The world of the Transformers is filled with fascinating characters with interesting backstories who have progressed from being toys to beloved on-screen personalities. One such figure is “Dreadwing,” an anti-hero who made his debut in the Transformers toy line in 1988.
When two new toys called “Dreadwind” and “Darkwing” were made available as a pair, Dreadwing was born. The lethal Decepticon that resulted from the combination of these two toys quickly appeared in numerous Transformers-related films, television shows, video games, and comic books.
He was prominently featured in the Transformers Prime animated series, and he was also somewhat included into the Transformers motion pictures. Let us examine this formidable Decepticon’s past and examine his narrative arc.
Dreadwing’s origins as explored in the animated series
In the animated television series Transformers: Prime, Dreadwing was one of the “Decepticons.” The show focused on the exploits of the Autobots and was based on the Transformers toy line. The evil Decepticons, led by “Megatron,” were kept at bay by the Autobots, which included, among others, Optimus Prime, Ratchet, Arcee, and Bumblebee.
In an episode of the second season of the programme titled “Loose Cannons,” Dreadwing made his appearance. Agent Fowler, who served as the conduit between the US government and the Autobots, and the Autobots meet at the start of the episode. When Fowler wants to know why the Autobots are fighting and wreaking harm on Earth, Optimus Prime responds that all of the Autobots are currently here with him. Megatron’s Decepticons appear to be fighting among themselves, which is causing the disturbance. The Autobots attempt to identify the Decepticons involved in the skirmish as Agent Fowler arrives on the site and shows them real-time footage.
They speculate that this might be Skyquake, although he was already dead thanks to the Autobots. Arcee points out that Skyquake’s body had been pulled from the earth by Starscream and that they cannot rule out the idea that Skyquake is still alive and working.
As the camera pans to the scene of the fight, they recognize the Autobot ‘Wheeljack’ as one of the Transformers involved in the fight. While the Autobots are thrilled to see Wheeljack is back, Agent Fowler demands that they take care of this situation before it ends up on the news. Agent Fowler approaches the scene in his jet and tells Wheeljack to step aside while the rest of the Autobots show up at the location.
Dreadwing then makes his first appearance in the show, as he fights against the Autobots and even tries to fire at Agent Fowler’s jet. As Dreadwing manages to get rid of the Autobots, Wheeljack still tries to follow the Decepticon, but Optimus Prime orders him to stay put and follow his lead. Prime advises Wheeljack to only follow his orders as long as he is on Earth, and the Autobots return to their base.
Wheeljack later apologizes for the commotion and reveals that he had been following Dreadwing all across the galaxy. Wheeljack was initially on a mission to find Autobot refugees in the galaxy, and he even found one of the Wreckers named ‘Seaspray’. The two soon became a unit, but Dreadwing blew Seaspray to bits by using a proximity bomb.
Dreadwing then set out to travel to Earth, and Wheeljack followed him here. Optimus Prime tells the Autobots that he used to know Dreadwing, who was the Captain of the flier known as ‘Seeker Armada’. Prime also tells them about Dreadwing’s brother ‘Skyquake’ and that he was very loyal to the Decepticons. The Autobots conclude that Dreadwing must be on a visit to Earth to meet Megatron, and Optimus Prime warns Wheeljack not to attack the Decepticons on his own.
In the meantime, Dreadwing visits Megatron and pays his respects to his leader. Dreadwing further tells Megatron that the purpose of his visit was to confirm the demise of his twin brother Skyquake. Megatron wonders how Dreadwing came to know of Skyquake’s death. The Decepticon reveals that the two of them shared a split spark and that they were brought to life from two different halves of the same life force. Dreadwing could sense Skyquake’s death even from far away in the galaxy, and Megatron confirms Skyquake’s death at the hands of the Autobots.
Megatron promises to make the Autobots pay for Skyquake’s death, but he refuses to take any immediate action against them. Dreadwing tries to reason with Megatron, but the leader declares that any impulsive action will only lead to chaos and failure. Megatron further reminds Dreadwing that he is under his command and that he must follow Megatron’s lead.
Later that night, Wheeljack and Bulkhead have a conversation about Optimus Prime’s authority, and Wheeljack seems to be of the view that Prime does not want to get his hands dirty and is just all talk. Wheeljack and Bulkhead used to work as a team of ‘Wreckers’ in the past, and they have a solid bond from going on dangerous missions together. Bulkhead tries to reason with Wheeljack when Dreadwing intercepts their communication system and proposes a fight.
The two Autobots show up at the coordinates shared by Dreadwing and end up in a forest. Wheeljack and Dreadwing end up in a fight and even throw many bombs at each other. While Wheeljack manages to corner Dreadwing, Bulkhead appears from behind and gets caught in the midst of an unexpected blast.
It seems that Dreadwing had already placed bombs all over the place before the Autobots arrived, and the Decepticon easily defeats the Autobots. He even takes Bulkhead captive, which causes the Autobot’s signals to go off at their base. Optimus Prime puts two and two together and figures that the two wreckers set out on an adventure of their own, and he prepares to rescue them.
