis.
Some time later, back in the U.S. stories, Starscream was liberated from his imprisonment by the new Decepticon leader, Ratbat, who appointed him second-in-command of his operations — a foolish move, as Starscream would immediately return to form, learning of Ratbat's plan to acquire the power of the Underbase, and orchestrating a massive battle between the Autobot and Decepticon forces that allowed him to seize the colossal information bank's energy. Now imbued with the Power Cosmic, Starscream immediately turned his attention to Earth, and deactivated scores of Transformers who attempted to stand against him. As he steadily mutated into a gigantic being, Starscream was stopped by Optimus Prime, who tricked him into absorbing more of the Underbase's energy — more than his body could handle, destroying him.
At this point, Simon Furman began penning the U.S comic book as well as its U.K. counterpart, and quickly returned Starscream to the fold. In the UK comics, Megatron had Dreadwind and Darkwing locate Starscream's shattered body, only to find that it still possessed some of the Underbase's power, and drained it away by their Powermaster partners, leaving the body lifeless. Megatron then had Autobot surgeon Ratchet reconstruct Starscream as a Pretender, and had him attack Optimus Prime and Scorponok's forces on Earth. Ratchet disobeyed Megatron's request to reprogram his mind, however, and Starscream's original cowardly personality soon re-emerged.
Issue #248 of the Marvel U.K. Transformers comic featured a story called "Fallen Star", where Starscream began to doubt himself, despite being of the most powerful Transformers. Soundwave, Mindwipe and Weirdwolf feared Starscream would attack, but Starscream thought they were laughing at him behind his back. Leaving Starscream came across the Autobots Chainclaw, Cloudburst and Getaway, who were assigned by Optimus Prime to spy on him. Starscream soundly defeated all three Autobots and regained his self confidence.
The U.K. comics then began a breakaway storyline that diverged the continuities, centering around the exploits of the Earthforce, the Earth-based Autobot sub-team. Through a team-up with Soundwave, Starscream succeeded in deposing Megatron and Shockwave briefly, before they returned seeking vengeance. Starscream, however, had some unlikely protectors — the Autobots needed him alive so that his compatible systems could boost those of the Dinobot Snarl, who was dying from the rusting disease, Corrodia Gravis.
Issue #279 of the Marvel U.K. Transformers comic featured a story called "Divide and Conquer!" where Soundwave lead the bulk of the Decepticon forces on Earth against the Autobot Earthforce headquarters while Starscream attacked an oil tanker. Sent into battle by Prowl, the Dinobots routed the main Decepticon forces while Springer lead the Autobot Survivors, Broadside, Inferno, Skids, and Carnivac to defeat Starscream.
In the U.S. comics, Starscream went on from his rebirth as a Pretender to join up with Shockwave in instigating the Decepticon Civil War, and was transported to Cybertron along with all the other Transformers in preparation for the battle against Unicron. Following the Transformers' victory, Starscream and Shockwave fled the planet in a restored Ark. On the way the two discovered some unlikely company — Megatron and Ratchet, both restored by Nucleon. Starscream found Ratchet and prepared to kill him. However, in a fit of rage at Starscream's casual attitude to murder, Ratchet defeated the Decepticon. In order to prevent Megatron and Galvatron escaping to threaten the universe once more, Ratchet crashed the Ark on Earth.
Starscream was subsequently able to acquire the Creation Matrix (previously stolen from Optimus Prime by Megatron), and used it merge himself with the Decepticon craft, the Warworld, turning himself into a living weapon. However, Starscream found his mind affected by the innate goodness of the Matrix, and rejected it in order to preserve his own personality.
Starscream appeared in his Generation 2 form in the short lived U.K. Generation 2 comic series. This series also printed a bio for Starscream where he had the new motto "I have a code of conduct — victory at all costs!"
In Transformers: Timelines volume 2 #2, "Games of Deception" Megatron detects the arrival of Bugbite's ship on Earth and sends Starscream, Skywarp and Ramjet to investigate. The three Seekers are then taken over by Bugbite's cerebro shells (with Starscream swearing to painfully dismember Bugbite for it). When the Autobots eventually jam the shells to facilitate their own rescue of Mirage, Starscream is freed and battles Bugbite's faction. Whether he survived the battle is unknown. He seems to retain his usual second-in-command status in this story.
Starscream appeared in the 1986 story and coloring book The Lost Treasure of Cybertron by Marvel Books.
