The original Optimus Prime transforms into a cab over semi truck. The truck's cab transforms into the robot mode of Prime himself, with vast strength and armed with a laser rifle. Contained within his chest is the mystic talisman known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership (or Creation Matrix), carried by all Autobot leaders and passed down through the ages. The truck's trailer disconnects and transforms into the Combat Deck, a mobile battle-station/command headquarters with an "Auto-Launcher" robot armed with assorted artillery and beam weapons. It can also serve as a radio antenna for battlefield communications between the Autobots. The Combat Deck can launch Prime's third component, Roller, a mobile scout buggy that can easily slip behind enemy lines. Optimus' senses are tied into Roller's, and can perceive what Roller does. Injury to one component is felt by each of the others, and while Prime could survive the destruction of either, despite the slight degree of autonomy they possess, the Combat Deck and Roller would not be able to survive without him.
Additional powers included (somewhat inconsistently) in the animated series and comics are short-range optic blasts, holographic map projections, a palm mounted, triangle-shaped repulsor projector (similar in function to the Marvel Character Iron Man) and deployable hydro-foils designed by Wheeljack which allowed Prime and the other Autobots to traverse bodies of water with ease. One of Prime's more memorable abilities from the animated series was the ability to retract his right hand and replace it with a glowing energon axe; although used only once, the axe proved popular enough to be rendered in toy form several times in recent years, and made further appearances in both the Dreamwave Productions and Devil's Due Publishing comic series, and in the 2007 live action feature film.
Across the assorted continuities of the original Transformers universe, there have been various interpretations of Optimus Prime. One of Prime's most notable characteristics in any form was his adamant commitment to leadership by example, and avoidance of any hypocrisy in his command, but beyond this, the animated series leaned towards Optimus Prime as a straightforward, wise and essentially upbeat battlefield general. The Marvel Comics series, on the other hand, in addition to these more obvious characteristics, suggested a Prime secretly plagued by self-doubt and, more importantly, a conflicted sense of pacifism that often made him an extremely reluctant warrior. It was occasionally implied that the conflict with the Decepticons lasted as long as it did primarily because of his unwillingness to take a more aggressive stance.
The animated series revealed other minor details about Optimus Prime's personality and personal life - for example, his hatred of rap music ("Blaster Blues" and "Quest for Survival"), which set him at odds with music-loving characters like Blaster and Jazz. Prime also enjoys televised sports, most notably basketball which he even plays ("The Master Builder"), as well as setting up a basketball court outside the Ark. Though Prime's personality is like that of a human man age 40-50, he is not above watching afternoon soap operas (in the episode "Prime Target", he is heard groaning out loud when the soap opera he is watching with the other Autobots gets interrupted for a news report).
Optimus took the mantle of leadership as the civil war against the Decepticons erupted, and would remain in that position for the next four million years. Ariel was rebuilt into Elita One, the commander of the Autobot resistance on Cybertron. The fate of Dion is left unrevealed.
As leader of the Autobots, Prime headed up the Autobots' mission to search out new worlds with new sources of energy to revitalize the depleted Cybertron. Optimus vowed to Elita that he would return from his mission for her, but just before the launch of the Ark, Optimus was mistakenly led to believe Elita was killed. Shortly after its launch, the Autobots' craft was attacked by the Decepticons' space cruiser, the Nemesis, and boarded by Megatron and the Decepticons. In the ensuing struggle, the G-forces of a nearby planet pulled both craft down, and the Autobots' ship crashed into a volcano, thrusting all the occupants into emergency stasis. Four million years later, in the Earth year 1984 A.D., a volcanic eruption jarred the ship's computer, Teletraan I back to life, and it reactivated the Decepticons, programming them with new Earth-based disguise modes. As a parting gesture, Starscream fired upon the Autobot ship, creating a landslide. The vibrations from that landslide knocked Prime into the path of the computer's restoration beam, restoring him to life, and beginning the war anew on Earth.