Prime rescues Wheeljack from underneath some rocks and reprimands him for putting Bulkhead in danger. Wheeljack retaliates by saying that Bulkhead knew all the risks of the mission, and they try to find the missing Autobot. They follow his signal and enter civilization, and Optimus warns Wheeljack to be careful about causing any damage in these areas. They find Bulkhead strapped to a bomb and work together to try and defuse the bomb.
In the meantime, Megatron contacts Dreadwing to keep a check on his whereabouts and reprimands him for going on a mission without asking him. Megatron hesitates to give him clearance to blow up the Autobots using the bomb but finally permits him only in the memory of his dead twin. As the call ends, Megatron declares that he will be quite surprised to see Dreadwing alive ever again since he believes that this Decepticon will not be able to defeat Optimus Prime.
Meanwhile, Optimus Prime finds Dreadwing and tries to reason with him. He tells Dreadwing that if he’s anything like his twin, then he must value loyalty and honor. He further tells Dreadwing that Megatron knows nothing of any of these principles, and he only lives for destruction. Prime requests Dreadwing to deactivate the bomb, and the Decepticon lunges into an attack on Optimus Prime. The two of them start fighting in earnest while Bulkhead tries to jump into the water to minimize the destruction and prevent Wheeljack from getting caught up in the explosion. However, Wheeljack refuses to let Bulkhead give up on his life, and the two of them try to find Dreadwing.
Finally, Optimus traps Dreadwing under a claw and orders him to defuse the bomb. Dreadwing then declares that he would gladly die with Bulkhead to avenge his brother rather than defuse the bomb. Finally, the Autobots all surround him, and Dreadwing gives in to their request and defuses the bomb. He then swiftly escapes the scene before the Autobots can corner him, but not before activating multiple bombs all over the place and causing mass destruction of public property.
As the episode comes to an end, Dreadwing visits Megatron and tells him that he is here to obey his will.
Through the rest of the series, Dreadwing works closely with Megatron and carries out various missions for him. Megatron had handed him the task of getting rid of the untrustworthy Decepticon named ‘Airachnid’ and even promised him the position of second in command. Dreadwing set out on this mission with ‘Breakdown’, but this mission ended up with Airachnid webbing Dreadwing to a tree.
Megatron was quite disappointed in Dreadwing for falling to kill Airachnid, who then challenged Megatron to do the killing himself. Megatron asked Dreadwing to stay behind, but the Decepticon followed Megatron on his mission to kill Airachnid. The mission ended with Megatron being captured by the Autobots, and Dreadwing then stepped in to rescue the leader. Though Megatron was annoyed at Dreadwing for not staying back, he is still quite impressed and names Dreadwing as his second in command.
Later, Dreadwing was sent on a mission to Antarctica to locate an important relic. Here, while Dreadwing failed to find the relic, he came across Starscream and took him as a prisoner. Dreadwing concluded that the Autobots must have gotten their hands on the relic first, but Optimus Prime soon shows up in search of the relic himself. This leads to a fight between the two, and Dreadwing ends up defeated in a pile of ice.
He later freed himself and located Prime at a human facility that had actually secured the relic, when Starscream showed up in his armor and launched an attack on both Dreadwing and the Autobots. Dreadwing then has no choice but to join forces with Optimus Prime to defeat Starscream, and they work together to temporarily get rid of him. Later, Dreadwing returned back to their spaceship ‘Nemesis’ empty-handed, and Megatron was quite disappointed to learn that Dreadwing had lost the relic.
After a while, Dreadwing accompanied Megatron on a journey to Cybertron in the midst of an attack by Optimus Prime. Optimus had used the ‘Star Saber’ to attack the ‘Nemesis’, and Megatron wished to get his hands on the ‘Dark Star Saber’ in order to defeat the Autobots. Dreadwing and Megatron together broke into the tomb of ‘Liege Maximo’ and retrieved his arm. Megatron then attached this arm to his body and used the ‘Forge of Solus Prime’ to create the Dark Star Saber.
Later on, Megatron decided to send Dreadwing on a mission to retrieve the second ‘Omega Key’, but then chose to send ‘Knock Out’ on this mission instead. Megatron then sent Dreadwing to retrieve the third ‘Omega Key’ from the Autobots. Megatron had intentionally sent Dreadwing to fight against the Autobots, and unfortunately, the Decepticon ended up failing in these missions. Dreadwing had injured himself with his own explosives, and Megatron then had the chance to express his displeasure at his failure.
After failing to get his hands on the Omega Keys, Dreadwing tried to come up with a plan to locate the Autobot’s base, and he shared these thoughts with Megatron. While the two had a conversation, they spotted Starscream on the bridge of their spaceship. While Dreadwing immediately prepared to shoot at Starscream, Megatron stopped him from doing so.
Much to Dreadwing’s annoyance, Megatron considered Starscream’s request to join the Decepticons once again. The leader decided to use a cortical psychic patch invented by ‘Knock Out’ to interrogate Starscream. As the test came to an end, Dreadwing stopped ‘Knock Out’ from impulsively disconnecting the link so that he could relay Starscream’s memories.