Although the 1990s Transformers series, Beast Wars, officially occurred in a universe/continuity that contained aspects of both of the Generation 1 animated series and Marvel comic, the show most commonly displayed its lineage with references to the animated series. To that end, Starscream's ghost made a brief but memorable appearance in the first season episode, "Possession". His spark wandered to prehistoric Earth (probably through the same transwarp gate the Maximals and Predacons traveled through, although the exact details remain unknown) and ended up in the Darkside's computer console. Taking control of Waspinator's body with Terrorsaur watching, Starscream went about his standard backstabbing ways, acquiring the trust of Predacon leader Megatron, telling him that he was defending Galvatron against Unicron and was destroyed, with his spark enduring. In reality, he was planning to overthrow Megatron. When his true intent was discovered by Blackarachnia, who knew he was really scrapped by Galvatron for betraying him, Starscream took her under his wing to teach her the ways of treachery —inevitably (and somewhat ironically) resulting in her betraying him. Caught in an energon explosion engineered by Optimus Primal, Starscream's spark was forced out of Waspinator's body and set adrift in space once more, vowing vengeance on both sides. In the episode, Starscream was voiced by Doug Parker.
At the time "Possession" was written, the idea that Beast Wars took place in the past had not been cemented, hence it was not precisely explained how Starscream's spark was able to travel back in time, aside from a qualifier in the form of Starscream's indistinct claim that his spark was "...beyond the reach of time itself". Although no specifics were intended by the writer, fans generally speculate that his spark hails from a point in time that post-dates his final appearance in the Generation 1 animated series, since he was last seen tumbling through space — a predicament he is also in, sans his body, at the beginning of "Possession". Starscream, successfully commandeering the Axalon, was the first male to be attracted by Blackarachnia.
In the second season of Beast Wars, the reason for Starscream's ability to survive beyond death was revealed — a mutation in his spark had rendered it indestructible. Maximal experiments to replicate this effect resulted in the creation of the insane monster Protoform X, later called Rampage.
Starscream's original body was seen, lying in stasis lock, in the last episode of season two when Megatron entered the Ark.
Winding up in stasis aboard the Autobot spacecraft, the Ark, along with the other Decepticons when it crashed on prehistoric Earth, Starscream was reactivated in 1984 with the other Transformers. When the Autobots succeeded in defeating the Decepticons in 1999 and they all attempted to return to Cybertron aboard the Ark II, the ship exploded as it exited Earth's atmosphere, and the Transformers were believed destroyed. In actuality, many of their bodies were appropriated by the terrorist, Lazarus, including Starscream's. Bumblebee, Frenzy, Grimlock, Laserbeak, Prowl, Ravage, Soundwave and Starscream were forced to attack the Smitco oil refinery in the Arctic to display their power for sale to the highest bidder .
When Megatron liberated himself from Lazarus's control in 2002, the other Decepticons were soon freed, and Starscream and the other Decepticon jets passed some time by dismembering the Autobot Mini-Bots before joining in an attack on San Francisco, during which they attacked Superion, forcing him to separate.
The following year, Starscream was offered the opportunity to return to type when Shockwave — who had unified Cybertron in their absence — arrived on Earth to arrest Prime and Megatron as war criminals. Seizing an opportunity to remove his main obstacle to power, Starscream blasted open the cargo hold of the ship taking them back to Cybertron, setting Megatron's damaged body adrift in space.
With the aid of Soundwave, he subsequently liberated the Combaticons from imprisonment, and returned with them to Earth, where they attacked the Ark in an attempt to acquire parts to make the Decepticons' space cruiser flight-worthy. With Bruticus defeated by the arrival of Starscream's Shockwave-spawned, super-powered clone, Sunstorm, Starscream fled and brought online Jetfire, who the Decepticons had previously uncovered frozen in ice. Operating together, they deduced Sunstorm's clone nature, and fashioned a power siphon to drain his energy; but Starscream turned the tables on everyone by freeing Sunstorm, who then took him to a mysterious Cybertronian seal beneath the ocean's surface. Sunstorm claimed that only Starscream could open the seal, which he proceeded to do, unlocking an underground reservoir of a powerful, energy-rich liquid, which Sunstorm planned to use to empower his "brother," so that they could achieve his goals together. Starscream turned on Sunstorm, who fell into the liquid, which reacted with his own powers and destroyed both him and Jetfire.
Starscream escaped the conflagration and returned to the Decepticon base, only to discover that Megatron and Shockwave had returned in his absence, and to receive the beating he had earned from his former leader. Starscream hinted that he had discovered some of the secrets in the Transformers' history that Megatron and Shockwave had learned in the past, but unfortunately, Dreamwave went bankrupt and closed its doors before resolution to this storyline could be offered.