Prime was perpetually at the forefront of the action throughout the early years of the war on Earth, usually confronting Megatron, and, in some rare instances, being forced to team up with him for the greater good (or the lesser evil) - such as against the Insecticon controlled Decepticons or the Combaticons. He has suffered his fair share of battlefield scrapes, almost meeting his end when his vital cosmotron component was critically damaged by the Decepticon jets and Laserbeak, having his body be disassembled and turned into Decepticon trophies (such as turning much of his body into a pet "alligaticon" and one of his arms into a defense laser).
Prime suffered a severe - though unfair - defeat when Megatron challenged him to one-on-one combat while imbued with the different abilities of all the Decepticons. The loser would leave Earth. However, Teletraan I discovered the deception in time and the Autobots were able to drive the Decepticons off. In "Prime Problem", Megatron created a clone of him, which cause confusion with the other Autobots which lead to tests. However, Windcharger and Spike were able to identify the clone before it led the Autobots into their demise.
In the episode "Prime Target", the big game hunter Lord Cholmondeley set his sights on the ultimate trophy, the head of Optimus Prime. In order to lure Optimus in, Cholmondeley captured the Autobots Tracks, Bumblebee, Jazz, Beachcomber, Grapple, Blaster and Inferno. Windcharger and Huffer were able to avoid being trapped. When Cosmos learned of the location Cholmondeley was keeping the captured Autobots, Optimus Prime accepted Cholmondeley's challenge to meet him alone. Although interrupted by the Decepticons Astrotrain and Blitzwing's attempt to ally the Decepticons with Cholmondeley, Optimus defeated the big game hunter and freed the Autobots. Cholmondeley and the stolen jet were handed over to the Soviets by the Autobots as punishment for his actions.
Throughout the first two season Optimus Prime has led the Autobots to many victories, like stopping Megatron from controlling the crystal of power ("Fire On the Mountain"), stopping the Dinobots rebellion by saving Grimlock ("War of the Dinobots"), defeated Devastator with his detach arm ("City of Steel"), helped capture Nightbird ("Enter the Nightbird"), rescued Blaster and Cosmos from the Decepticons on the Moon with the help of Omega Supreme ("Blaster Blues"), and help saved Perceptor and the other Autobots from the cosmic rust disease ("Cosmic Rust").
Over the course of the next twenty years, the Decepticons succeeded in seizing control of all of Cybertron, forcing the Autobots to operate from their new city on Earth, and from two bases on Cybertron's moons. In the Earth year 2005 A.D., Prime was stationed on Moonbase One, and dispatched troops to Earth to acquire energy for an upcoming strike on Cybertron. The Decepticons, however, got wind of the plan and used the shuttle run to attack Autobot City; a distress call summoned Prime and support troops to Earth, and in the fearsome ensuing fight with Megatron, Optimus Prime sustained fatal injuries, but not before turning the tide of battle and forcing the Decepticons to flee. Despite the efforts of Perceptor, Optimus Prime died. The Matrix, and with it leadership of the Autobots, fell into the hands of Ultra Magnus, Galvatron, and subsequently to Rodimus Prime. His last words were "Until that day...'till all are one."
Prime's body was entombed in a massive deep-space mausoleum with the many other fallen Autobots, but his corpse was desecrated by the Quintessons in 2006, when they reanimated it as part of an attempt to destroy the Autobots by using Prime to lure their space fleet into a trap. However, the Matrix was able to purify Prime of the Quintesson influence, and he ordered the other Autobots to clear out while he piloted his flagship into the Quintessons' detonator, triggering the explosion of a nearby sun. Prime was believed to have been destroyed in the explosion. According to "The Return of Optimus Prime", Prime's body was recovered from the craft by two human scientists, Jessica Morgan and Gregory Swofford, just minutes before the explosion. However, as their ship departed, it was coated with solar spores released by the explosion of the sun. Jessica's father, Mark Morgan, loathed the Transformers (both Autobot and Decepticon), and his hatred only grew when an attempt by the Decepticons to steal a heat-resistant alloy he had developed resulted in Jessica being paralyzed. Swofford and Morgan reconstructed Optimus Prime's body in an attempt to use it as a delivery system for the spores, which induced enmity and madness in every sentient being they came into contact with, in order to destroy the Transformers.