As Dreadwing watches Starscream’s memories, he learns that his twin brother ‘Skyquake’ is not lying peacefully in his death. Instead, Starscream had turned his brother into an undead zombie who wanders around in an alternate dimension. Dreadwing is quite shaken upon learning this information and is further angered by Megatron’s decision to allow Starscream to rejoin the Decepticons.
Dreadwing steps out of the Nemesis to scream in anger and finds himself straying from the path of loyalty to Megatron and the Decepticons. In a fit of rage, Dreadwing steals the ‘Forge of Solus Prime’ and gives it to Optimus Prime. Dreadwing requests Prime to put the sword to good use, and Optimus even tries to get Dreadwing to join the Autobots.
However, Dreadwing was of the opinion that just because he betrayed the Decepticons did not mean he also had to join hands with the Autobots, and he turned down this offer. He returned to the Nemesis, where Megatron immediately confronted him about his actions.
Megatron tries to propagate peace among the Decepticons, and Dreadwing retaliates by lunging into an attack on Starscream. While Megatron attempted to put an end to this fight, Dreading refused to step down and continued to assault Starscream. Finally, Megatron himself steps up and shoots a hole through Dreadwing’s chest by using his blaster. Megatron then warned Starscream to never make him regret killing Dreadwing as this former second-in-command’s story arc comes to an end.
Fans of the show have various theories regarding Dreadwing, and there is a lot of discussion surrounding what would happen if Dreadwing were to join the Autobots. While Dreadwing’s honor disallows him from betraying the Decepticons, there could have been a chance of him siding with the Autobots after learning about Starscream’s involvement in Skyquake’s unfortunate fate.
Fans also believe that Megatron committed a mistake by killing Dreadwing and that the Decepticon could have otherwise had a compelling story arc. Hypothetically, if Dreadwing were to join the Autobots, there is a considerable chance that Megatron would have killed him for his betrayal. There is also the question of the Autobots accepting him as one of their own, but Optimus Prime would likely have offered Dreadwing a fair chance. Maybe Dreadwing could have just worked alongside Prime as an ally instead of joining the Autobots officially, and they would have worked together in their raids or attacks!
He hasn’t been fully utilized in the movies
Dreadwing was one of the Decepticons in the live-action Transformer movies, but his character was not completely utilized in the storylines. He was initially a part of the Cybertronian Defense Force led by Megatron and was not particularly liked by his fellow companions. Dreadwing often pulled nasty pranks on his companions and tricked them by spiking their gas tanks with sugar, among other things. His character was also not particularly gifted but had somehow acquired a technology that helped him to teleport.
As Dreadwing was not smart, his companions had suspicions about this technology and believed that he had stolen it. He used to be a part of the ‘Class Alpha Drone Unit’ once that worked under the command of ‘Protector Megatron’. However, he eventually ended up as a warrior after Megatron declared his military dictatorship during an invasion by aliens.
Megatron led his followers to counter-attack these aliens, and Dreadwing overlooked the other Class Alpha drones during this attack. However, he managed to lose half of these drones in this attack. Later, Megatron declared that anyone who followed Optimus Prime was a traitor and created his own team of followers known as the ‘Decepticons’. Dreadwing joined the Decepticons group under Megatron’s leadership and worked as a warrior who overlooked all the other Class Alpha drones.
Once, Dreadwing joined Megatron on a mission to attack ‘Simfur’. During this attack, Dreadwing led drones into the battle and was even a part of a group of Decepticons that tried to torture some Autobots into giving up the AllSpark’s location. The AllSpark was a sacred device that had the capability to create new Transformers life, and Megatron and his Decepticons often strived to get their hands on it. While Dreadwing commanded some power among the Decepticons, he wished to play a more significant role in their movement and believed that Megatron did not give him a real chance to prove himself.
That being said, Dreadwing did play some role in the movies and was included as a member of the Decepticons, even if it was just a minor role.
What makes him so powerful?
Dreadwing was quite a formidable Decepticon who valued loyalty and honor above all things. He was pretty skilled in combat and even battled Optimus Prime on more than one occasion. Dreadwing’s choice of weapon was a retractable sword, but he often used ‘Proximity Bombs’ to defeat his opponents. Dreadwing was a skilled swordsman, but he primarily relied on taking out his opponents from a distance rather than facing them. This tactic was quite effective, as Dreadwing managed to defeat many Autobots by shooting his ‘plasma blaster’ or ‘proximity bombs’ at them from a distance. He was quite agile and speedy in his movements and also possessed incredible strength.
While Dreadwing was one of the strongest Decepticons, his temper always got the best of him and was his greatest weakness. It was his temper that had gotten him to disobey Megatron and attack Starscream, which finally resulted in his death at the hands of Megatron.
Dreadwing was most definitely one of the most potent Decepticons, who valued honor and loyalty above everything else. He fearlessly went on many dangerous missions across the galaxy while serving Megatron and depicted a sense of integrity that was not shared among other Decepticons. Dreadwing was widely included in the animated ‘Transformers: Prime’ series. In contrast, the popular Transformers movies missed out on including him in any major roles, which could have otherwise made for some very exciting story arcs!