I prefer them as the same guy to some extent. But my compromise would be to have him be a Serpentor type. Serpentor was created by Dr. Mindbender as a composite clone of history's great generals (and sometimes Sgt. Slaughter as well) in order to fill a leadership vacuum in Cobra. My take would be that when the Ark/Nemesis vanish and are presumed destroyed, Shockwave believes that the Decepticons need a new leader. He tries to replicate Megatron but fuses in other great leaders like Straxus, Omega Prime, Megatronus, Tyrest. Fused and empowered with Dark Energon from dormand mechanoid planet (Unicron). The result is the mad tyrant Galvatron. Meanwhile, Alpha Trion and Elita One are concerned at the arrival of the Chaos Emperor. The Dynobots (the missing Wheeljack's imperfect prototype rescue squad) are sent to find the Ark but they've gone missing. Trion and Elita dispatch the Fembots, Hot Rod, Springer, and Kup to gather Cyber-Planet Keys from Paradron, Junkion, Quintessa, Nebulos, Velocitron, and Caminus. On Paradron, they recruit Arcee, who eagerly abandons her life as a medic to become a warrior; she and Hot Rod have a magnetic connection that is hard to classify simply as romance or friendship. They're just perfect tag-team partner warriors, which makes Kup's life harder, especially as Springer seems to have gone from siding with Kup to following Hot Rod and Arcee's lead. They make other friends in their travels. Gathering the Cyber-Keys, they activate Vector Sigma and create a second Matrix with Galvatron hot on their trail. Hot Rod is fatally injured and Arcee places the second Matrix into his dying form... and Rodimus Prime is born. For three million years, Rodimus Prime and Galvatron battle for Cybertron until a space bridge opens and a yellow car darts through with Insecticons hot on its trail. The Ark and Nemesis crews are alive!