However, when they could not reanimate him, they used his body as a lure instead, bringing the Autobots to their lab, where they were infected. As this "Hate Plague" proceeded to spread across the galaxy, Sky Lynx retrieved a Quintesson, who fully restored Optimus Prime to life. Coating himself in Morgan's heat-resistant alloy, Prime reclaimed the Matrix from Rodimus and unleashed its concentrated wisdom to destroy the Hate Plague.
In 2007, Prime began to suffer from visions following the release of the Matrix's energy, which foretold a great transformation for Cybertron. Events began with the Decepticons' theft of the key to the Plasma Energy Chamber, which forced Prime to consult Alpha Trion within Vector Sigma, and Prime learned that the mega-computer had orchestrated events in order to restore Cybertron's Golden Age. When the Plasma Energy Chamber was opened and threatened to drive Earth's Sun supernova, Spike Witwicky and the Nebulans who had become involved in the conflict as a result of these events were able to drain off the excess solar energy and revitalize Cybertron. With the Decepticons driven off Cybertron, and Nebulon free from tyranny, Cybertron enters into a Golden Age of peace and prosperity under the leadership of Optimus Prime and the Autobots.
The seldom-seen fifth season of the show featured previous episodes' stories retold by a stop-motion Powermaster Optimus Prime to the live-action youngster Tommy Kennedy. No real back story was ever established for Prime becoming a Powermaster, but the new sequences were said to take place after the four previous seasons, indicating that in the original Sunbow continuity at least, Prime became a Powermaster at some point.
Although the animated series ended in the U.S. after The Rebirth, Optimus Prime continued to appear in animated sequences in the Transformers toy commercials, progressing from Powermaster to Action Master, and even appearing as a CG Combat Hero Optimus Prime.
In the interim year, with the Decepticons not having been heard from, the Autobots had entered into an even closer relationship with Earth, and had begun the colonization of other worlds, the first of which was the planet Athenia, where Optimus Prime was stationed. It soon became apparent, however, that when Prime had released the energy of the Matrix to cure the Hate Plague, the consequences were more far-reaching than he had anticipated - without the energy of the Matrix to act as a balancing factor, Vector Sigma had become destabilized, and the Decepticons suddenly returned to exploit this, assaulting Cybertron in order to seize control of the mega-computer. Prime took a squad of troops to aid in the battle on the planet, and when the arrival of the Autobot Headmasters tipped the battle in their favor, Prime broke off from the main attack and headed down into the depths of the planet, planning on stabilizing Vector Sigma at any cost.
Guided through the dangers of the planet's catacombs by the spirit of Alpha Trion while the other Autobots searched for the Matrix on Earth, Prime eventually arrived at the computer, only to find his way barred by Cyclonus and Scourge. Hot Rod then arrived with the Matrix, with which Alpha Trion merged, re-energizing it and transforming Hot Rod back into Rodimus Prime; for the first time, the two Primes fought side-by-side and defeated Galvatron.
Before Rodimus could implement the Matrix to stabilize Vector Sigma, however, Optimus Prime sacrificed himself to perform the task, merging with the computer and restoring its balance to save the planet - dying again only a few short episodes after his rebirth.
On a mission with the Triggerbots to stop Megatron from claiming the Underbase, Prime was forced to jettison the massive databank into space to prevent anyone from acquiring its power, but with this action, he proved his wisdom and skill to the Autobot Council of Elders; this led to even more rapid advancement, eventually leading him to field command over the Autobot armies.
Four million years ago, Cybertron - shaken from its orbit and drifting through space - came under threat when it floated into the path of an asteroid swarm . Prime led a group of elite Autobot warriors on the Autobot starship, the Ark, on a mission to destroy the asteroids, and although successful, in the aftermath of this mission the Ark was attacked by Decepticons, hoping to overcome their weakened foes. Intent on keeping the secrets of the Ark from the Decepticons, Prime set the craft on a suicide course, crashing it into the prehistoric planet Earth.
