The 1986 film is both a beloved classic in the minds of many Transformers fans and simultaneously blamed for being the beginning of the end of G1. The movie both killed off many favorites of the first two seasons, including Autobot leader Optimus Prime, and introduced robots that were never seen before. These new robots included Hot Rod, who would become Rodimus, other new Autobots, the planet-destroying Chaos Bringer Unicron, the reformatted Decepticon leader Galvatron (not an entirely new robot, but changed enough from Megatron that I'm putting him in this list), and new Decpeticons made by Unicron from the corpses of dead Decepticons. The movie also introduced the Quintessons, although their relation to the Transformers wouldn't be revealed until Five Faces of Darkness, Sharkitcons, Junkions, and the Matrix of Leadership. Furthermore, even some surviving characters never appear or speak again on the show, and some surviving robots have radically changed personalities in the following season. The Dinobots are much more comedic, and Galvatron goes completely insane. Many fans think the new characters (or lack of the old ones) and direction of the show ruined G1 and led to its demise. I am not so convinced. Bringing back Optimus Prime, likely the most popular Autobot, didn't do jack to save the American cartoon. Nor were all of the older characters out of the picture: Soundwave, Dinobots, Megatron (in the form of Galvatron), Astrotrain, the Combaticons, Aerialbots, Stundticons, Bumblebee, and others were all still around, even if they were not focused on as much for the most part. Even Starscream showed up as a ghost in two episodes. A show that continued to focus on the same characters as the first two seasons probably would have lasted no longer. More importantly, the changes made in 1986 and beyond have resulted in a much more interesting fictional world that Transformers fiction in any continuity can explore in its own way. Now there are Quintessons, who created the Transformers as a race of lifeless slaves and seek to regain control of their creations and are willing to manipulate the Decepticons and others to get what they want. There are Sharkticons, who are ravenous executioners who serve the Quintessons. The Decepticons being the losers of the Great War and being forced to survive and make plans of conquest in cosmic backwaters. An insane Decepticon leader who beats up his own troops to the point that some become mutinous. An entirely loyal Decepticon lieutenant made by the powers of Unicron. A race of Transformers that makes use of the universe's garbage and can repair themselves using any sort of junk, including its signals from the media of supposedly advanced species. An Autobot leader who doubts his leadership abilities while trying to fill in Optimus' shoes. Six-changers, Double-spies, Headmasters, Targetmasters, and Pretenders. Finally, the episodes themselves became a lot less repetitive than before the movie, and that is a good thing even with a few ridiculous episodes (even by Transformers standards). These are all much more interesting than two factions consisting mainly of extremely simple and often dull archetypes endlessly fighting in canyons and generic cities over Energon. Even if the 1986 film was a factor in the decline of the original Transformers cartoon in terms of viewer interest, I think by changing the status quo the 1986 film and later seasons and comics made G1 much more meaningful than if they never happened. G1 would have been a lot less memorable if it had been the same formula for all four seasons. Furthermore, 1986 set a precedent for the reinventions of the brand and changes in status quo that some Transformers fiction would try in the following decades. What do you think? Did the 1986 film make G1 better? Did it make it worse? Has it benefited the brand overall? Would you like to see more fiction go into 1986 and post-1986 territory? I know I would.