In this crossover from Devil's Due Publishing, the Ark was discovered by the terrorist Cobra Organization, and all the Transformers inside were reformatted into Cobra vehicles remotely controlled by the Televipers. In this storyline, Starscream turned into a Cobra Nightraven and was used as Cobra Commander's personal transport. Predictably attempting to betray Megatron when the Transformers broke free of Cobra's control, an animosity developed between Starscream and G.I. Joe member Snake-Eyes. Starscream (controlled by Cobra Commander) was responsible for Snake-Eyes disfigurement in the initial Cobra attack. Snake-Eyes got his revenge when he confronted Starscream in the final issue, cut out Starscream's eye with his sword and shoved a hand-grenade in the empty socket. When the first series ended Starscream ended up making a deal with Cobra Commander to remove the grenade (which hadn't exploded) from his eye socket in return for transport to safety.
The second series from Devil's Due involved a plot by Starscream and Cobra Commander to get technology from Cybertron by breaking into their space bridge system. However, the intervention of both Ultra Magnus' Autobots and Shockwave's Decepticons complicated this plan, forcing Cobra and G.I. Joe (inadvertently teleported with them) to make a hasty truce to defeat the machinations of Shockwave and recover time-displaced Autobots and Decepticons, including Optimus Prime and the Dinobots. As Starscream tried to weasel his way out of being destroyed by Shockwave, he was instead eliminated when Cobra Commander activated his parting gift: 45 pounds of plastic explosives he had secretly placed in Starscream's housing during repairs.
Chronologically, Starscream first appears in #3 of The Transformers: Megatron Origin series, which details the rise of the Decepticons. He is specifically sent to Megatron by Soundwave due to his flight capabilities; pledging complete allegiance, he is sent to launch a terrorist attack on Autobot Senator Decimus. It is later revealed that Megatron has asked him to carry out a task, one Starscream doesn't understand the purpose of but is told it is to "send a message". Shortly afterward, the Decepticons are captured by the Autobots. As part of Megatron's plan, Starscream swiftly becomes an Autobot informant. Starscream informs the senators they bear responsibility for the current situation; afterward, he and Soundwave massacre the Senate. After freeing Megatron and the prisoners, Starscream gives Megatron his fusion cannon, helping the Decepticon leader in his battle against Sentinel Prime. Although his robot mode is different and bears more resemblance to his original G1 incarnation, his alternate jet mode is the same as that seen in The War Within. It was also revealed in The Transformers: Devastation that Starscream also spent some time as Megatron's bodyguard.
By the time of Infiltration, Starscream is in command of a small group of Decepticons on Earth, including Skywarp, Thundercracker, Astrotrain, Blitzwing and the Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck. Megatron, as stated in #6, believes the two of them have grown past the backstabbing and posturing of their mutual past. However, on Earth Starscream discovered a variant ore of energon on Earth that was the Transformer equivalent of steroids, making him bold enough to advance their infiltration phase ahead of schedule. As a result, the humans seemingly obtain evidence of the Transformers' existence, causing Starscream to desperately bump off everyone who has seen the evidence. (The evidence-gathering turns out to be a plot by the Machination to locate a Transformer base. )
Learning of this though, Megatron comes to Earth and duels with Starscream, battling physically and verbally. Even Starscream's supercharged power isn't enough, and Megatron ends the duel with the statement, "You're going to take your punishment like a Decepticon" before blowing a hole clean through Starscream's torso with a blast of his arm cannon at point blank range. Despite the immense damage he took, Megatron's commands to Runabout and Runamuck indicate that Starscream had survived. In issue #1 of The Transformers: Devastation, Megatron's increasing instability forces the other Decepticons, led by Astrotrain, to consider reviving Starscream, who is seen in a stasis tank repaired. He makes his return during the midst of a pitched battle between the Reapers (an army of living weapons) and Sixshot. Sixshot, upon seeing Starscream, defects to the Reapers, but Starscream takes him out with a shut-off code learned during his time as Megatron's bodyguard. He then attacks the Reapers single-handedly, forcing Megatron to lead the other Decepticons in assisting him. The two managed to put their differences aside, with Starscream stating that he was still loyal to the Decepticon cause, and the Decepticons defeated the Reapers (unknowingly aided by Galvatron).
G1 Starscream and G1 Pretender Starscream received a cameo on the cover of Spotlight: Galvatron. G1 Starscream, standing with his back towards the reader, can be seen with a hole in his stomach (similar to that in Infiltration) among the creatures that attacked Galvatron. Starscream's pretender shell can be seen beside him. A Sharkticon can also be seen.