In 1984 A.D., a volcanic eruption re-activated the Ark, which in turn brought the Transformers back on-line. Prime led the Autobots in their opening battles to prevent the Decepticons from plundering Earth's resources, but following their initial victory, the Autobots were all deactivated by Shockwave. Prime was decapitated by Shockwave, and had the energy of the Creation Matrix leeched from his mind to give life to Shockwave's creations, the Constructicons (although Shockwave was unaware that the Matrix was not merely a program in Prime's mind, but a physical object in his chest). Before Shockwave could give life to his next Decepticon, Jetfire, Prime transferred the Matrix energy into the mind of Buster Witwicky, who used the energy to turn Jetfire on Shockwave, allowing Prime to reclaim his body and retake leadership of the Autobots, giving Jetfire true life as a reward. Around this time, he would even meet Ronald Reagan in a story in the 1985 UK annual.
Meanwhile, however, the U.K. offices of Marvel Comics were producing their own storylines. Here, writer Simon Furman offered a different take on Prime, one that was weary of the war he had been forced to fight. In the "Prey" storyline beginning in UK #96 Prime arranged for a Wheeljack built copy of himself to be destroyed to see how the Autobots could cope without him. Unfortunately the plan was derailed by Megatron and the Predacons, who attacked him. During the battle Prime, Megatron and Ultra Magnus were transported to Earth - with Prime accidentally interrupting his own funeral service. This theme of war-weariness would again come to the fore in the U.K. strips detailing Prime's U.S. death.
After a period of effective leadership which saw the activation of several new Autobots including the Aerialbots, who Prime infused with life using the Matrix, Prime engaged Megatron in a video game duel for possession of a super fuel. Prime was victorious, but Megatron implemented a cheat code that killed Prime later. Autobot surgeon Ratchet's subsequent efforts to restore him were unsuccessful, and his body was launched into space, the Autobots unaware of the presence of the physical Matrix object within the corpse. The funeral barge eventually crashed on a giant moon; as it lay there for an untold time, the Matrix reached out to nearby living organisms, studying and recreating them. One such recreated being became known as Death Bringer.
Prime's personality had been copied onto a floppy disk by the technician running the game, Ethan Zachary, who employed him in various video game scenarios he developed. Prime's damaged mind led him to believe that he himself was a video game character, and in an attempt to bring him back to life, Goldbug, Joyride, Slapdash and Getaway took the disk to the planet Nebulos. They built a new body for Optimus Prime, and even upgraded it with the ability to combine with the trailer to form a larger robot. In an effort to keep Transformers off their planet, however, the Nebulans had poisoned their fuel, and the sensation of dying convinced Prime that he was truly alive, and not a game character. To save his life, the Nebulan scientist Hi-Q bonded with him, creating Powermaster Optimus Prime. A UK story set around this time in UK #198 would see Prime as the star of his own Christmas special, as he returned to Earth and tried to rekindle his feeling for the planet. After a battle between his own forces and an advance force from Cybertron ruined a small town's Christmas festivities he realized bringing the Autobots to Earth was far worse than anything his troops could have done and vowed to protect its inhabitants from Decepticon aggression.
In the UK Transformers stories, Prime and his Autobots later battled a murderous mechanoid named Death Bringer, which Prime recognized as a creation of the Matrix.
Later, the Transformers were all transported to Cybertron by Primus to battle Unicron, Prime managed to successfully reacquire and purify the Matrix after Unicron killed Thunderwing and his taint upon it. Prime then sacrificed his life one more time to destroy Unicron by plunging the Matrix into his maw. However, the Powermaster process had been working to fully bond Prime and Hi-Q, and with Prime now destroyed, the process completed itself in Hi-Q's body, and the two minds and souls became one. Hi-Q's biomechanical body was stripped down and reconstructed by the Last Autobot, resurrecting Optimus Prime once more with the two minds now one. Prime joined with the other Autobots on the planet Klo and routed Bludgeon's Decepticons.
Prime would appear in the U.K. Marvel comic issue #234, "Prime's Rib!" This story is set in the near future, 1995, where Optimus Prime, Jazz and Hot Rod introduce the latest Autobot, Arcee, to the human feminists. She was met with displeasure by the humans, being called a token female and disliked for her pink color. They were then attacked by Shockwave, Fangry, Horri-Bull and Squeezeplay, who thought the Autobot would be unvieling a new weapon. The Autobots fought off the Decepticons, who escaped, but nothing seemed to please the human feminists.
An undisclosed period of time later, at the beginning of the Transformers: Generation 2 comic book sequel series, Prime was restored to a form resembling his original body, and he and the Autobots found themselves caught in the schemes of a "second generation" of Cybertronians led by the icy Jhiaxus, who were colonizing and cyber-forming other worlds. Plagued by nightmarish visions of a life-destroying entity called "the Swarm," Prime looked into Cybertron's past and discovered that Jhiaxus and his kind were the result of further unintentional Transformer reproduction, their nature and intent distilled to the purest, most unemotional form of conquest, and that the Swarm was the by-product of this process. Entering into an alliance with the recreated Megatron's Decepticons to combat the Swarm and Jhiaxus, Prime was consumed by the abomination and destroyed, but at the last moment, unleashed the energies of the Matrix into the Swarm, purifying it. In parting, the Swarm recreated Prime in a new form, (based on his "Hero" toy), and he and Megatron set out to lead the united Autobots and Decepticons into a new age.
Based on the Transformers Classics toy line, the Timelines 2007 story is set 15 years after the end of the Marvel Comics story (ignoring all events of the Marvel UK and Generation 2 comics). Megatron survived the crash of the Ark on Earth, reformatted himself into a new form and now leads Ramjet, Skywarp, Soundwave, Starscream and the Constructicons. Optimus Prime has also returned to Earth commanding Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Grimlock, Jetfire, Mirage and Rodimus (formerly Hot Rod).
Though Prime's ultimate fate is unknown, in a story entitled 'The Last Days of Optimus Prime,' also from Transforce, Prime laments the new Transformers age without war and it seems he passes on to a Transformers afterlife referred to as 'J'nwan.' However the story is vague and may be a metaphor for Prime rejoining the Matrix as his time had come. In this realm, he was approached by the Predacon Sandstorm, who tried to plead for the help of Prime and the other legendary Transformers in dealing with a Unicron/Predacon hybrid named Shokaract. Prime refused, but later led a group of Transformers (including Megatron, Grimlock and Soundwave) to distract the creature while Primus dealt the killing blow.
The Beast Wars were waged on prehistoric Earth, eventually leading to the discovery of the buried Ark. Megatron, following the original Megatron's instructions in a desperate gambit, decided to attempt to change history by killing Optimus Prime, who was still lying in The Ark in stasis lock. Megatron hoped that this would result in the Decepticons winning The Great War and eventually the rule of Cybertron by the Predacons, the descendants of the Decepticons. Megatron unleashed a full-power weapon blast at Optimus Prime's face, near-fatally injuring him. However, Optimus Primal proceeded to take Prime's spark into his body to protect it from surgical trauma while his injuries were repaired. The subsequent power increase caused by Prime's spark's connection to the Matrix augmented Primal into the large, transmetal "Optimal Optimus" form with three alternate modes (jet, land vehicle, and transmetal gorilla). Then, with the repairs complete, Prime's spark was restored, and he briefly activated before sinking back into normal stasis.
When animating the scene in which Primal removes Prime's spark, Mainframe's animators consulted The Transformers: The Movie for reference on the interior of Prime's chest. However, not realizing the importance of the Matrix of Leadership, they rendered it as a container for Prime's spark. Beast Wars writers Larry DiTillio and Bob Forward have since claimed that in their view, Prime had not received the Matrix from Alpha Trion at this point, but a later comic produced for Botcon indicated that the Matrix was in fact stored in a secondary compartment, hidden behind Prime's spark. In this comic, the alien Vok used the Matrix, the Transmetal Driver and a control suit once piloted by the Predacon Quickstrike to create Primal Prime.
Later in the series Optimus Primal discovered the ancient city of Iacon deep within Cybertron where he was approached by a hologram statue of Optimus Prime, but it ended up being Megatron in disguise, who used the opportunity to steal Optimus Primal's access to the Oracle. Obsidian also comments on how Optimus Primal is not as great a leader as Prime.
In the 21st century reimagining of the original continuity by Dreamwave Productions, Optimus Prime started life as Optronix (Orion to his friends), a data archivist. After taking note of a battle in which the Autobot leader Sentinel Prime had been killed by Megatron, he was summoned to the Council of Elders and informed that the Matrix had chosen him to be the next leader of the Autobots. He received the Autobot Matrix of Leadership shortly thereafter, and almost arranged for the Autobot evacuation of Cybertron, intending to leave the Decepticons to their own devices, until a battle with Megatron beneath the planet's surface, accompanied by visions from the Matrix, stirred him on to fight for the safety of his homeworld. It is interesting to note that in this reimagining, Optimus actually was physically changed in appearance and size by the Matrix during the events of the first volume of War Within.
Some time into his role as leader, Prime disappeared in a spacebridge experiment along with Megatron, but returned some time later, having spent a period of time on Quintessa. Events during this period have gone unrecorded as a result of Dreamwave's closure.
The actual events of the Autobots and Decepticon coming to Earth were never printed by Dreamwave comics, but flashbacks of the events were seen which suggest events similar to those in the three episode television series pilot, More Than Meets the Eye occurred in the Dreamwave storyline.
Following the awakening of the Transformers on Earth, the Autobots allied with humankind and eventually defeated the Decepticons at the turn of the century. They planned to return to Cybertron aboard the newly constructed Ark II, but the ship was destroyed as part of a military conspiracy to take control of the Transformers. However, a terrorist organization run by the enigmatic Lazarus was able to seize control of several of the Transformers that fell back to Earth, while the U.S. military located Prime's body. Before his departure, Prime had entrusted a small portion of the Matrix to Spike Witwicky, who was forced by the product chief, General Hallo, to use it to reactivate Prime. Functional again, Prime used the Matrix to reactivate more of his fallen comrades, and then faced off against Megatron in San Francisco.
Following this, Prime began to experience subconscious urgings, leading both the Autobots and the Decepticons to the Arctic Circle, where Shockwave arrived to greet them - and arrest them as war criminals. Shockwave had succeeded in ending the war on Cybertron, but Prime soon fell in with a rebel Autobot group that had discovered Shockwave had greater agenda. Rallying Autobots across Cybertron to the cause, Prime faced Shockwave in battle but was defeated and had the Matrix ripped from him and used to activate Vector Sigma. Before Shockwave could make full use of the mega-computer's data, however, Ultra Magnus (in this continuity, Prime's brother) arrived and bested him. The injuries Prime took in this conflicted necessitated a prolonged restoration period in stasis but Dreamwave's closure meant that Prime never appeared in their pages again.
Art from unreleased issues later showed Optimus Prime awakening from the cryo regeneration chamber and freeing Alpha Trion from Shockwave's lab.
Prime would make one further surprise appearance in Dreamwave's Transformers: Armada comic series, although it would not be the Prime of the Dreamwave first series. When the Optimus Prime of the Armada universe disappeared, pulled into another dimension by the power of Unicron, the Chaos-Bringer sent something back in his stead - a nearly dead Optimus Prime from that universe, who warned the Autobots of Unicron's coming into their universe before dying.
Optimus Prime would also be a major character in Devil's Due Publishing's various G.I. Joe meets the Transformers series. Little is known about this Prime's early years, save that he survived an assassination attempt by Bludgeon soon after receiving the Matrix. From this point the traditional Ark storyline would leave the Transformers crashed on Earth. However, here they were not reactivated of their own accord: The Ark was discovered by the terrorist Cobra Organization, and all the Transformers inside were reformatted into Cobra vehicles remotely controlled by the Televipers. Prime was turned into a Cobra Sentry Missile System tank (a 1985 Sears store exclusive red repaint of the HISS tank). After an attack on a U.N. summit in Washington D.C. he was, however, able to get a message to Wheeljack, alerting G.I. Joe to where the Cobra base was hidden. Subsequently he and the other captive Autobots (and Decepticons) broke free, and he battled and defeated his enemy Megatron. The Autobots then returned to Cybertron in a second Ark Class vessel, but not before gifting their human allies with a surprising technological boon: The ability to build and use mecha based on Transformers technology.
Sadly, Prime's homecoming was not all he had hoped for: the Decepticon Shockwave had taken control of the planet. Prime and the other Autobots were forced to go underground, waging a guerrilla war against the Decepticons. Around this time Cobra would attempt to steal Teletran-3, but their attempt to teleport directly into the chamber would set off a catastrophic malfunction, one that threatened to crack open time itself. Optimus Prime and the Stunticons were amongst those who found themselves sent back in time. He was reformatted into a 1920s semi-truck. He was eventually rescued by Roadblock, Beachhead and the Baroness and helped to capture the Stunticons.
In the wake of this incident the Autobots managed to reclaim much of Cybertron. Mindful of the dangers of allowing humans like Cobra access to Cybertronian technology, Prime sent Perceptor, Grimlock, Arcee and Bumblebee on a mission to Earth. As it turned out Prime's fears were well founded: the U.S. government had used parts from Megatron to create Serpent O.R., a cyborg designed to be a perfect weapon. A raid by Cobra allowed it to escape and gather an army of Decepticons on Cybertron, killing Bumblebee in the process. Despite the grief of losing Bumblebee, Prime continued on and rallied his comrades to do the same. Attacking the Autobot capital city, Serpentor's forces proved overwhelming, and Prime voluntarily to surrender to ensure the Decepticons would cease fire. Realizing Serpentor wanted the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, Prime broke free as Serpentor was distracted, but was unable to kill him, promptly being attacked and beaten near death by Razorclaw and Motormaster. He was subsequently forced to watch as Serpentor opened the Matrix. The result was not what anyone expected - Serpentor was not only reformatted into a Transformers-size mechanoid but was shown the futility of the fighting by the Matrix. At this point Cobra Commander was able to take control of Serpentor's body, only being defeated by Hawk opening the Matrix, transforming him into a great leader and rendering Cobra Commander comatose. As the Joes prepared to head home, Prime promised to record the Hawk-led humans' future.
Prime appeared again in the fourth crossover 'Black Horizon'. With the Matrix afflicted Hawk receiving dire visions of a new threat, Prime journeyed to Earth personally, taking Hawk and Flint to Tibet to discover the source of the problem - only to encounter Bludgeon once again. The two battled, with Prime only being saved by Hawk's intervention. Fighting their way into a secret city beneath the Himalayas, the trio realized the extent of the threat - the impending destruction of humanity by Unicron, and the world being taken over by Cobra-La. However at that point they were discovered by Bludgeon and a group of Cobra-La troops. Prime defeated Bludgeon, although the warrior plummeted to his death despite Prime's best efforts. Prime, Hawk and Joe Colton (the original G.I Joe) then gatecrashed the Cobra-La ceremony to sacrifice Firewall to Unicron in Prime's truck mode. Prime was then mobbed by Cobra-La warriors, and pinned down by a monstrous insectoid creature. Prime demolished them in time to save Hawk from Golobulus. With Cobra-La arrested by G.I Joe, Prime checked his troops would recover - and then sat down to watch TV with Eject and Firewall.
In the third series both Prime and Serpentor indicate that the Matrix had transformed Prime from "a simple archivist" into a great warrior, indicating that the history of this incarnation of Prime is roughly in line with that of the Dreamwave version.
When IDW Publishing received the comic rights to The Transformers, author Simon Furman was hired to oversee the line. Furman decided that the Generation 1 continuity "was in need of ... a contemporary restart" so that the comic could retain a modern audience. Furman's revised continuity establishes Optimus Prime as the present-day leader of an Autobot army spread across the galaxy in small units, waging a covert war against teams of Decepticon infiltrators over resource-rich worlds. The Stormbringer miniseries explains that the Transformer homeworld of Cybertron is a dead planet, ravaged by an ancient cataclysm caused by the Autobot-Decepticon War, one which forced Prime to ally with his arch-rival Megatron to eventually halt. In the series, the interference of Jetfire and the Technobots in a plot organized by the Decepticon Bludgeon alerts Prime to the possibility that the Cybertronian cataclysm might be re-ignited and spread to other planets. Prime calls in the Wreckers, meeting them on the surface of Cybertron in time to witness the return of the being called Thunderwing, the focal point of the apocalypse. The combined efforts of Prime, the Wreckers, Jetfire, Predacon-led Decepticons and a unit of aging Centurion drones are barely enough to render Thunderwing inert.
Bludgeon's recovered files bring Optimus Prime to Earth, where an Autobot detachment led by Prowl has discovered that a Decepticon infiltration unit led by Starscream has broken standard protocol after discovering a new form of Energon. This Ore-13 appears to be the same "Ultra-Energon" that Bludgeon used to restore Thunderwing, dormant for millennia after the apocalypse, to life, and Starscream has already used it to fuel a failed attempt to usurp Megatron's leadership (as detailed in the Infiltration miniseries).
In the Escalation miniseries, Megatron himself engages Prime and, boosted by Ore-13, overcomes him. Believing their leader dead, the rest of the Autobots attempt to buy the newly-arrived Hot Rod time to collect the clone, but Prime - who has transferred his consciousness to a backup memory in his trailer command post - advises them to exploit Ore-13's weakness and assault Megatron all-out, catalyzing the Decepticon leader's Energon supply and crippling him.
Marissa and Prime are now on the run from the EDC, and are also frequently opposed by the mysterious "Legion" Transformers. Faced with such foes, Marissa unleashes her "Kiss Player" ability by kissing Prime, fusing with him once again, and increasing his power so that he can best their opponents. Prime is armed with the "Surf Blade," a weapon formed out of Marissa's surfboard, wielded expertly thanks to the knife skills Marissa passes on to him when they merge.
The Alaskan band Mr. McFeely released a ballad titled "The Death of Optimus Prime," telling the story of the character's first demise. Folk singer The Great Luke Ski also produced a song titled "The Ballad Of Optimus Prime."
A forty foot (12.2 meter) statue of Optimus Prime exists in Kunming city in Yunnan Province, China. It is located near several automobile dealerships. The Transformers cartoon was broadcast in China (PRC) from 1990 onwards and had a large following among youths of that generation.
Megatron and Optimus Prime made a cameo on the television series Scrubs in episode 19 of the 5th season.
The 20th Anniversary figure was featured in a print ad for Nokia 6820 phones, stooped over and scratching his head with a slightly puzzled look on his face.
Prime has also been advertising for the Newspaper Association of America.
In the MMORPG City Of Villains, there is a truck found around the Rogue Isles that serves as a black market, The design of the truck is an homage to Optimus Prime.
Optimus Prime's incarnation from the new 2007 live-action film appeared in a multiple movie spoof on the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, in a scene with host Sarah Silverman in cropped clips alongside star Shia LaBeouf.
A semi that parodies Optimus Prime appears in the first season's finale of the G4 show Code Monkeys, an animated comedy series known for lampooning pop culture.
In the South Park trilogy "Imaginationland," Optimus Prime is one of the warriors who fight on the side of the good imaginary characters.
Many gamers swear to the fact that Optimus Prime appears in the form of a pattern of windows and other markings on the background of the game Assassin's Creed.
According to the staff of Beast Wars, Optimus Prime became a space explorer in the Beast Era.